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SPARKLING CRANBERRY PUNCH !!!

Hope everybody enjoyed  the Christmas !!!  Yah we too.  It was  a white Christmas so we enjoyed the weather as well as tasting  all  baked goodies. Coming to the post  Mmmmm its sparkling fruit punch which is very refreshing.   This Fizzy drink with Cranberry and Lemon makes this punch a hit :)  Hope u all like it.  Cheers ! Over to recipe now....











 
SPARKLING CRANBERRY PUNCH

Ingredients :

Cranberry - 2 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
water - 1 1/2 cup
Any lemon flavored Aerated drink - 700 ml (7up, Sprite...)
Lemon juice - optional ( if u need it sour you can add few drops)
Slices of lemon - few
Ice cubes
Mint for garnishing










Method :

1.  Add water, sugar and cranberry in a big pot.
2. Let it boil once the all the cranberry are popped up.
3. Let it be in the flame for 5 more minutes, then drain it.
4. Once it is cooled it can be stored in the refrigerator.
5. At the time of serving add the Aerated drink, add few slices of lemon.
6. Add Ice cubes and garnish with mint leaves.

Enjoy the refreshing drink !!!






 

 




Note :

1.  As sugar is in both the cranberry extract as well as in the Aerated drink.
Add the sugar and lemon according to your taste.

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STOLLEN - DARING TREAT !!!

This month challenge is Stollen a traditional German fruit cake.  This  recipe is sure a keeper. It just stole my heart... :)  Enjoy Stollen and Wish you all very " Happy Christmas" .

 


The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.



STOLLEN
A Stollen is a loaf-shaped cake containing dried fruit, and covered with sugar, powdered sugar or icing sugar. The cake is usually made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices. Stollen is a traditional German cake, usually eaten during the Christmas season, when called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. A similar cake from the Dutch cuisine is called a Kerststol in Dutch, while in Italian cuisine the panettone also shows a likeness.

Stollen is a bread-like fruitcake made with yeast, water and flour, and usually with zest added to the dough. Candied orange peel and candied citrus peel, raisins and almonds, and different spices such as cardamom and cinnamon are added. Other ingredients, such as milk, sugar, butter, salt, rum, eggs, vanilla, other dried fruits and nuts and marzipan may also be added to the Stollen dough. Except for the fruit added, the dough is quite low in sugar. The finished cake is sprinkled with icing sugar. The traditional weight of a Stollen is around 4.4 pounds (2 kg), but smaller sizes are now available.







Stollen Wreath
Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people.

Ingredients:

Water - ¼ cup lukewarm
Active dry yeast - 2 packages
Milk - 1 cup
Unsalted butter (can use salted butter) - 10 tablespoons
All-purpose (plain) flour - 5½ cups  (Measure flour first - then sift- plus extra for dusting)
Sugar - ½ cup
Salt  - ¾ teaspoon (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
Eggs, lightly beaten - 3 large
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
Vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
Lemon extract or orange extract - 1 teaspoon
Mixed peel - ¾ cup
Firmly packed raisins - 1 cup
Rum - 3 tablespoons
Cherries (roughly chopped)  - 12 red for the color and the taste. (optional)
Flaked almonds - 1 cup
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath

Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zest ed orange.









 

Directions:

1. Soak the raisins
2. In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zest ed orange) and set aside.

To make the dough :

1. Pour ¼ cup warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.
2. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup milk and 10 tablespoons butter over medium - low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.
3.Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.
4. In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.
5. Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
6. Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!
7. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn't enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.
8. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
9. Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.



 

Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath :
1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.
5.Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.
6. Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.
7.Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.
8.Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
9.Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.
Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
10.Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.
11. Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.
12. Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first.
13. The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
14. Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh - especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!





Note :

1. When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.
2. The stollen tastes even better in a couple of days and it toasts superbly…. so delicious with butter and a cup of tea….mmmmm
3. You can substitute the raisins with cranberries or other dried fruit. You can substitute the lemon and orange zests for other zests example lime.

Storage : 

The more rum and the more coatings of butter and sugar you use the longer it will store.
The following is for the recipe as written and uses the 45 mls of rum and two coatings of butter and icing sugar
1. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months
2. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and
3. One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.

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DUNDEE CAKE - A CHRISTMAS TREAT !!!

Hope everyone are having good time in baking Christmas treats.  Yah me too !!!  I still remember the days when my dad buys the rich delicious and moist fruit cake from local bakery for every Christmas which tastes soo soo good.  Those are sweet childhood memories Mmmmmmmmm :) . Here is a Christmas Pudding recipe which I made for the Daring challenge .  This is really time consuming but it is worth waiting.. it comes out so delicious and very very moist.  But if you want a lighter one then here is the recipe for you...."Dundee cake".  A  small brief about the Cake.




Dundee cake is a traditional kind of fruit cake that is made in Scotland. It is often lighter and less dense than other types of fruit cake and has a nice crumbly texture.  It can be served as a dessert or with coffee and tea during the daytime.  One of the key features of this Scottish cake is that it is topped with whole almonds, which are arranged in a circular pattern from the center to the edge. The ingredients that flavor Dundee cake are mostly dried fruits and nuts. Fruits that are commonly used in the recipe are dried currants, raisins or sultanas and dried cherries.  In addition to the almonds that top the cake, ground almonds are also added to the cake batter. Dundee cake also has a citrus y flavor that comes from orange zest and lemon zest that is added to the batter.  Its been long time I noted this recipe somewhere in my folder, but  after making this for first time I started making this regularly and this is 4th time I am making it.    Each and every time its a big hit and everyone loves it.  Much like a fruit cake, Dundee cake is a traditional Christmas treat. 



 



DUNDEE CAKE - A CHRISTMAS TREAT !!!

Ingredients :


All purpose flour - 250 gm
Butter - 175gm

Sugar - 100gm
Eggs -3
Orange Marmalade - 100g
Ground almonds - 100g
Mixed dried fruits, fruit peel, cherries - 400 gm ( I used figs, raisins, sultanas ,fruit peels, dried cranberries, glazed cherries etc)
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Blanched Almond - 100 g for the top (Soak the almonds in the warm water for an hr then peel the skin and pat it dry)
Apricot Preserve / Orange Marmalade for glazing the top - 2 tbsp

I used 8 " inch spring form round pan. Butter the bottom and put a circle of parchment paper.  If your using aluminium pan brush the butter on the sides and dust with flour.  



 
Method :

1. Whip the butter and sugar together till creamy .
2. Stir in the orange zest, and 1/3 of flour beat for a while.
3. Add eggs one by one, when everything comes together.
4. Now add the Marmalade followed by ground almonds.
5. Now add the remaining flour and the Baking powder.  Whisk well.
6. Stir in all the fruits and mix well.
7. Preheat the oven to 325° f.
8. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin or spring form tin and smooth the top nicely.
9. Cover the top with foil to create steam for the cake.
10. Bake for 45 minutes.
11. After 45 minutes take the tin out, arrange the blanched almonds as shown in the picture by slightly pushing then on the surface. ( don't be hard)
12. Now reduce the oven temperature to 300°f and bake further to 60 minutes or little more.( may
be another 15 minutes depends on your oven, mine was ready in 60 minutes)
13. Test the  centre of your cake with skewer, as usual it should come clean.
12. Now dilute the 2 tbsp of apricot preserve/ Orange Marmalade with 2 tbsp of water and cook them in gas top. Let it boil well and becomes thick. Switch off and cool it.
13. Brush this glaze on the top of the cake for 2 to 3 coatings in intervals.
14.  Let the cake cool completely for making slices. ( Myself I was not able to wait for long time, because I love fruit cakes and wanted to taste soon after the photo session.  Patience is very
important :(  



 

Note :

1. The cake tastes so good after 2 or 3 days.
2. Wrap it in the foil, put it in the fridge if you want to store for more days.
3. Bring to room temperature or MW for few seconds when you want to eat.
4. Dundee cake is also sometimes topped with sweetened whipped cream.


Have wonderful Christmas !!!

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DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE DRINK

Hot chocolate, Hot cocoa almost everyone's favorite comforting drink for this cold weather and festive season.  Ok when talking about hot chocolate and Hot Cocoa, these terms are often used interchangeably, but there’s a big difference between two, especially nutritional properties. Hot chocolate or Drinking chocolate is made from chocolate bars melted into a cream or ground into a powder. Hot chocolate has a very high sugar, fat content and low cocoa content.  Hot cocoa is made from raw cocoa powder, which is pressed chocolate which removes the fat of the cocoa butter. You can just mix the hot cocoa mix just with hot water as it contains non-fat dried milk powder, Cocoa powder, sugar etc.  The nutrition in Healthy hot Cocoa can be very good for us, especially if you minimize the sugar and fat.   

Ok but today I am not posting both hot chocolate and hot cocoa.  Something special!!! in which you can feel and taste the heavenly chocolate flavor. Wondering what’s special in it???? Yah a delicious, heavenly and lip smacking chocolate drink with very less sugar, no milk, healthy but tasty.  Yah Chocolate drink using coconut water.  I got this clue from some magazine which I registered in my mind few months back, from then I am making this often.  I bet you will feel the richness of chocolate in every sip :) Try it !!! Sure you will fall in love with this healthy chocolate drink. Here is the recipe for healthy drink for your chocolate craving.....




DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE DRINK

Ingredients:


Coconut water - 500ml (Preferably sweet coconut water, since my coconut water was sweet. I did not add any extra sugar)
Bitter sweet chocolate (60 % Cocoa) - 1/3 cup ( You can use Dark chocolate if you want)
Sugar - add based on your sweetness of coconut water
Cocoa powder - 1 tbsp
Marshmallow - few for topping


Method:

1. Pour coconut water in the pot warm it.
2. Now add the bitter sweet chocolate to it.
3. Whisk it once it is melted and blended with coconut water.
4. Add a Tbsp of good quality cocoa powder.  Whisk and let it come to a boil.
5. Switch of the flame.  Pour hot in your serving cup. Top it with few marshmallows when it is hot. 

Enjoy warm delicious healthy chocolate drink!!!

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SALSA DE GUAJES

Guajes or huajes are the flat, green (or brown) pods of the Leucaena spp. The pods are sometimes light green or deep red in color -- both taste the same. 

Guaje seeds are small and turn brown as they age.  The seeds are eaten raw with guacamole, sometimes cooked and made into a sauce. They can also be made into fritters. The ground seeds are used to impart a slightly garliky flavor to a mole (sauce) called guaxmole (huaxmole). The dried seeds may be toasted and salted and eaten as a snack eferred to as "cacalas".  Tastes so delicious with tortilla chips, Tacos.  This recipe was given by a mexican friend. 













SALSA DE GUAJES

Ingredients :


Guajes seeds - 1 1/2 cup ( slightly dry roast in the pan)
Jalapeno - 3 ( charred slightly)
Garlic - 3 pods
Lime juice - 1 tbsp ( add to your taste)
Coriander leaves - 1 handful
Water as needed while grinding
Salt as needed.







Method :


1. Grind the charred chilli and garlic in the mixer to smooth paste.
2. Then add the seeds, coriander, lime juice and salt.
3.  Use a Pulser to grind.  The consistency should be coarse not smooth.  If it is smooth it spoils the taste.
4. You can serve this as dip, topping or spread. 















Note: 

Traditionally they are made in stone molcajete.



 

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CRANBERRY PEAR CRUMBLE ( With oats and walnuts)

Time for Sweet Punch !!! Yah this time it was fruit crumble. Any fruit crumble is my favorite.  It is not only easy to make tastes so delicious too. Dessert that can be made in no time(Except the baking time).  Goes well with icecream , Vanilla custard, dollop of whipped cream.  Crumbles originated in Britain during World War II[1]. Due to strict rationing the ingredients required to make the bases of pies contained too much of the necessary flour, fat and sugar to make the pastry. So a simple mixture of flour, margarine/butter and sugar was used to make the top of the crumble. The dish was also popular due to its simplicity.



In some parts of America a very similar dish may be called a crisp. It is also similar to a fruit cobbler. Popular fruits used in crumbles include apple, blackberry, peach, rhubarb, gooseberry, and plum. The topping may also include rolled oats, ground almonds or other nuts, and sometimes sour milk (e.g. vinegar and milk) is added to give the crumble a more extravagant taste. Brown sugar is often sprinkled over the crumble topping, which caramelises slightly when the pudding is baked.  Hope you enjoy making and eating this simple yet delicious dessert.   

CRANBERRY PEAR CRUMBLE
Ingredients :


Pear -3 (peel the skin and diced)
Cranberry - 1/2 cup
Lemon - 1/4 tbsp
Brown sugar - 2 tbsp
Lemon Zest - 1 tsp


 






 
For the crumble:

Oats - 50 g
All purpose Flour - 50 g [ You could substitute this with Whole wheat flour too]
Butter -  50g chilled and diced
Light brown soft sugar - 50g
Walnut - 50g toasted in the dry pan





Method :

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease 6 ovenproof teacups or ramekins or a pie-dish.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the pears, cranberry, brown sugar, lemon zest and juice. Divide the mixture between the teacups or ramekins, spooning over any juice.
3. To make the crumble, place the flour, oats and butter in a medium bowl and, with your fingertips, rub together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, Walnuts and remaining chocolate.
4. Spoon the crumble over the pears and press down lightly. Place the crumbles on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve with a scoop of good vanilla ice-cream.




Note :

1. For the crumble part you can either use APF fully or 50/50 ratio of flour and oats.
2. You can use any of your favorite nuts.
3. Substitute with any of your favorite fruit.
4. You can cut down the quantity of butter if you are concerned about the diet.




Serve warm to enjoy the crispy topping !!!

We Enjoyed the Cranberry Pear Crumbles with delicious Vanilla Sauce :)


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