Cakes, Cookies, Pies

Almond Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond double chocolate chip cookies are crispy delicious cookies with an intense chocolate flavor. My 10 year old son has been very interested in baking, so we pick some recipe and make it together. He made these almond chocolate chip cookies with added M&Ms to give a crunch to them. These can be amazing gifts for the Valentines day.

For these almond chocolate chip cookies, we took Nestle chocolate chip cookies and modified it to make it more nutritious. We added coco powder to give the intense chocolate flavor to these almond double chocolate chip cookies. Here is the original recipe.

This recipe made about 4 dozen cookies that were all gone in no time. They are very crispy and melt in the mouth, bake them for few minutes less to make them less crunchy.

We always use salted butter for baking to give it a nice taste. If you don’t have salted butter, just add a 1/4 tea spn salt.

Ingredients:
1 and 1/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tea spn vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tea spn baking soda
1 and 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup M&Ms

Method:
Preheat the oven at 375F for 10mins.
Seive together cocoa powder, all purpose flour, baking soda. Add almond flour and mix everything. Keep aside.
Beat together sugar and butter till they are well mixed.
Add the eggs and mix again.
Now add the flour mix, little at a time and mix.
Now add chocolate chip cookies, M&Ms and mix with a spatula.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
With a spoon, drop the mix on the paper leaving enough space for them to expand.
Bake at 375F for 13mins.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

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Hulk Smash – Spiderman Cake

Hulk Smash – Spiderman cake

If you know me, you know how I plan ahead for kids birthdays. I get so excited about them and plan everything well. But this year was completely different. It has been a very busy year and I did not plan anything till last moment. I had plans for inviting his friends from school since it is his last year at that school. But I did not book anything till last moment. Then I stumbled at last moment to get everything ready. I asked Ayaan which cake he wants, he kept changing it (I always prepared themed cakes for both my kids based on the things they liked entire year). This year the decision was a little difficult since we had a Flash cake last year and tennis cake the year before – those are the things he is currently crazy about. Then he came to rescue and said he wants Hulk cake or may be a spiderman. I combined both and made this Hulk Smash – spiderman cake which the kids thought was super cool – what is not to like about M&Ms and KitKats.

During the party, there were kids who requested a piece of either Spiderman or Hulk. I took some extra M&Ms and Kitkats and served them with cake piece – yeah, for once gave them too much sugar!!. I have to admit, this is one of the easiest birthday cakes I have ever prepared since the candies cover most of the cake and there was no need to work too much on smoothing out the cake. We ordered pizza and got some chips and dips. So it was very simple affair. We had the party at a kids gym which they loved.

It was a chocolate cake with buttercream icing.

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Pressure Cooker Cake (A Princess Birthday Cake)

Pressure Cooker Cake

One of the queries I got over and over from my readers is a recipe/method for baking a cake in pressure cooker. I rarely have any free time to experiment these days, so although this request was always there in the back of my mind, I never tried it. But recently I got a chance to do it. I finally prepared a pressure cooker cake and then decorated it for my beautiful niece.

We were in India in December. My niece’s birthday was during our stay. I wanted to prepare a princess cake for her ever since she was born. This time I got a chance. But unfortunately due to the workload before I left for India, I just forgot to take any of my cake decorating stuff. When I reached Bangalore, I asked my sister in law if I could bake the cake and she was very excited. Then we started searching for materials. It was an ordeal since I had no clue where to find any materials. Finally when I found some cake stuff at a store in Bangalore, I was more than excited.

The birthday was at my hometown Kodkani. After reaching there, I realized the tips I had got were all wrong (I had not opened the packet and there were no pictures/details on cover to know what was inside). I had just two colors – yellow and orange. There was no way I could buy anything at that time.

I tried a small cake as experiment in my mom’s tiny cooker. The cake came out so good and kids loved it. So I decided to bake the same for the birthday.

I used my simple egg cake recipe, added two table spoons of cocoa powder to make it a chocolate cake. I used pineapple flavor instead of vanilla. I used aayi’s homemade loni(butter) for both cake and the buttercream frosting.

Pictorial:
Following are the brands I used. These were the only ones I could get hold of.

Add rock salt crystals at the bottom of the pressure cooker. Keep a metallic ring on top of salt. Then keep the aluminum baking pan on top such that it rests on the ring. I tried using a steel vessel and it completely became black!. So make sure to use something that you would use in an oven.


Do not add the rubber gasket or the weight on top. On medium heat bake it for 25mins. Then check if it is baked, if not, put it back and bake for more time till done.
Once it reaches the room temperature, remove the cake from the pan. Cool it completely and then decorate it or serve it as it is.

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Dates Almond Oats Cupcakes

My 7 year old is a very active little guy who loves to run around entire day. I have tried giving him healthy food, but he is not great when it comes to eating. The other day I was discussing about healthy snack bars with a friend. I have to make an honest effort hereafter to make energy packed snack bars for him. But as a first step, I thought of making some cupcakes for him, which I could give him after school. The dates almond oats cupcakes came out so good, I had to note down the recipe.

My initial plan was to make dates cake. But then I thought cupcakes would be more interesting for them. I started modifying the recipe to make it little bit more wholesome. I added almonds, oats and butter, since he definitely needs some protein and fats in his body. I used mejdool dates which are quite sweet, so reduced the sugar amount. Finally used wheat flour (chapati atta) instead of all purpose flour for some more added nutrition. My 3 year old was helping me make these, so I asked him to add some chocolate chips. They loved the cupcakes, I think I am ready to make a second batch soon(when I can find energy and time).

Pictorial:
Heat dates, almond, oats with milk and grind.

Mix all other ingredients. Top with chocolate chips.

Bake at 350F.

Dates Almond Oats Cupcakes

Nutritious and tasty cupcakes for kids after school snacks.
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 medium

Ingredients
  

  • 16 mejdool dates use any kind
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup oats regular kind
  • 1 and 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 tea spn baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 rd cup wheat flour
  • Cupcake liners
  • Chocolate chips optional

Instructions
 

  • Take the dates(after removing pits), almonds and oats in a bowl. Add milk to it.
  • Heat it for few mins till the milk is warm (I microwaved for 2 mins).
  • Grind to smooth paste (does not have to be too smooth).
  • Now add melted butter and mix.
  • Then add sugar, baking soda, flour, mix well.
  • Line the cupcake pan with liners and fill them to about 3/4th.
  • Top with chocolate chips.
  • Preheat oven at 350F for about 10mins.
  • Bake for about 30mins or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Store in air tight container

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Harry Potter Baby Shower Cake

harry potter cake3
My friend M is expecting her first baby. She is a huge fan of Harry Potter. She always talked so passionately about Harry Potter and how she would read the book to her baby whenever she had a baby. Much before she even got pregnant, I wanted to bake and decorate a Harry Potter cake for her. Last month, I got together with some of our common friends and decided to have a baby shower for her. I immediately knew what I was going to make for her. A Harry Potter baby shower cake.
harry potter cake2

We decided to keep it simple and asked everyone to get something that she really loves. We had pani puri, kachori-chole chaat, pakodi kadi-rice, paneer subzi-naan. Every dish was so good.
harry potter cake1

I knew I would not have much time to make too many things. My weekdays have become a little overwhelming with work, kids classes, cooking and other hundred things. I was a bit stressed out that I would probably not have enough time to finish the cake. I am so glad it all worked out. M loves chocolate cake, so I baked this chocolate cake. The icing was my salted buttercream. I wanted to make all the toppers with white chocolate as I did for this cake. I made the baby with white modeling chocolate, but after that, I just could not get it into required consistency. I totally panicked as I had very less time and I did not want to keep trying it. So I got marzipan (made of almond paste) from store and made rest of the toppers.
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M loved the cake so much. All the hard work was paid off when I saw her totally loving the cake.  Although I got stressed during the whole process, every one of my cakes make me realize how much I love working on them. I am already looking forward to my next one!.

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Kung fu Panda – Tennis Cake

Kung fu panda - Tennis Cake
Kung fu panda – Tennis Cake

The kids turned 6 and 2 couple of month ago(I know I am late to post this!!). We had a combined party for both of them. We decided to have it at our home this time. Last year when we moved into this house, it was one of my dreams to have some large parties. So how could I not have a birthday party for them? It was a bit challenging for me to plan everything this time, since I had a new full time job and I hardly had any free time. But we are so glad we had it at home. We hired a balloon guy, who is one of the most creative balloon guys we have seen so far. Kids had so much fun with balloons and then they played in the backyard for almost an hour. I initially thought of ordering pizzas from outside. But thanks to V’s cousin who helped us in everything, I could manage to cook the entire meal for the party.
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Now the cake – This was the cake Ishaan was asking for more than a year now. He LOVES tennis. He has been playing it for 2 years now and there is nothing else that gets him excited more. Ayaan is a huge fan of Kung fu panda. They both watched the series “Kung fu panda – Legends of Awesomeness” over and over again during the last year. I thought of having two separate cakes for them, but I did not have enough time to make the figures. Then Ishaan said he wanted one combined cake. So I ordered the figures from amazon. I made all the tennis rackets (Ishaan plays with a orange racket and he used to play with green earlier), balls, net etc.
Kung fu paanda-tennis cake5
The cake was carrot cake with cardamom. I used my salted-buttercream icing and white modeling chocolate for all the decorations. Read the recipes for the icing/modeling chocolate here.

We had 14 families attending the party. I made spicy paneer stuffed puffs, sev bhaji,  papdi chaatmatar pulav, a simple dal to go with pulav, curd rice. Along with these, we had chips and salsa, fruits and soft drinks. We got pizzas for kids too (on demand by kids!).

Spicy paneer stuffed puffs
Spicy paneer stuffed puffs

Sev bhaji
Sev bhaji

Papdi chaat
Papdi chaat

Matar pulav
Matar pulav

Curd rice
Curd rice

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Animal themed cake for Baby shower

animal themed baby shower cake
Last few days have been busy. I hosted a surprise baby shower for my dear friend. This was the first big event I hosted at my home (after the house warming). We had total 13 families. I am good at hosting parties where I do everything. But here we decided to divide the task. It was a learning experience for me to coordinate between so many families. In the end, everything worked so well and we all had awesome time. I did not know most of the families that attended the party, but once we met, everybody had great time together.

animal themed baby shower cake2

Two of the friends took care of all the decorations. These were the baby shower experts, so they gave lot of ideas. We decided the menu and asked everyone else to pick a dish from the menu. We had chips and salsa, pani puri, papdi chaat, khasta kachori, pulav and pav bhaji. The food was lipsmacking good.

animal themed baby shower cake3

I baked and decorated this cake. Most of the crowd was strictly vegetarians. So it was challenging for me to make it completely vegetarian – no eggs, no gelatin. I frantically googled for many days to figure out the best recipe but then decided to go with one of my tried and tested cakes. If you know me, you also know that I like to tweak the recipes. So I took this cardamom cake recipe and changed it to chocolate cake.

Eggless Chocolate Cake

A simple eggless chocolate cake with condensed milk
4 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 2 and ½ cups cake flour see notes below
  • 2 tea spns baking powder
  • 1 tea spn baking soda
  • 1 can 14oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup butter I used salted butter

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven at 350F for about 10mins.
  • Grease a baking dish with butter and flour, keep aside.
  • Sieve together dry ingredients - cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and keep aside.
  • Take condensed milk and butter and beat till well mixed.
  • Alternately add orange juice and dry ingredient, a little at a time and mix gently.
  • Bake at 350F for about 40-45mins till a tooth pick inserted in the center comes clean.

Notes

The secret behind good eggless cakes is to take time in mixing butter and sugar to incorporate as much air into it as possible. So take enough care to mix butter and condensed milk. Beat them till they are well mixed and almost frothy.
I did not have cake flour. So I made it at home. Take 2 and ½ cups all purpose flour and take out 5 tbl spns from from it. Add 5 tbl spn corn starch to it.
Remove the cake from the pan while it is still hot. Let it cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack.

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Since I didn’t want to use fondant, I had to use buttercream frosting. I love the buttercream because it is easy to work with but I hate the taste because it is super sweet. This is one of the reasons I was using cream cheese in my previous cakes. But there it was, staring at my face! The reason why I loved the cream cheese was because the salt in it made the frosting less sweet. So the solution was easy. I used the salted butter to make the frosting!. It was the best tasting frosting ever. It gave me the finish I wanted and everyone was literally picking up the frosting and eating it.

Buttercream icing

A tasty and easy to work with buttercream
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup 2 sticks salted butter at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tea spn vanilla essence

Instructions
 

  • Sieve the sugar to remove any lumps.
  • Beat the butter together with sugar till it is well mixed.
  • Add vanilla essence and whip it.

animal themed baby shower cake5

How I assembled the cake –
After the cake completely cooled down(I refrigerated overnight), I cut the cake horizontally.
Brushed the cake couple of times with sugar syrup. I made the sugar syrup by boiling about 1 cup water with 3 tea spns sugar till sugar melted. Then added a tea spn of vanilla essence to it.
Then spread a layer of chocolate ganache, followed by a layer of whipped cream (Whip the cream with a little sugar and vanilla essence) in between two layers of cake.

animal themed baby shower cake6
Then I frosted the cake with buttercream.
All the animal decorations were made with white modeling chocolate (12 oz white chocolate chips and 1/3 cup light corn syrup). It is a bit challenging to work with this modeling chocolate, but the animals were very tasty.

animal themed baby shower cake1

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Raisin and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Raisin and Chocolate chip cookies
Raisin and Chocolate chip cookies

Hi all, hope you all are still reading this blog!. It is getting harder and harder for me to keep this place updated. My 18 month old is already in his terrible twos and likes to get into everything. So my cooking has been limited to very basic things and whenever I made something special, I forgot to click pictures!.

Ishaan has been asking for chocolate chip cookies for a long time now. I finally baked these raisin and chocolate chip cookies a couple of weeks ago. Since Ayaan loves raisins, I decided to add some to it. I personally loved chewy texture due to the raisins. I prepared these with multi grain flour that I use for making chapatis.

I used Nestle’ toll house chocolate chip cookie recipe and made few changes to it.

Pictorial:
Mix sugar and butter. Then add eggs, vanilla extract.
raisin and chocolate chip cookies1 raisin and chocolate chip cookies2

Sieve together flour and soda. Add to butter and egg mixture.
Add raisin and chocolate chips.
raisin and chocolate chip cookies3 raisin and chocolate chip cookies4
Spread the mix on a sheet and bake.
raisin and chocolate chip cookies5 raisin and chocolate chip cookies6 raisin and chocolate chip cookies7

Raisin and Chocolate chip cookies

Raisin and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft and chewy cookies loaded with raisins and chocolate chips.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 5 dozen

Ingredients
  

  • 2 and 1/4th cup multi grain atta or whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 tea spn vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tea spn baking soda

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven at 350F.
  • Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl. I sieve them together in a separate bowl.
  • Beat butter and sugar.
  • Then add eggs, one at a time beating them well.
  • Mix in vanilla extract.
  • Now add the flour mixture, a little at a time and mix well.
  • With a spatula, mix in raisins and chocolate chips.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease the baking sheet with butter and flour.
  • Drop the mixture on the sheet by a spoon.
  • Bake at 350F for about 15-18 mins.
  • Let them cool to room temperature and then store in air tight container.

Notes

I used salted butter. If using unsalted one, add 1/2 tea spn salt.

 

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Monkey Cake

Monkey Cake
Monkey Cake

I know I have been posting a lot of cakes. April is birthday month at home. So we had a very busy schedule with two parties. First one was for Ishaan’s school friends and teachers. Then came the other party, a bigger one, for all our close friends and family. This time we celebrated both the kids birthdays. I am glad all the birthdays for the year are done and we can relax till next year :).

monkey cake1
First birthdays are always special. This time it was more special for us as we celebrated both the kids birthdays together. We had a swim party which Ishaan was asking for. Since Ayaan also loves water, we decided to go with it. Both the kids and their friends had a fantastic time.

monkey cake2

Ayaan has been always curious about all his monkey toys. I call both of them my little monkeys, always curious about things, always jumping around. So when I had to decide the theme, I knew it would be monkey theme. I chose carrot cake with cardamom as the base. Swiss meringue buttercream was used to crumb coat the cake. I went with Veena’s fondant recipe again for decorating the cake. The biggest lesson I learnt was not to mess with a perfect recipe – I substituted cream with milk (just because I was too lazy to go for shopping again). It messed up the fondant quite a bit. It was too loose and I had to add lot of sugar to get it into workable condition!. Last time I had followed the recipe exactly and it made the perfect fondant.

monkey cake3

monkey cake4

We had about 60 guests (including 25 kids). Since it was an afternoon party, we decided to serve lunch. We kept the menu quite simple. I made masala puri, Idli-sambar-chutney, onion chicken. We ordered vegetable biryani and chicken biryani from outside. We also had fruits, cucumber, pizza, chips and soft drinks. I was little overwhelmed trying to arrange the party. I have never cooked in such a big scale (mainly because of my small apartment kitchen and lack of big utensils). Also, Ayaan is at a phase where he has become extremely clingy, it become hard to get anything done with him pulling my legs. It was a good decision to have birthday on a Sunday since V was home on Saturday and took care of kids, that gave me enough time to cook. V’s cousin, who is studying at a college here in Kansas, came home for two days and he was a huge help around the house.

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monkey cake-food2
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Carrot Cake with Cardamom

carrot cake with cardamom
My friend P celebrated her 40th birthday last month. Although I had all plans of baking a birthday cake, it did not happen. I knew she likes my cakes, so I promised her I will bake one for her soon. She said she loves carrot cakes. She also mentioned that she likes her cakes without any frosting on them. I have few recipes of carrot cakes that I have already tried like – carrot cake with apple filling, eggless banana cake with carrots and raisins,  banana-carrot cake. I wasn’t sure she would like banana flavor in cake, so I thought of trying out a new recipe. I used Alton Brown’s carrot cake as the reference and changed few spices in it to suit our taste.

The following quantity made two oval cakes. P came in when it was still warm, just out of the oven. Half of one cake was finished before it even had time to cool down. She said she does not want icing, so she had plain one. I packed the other oval cake for her to take home. V and Ishaan declared it was one of the best cakes and Ishaan wanted me to bake one the next day. I have promised him to bake it soon again, may be for his birthday. P told me the cake was completely finished within 10mins of her reaching home.

For the first time I tried cake flour. Read more about cake flour at baking bites. I had read about this flour many times but I always mixed cornstarch and all purpose flour to make it at home like mentioned by joythebaker. I wanted to try store bought cake flour to see what difference it makes. The cake was very light and moist, but it is too early to say if it was worth the trouble of searching 4-5 grocery stores to find this flour. I will know more when I bake more cakes (which is very likely in next 1 month because of lot of birthdays coming up).

Pictorial:
Make the spice powder.
carrot cake with cardamom1 carrot cake with cardamom2
Sieve together the dry ingredients.
carrot cake with cardamom3
Mix the wet ingredients.
carrot cake with cardamom4 carrot cake with cardamom5
Fold in the flour and then carrots.
carrot cake with cardamom6 carrot cake with cardamom7
Grease the baking dish.
carrot cake with cardamom8
Pour the batter in the baking dish and bake.
carrot cake with cardamom9

 

 

carrot cake with cardamom10

Carrot Cake with Cardamom

Very moist and fragrant carrot cake with cardamom
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 10 -12 pieces

Ingredients
  

  • 2 and 1/2 cups 12 oz cake flour
  • 2 cups 10 oz grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup 6 oz yogurt
  • 1 tea spn baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tea spn baking soda
  • 3/4 cup 6 oz oil
  • 8 pods of cardamom
  • 2 " cinnamon
  • A small piece of nutmeg almost size of a small cardamom pod
  • 1 and 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tea spn salt

Frosting (optional)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 5 tea spns orange juice

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven at 350F for 10mins.
  • Grease baking pan/s with butter and sprinkle flour, shake the pan such the the flour covers the the pan Then remove the excess flour to make sure there is only a very thin coating of flour (I used a parchment paper at the bottom of the pan and then applied butter on top of it and sides. This way the cake cake out of the pan very easily).
  • Take out the seeds of cardamom and powder them with cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Sieve together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and the cardamom powder just made.
  • In a mixing bowl, take eggs, oil, sugar and mix well.
  • Then add yogurt and beat till mixed.
  • With a spatula, fold in the flour mixture, a little at a time.
  • slowly mix in grated carrot (do not over mix).
  • Pour the batter in the pan. (I equally divided them in two oval pans).
  • Bake at 350F for about 40mins or till a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool before topping with the icing. It can also be served warm.
  • For the icing, beat together confectioners sugar and orange juice till it forms a uniform mixture.
  • When cake is completely cooled, add it on the cake.

Notes

If you can't find cake flour, it can be easily made at home. For each 1 cup of all purpose flour, take out 2 tbl spns of flour from it and replace it with corn starch

 

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