Archive for the ‘Tea Time’ Category

Are you in the mood for something stuffed?

Do you have a craving for something sweet and flaky?

Are you in love with little stuffed-baked-apple-pie also known as empanadas?

If you’re nodding yes to all of the above then preheat your oven to 375F and let’s start baking.

What you need for the pastry:

1 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 tablespoons iced water
1 teaspoon vinegar

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt. Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Then combine the iced water and vinegar and add in to the flour mixture and mix it all together until it forms a ball. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or until ready to use.

Then roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut into circles with a cookie cutter or you can use the rim of a drinking glass.

Place a small amount of the apple filling in the center of each circle and then moisten the edges with water and then fold it over to form a half circle. Now press the edges together to seal.

Brush the top with egg wash and then give it some cinnamon-sugar love to finish.

Pop that into the preheated oven and let the love bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For the filling:
2 large granny smith apples, peeled and diced
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Mix all of the above ingredients together.

These cute little hand pies are definitely one of my go-to on fast and easy desserts. You can also make these ahead of time and freeze it until you want to eat them.

These apple empanadas are a great alternative to the traditional whole apple pie. Plus its less messy when you want to eat them on the go. Of course they are no rules here. You can plate them up really pretty and serve this up with your favorite ice cream or whipped cream for the full effect!

Ps: I love this hot with vanilla and caramel ice-cream.


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Corn Flake Crisps


Time is flying by so fast these days and I find myself trying to catch my breath just to catch up on things.I didn’t even realize that it’s been more than two weeks since my last post. I have been keeping myself busy these days planning and stressing over the wedding cake that I will be making this spring. I have less than two months before the wedding and right now it’s all about preparing the decorations and sorting out the check list. I recently had a light bulb moment at 3 am and woke up all giddy with ideas on how my cake would look like. Finally, I now have it figured out after months of searching for inspiration I am happy to report that I finally got it. And with that, I would like to celebrate it with something sweet of course!

As the weather here in the Northeast is slowly but surely finding its way to spring, I am seeing a lot of pretty bright colors everywhere; in dresses, shoes, bags and of course food. My color for today is yellow. And this makes me think of an old time family favorite that my mom and I used to bake. The idea of crushing golden crisp cornflakes with my hands is really fun plus it’s also a great way to release any build up aggression.

These cookies are really yummy. I love the idea of using corn flakes in cookies. It adds a delicious crunch to sink your teeth in and of course, corn flakes appeals to just about anyone.

Corn flake Crisps

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 cup self-rising flour
2 cups lightly crushed corn flakes 

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Then add in the egg and vanilla and continue to mix.

Combine the ground almond and self-rising flour; add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Roll a tablespoon of the mixture into a ball or use a small ice cream scoop and roll in the crushed corn flakes. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

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Gulab Jamun

I have been obsessed with making fritters lately. I absolutely love the sight of those tiny deep fried sweeten dough. It’s comforting and very forgiving. You really cannot go wrong making it. Those uneven shapes and irregular burn patches makes them special and oh so delicious.

These babies are my latest obsession. I tried them once at my favorite Indian restaurant here in the city and now, I am hooked. I love the earthy combination of cardamom and the delicate flavor of rose in this fritter. It can also be somewhat sensual.  But what makes this fritter special is that after it is fried, it is then soaked in a syrup flavored in rosewater. You can serve this gorgeous dumplings warm or at room temperature. I like mine scattered with some chopped pistachios, it does make a pretty dessert plate.

Gulab Jamun

1 cup dry non-fat milk powder
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons clarified butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup warm milk
a pinch of ground cardamom
a pinch of salt

vegetable oil for deep frying

In a large bowl, mix together the milk powder, flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Next, add in the melted clarified butter and then mix in the milk until well blended. Cover the mixture and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Heat enough oil in a heavy skillet or use a dutch oven on medium heat for deep frying. Gently knead the dough, and form them into small balls, about 20 – 25.

Lower the heat before dropping the balls in the hot oil. Deep fry the balls in batches. They will start to float and expand from their original size after 3 minutes. Then, increase the heat back to medium and turn them frequently until lightly golden.

Now, remove the fritters from the oil and let them drain and rest on paper towels. After it’s cooled, immerse the fritters into the syrup for a couple of hours before serving as they will start to plump up. You can serve this dumplings chilled, room temperature or even slightly warm.  

Rose water syrup

2 cups white sugar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon rose water

To make the syrup, place sugar and water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Allow it to simmer and 5 minutes. Then add in the rose water and set aside.

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Coconut Raspberry Shortbread

Today is one of those days when I take a mental trip down memory lane. I blame it on the cold weather, when all I want to do is just curl up on my sofa wrapped myself in a thick blanket and indulge in something sweet with my big pink mug of strong coffee. I start to think about my first baking memory. I think about how simple ingredients can bring so much pleasure, how it can dress up good plain shortbread dough into something sophisticated.  When I was nine, my mother would always bake her famous Christmas pie using shortcrust pastry. There would always be left over pastry dough that she would let me play with. And there would also be enough for her to make these lovely cookies. Ever since then her Christmas pie would not be complete until she bakes up some of these for us.

I tweak the original recipe and came up with a nice crumbly version by using shortbread for the dough instead of using shortcrust pastry. But if you are baking up some pie anytime soon then save the scraps for these.

Coconut Raspberry Shortbread

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
Flake coconut, sweetened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F  

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then add in the vanilla extract.

Mix in the flour until the dough comes together.  Wrapped dough with a cling wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes or until ready to use.

Roll dough on a floured surface and cut it up in to squares or small rectangular cookies. Then brush each cookie with raspberry jam and then sprinkle the coconut on it. Then place it on a cookie sheet and bake it in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let it cool down a minute or so on the cookie sheet.

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What I love about these bars is that it’s made from fresh raspberries and it is so easily put together.  If you’re like me, and have been making these in the past with raspberry preserve than you might want to try this version. It takes a little more than twisting a jar but the end results is nevertheless very rewarding.

The lemon juice and the zest really bring out the sweetness of the fresh berries. You can even try this recipe with different kind of berries or even mix it up. I like having this with my morning cup of coffee and it even taste wicked warm out of the oven with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Raspberry Crumb Bar

1  1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1  1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 8 inch square pan, and line with greased foil.

Combine whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and rolled oats. Rub in the cold butter using your hands or a pastry blender to form a crumbly mixture. Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Spread the raspberry filling to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the filling.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.
For the raspberry filling:
3 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Make the raspberry filling: In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, honey, lemon zest, vanilla, corn starch and lemon juice. Then, toss in the raspberries gently using your hands until the raspberries are evenly coated.

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Zucchini has become one of my favorite fresh ingredients to play with this summer. I love it roasted in salads, grilled in pasta, baked in pies and it is crazy good when paired with chocolate. I have been spending way too much time playing around with the different the types of recipes for zucchini breads lately, some with chocolate and some without. Personally, I vote for the ones with the chocolate. It doesn’t really matter if you use milk or dark chocolate. Either way it is perfect. I also threw in some fresh blueberries into the mix and it turned out amazing. I prefer mine fresh out of the oven with a tall glass of ice tea. Then again, having a cold slice of this the next day still makes me a happy girl.

Zucchini Bread with Chocolate and Blueberries

1 large eggs
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup grated zucchini
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1  ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour one 8×4 inch loaf pans

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, apple sauce, sour cream and vanilla. Then add in the grated zucchini. And that’s the wet ingredients.

Combine the dry ingredients together, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as chocolate chips and fresh blueberries. Stir this into the wet mixture. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan.

Bake for 60 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

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