Iced Hermits

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE COOKIES
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for baking sheet
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 cup chopped candied ginger, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup raisins

FOR THE ICING
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar, plus more if needed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line bottom with parchment paper, and butter parchment; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cloves in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Put butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add brown sugars; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and yolk, and molasses. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Mix in 1/2 cup candied ginger and the raisins.
    Spread dough evenly onto prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until firm, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool completely in baking sheet on a wire rack.
  3. Make icing: Put brown sugar, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla and confectioners sugar. If icing is too thick to drizzle, stir in more milk, a teaspoon at a time. If icing is too thin, stir in more confectioners sugar, a teaspoon at a time. Let cool slightly.
  4. Drizzle bars with icing; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup candied ginger. Let stand until icing has set, about 15 minutes. Cut into 2-inch squares. Bars can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

NOTE: These bars are a bit on the dry side. I added 1/4 c milk to keep them moist. With the milk, they will not store as long as they would otherwise.

NOTE2: DO NOT double the spices in this recipe. They already have an “Indian” level of spice. You’ve been warned. ^^

NOTE3: These are really delicious, amazing cookies.

NOTE4: The icing tastes a lot like New Orleans pralines. Yum yum.

Pavlova

This is a recipe for a one layer pavlova. It is made of meringue, lemon curd, whipping cream, and fresh strawberries. This is not something that makes good leftovers, so assemble only when you are ready to serve. Otherwise it will get mushy and ruined. It takes a long long long time to make, but it tastes great and isn’t particularly difficult. The meringue is high protein, no fat, and super healthy. The lemon curd is moderately healthy. The whipping cream is not healthy at all, so use it sparingly. Note that you will need parchment paper for this recipe. And a Kitchenaid mixer.

MERINGUE:

Ingredients:

4 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 c sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp white or rice wine vinegar
a few drops vanilla extract
a few drops rose extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace a 9 in circle on it.
  3. In kitchenaid, blend egg whites, salt until stiff peaks. Then add sugar. Fold in cornstarch, vinegar and extracts in the end.
  4. Place the meringue on the 9 in circle and shape into a flat disk.
  5. Lower oven heat to 300 F and bake meringue for 75 min.
  6. After 75 min, turn off oven and let meringue cool while in oven.

LEMON CURD

Ingredients:

4 large egg yolks
1.5 c sugar
1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice, and zest of the lemons you used for the juice
6 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in small saucepan. Whisk. Stir over medium heat constantly for around 5 min, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon.
  2. Take off of heat.
  3. Add butter, stir until smooth.
  4. Transfer to medium bowl, cover with a sheet of plastic. Fridge until cool, at least one hour.
  5. Note: if the yolks curdle and mixture becomes lumpy, use a strainer to get rid of the curdled part.
  6. Note: the lemon curd lasts for 5 days in the fridge. You can also freeze it to use later.

STRAWBERRIES

Ingredients:

1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartererd
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar
pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Mix well. Let sit for 15 min to 2 hours at room temperature. I like to put it in a pyrex bowl with a lid.

WHIPPING CREAM:

Ingredients:

1 pint whipping cream (this is the same as 2 cups)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
some lemon zest

Directions:

  1. In kitchenaid on high, mix until stiff peaks form.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:

  1. Take the meringue off the parchment paper. Put on cake stand over a cute doily (they sell disposable ones at Walmart).
  2. Crack the top of the meringue with a spoon
  3. Option: You can mix the lemon curd with whipping cream, and THEN put it on the meringue. Or you can have two separate layers.
  4. Top with lemon curd, then whipping cream, then strawberries. Serve immediately.

TIP: You can buy lemon curd if you don’t want to make it. Or lime curd, passion fruit curd, grapefruit curd, or orange curd. (In that order of yumness). You can find rose extract in an Indian grocery store. If you don’t like rose, you can skip it altogether.

 

Egg Free Ranch Dressing

Note: This recipe has dairy, but no eggs. It actually comes out BETTER than Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, though.

Ingredients:

1/4 c Just Mayo
1/4 c yogurt (not the whey, just the solid part)
fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
2.5 tsp Hidden Valley Ranch mix
1 tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp cholula
1/4-1/2 tsp Ploughman’s mustard

Directions:

Mix well and enjoy!

Tastes great with salad, as a pizza dip, or a vegetable dip.

NOTE: You can add fresh chopped dill, fresh chopped spinach, and the giardiniera mix from Potbelly’s sandwich shop for a phenomenal dip. It IS a bit spicy, though, so watch it with the Potbelly mix if you can’t tolerate spicy food.

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Cut sweet potatoes into matchstick size. Roughly 1/4 in by 1/4 in.

Wash thoroughly.

Create slurry, 1 part corn starch, 1 part water in flat bowl.

Coat matchstick sweet potatoes in slurry, place in flat dish or on metal mesh sheet.

Heat peanut oil to medium high heat.

Drop matchsticks in, one by one, for a batch a handful at a time. Because of the cornstarch, the matchsticks stick together if you put them all in by the handful. Let cook on medium high heat until cornstarch is solidified and matchsticks are a light golden brown. Put into dish with a few paper towels in it to drain.

Make seasoning: salt, garlic powder, black pepper, white pepper, paprika.

Make dip: 1 part just mayo, 1 part ketchup. Cholula to taste.

WHEN READY TO EAT: Get a second dish, line it with paper towels. Heat oil to medium high/high heat. Fry matchsticks a SECOND time. They will brown up really really fast now. Take them out, drain the oil on the paper towel covered dish, season well. Enjoy with the dip.

YUM YUM YUM.

Peanut Butter Oh’s

This is a family recipe. It is SOOO good! Always goes quick in our house. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

Half a box of Oh’s Cereal (they sell it on Amazon and at Walmart)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 jar peanut butter (1 c)
1/2 little bear of honey (3/4 – 1 c, depending on how sweet you like it)
pinch salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fresh ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. On stove in big pot over medium heat: Add butter. Let it melt. Add peanut butter and honey. Mix well. Add salt, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. Take pot off heat. Add cereal and almonds. Mix well.
  2. Pour into greased square pyrex. Let cool all the way and slice.
  3. Enjoy!

NOTE: you can sub cheerio’s, or plain life cereal.

NOTE2: if you don’t like spices, don’t add them. If you want a lightly spiced taste, halve the amount of spices I have used above. The above spice level is “Indian”, not “American”. And it’s divine! šŸ™‚

Carrabbas’ Blackberry Sangria (Single Serv)

This is an adaptation of the Carrabbas’ Blackberry Sangria recipe. That recipe was for 2 bottles of liquor. I wanted a singletons portion. Recipe makes just about a liter of liquor (about 4 cups).

Ingredients:

1 750 ml bottle of Riunite Lambrusco
1 c cranberry juice
1 c Monin blackberry syrup
100 ml Tuaca Italian liquor
1 oz Sprite
lemon and orange slices for garnish

Directions:

Mix everything up except the Sprite and garnish.

Serve over ice, topped off with Sprite and garnish.

Enjoy!

Modern Rubber Halwa

rubberhalwaI first had this at Modern in Bombay, and it was soo soo soo good. So good.

If you like things that are chewy and sweet, you will love this! (This is very similar IMHO to Chi Chi Dango Hawaiian mochi, and less chewy than most types of other traditional mochi). I think it is also similar to Turkish Delight.

Recipe adapted from Yummy Tummy.

Preparation Time : 2 mins
Cooking Time : 15 to 20 mins
Makes : 12Ā pieces

Dish: 3 cup pyrex (the smallest size from this set)

Ingredients:

Sugar – 1Ā cup
Boiling water – 1Ā cup

Cornstarch – 1/2 cup
Cold water – 1/2 cup

Ghee – 3Ā tbsp
Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp
Pistachios, whole – 1/4 c (I use WOW)
Green Food Coloring – 2-3 drops
Khus extract – 1/4 tsp

Directions:

  1. Take a medium to large sized heavy bottom NONSTICK pan and add in sugar and 1Ā cup of boiling water. Mix well and heat till the sugar is melted.
  2. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 c cold water. Slowly, spoonful by spoonful (or better yet, with a flour sifter), add cornflour. Make sure there are NO LUMPS. [I used a Cuisinart hand blender to get rid of my lumps]. Ā Add the green food color and mix well.
  3. Add the cornflour mixture to the sugar water mixture. Mix well. [I used the Cuisinart hand blender to integrate the two mixtures].
  4. Now put this mixture on high heat and keep whisking till it is thick, glossy and jelly like.
  5. Add 1 tbsp ghee. Keep mixing. Ā (It’s a LOT of mixing).
  6. Add 1 tbsp ghee. Keep mixing. Ā (Keep going, recruit others to help mix).
  7. You can tell it is getting done when the green mixture stops sticking to the side. At that point, add pistachios and cardamom powder and mix well.
  8. The halwa will lookĀ thick and glossy, shiny, almost laminated. Then it is done.
  9. At this point pour this into the greased pyrex lined with greased parchment paper overhanging the pyrex pan (lay it down in a cross shape; you should be able to lift and remove the halwa from the pan when it is done easily) and refrigerateĀ for 1 to 2 hours.
  10. Once it is set, invert it to a cutting board and cut it into slices.
  11. Enjoy!

VARIATION:

  1. Red rubber halwa: instead of khus, use rose extract; instead of pistachios, use chopped blanched almonds; instead of green food color, use red; instead of cardamom, use a pinch of saffron.
  2. Yellow rubber halwa: instead of khus, use lemon extract; instead of pistachios, useĀ halved cashews; instead of green food color, use yellow; instead of or in addition to cardamom, use a pinch of saffron.
  3. Orange rubber halwa; instead of khus, use orange blossom extract; instead of pistachios, use halved cashews; instead of green food color, use a drop or red and a drop of yellow; instead of (or in addition to) cardamom, use a pinch of saffron.

NOTE: Remember when purchasing extracts to make sure they are for COOKING!!! They do sell extracts which are topical or medicinal or perfumes. DO NOT USE THOSE!!!!! I’ve seen little bottles of different flavored extracts at just about every Indian grocery store I’ve been to for a few dollars. I have not seen these extracts online. If you can’t find the fancy extracts, never fear, use lemon or orange extract, the recipe will still taste good. šŸ™‚