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Healthy Gluten & Dairy Free Pecan Brownies

Who doesn’t love to eat sweets without feeling guilty? Well, I love to when I don’t have to think about calories so I often look for healthy recipes and of course, it has to taste delicious! Seeing my passion for cooking, my husband has started gifting me cook books and I absolutely love these gifts. One of the first books he gifted me was Rachel Allen’s “Cake” and it has everything you would ever need to make and bake stuff. I must have made dozens of desserts from that book and one of the favorites amongst friends & family are “Pecan Brownies”. This is one of the most delicious brownies and the best part is, that it is super healthy! I have tried it with walnuts as well, so you can try adding any nuts to add crunch to the brownies 🙂

Pecan Brownies

Pecan Brownies

Ingredients:

  • Dark Chocolate – 125 grams
  • Soft Dark Brown Sugar – 225 grams
  • Sunflower Oil – 125 ml (plus extra for greasing)
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Eggs – 2, at room temperature
  • Ground Almonds – 75 grams
  • Rice Flour – 25 grams
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Baking Powder or gluten-free baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Pecans (or walnuts or any other nuts) – 75 grams chopped plus 12 whole (shelled) pecans to decorate

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease a cake tin with sunflower oil and line it with a baking paper and keep aside.
  2. To melt the chocolate you can EITHER use the double boiler approach where you place chocolate drops or broken chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Leave just until melted, stirring occasionally. OR you can also use a microwave-safe bowl on medium power setting, heat the chocolate in shorter intervals and stir between each bout of heat.
  3. Add sugar, sunflower oil, vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time into the cooled melted chocolate. Whisk together well.
  4. Gently fold in the ground almonds, rice flour, salt, baking powder and chopped pecans.
  5. Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife or a skewer inserted through the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting it.

Enjoy these brownies without feeling guilty 😉

Fluffy American Pancakes

I love breakfast, well who doesn’t? 😛 I for the one, can’t start my day without having a hearty breakfast. I am not fond of cereals or oats. I really like something heavy. I generally have typical Indian breakfast but when I discovered Pancakes, I knew they were going to be one of my staples for breakfast. And they are so easy to make and taste delicious with any choice of fruits that you would be amazed.

I usually have pancakes with either fresh strawberries, blueberries, caramelised apples/bananas or just maple syrup or honey. They taste great with anything 🙂

It’s a Gordon Ramsay Recipe. I tried many but this is the one I like the most 🙂

Fluffy American Pancakes

Fluffy American Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • Plain Flour – 160 grams
  • Caster Sugar/Honey – 2 tablespoons (optional, if you want to make them a bit sweet)
  • Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon (optional)
  • Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Buttermilk – 120 ml
  • Water – 75 ml
  • Eggs at room temperature – 3
  • Oil/butter for frying pancakes – 2 tablespoons

Caramelised apple or bananas:

  • Sugar – 50 grams
  • Green Apple, peeled and diced – 1 medium
  • Banana, sliced lengthwise – 2 medium
  • Butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon – ½ teaspoon
  • Salt – a pinch

Steps:

  1. For Pancakes: Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon (optional) into a bowl. Add honey/sugar if you are opting for a sweet pancake.
  2. Lightly whisk the eggs and add it in the dry mixture.
  3. Mix together the buttermilk & water and add half of it to the egg + flour mixture. Once mixed well, add the remaining buttermilk mixture and mix well so there are no lumps and the batter is smooth.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter or little oil. When it is hot, add a ladle of batter (or two if the frying pan is big enough to cook two).
  5. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both the sides are golden brown.
  6. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
  7. For caramelized apples/bananas: Heat the sugar on a medium heat until it is melted. Take it off the heat and add the butter and diced apples or bananas. Stir to coat.
  8. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the apples are tender. For bananas, just cook for a minute or two. Stir occasionally so the caramel doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Top the pancakes with the caramelized apples or bananas and serve 🙂

You can also top them up with fresh strawberries, blueberries along-with some whipped cream. Or you can also serve these with mayple syrup (my favorite) or honey 🙂

Coconut Loaf – Simple, Delicious & Healthy :)

We all have some favorite ingredients which we try to use quite often in our cooking. One of my favorite ingredients is coconut. I love coconut. And I try to use it in many of the desserts I make. I must have made a handful of cakes which have coconut in it. But this time, I wanted to bake something which is fairly healthy (so no guilt factor while hogging :D) and made with minimum ingredients. I came across this recipe and I knew that it would taste great and I was right!

Coconut Loaf

Coconut Loaf

Ingredients:

  • Desiccated Coconut – 3 cups
  • Eggs – 4 (large) or 6 (small to medium)
  • Vanilla Extract – 3 teaspoons
  • Orange/pineapple Extract – 2 teaspoons
  • Natural Honey – 4 tablespoons (more to make it sweet)
  • Mixed dried fruits – 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Bicarbonate of Soda – 2 teaspoons

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C. Line a loaf tin with a baking paper and keep aside.
  2. Mix coconut, eggs, vanilla extract, orange/pineapple extract, honey and soda in a food processor or using a hand mixer. Mix well until well combined.
  3. Add the dried fruits into the batter and fold in gently.
  4. Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a knife or a skewer inserted through the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting it.

You can modify this recipe as per your taste because it has so much scope for tweaking. I know I will make more modifications 😀

Have it with your evening cuppa of tea or coffee or make it for a tea party, I am sure everyone will love it 🙂

Do share your experience 🙂

Homemade Frangipane Cherry Tart

I started baking around a couple of years ago. I took it up as a challenge because I felt baking was one of my biggest culinary fears. I used to be fascinated seeing people baking all delicious desserts and I used to feel a bit inept. Another reason for not baking was me not having a sweet tooth. But my husband loves sweets and that really gave me an inspiration to try my hand at baking. I started with basic cakes and it was an absolute thrill to see myself baking them perfectly. Then I got introduced to tarts, courtesy MasterChef Australia and UK. They looked so picture perfect and delicious that I just had to try them. So, here is my first attempt at a tart and since I love almonds, I attempted making Frangipane Cherry Tart and it tasted D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. I have already made it a few times now and it was a hit every time! Everyone loved eating it 🙂

Frangipane Cherry Tart

Frangipane Cherry Tart

Ingredients

For Frangipane Tart Filling

  • Unsalted Butter, softened – 150 grams
  • Caster Sugar – 100 grams
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Large Eggs – 2 at room temperature
  • Ground Almonds – 200 grams
  • Plain Flour – 85 grams
  • Cherries, pitted – 400 grams

For Pastry:

  • Plain Flour – 160 grams
  • Icing Sugar – 40 grams
  • Ground Almonds – 25 grams
  • Butter, chilles and chopped into cubes – 125 grams
  • Egg yolk – 1

Steps for making Pastry

  1. Mix flour, icing sugar, ground almonds and chilled butter cubes in a food processor until it appears like fine breadcrumbs. It is important to use cold butter or else you won’t get a breadcrumb texture.
  2. Now add the egg yolk and mix it until dough just comes together.
  3. You can either add a little flour in the food processor and can knead until smooth or you can take it out on a lightly-floured surface and knead by your hands until smooth.
  4. Shape the kneaded dough int a flat-ish disc and wrap it with clingfilm refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (180 degrees C fan-forced). Grease a 3cm-deep, 24cm (base) round, fluted loose-based flan tin.
  6. You can also ready-made pastry (either a pastry block or a pre-rolled pastry sheet)
  7. Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking powder or on a flour-dusted work top to form a 32cm circle. Line the base and side of the prepared tin with pastry. Trim pastry. Trim excess. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Steps for baking the pastry

  1. Place tin on a baking tray. Line pastry with baking paper and fill it with ceramic baking beans/balls or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes. This technique is called Blind-baking.
  2. Now remove weights or rice and paper. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden. Cool. Be careful with the pastry once it has been cooled. Shortcrust pastry tends to be crumbly and anything other than gentle handling is likely to damage the pastry case that we have created thus far.

Steps for Frangipane Tart Filling and baking

  1. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees C (140 degrees C fan-forced).
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  3. Add the grounds almonds. Beat until just combined. Stir in the flour and mix well.
  4. Spread mixture into the pastry case which you have just cooled. Arrange cherries over mixture.
  5. Bake the tart for 40 minutes or until golden and firm. Let it cool in the tin.
  6. Dust with icing sugar and your Frangipane Cherry Tart is ready to serve 🙂

Do share the results of your attempts 🙂

Jalapeños Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls

I am a sucker for snacks. I always look forward to evening snakcs. Since my childhood, the only time I used to wait for is evening snacks and like all mothers, my mother has spoilt me to the core. She used to make absolutely lip-smacking dishes for me in the evening and she still does that whenever I am at home with her. After marriage, it was really difficult for me to get used to the fact that I will have to cook my own evening snacks now onwards. Anyway, with time, I have gotten used to it and I have also learned to experiment and prepare new dishes. Of course, nothing beats mom’s food but it is just for me to keep my hunger in cotrol 😀

So, you will see many snack posts in the future. This post is about one of my favorite chili pepper, Jalapeño. This is an absolutely delicious, pop-in-your-mouth kind of appetizer/snack which goes brilliantly with an ice cold beer or margaritas 🙂 And one more thing, it is super easy and quick to make.

Jalapeños Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls_Watermarked

Serves approx 10-12

Ingredients:

  • Puff Pastry, ready made – 1 roll (you can also make it at home)
  • Cream Cheese – 225 grams
  • Green jalapenos, chopped (preferably bottled) – 1 tablespoon
  • Red jalapenos, chopped – 1 tablespoon (you can either have 1tbsp each of green and red jalapenos or 2 tblsp of the same color)
  • Sugar – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Italian herbs (optional) – 1/2 teaspoon

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 374 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Mix chopped jalapenos (green and red), sugar and italian herbs (optinal) with the cream cheese in a bowl. Take fork and mash it well until everything is well blended and becomes a mixture.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry thinly.
  4. Place the jalapenos and cream mixtre in the middle of rolled out pastry and spread it evenly. Please note that the mixture should not touch the edges of the pastry.
  5. Once all the mixture is spread evenly, start rolling the pastry in the shape of a flute.
  6. Once rolled into a flute, cut small pieces of the flute so you get pinwheel shapes and place them in a dish.
  7. Bake these pinwheels for 12-13 mintues until they are golden brown and puffed up.
  8. And you have a perfect appetizer/snack for you 🙂

Just to make you aware that it will have a tangy taste because of the jalapenos so don’t worry if it tastes a bit tangy 🙂

Hope you enjoy it with the ice cold margarita as I did 🙂

Your suggestions are welcome 🙂

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