Sweet Dish

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 😉


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 🙂


Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – One step towards a healthy snack :)

I think I must’ve mentioned several times on previous blog posts that I do not have much of a sweet tooth. In fact, back in India, I used to very rarely eat anything sweet. And it did not help that most of Indian desserts or sweets are cloyingly sweet. Subtlety isn’t a strong point of traditional Indian “mithais”. However, after coming to the UK, I discovered that a sweet dish does not necessarily have to rely on sweetness to score on the flavor front. And one of the first items to convince me of this was the cookie. Cookies could be crunchy, crumbly, chewy, sweet, bitter, gingery, buttery… so many possibilities. I kinda fell in love with cookies. 🙂

Having already posted a cookie recipe before, I decided to go healthy this time and do the very popular peanut butter oatmeal cookies. These are butter-free, gluten-free and have all the goodness of oats with a little bit of naughtiness in the form of dark chocolate chips 😉

I have picked this recipe from a blogger named Monique.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes ~15-18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • Creamy or chunky peanut butter – 1 cup
  • Dark brown sugar – 2/3 cup
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Rolled oats – 2/3 cup
  • Baking Soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Chocolate chips – 2/3 cup

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (170 degrees C)
  2. Mix oats and baking soda in a bowl and keep aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract and eggs with an electric whisk for 3 mintues until well blended.
  4. Add the oats mixture into the peanut butter batter. Mix well.
  5. Add the chocolate chips to the batter and fold in gently.
  6. Please note that the mixture will be sticky in nature. Take two teaspoons and scoop small balls of cookies onto a flat baking dish (on a baking paper).
  7. Flatten the top and make sure to keep a little distance while place the cookie balls.
  8. Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes and remove when the edges begin to turn brown.
  9. The cookies may look a little underdone but they will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking dish and then tranfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Have it with a glass of milk and you are good to go for sometime 🙂

Would be happy to hear from you 🙂


Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Loaf

Love at first sight! This happened with me when I first saw photos of Marble Cake while browsing online. Until then I had not tasted this cake. I loved how beautiful the cake looked, especially the swirls, so I decided that I had to give it an attempt. I can’t say that my attempt was entirely successful as far as the swirls are concerned but did it taste good! I will definitely try my hand at this cake again until I get the swirls I desire 😀 I will update this post with the photos of perfect swirls and the technique that I used to achieve them. This recipe is adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe with some minor tweaks in it.

Marble Cake_Watermarked

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • Self-raising flour – 275 grams
  • Golden Caster Sugar – 225 grams
  • Unsalted Butter, softened – 225 grams
  • Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Large eggs at room temperature – 4
  • Milk – 2 tablespoons
  • Vanilla Extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Zest of 1/2 Orange or 1 lemon
  • 100% natural cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons
  • Hot/boiling water – 2 tablespoons

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Butter and line a 900 grams (2lb) loaf tin. You can use any sort of tin available to you.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Keep it aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  4. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Fold in the sifted flour along with the milk. Mix well to ensure that there are no lumps.
  6. Once the batter has been mixed well, remove about 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl.
  7. Now, add orange zest and vanilla extract to the bigger (2/3rd) portion of the batter.
  8. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and boiling water together until smooth with no lumps.
  9. Allow to cool slightly then add to the 1/3 portion of the batter that was separated out earlier. Mix well.
  10. Spoon the vanilla and chocolate batter randomly into the prepared tin until all of the mixture is used up. Gently level the surface. You can also refer to this link which will help you out in making the swirls 🙂
  11. Bake it for 50 minutes to an hour, until the cake is well risen and a knife or a skewer inserted through the center of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting it.

I hope you are happy with the outcome. This is such a beautiful and delicious cake that you can bake it on any special occasion 🙂

Do share your experience 🙂


Happy Hour at Tea time – Rum ‘n Raisin Cake

The inspiration for this flavor came from one of my favorite chocolate flavors, Rum ‘n Raisin. This is *the* only flavored chocolate that I can eat without getting bored 😀 So, I decided to bake a cake with this flavor thinking I would love it in a cake as well and I was not disappointed at all. In fact, I loved it so much, that I tried a different version of this cake and now both are my favorites 🙂 One is a plain Rum ‘n Raisin flavored sponge and the other is a Chocolate flavored variant of the same. Both variants follow the same basic recipe expect for an additional step for the chocolate flavored one.

Just a heads up, for best results, soak the raisins/dried fruits in the rum overnight or more. By doing this, you are infusing the flavor of rum into the raisins/dried fruits which will then hold that flavor better through the baking process.

Rum 'n Raisin

Ingredients:

  • Chopped Raisins – 1 cup (for a twist, you can add a cup of mixed dried fruits instead of just raisins)
  • Dark Rum – ¾ cup (you can change the quantity as per your taste)
  • Unsalted Butter – 225 grams
  • Self-raising flour – 280 grams (you can also use plain flour)
  • Caster Sugar – 200 grams
  • Large Eggs, at room temperature – 4
  • Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 ½ teaspoons
  • Grated Orange Zest – 1 tablespoon (you can also use orange essence/extract)
  • Milk – ¼ cup
  • Cocoa Powder (only for the chocolate variant) – ¾ cup (it always helps to use 100% natural Cocoa Powder)
  • Boiling Water (only for the chocolate variant) – 2 or 3 tablespoons

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F (165 degree C). Butter and line an 8″ round/square tin.
  2. Drain the soaked raisins/dried fruits. We will keep the rum used for soaking and the drained raisins/dried fruits separate.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Keep it aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  5. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Mix in the orange zest (essence/extract) along with the pure vanilla extract. Mix well.
  7. Fold in flour, milk and rum (from which the raisins/dried fruits were drained out earlier) in the whisked butter sugar mixture one by one until well combined. Please follow steps 8 & 9, additionally, for the chocolate variant else skip directly to step 10.
  8. Only for chocolate variant: In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and boiling water together until smooth with no lumps.
  9. Only for chocolate variant: Allow to cool slightly then add to the cake mixture until evenly blended.
  10. Fold in half of the raisins/dried fruits in the batter. Mix well.
  11. Pour half of the batter in the lined tin. Add a layer of the remaining raisins/dried fruits and top it up with the rest of the batter.
  12. Bake it for about 60 minutes until a knife or a skewer inserted through the center of the cake comes out clean.
  13. Remove from the oven and let in cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before cutting it.

Have it with a cuppa tea or coffee to add a dash of happiness to a dull day 🙂

Your feedback is always welcome 🙂

P.S. You can turn this cake non-alcholic by replacing the Rum with Apple Juice.


Ginger & Cinnamon Spiced Cookies

I have a habit of keeping a box of cookies with me in the office and one day, I stumbled upon Ginger Cookies at our local grocery shop. And after that, my husband and I are hooked onto it. So I thought, why not give it a try and attempted making them at home but with a little improvisation by added Cinnamon in it and it tasted heavenly!

Ginger & Cinnamon Spiced Cookies

Ginger & Cinnamon Spiced Cookies

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour – 2 1/4 cups
  • Ground Ginger – 2 teaspoons
  • Ground Cinnamon – 2 teaspoons
  • A pinch of Ground Nutmeg powder
  • Ground Cloves – 1/2 teaspoons
  • Baking Soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Margarine, softened – 3/4 cup (you can also replace it with unsalted butter)
  • White/Caster Sugar – 1 cup
  • 1 Large Egg at room temperature
  • Water – 1 tablespoon
  • Molasses – 1/4 cup (you can also replace it with soft dark brown sugar)
  • White Sugar – 2 tablespoons

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine (or unsalted butter) and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the egg and then stir in the water and molasses (or soft brown sugar). Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture, it should form a soft dough.
  5. Shape dough into walnut sized balls and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar .
  6. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto a lightly greased baking tray and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 mins in the preheated oven.
  8. When they are hot, they may appear soft but allow them to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
  9. You can store them in an airtight container so that they last longer.

Have it with a cuppa tea or coffee on a rainy/snowy day and it will brighten you up 🙂


Tilgul Barfi on the occasion of Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is the day when, according to Hindu astronomy, the sun enters the rashi (zodiac) of Makara (Capricorn). This happens in the English month of January, on the 14th to be exact, when the sun passes through the winter solstice, from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. Makar Sankranti is considered very auspicious as it signifies a new beginning. It is also known as Uttarayan. In the coastal regions, it is a harvest festival.

To celebrate Makar Sankranti, it is a ritual to make and distribute Til-gul (sesame seed and jaggery) Barfi which signifies the feelings of brotherhood and harmony. Not to offend anyone but I generally don’t follow (read believe) any of such rituals which are being followed but as a foodie, I love to try out anything new. So last year around the same time, I tried my mother-in-law’s recipe (with the little help of husband) to make Tilgul Barfi and to my utter surprise, I simply loved it. And I fell in love with the recipe because it is so simple. Please note that the texture of the Barfi is not soft, it is more like Chikki.

Tilgul Barfi!

Tilgul Barfi!

Ingredients:

  • Sesame Seeds or Til (white) – 300gms
  • Jaggery (gur), grated – 300gms
  • Ghee – 3 1/2tablespoons
  • Cashewnuts, roughly chopped – 10/15
  • Almonds, roughly chopped – 10/15
  • Raisins – 10/15
  • Pistachio, roughly chopped – 10/15
  • Green cardamom powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

Steps:

  1. Roast the Sesame Seeds (til) in a non-stick pan on a medium heat until they are lightly brown and crispy. 
  2. Remove Sesame Seeds from the heat and mix in cashewnuts, almonds, raisins, pistachio, salt and green cardamom powder. Mix them uniformly.
  3. Prepare a flat plate by greasing it with half teaspoon melted ghee. Keep aside for later.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons ghee in a deep non-stick pan.  Add Jaggery and mix well until it is melted completely.
  5. Put the heat to medium and keep stirring the melted jaggery. To check if it ready for barfi, take cold water in a bowl and drop a few drops of melted jaggery in the water. It should solidify and when bitten it should be crunchy, not sticky. Keep stirring continuously until you have reached this stage, not letting the jaggery burn or catch the bottom of the pan.
  6. Take the melted jaggery off the heat and add the sesame-dry fruits mixture to it. Combine the mixture, please note the addition of sesame seed mixture brings the temperature of the melted jaggery very fast so you have to work very quickly in combining the dry ingredients into the melted jaggery.
  7. Immediately, empty the mixture onto the greased plate and working fast flatten the mixture onto the plate using the back of a flat bottom bowl. Please note that mixture should be flattened out into a roughly uniform thickness.
  8. Once done, while the flattened mixture is still warm, use a pizza cutter or a knife to mark it into any shapes of your liking so that they can be easily broken into Barfis when the mixture is cool and hardened. Please refer the above picture for the square shapes I cut.
  9. Leave the mixture for at least a couple hours to let the Barfis solidify.
  10. Break the Barfi into the shapes you laid out earlier.

Wish you all a very Happy Sankranti 🙂 🙂