Monday 23 December 2013

Bûche de Noël/Yule log

Its Christmas and I am with family in Allahabad. For days together, me and Vishal have been shopping for gifts in Kolkata trying to find suitable ones for each and everyone. The run down to Christmas has been so much fun. Very sadly, the only person not with us on Christmas will be Vishal. He will join us for the New Year cheer but we will miss him terribly at Christmas. Distance makes you realize how much we take each other for granted. Vaanya, our daughter, has been missing her Papa and remembers him from time to time. 
My baking run down to Christmas is the traditional Yule log which also happened to be our December month challenge at Baking partner's suggested by Tanushree Khandai of Ma Niche. With a host of recipes to choose from, I decided to put my hands on the easiest sounding one. I have adapted the recipe to suit availability of ingredients and personal taste. This yule log is a basic sponge cake slathered with dark chocolate ganache and frosted with it too. I tried my hands on the meringue mushrooms for the very first time and completely loved the experience. The cake was a hit at home and got over in no time. 
This recipe is also shared in my 'Sweet day' list to celebrate the most beautiful date of our lives -24, the day Vaanya was born and brought unlimited love and joy to our lives. 
Yule log/Bûche de Noël (BOOSH duh noh EHL) is a traditional cake which signifies the celebration of winter solstice by burning a wooden log in the hearth. This cake is made to look like a piece of bark with meringue mushrooms and marzipan leaves thrown around. 

Ingredients: For 6-7 servings

Sponge cake:
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup sugar, powdered
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Filling and Frosting:

  • 145 gm chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup cream (I used Amul)
  • 1 tbsp butter
Meringue Mushroom:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup sugar, powdered

Procedure : 

Sponge cake:
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Grease and line a jelly roll pan. 
Take egg whites in a clean bowl and whip with an electrical beater for 3-5 mins till you get soft peaks. Now add sugar in batches and keep whipping till stiff peaks form(5 mins). 
Take egg yolks in another clean bowl and whip for 5 mins till they are pale coloured. (I used the same electrical beater). Stir in vanilla essence. 
Pour egg yolks over the egg whites and very gently fold them in till just combined. Do not beat vigorously as that will remove all the air bubbles from the eggs.
Fold in flour little by little in the form of rain and gently incorporate in the batter till just combined. 
Pour batter in the prepared pan and bake for 10-15 mins or till a toothpick inserted in the middle come out clean.
Invert the cake on a damp towel and roll the cake immediately(along with the towel). Allow to cool.
Filling and frosting:
Take cream in a pan and bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate and butter and mix well till the chocolate dissolves. Keep aside.

Meringue Mushroom :
Preheat oven to 100 degree Celsius and line a baking tray with aluminium foil. 
Take egg white in a bowl and beat with an electrical beater. Add a tbsp of sugar at a time and keep beating till soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Beat till all the sugar is added and you get stiff peaks. 
Fill a piping/ziplock/plastic cone with it and snip off the end. Make round shaped as in the mushroom caps with half the quantity and stems with the other half. For the stems, hold piping bag perpendicular to the baking sheet and squeeze 3/4" high cone which is wide at the base and narrow at top.
Bake for 30 mins or till firm and with a sharp knife make a small hole in the underside of each mushroom cap and insert the stem. Place mushrooms caps down and return in the oven for 10 minutes or till dry.
Store in an airtight container.

Remove the towel from the rolled cake and spread the cake. Spread the filling generously and re-roll the cake. Do not worry if there are any cracks. 
Cut an angled slice of cake from one end and keep on the side of the cake 
Frost the entire cake and allow to set.  
Using a fork draw lines on the frosting to resemble a bark.
Arrange the meringue mushrooms on sides and top and dust with little cocoa powder to resemble dirt. 

Sending this recipe to 'Kolkata Food Blogger's ongoing baking event 'Baking Palooza 2013'

Merry Christmas

Sunday 22 December 2013

Mini Mug Gingerbread house

As a child, I,  like many others was always fascinated with the witches house in Hansel and Gretel. I mean who will not fancy a house made of Gingerbread  and cakes with candies and chocolate all over. Having never tasted a Gingerbread cookie and a long hidden desire to put my hands on a gingerbread house, made me decide to try these adorable mini Gingerbread houses. These can perch on your mugs and look very cute. 
I added my own touch to these cookies by adding Nolen gur in the dough instead of normal jaggery. Not being a big fan of ginger myself, these cookies are not overpowering with the ginger taste (as I always thought). In fact, the spices along with jaggery and honey gives it a very unique flavour. 
Ideally the Gingerbread house calls for the use of Royal icing to join the pieces together. Having my own constraint of not wanting to use raw egg whites, I decide to try a basic icing where icing sugar is diluted to required consistency with some lemon juice and/or milk. The Gingerbread house required heaps of patience as the pieces were so fragile while joining and would fall apart. I had to join them again and again and finally said a short prayer and left them to dry. Thankfully they held themselves together finally. 
I also made some Gingerbread men with the leftover dough and decorated them with the same icing. 

Recipe source : Adapted from

Ingredients : For 5 Mini gingerbread houses and 15 Gingerbread men
  • 50 gm butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup jaggery, grated(I used Nolen gur)
  • 1/2 egg(Beat one egg in a bowl and use half quantity) 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger powder(I used saunth-dry ginger powder)
  • 1/4 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 6-7 cloves, dry roasted and powdered
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 8-10 black pepper, ground
  • 1 cardamom, powdered
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 5-6 tbsp icing sugar
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • little milk for diluting
Procedure : 

Gingerbread dough:
Take jaggery and butter in a bowl and beat till pale and creamy. 
Mix in honey and egg.
Sift flour, ginger powder, all spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the bowl.
Knead dough using hands till it comes together smooth and soft. 
Wrap in a plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Roll out dough 1/4 " thick and cut out desired shapes form it.
I used my Gingerbread man cutter and a template for the Gingerbread house.
Place on a butter paper/parchment lined baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes or till they brown well.
Allow to cool.

Mix icing sugar with few drops of lemon juice and some milk to get a thick consistency good enough for piping. 
Fill a piping bag/Ziplock/plastic bag with this icing and snip off the end.
Make desired design on all the pieces.
Use some icing to stick colourful sprinkles on the cookies.
Leave to dry.
Use the same icing sugar as a glue to join pieces of the gingerbread house.

Note : 
  • Cut out the template on a piece of thick paper/cardboard and use it to cut out shapes from the dough.
  • Keep a check on the cookies while baking to prevent overbrowning.
  • You can omit the egg and use some milk for kneading the dough. 
  • The joining of Gingerbread house pieces require some patience and precision as the house can fall apart. After fixing the pieces let it dry completely before touching.

Sending this recipe to 'Kolkata Food Blogger's ongoing baking event 'Baking Palooza 2013

Happy Mini Gingerbread house enjoying

Swedish Cinnamon rolls/Kanel Snegle

I have been out from Kolkata for almost two weeks now and have been enjoying an amazing and relaxing time in Allahabad. Vaanya is enjoying the most having found a friend in Tunnu, our kitten. Its a visual treat to see Vaanya and Tunnu play and enjoy each other's company. Vaanya teases her by pulling a piece of rope and Tunnu tries to catch it which she finally does by jumping on it. Tunnu loves to sneak upto Vaanya and play with her shoe. 
I have been enjoying doing nothing and spending some quality time with Vaanya and enjoying some amazing and yummy food made by Amma. With Christmas nearing I had a tough time gearing myself for some bakes and finally managed to do so by attempting these Swedish Cinnamon rolls which was part of our November 'We Knead to bake' Challenge. It came out exceedingly well with the amazing fragrance and flavour of Cinnamon and the beautiful hint of lemon. I shaped them like a Christmas tree for some fun holiday bake.

Recipe source : Aparna

Ingredients : makes 16-17 rolls

  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • All starter
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cardamoms, powdered
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup sugar, powdered
  • 45 gm butter, at room temperature
  • 55 gm butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar/brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 cup almonds, blanched, dried and coarsely powdered
  • milk for brushing
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling

Mix all ingredients under starter into a sticky dough. Place in an large oiled bowl, loosely cover it and refrigerate overnight. 
The next day take it out and leave for 30 mins to come to room temperature. 
Tear the starter to large pieces and place in a bowl.
Sift flour, cardamom and salt and add to the starter.
Mix in lemon zest and sugar.
Now add butter and knead till you get a smooth and elastic dough.
Roll the dough to a rectangle roughly 20x12". 
Make filling by mixing butter, sugar and cinnamon powder.
Spread the filling all over the rolled dough.
Sprinkle the coarsely ground almonds all over.
Tightly roll the dough from the shorter end and cut into 16 equal pieces with a knife. 
Place them on a butter paper/parchment lined baking tray. I placed 11 pieces together in a tree shape and put the others on the sides. 
Let them rise for 10-15 mins.
Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius.
Brush them with milk and sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake for 15 mins or till they brown well. 


  • You can use brown sugar for sprinkling on top for a better looking roll.
  • The lemon zest adds an amazing flavour to the rolls, so do not consider omitting it. 
  • Blanch almonds in boiling water for 2 minutes and remove the skin. Dry roast in a pan on medium heat. Cool and grind to get ground almonds.
Sending this recipe to Kolkata Food Blogger's ongoing baking event 'Baking Palooza 2013'

Happy Cinnamon rolls relishing


Thursday 12 December 2013

Nolen Gurer tart

It all started with the first batch of Nolen gur I had bought for my experiment with the Mousse and since then I have been trying my hands on quite some unusual recipes. I tried a batch of Nolen gur muffins which was such a hit at home that we made it again and again and loved it each time. The natural brown colour that it imparts along with its sweetness gives an amazing experience. Sadly it is available only in Winters. No wonder that is the reason I have been making the most of it. 
The Nolen gur tart was actually an experiment during Diwali. I wanted to make something special for my parents and jumped onto this idea. The tart was a breeze and so was the mousse. The most difficult part was shaping the nolen gur sandesh into flowers. It took loads of patience and determination and I was somewhat happy with the end result. 

Ingredients : For 6 tarts

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 30 gm unsalted butter (cold)
  • 2 tbsp nolen gur, powdered 
  • little cold water for kneading

Nolen gurer mousse Filling : 

  • 1/2 cup paneer
  • 1/4 cup nolen gur
  • 1/4 cup whipped cream

Topping-Nolen gurer sandesh :

  • 1 cup milk
  • a pinch of citric acid/1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp grated nolen gur
  • red and green food colouring

Procedure : 

Take flour, nolen gur and butter in a bowl and rub the butter cubes with the flour till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (in texture). 
Now add cold water 1 tbsp at a time and knead to get a smooth dough. Do not over knead.
Wrap this dough in a plastic sheet and refrigerate for half an hour.
Take out the dough and roll it with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Roll it roughly to the size of the chosen tart tin with 1/8" thickness. 
Gently press the dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the tart tin. Trim excess dough.
Line all the tart tins the same way. Make holes on the sides and bottom with a fork and refrigerate for another half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Bake the tarts for 15-20 mins or till they get a light brown colour.
Take them out and let them cool.
For a detailed step by step illustration refer here

Nolen Gurer mousse
Dissolve Nolen gur in 2-3 tbsp warm milk.
Blend paneer in a blender till smooth without adding water.
Mix paneer with the dissolved nolen gur.
Gently fold in the whipped cream.
Fill cooled tart shells with a tbsp of the mousse and allow to set in the regrigerator.

Refer here for details.

Nolen gurer sandesh for topping : 
Take milk in a pan and bring it to a boil. 
Mix in the lime juice or citric acid and stir till you see the milk curdling and the whey separating.
Turn off the flame and let it stand for 2 mins. Meanwhile prepare a vessel by placing a muslin cloth or use a colander.
Strain the mixture into the muslin cloth. I usually save the whey to use it to knead my dough for roti or use it while boiling dal.
Bring the sides of the muslin cloth together and hang it to drain excess liquid for 30 mins. This is the Chenna.
Take the chenna in a plate and knead it with the heel of your palm for 5-10 mins till you get a smooth and doughy texture. 

Melt the nolen gur in little warm milk.
Add the kneaded chenna to a non stick pan on low flame and keep stirring continuously to avoid burning the chenna.
Add the melted nolen gur and mix with the chenna. 
The chenna will gradually change colour as it gets mixed with nolen gur and will become lumpy. This should take 10-15 mins of continuous stirring.

This is called 'Makha' or 'Ready to be moulded' stage. 
Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle with hands.
Take a little portion of this nolen gur flavoured chenna and pat it flat to fit the top of tart over the mousse. Repeat the same for all the tarts.
Divide the remaining portion of chenna into two and add green and red food colouring to each. 
Make leaf shape with the green one and give vein impression with the backside of a knife.
Place it on the tart.
Take a little portion of the red coloured chenna and pat it to a rough rectangle with a longer side than width. 

Very carefully with the help of a knife, lift it and roll it gently from one end.

The chenna is very fragile, so be very gentle and patient with the rolling. 

Pinch off the end and place on the tart. Make three such rolled flowers for each tart.
Refrigerate before serving.

Happy Nolen gurer tart relishing

Friday 6 December 2013

Honeycomb Buns (Khaliat Nahal)


Sometimes we come across recipes that become such favourites simply because they work like a charm every single time. These stuffed buns is one of the recipes that I have made 5-6 times since the first attempt and have always yielded amazing results. This recipe is part of the monthly challenges that we make at 'We Knead to Bake', an amazing group where we have a great learning experience. Very sheepishly, I have to admit that this recipe was part of our October month challenge and I have since then forgotten to post it. 
Khaliat al Nahal (also known as Khaliat Nahal) translates as Bee’s Hive in Arabic. This is because the buns are baked close to each other in a round pan where they form a honeycomb like pattern. They’re traditionally made sweet with a cream cheese filling and glazed with honey flavoured syrup, though savoury versions are also made. These can also be baked in individual muffin tins, but will lose their characteristic Honeycomb pattern. 
The choice of filling entirely depends on you. I have personally tried a variety from  chicken mince to mashed potatoes. All that needs to be seen is that the filling should be dry. 

Recipe Source : Aparna
Ingredients : I halved the recipe to get 6 stuffed buns
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 3/4 tsp Instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 gm butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp milk for brushing
Stuffing : 
  • 200 gm Chicken mince 
  • 100 gm Broccoli, grated
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
Procedure :
Take flour, salt, sugar, yeast and melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Add milk, little by little, and knead to get a smooth and elastic dough consistency. Shape it into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl covered with a damp muslin cloth for an hour or till double in size. Remember to keep it in a warm place. I usually choose to put mine in the microwave.
Meanwhile make the filling by taking oil in a pan. Add chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add chopped tomato and cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt and turmeric powder and the chicken mince. Let it cook for 5 minutes and then add the grated broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes and remove aside to cool.

Roll the dough into a 9" long rope and cut in 1" pieces. Take each piece and roll it in a circle. Place a tbsp of the stuffing and pinch the ends to shape into a ball. Repeat the same for the others.
Place all the stuffed balls in a well greased round tin. Cover with a damp muslin cloth and allow to rise for an hour in a warm place. 
Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Brush tops with milk and bake for 20-25 mins or till they brown well. 
Allow to cool and serve.

This recipe yields tried and tested super soft bread and the filling has infinite variations from savoury to sweet.

Happy Honeycomb buns eating


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