Monday, March 11, 2013

Rava Laddu

When I was growing up, my favourite homemade sweets were rava laddu and boli. I still remember my grandma sitting in our living room in Chennai, and making these laddus. She would tell my mom, “Put more ghee… put more ghee”!! After her, my mom still makes them for me every time I visit Chennai. Hmmm… rava laddus always make me so nostalgic.
When my mom visited us last December she made these for us. They were so fragrant from the homemade ghee which she makes. She grinds the roasted rava before making the laddus, so they melt in your mouth! But there were so many laddus, we couldn’t possibly finish them all. So I stored a few fresh one in my refrigerator, and suprising they lasted two months.
Hope you try out this easy indian sweet during your next cooking session.

Rava Laddu
Makes 20 laddus
Rava – 1.5 cups
Sugar – 3/4 cups
Ghee – 1/4 cup (or more, according to taste)
Note: The ratio of rava to sugar is 1:1/2

  • Roast the rava until golden brown.
  • Let it cool, then grind to a fine powder in the mixer.
  • Grind the sugar to a fine powder in the mixer.
  • In a large bowl, mix the powdered rava and sugar.
  • Heat the ghee on the stove, until it smokes slightly. (To test if the ghee is hot enough, sprinkle a little bit of powdered rava in the ghee. If the ghee bubbles, then it is ready).
  • Now spoon the ghee little by little onto the rava mixture and make the laddus while it is hot.
  • Let the laddus cool for 3-4 hours. The laddus become firm after cooled.
  • Store in an airtight container. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Coconut Cupcakes

I love coconut flavoured cakes. So these cupcakes have been on my to-do list for a long time. But I couldn't find coconut extract anywhere. I finally found the extract last week in a local supermarket by accident. So I couldn't wait to try out this recipe.

These cupcakes are pure bliss. The frosting melts in your mouth.  The cupcake recipe is one I came across in Food Network Channel by Ina Garten, but I decided to add coconut flavour instead of the almond flavouring she suggested. They are perfect together!

The cupcakes are so full of coconut flavour. The frosting is plain cream cheese frosting with added coconut flavour.  I didn't add any coconut to the frosting because I was only able to find desiccated coconut, and I was worried if I added it to the frosting, it would become very chewy.  
I hope you enjoy these dreamy cupcakes as much as I do!
Beating butter and sugar, by hand.
Fold in the flour with a spatula.

Cream Cheese straight out of the refrigerator, for the frosting.
Cooled cupcakes ready for frosting with plain round nozzle.
Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields: 12 Large Cupcakes or 20 Medium Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3/4 Cup - unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup - sugar
3 - eggs, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon - vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon - coconut extract
1 1/2 cups - plain flour
1/2 teaspoon - baking powder
1/4 teaspoon - baking soda
1/4 teaspoon - salt
1/2 cup – buttermilk or plain yogurt
1/2 cup - sweetened, shredded coconut ( I used desiccated coconut)
For the cream cheese frosting:
1 cup - cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup - unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon - vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon - coconut extract
1 cup – powdered sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (If you don’t own an electric mixer, used a wooden spoon and beat well by hand).
  • With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  •  Add the vanilla and coconut extracts and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in shredded coconut.
  • Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each cup up to 3/4 with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely before frosting.

Make the cream cheese frosting: 
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and coconut extracts.(If you don’t own an electric mixer, used a wooden spoon and beat well by hand).
  •  Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes, and sprinkle with shredded coconut or desired topping.