Friday, June 29, 2012

Oatmeal Crackers


This post has been long overdue. I went to India for a short visit, so I couldn’t post this recipe sooner.
I wanted to make a healthy snack for hubby. So I researched and found a good recipe for oatmeal crackers in The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas.


These crackers are full of toasty oat flavour and hearty. I had to roll the dough real thin to give a crispy snap to the crackers. The dough, made of rye flour and rolled oats, is quite stiff. So I spent a lot of energy rolling out the dough very thin.


The actual recipe calls for 2 table spoons cane sugar, but I prefer to omit the sugar and adding salt instead, and sprinkling more on top of the crackers. I cut out the crackers in small rectangles, but you can also use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes. Stored in an air tight container, these crackers last for weeks.


So for your next tea time snack, give the cookies a break and try an oatmeal cracker for a healthier choice.

Oatmeal Crackers:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup - Rolled Oats
½ cup+ 2 tablespoons - whole milk, heated just to boiling
2 tablespoon - room-temperature unsalted butter
2 tablespoons - natural cane sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons - baking powder
1 teaspoons - crushed anise seed - optional
1/4 teaspoon - fine grain sea salt
½ cup+ 2 tablespoon - Dark rye flour
3/4 cups - All-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
more salt for sprinkling



Directions:
  • In a large bowl combine the rolled oats and boiling milk. Let stand until cool.
  • To speed this up I placed the bowl in the freezer for about 35 minutes.
  • When cool, stir in the butter, sugar, baking powder, anise seed, salt, and rye flour.
  • Stir in the all-purpose flour, a bit at a time, until a stiff dough forms.
  • Turn out onto a counter top and knead until the dough comes together and is uniform.
  • Heat the oven to 425F / 245C.
  • Divide the dough into 2-3 parts, just so you have a manageable amount to work with.
  • Now, you're going to want to roll the dough out very thin - 1/8th-inch.
  • This way your crackers will have snap. Have a look at the photo up above, and try to get it thinner than that.
  • If your dough is at all stubborn, just let it rest there for ten minutes or so, then try again.
  • Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheets, and sprinkle with a bit more salt - flaky salt if you have it. Use a fork to make a line of small holes on each cracker.
  • Bake for roughly 14 minutes.
  • When the cracker bottoms are deeply golden, roughly 9 minutes in, flip each cracker, and brown the flip side as well.
  • Use your best judgement and remove when well done.
  • Cool completely before storing in large air-tight jars.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Marbled Red-Velvet Cheesecake Brownies


This weekend, we are meeting some friends for dinner. One of them loves cakes and pastries. We used to attack the dessert table at buffets when we were on vacations. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to bake something new and pass it on to her and others.


Believe it or not this is my first brownie; I have been wanting to bake brownies ever since I started my blog. So I was so excited making these Red Velvet ones, and also, my first attempt at making Red Velvet anything!!! The recipe is adapted from http://www.thenovicechefblog.com.


I was a little nervous when I put these brownies inside the oven. But when I took the first bite, it was so good! I couldn’t believe that I pulled it off. I got out my cookie cutter and started cutting out cute little hearts! You could just cut small squares with a knife, but these hearts were too cute!

Pouring the cheesecake mixture on to the brownie layer.
All set with pretty swirls, ready to go into the oven...
Cutting out cute little hearts, with my pink sandwich cutter.
Marbled Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Yield: 30 hearts  (2 inches)
http://chitra-frommykitchen.blogspot.sg/

Ingredients:
Red Velvet Layer:
3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons milk, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tespoon red food coloring
2 teaspoons apple cider/white  vinegar
Cheesecake Layer:
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened (I used Philadelphia Block Cream Cheese)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 18 jelly roll pan with butter paper or grease with butter. See Notes below.
  • In large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add salt and sugar. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla extract, red food coloring, and white vinegar.
  • Combine the dry and wet ingredients, until completely combined. Do not over mix.
  • The batter will be a really thick, but don't worry, that's what you want.
  • Remove 3/4 cup of the batter and place it in a separate bowl.
  • Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk (into the 3/4 cup of batter you just took out). Set aside.
  • Pour the remaining batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Using a spatula, smooth out the batter to reach all the edges.
  • Now, in your stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add eggs and vanilla, beating until combined and there are no lumps.
  • Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the red velvet layer and smooth mixture till it reaches all the edges.
  • Drop spoonfuls of the remaining red velvet batter (that you mixed with milk) onto the top of the cheesecake layer.
  • Drag the tip of a knife through the red velvet and the cheesecake layers to create swirls.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, rotating half way through, or until a tooth pick inserted, comes out dry.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
  • Use a medium sized heart cookie cutter to create the perfect hearts. Or cut into squares. 

Note:
  • I used a glass Pyrex dish, 13” in diameter.
  • And I lined the glass dish with butter paper.
  • Because I was baking with a glass dish, I reduced the temperature to 325 degrees, and baked for 45 minutes. 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Spinach Pulav - with Brown Basmathi Rice



I got some brown basmathi rice a few weeks back. And I have been waiting to try it, so finally made some pulav for lunch. I didn’t have any coriander at hand, so decided to use fresh baby spinach and some capsicums to make this easy and tasty pulav.


Ingredients:

  • Brown Basmathi Rice - 1 and 1/4 cups (soak for 10 min)
  • Spinach – ¾ of a bunch,  chopped with the stems cut off
  • Onion – 1, cut lengthwise
  • Capsicum -1,  diced lenghtwise
  • Carrots -1 diced  into cubes
  • Potato - 1 dices in cubes 
  • Salt – 3-4tespoons

Grind together:

  • Garlic: 8 cloves
  • Dry red chilli - 9
  • Ginger-1/2 inch piece
  • Spinach - handful


Directions:

  • Heat 3 tablespoons oil/ghee in a pressure cooker.
  • Fry some cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves and some bay leaf.
  • Then add the onions, carrots, capsicum, potato, peas.
  • Drain the soaked rice, and add to the cooker along with the veggies, and fry well.
  • Add ground paste, and fry for a few minutes. 
  • Now add the spinach leaves and salt.
  • Add 1 and 3/4 cups water. (Ratio 1 cup rice=1 ½ cups water)
  • Close the cooker, after the first whistke, pressure cook for 12 min in low flame.
  • Open the cooker, and mix the rice gently. Serve with yogurt raita.