Wholewheat Focaccia with garlic, rosemary and cherry tomatoes

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Wholewheat foccacia with garlic, rosemary and cherry tomatoes
Wholewheat foccacia with garlic, rosemary and cherry tomatoes
Focaccia is an Italian flat bread which is quite like pizza but often topped with herbs or veggies or meat or cheese. This foccacia is my take on very popular Foccacia al rosemarino ( that’s Foccacia with rosemary). I have made wholewheat focaccia and used garlic and cherry tomatoes as toppings with rosemary. Continue reading Wholewheat Focaccia with garlic, rosemary and cherry tomatoes

Healthy wholewheat cream scones with unrefined cane sugar

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Wholewheat cream scones
Wholewheat cream scones
Very light and delicious, these cream scones are made with all cream and no butter. They also have the goodness of wholemeal flour and sweetness of raisins.

Scones are like a cross between an eggless cake and a pie crust. They are more like a cake with a biscuit like outer layer and a soft centre. They are mildly sweet and can be savoury too.

Scones, extremely popular in Scotland and Ireland, are usually eaten during breakfast with some jam and clotted cream. However, they are a popular choice at tea time too. They are served while they are still warm but you can store them and reheat just before serving.

These cream scones are made with flour, unrefined sugar and cream. Cream makes the scones very light and delicious. There’s no need to add butter in here.

As I make them quite often for kids, I take care of the ingredients I use. I prefer wholemeal flour over plain flour and add unrefined cane sugar and honey for the sweetness.

Let’s see how to make these cream scones.

How to make Cream scones

Wholewheat cream scones
Wholewheat cream scones

Preparation time: 10 minutes + 1 hour – 2 hours resting time 
Baking time: 20-22 minutes
Baking equipment used: baking tray(s), baking tin/ovenproof dish
Makes 10-20 pieces depending on the size

Recipe : 
Wholewheat cream scones
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Scones are like a cross between an eggless cake and a pie crust. They are more like a cake with a biscuit like outer layer and a soft centre. They are mildly sweet and can be savoury too. Scones are usually eaten as breakfast with some jam and clotted cream. However, they are a popular choice at tea time too. They are served while they are still warm from the oven but you can store them too and reheat while serving.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Irish/Scottish
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 300 grams or 2 cups plain flour
  • 75 grams or ½ cup raisins
  • 3-4 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda or soda bicarb
  • lemon zest of 2 big lemons approx 2 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 300 ml double cream or heavy cream
  • 3-4 tablespoon milk
Instructions
  1. Take flour, raisins, salt, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk everything together.
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour honey and cream.
  4. Gradually stir everything together using a spatula or spoon.
  5. Add a tablespoon milk at a time to gather all dry ingredients together. Quantity of the milk will depend on the type of flour used.
  6. Gather everything together using your hand. Gently mix everything to make a soft dough. DO NOT knead much.
  7. Line a cake pan or a baking dish with cling film.
  8. Take out the dough on the baking dish/tin and gently press with your hands to cover the whole area. Make sure you cover all spaces.
  9. Cover the dough with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours. I leave mine for 2 hours.
  10. Preheat the oven to 200 C/180 C fan-assisted/400 F/gas 6.
  11. Take out the scones by lifting the cling film. Cut it into desired shape using a sharp knife. If you have rest the dough in a cake tin then cut wedges out of it. If you have used a baking dish (rectangular or sqaure) then you can cut similar shape out of it.
  12. Place the scones on the baking tray, 2 inches apart.
  13. Bake them for 18-20 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
  14. Place a clean kitchen towel on the wire rack. Take out the baked scones and transfer them on the towel. Loosely wrap the kitchen towel around them to keep them warm until served. Alternatively, you can cool them down and store in an airtight container. Warm them again for 3-4 minutes while serving.
Notes
Use chilled cream and milk.
You can use plain flour too or half plain flour and half wholemeal. However they taste great with wholemeal flour too.
You can cut them into circles too but be careful not to work too much with rest of the dough that is left after cutting the circles. Gather them with light hands and reshape.
You van serve them with any jam and some more cream.
Here, I have melted some milk chocolate and drizzled over them. You can use dark chocolate too.
See how they look when cut into wedges :
Wholewheat cream scones
Wholewheat cream scones
Stepwise pictures to make cream scones :
Wholewheat cream scones
Wholewheat cream scones
Wholewheat cream scones
Wholewheat cream scones
Wholewheat cream scones just out of the oven
Wholewheat cream scones just out of the oven

These cream scones make a great option for kids’ lunch boxes. You can also pack them for picnic. Kids enjoy munching on them. What else do you want in a healthy bake?

Do try and share your feedback on my Facebook page The Baking Sutra. You may subscribe to get every recipe delivered straight away to your inbox. It’s free 😀

See you shortly with another bake.

Have a look at previous post of Basics of baking cookies which has all the troubleshooting and lots of recipes of various cookies.

Ciao!

Jxx

Horlicks choco chips cookies for kids

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Horlicks choco chips cookies
Horlicks choco chips cookies

Horlicks choco chips cookies are tasty and healthy treat for your super active kids which has the goodness of oats, wholemeal flour, almonds and horlicks. Nothing processed here, all hearty and healthy! Continue reading Horlicks choco chips cookies for kids

Basbousa – a traditional Egyptian semolina cake

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Basbousa
Basbousa
Basbousa – a Mother’s day treat from me to my mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful moms in the whole wide world! More strength to you all!!!

Maa, mummy, mom, mata shri, mommy, mumma – doesn’t matter what I call her, she would always be the rock behind me to support, she’s the one who made me realise how strong one can be and helped me understand what righteous mean. She made me believe there’s nothing one can’t achieve if he/she puts his/her 100% into it.

Napoleon Bonaparte said “The word impossible is not in my dictionary” and I think he gifted the same dictionary to my mom 😉 Continue reading Basbousa – a traditional Egyptian semolina cake

Basics of baking Cookies with troubleshooting and FAQs

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cookies
Cookies
Cookies or biscuits? The most common question comes to everyone’s mind, when we talk about cookies/biscuits, is what’s the difference between the two?

Well, if you are not in US, then there’s not much difference. Cookies are a type of biscuit but in US, biscuit is a very different bake than cookies.

To understand we can say, biscuit is a flat, brittle cake. It’s primary ingredients are flour, sugar and fat, and it can be crisp, crumbly or chewy. It may contain flavours, nuts or chocolates but not so much to affect its shape. A cookie is a type of biscuit that’s chewy mostly (though I like to make crispy cookies and not chewy).

The ideal biscuit can be of any shape but if cut as round it should all be uniformly round. If cut as square, they should all be square. They should not  spread  excessively in the oven while baking. On the other hand cookies do spread while baking to achieve the chewiness. 

This is more like you ask the difference between Prawn and shrimp, aubergine or eggplant, zucchini or courgette, the list goes on…

Though there’s a slight difference between the two everywhere, in US biscuit is a complete different bake. A biscuit in UK, is a small baked goods that can be called ‘cookies’ if sweet or ‘crackers’ if salty. However, in US, a biscuit is a savoury bread which is somewhat similar to Scottish/Irish scones.

Am I confusing you?? Well as far as you enjoy your biscuits and cookies the way you like, and you are not in America, there’s not much difference  😉

There’s a lot more to discuss about biscuits and cookies but I will focus on the basics of baking cookies here.

STEPWISE INSTRUCTION WITH EXPLANATION for making cookies/biscuits
  1. The first step is usually preheating the oven in most of the cases. We need our oven to be set at required temperature so that as soon as our bake is in, it gets the right temperature to bake. Sometimes dough has to rest for a while before baking. In that case preheat the oven 10-15 minutes before the resting time gets over.
  2. Line a large baking tray with baking paper or baking parchment. This is done to avoid the sticking of biscuit/cookies to the tray. When we make biscuit or cookies, there’s minimal gluten formation (a gluten is a type of protein that gets formed after kneading the dough as in case of bread) that leads the starch to stick to anything. To avoid this disaster, lining a cookie sheet is important. However, in case of silicon mat you don’t need any parchment paper.
  3. Squashing the butter and mixing with sugar.  Weigh the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix them together until they are combined and smooth. The mixture shouldn’t be light and fluffy like we do for cakes. This step is not like ‘creaming’ in cake making. We just have to combine the ingredients so that sugar dissolves in butter. We don’t have to beat in loads of air that will lead to crack or spongy biscuits.
  4. Just combining the other ingredients. Add the flour and other flavouring agent and mix with a spoon. Then try to combine everything together with light hands. Be gentle as much as possible. Do not put pressure or knead the dough. Kneading is required in bread making not here. Try to work on biscuit or cookie dough as little as possible. At this stage you can keep your dough refrigerated for 2-3 days to improve the texture and develop the flavour though it’s not mandatory.
  5. Shape your biscuit/cookies as desired. Biscuits are usually cut with cookie cutters. Flatten the dough by rolling out and then cut into desired shape. Do not forget to sprinkle little flour on the surface before rolling to avoid the sticking. If making cookies, you can shape them with your hands too. This is the point where we can see the difference between the biscuit and cookies. Biscuits are usually rolled and cut as they don’t usually spread while baking because of minimal gluten formation and no addition of raising agents (baking soda). Yes, there’s no need to add raising agent to a biscuit dough. However, you may add a little raising agent in cookie dough as we like cookies to spread (most of the time).
  6. Chill. If making biscuits, chill them now for atleast 15-20 minutes. It will firm up the biscuits and hence the shape will be retained while baking. This step can be skipped while cookie making. Though you can follow this step if you don’t want your cookies to spread much.
  7. Bake. This is the most essential part of biscuits/cookies making. The texture depends a lot on the oven temperature and for how long you have baked. For a shortbread style biscuits, where you want a pale colour but crisp bake, you need to bake on lower temperature like 160 degrees C. Baking time depends on the thickness of biscuit too. If a biscuit is thick then it may need longer time to bake. For a snappy or chewy biscuits/cookies, bake at higher temperature. High temperature dries out the outer surface quickly making them caramelised and giving that chew texture. However, you need to be very careful while baking at high temperature as it won’t take long to make them bitter.
  8. Always leave to cool on the tray or cooling rack. They have to reach to room temperature before storing otherwise the steam can lead to the condensation and they can become soft.

Read the tips and tricks on storing cookies given in this post  – Eggless Orange Cookies

Some more cookies recipe here :

Homemade Digestive biscuits,

Nutty & Fruity Biscotti

Aussies traditional Anzac biscuits

Hearty and healthy Oats and Almond cookies

THANDAI flavoured NAN KHATAI

Chocolate rosette cookies

Salted cookies with carom and onion seeds

Coca Cristina or Valencian almond cookies

Spicy Spinach crackers – (baked masala palak mathari)

Mocha finger cookies dipped in chocolate

Super crunchy eggless wholewheat rusks

Cheddar & Poppy seeds CRACKERS

Toasted Almond crescent cookies

Special Tips : 
  • The type of flour and sugar used in the cookie will have a great effect on final product. So always select the fresh and finer ingredients.
  • Cookie dough with higher amount of sugar and butter spreads more resulting in thinner and crunchier cookies.
  • The finer the sugar texture, the finer will be cookies texture. If you use powdered sugar or sugar with very light texture, then the cookies will have more smooth texture.
Troubleshooting : 

The cookie dough cracks when rolling it.

Solution : Try covering the dough with cling film and gathering everything together. If it doesn’t work then sprinkle a little milk just to combine them together. If the dough seems too cold then you can leave it on room temperature until softened.

Why is shortbread hard and snappy?

Solution : The most common reason for this is baking for too long at too high temperature.Turn down your oven temperature a bit for better result next time. Also, remember not to work too much on dough.

Why my cookies are soft and pale?

Solution : The answer is they are under baked. They are not baked for enough time and still contain moisture that makes them soft after cooling down. If they look dark but soft then turn down your oven temperature and bake for longer time. Check your baking tray isn’t be too thick. This can also lead to soft bottom. If you have not cooled down them properly before storing then it can become soft too. In such cases, bake them again at 150 C for 5-10 minutes.

Why my cookies go flat and spread out too much?

Solution : There are a couple of reasons. If you over cream butter and sugar then they will spread out. If there’s too much butter in the recipe then also cookies spread out and go flat. Too much sugar also helps in spreading. Make sure you read the recipe correctly and use proper amount. Also chill your dough before baking. Make sure you don’t place your cookie on hot or warm baking trays.

Why my cookies are not chewy?

Solution : Less butter, less sugar, less temperature. Add a little more butter or sugar next time. Check the correct temperature. Higher fat higher temperature yields chewy cookies.

The cookies brown too much at the bottom.

Solution. Bake them at higher rack. It usually happens when heating element of the oven is at the bottom. If you use foil paper instead of baking parchment then also cookies brown quickly at the bottom. Use double baking paper in such cases. Also lower the oven temperature a bit.

At what rack should I bake my cookies?

Solution : Cookies are baked mostly on the middle rack of the oven.

The cookies are hard after cooling down.

Solution : Cookies are over baked. Take out the cookies out of the oven according to specified time in the recipe. The cookie may look soft when they are done but it will firm up after cooling down.

Why are my biscuits or cookies tough? 

Solution : First reason could be improper measurement and addition of extra flour. It can also be due to over working of the dough. Next time remember to follow the recipe to the T and handle the dough with TLC.

FAQs :

What is the difference between shortbread and cookies?

Answer : shortbread are types of biscuit that’s made with 1 part sugar, 2 part butter and 3 part flour. No raising agents or eggs are used. While in cookies eggs and raising agents can be used. Shortbread is baked at lower temperature to avoid browning while cookies are baked on higher temperature and can be darker compared to shortbread. shortbread are buttery and crumbly while cookies can be chewy.

What is the difference between butter cookies and Shortbread?

Answer : The main difference is in the amount of sugar used in both the recipes. Butter cookies are sweeter than the shortbread. A shortbread is a very basic type of biscuit that uses fixed ratio of butter:sugar:flour. However, butter cookies uses more sugar and sometimes eggs too in the recipe. Shortbread will never have egg in it. Butter is the dominant flavour in shortbread while in butter cookies sweetness takes the after taste. 

Difference between baking powder and baking soda

Answer : They both are leavening agent/raising agent but chemically different.

Baking soda

  • It has sodium bicarbonate.
  • It requires an acidic ingredient to get activated.
  • can not be substituted for baking powder.
  • Baking soda can be used for other purpose like cleaning.
  • It can last long.

Baking powder

  • It has 1 part of baking soda, 1 part of corn starch and 2 parts of cream of tartar.
  • It already has acid in it.
  • It can be substituted for baking soda.
  • Baking powder is used only in baking.
  • Once opened, baking powder should be used within 6 months.

Coca Cristina or Valencian almond cookies

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Valencian almond cookies
Valencian almond cookies
Delicious, chewy, melt in mouth, these Valencian almond cookies are made with ground almond and eggs. And yes, they are gluten-free!

This recipe is contributed by a very loving friend of mine Ishika Uppal. She is a very talented young home chef who creates nothing but magic in her kitchen. Her bakes are the feast to the eyes. Read here to know more about her. 

How to make Coca Cristina/Valencian almond cookies

Valencian almond cookies
Valencian almond cookies

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes
Baking equipment used: a baking tray
Serves: Six 4 inches size Coca Cristina

Ingredients : 

2 large eggs at room temperature
83.4 gram of blanched almond flour/almond meal
86 gram of caster sugar
Lemon zest of half a lemon
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method : 
  • Preheat oven to 180 C/160 C fan-assisted/350 F/gas 4.
  • Line the baking sheet with silicone mat and set aside.
  • In a bowl, add almond meal, cinnamon, lemon zest and mix well.
  • Separate the egg whites from the yolks and place the egg whites in a bowl
    and beat them well till it becomes frothy.
  • Start adding sugar and beat until you get a stiff peak. When you tilt the bowl, it shouldn’t fall.
  • To this, gradually add lightly beaten egg yolks.
  • Add almond meal, lemon zest, cinnamon mixture.
  • Using a plastic spatula gradually fold in everything without disturbing the egg white too much.
  • Divide the batter into six and place it in a parchment paper rounds of 4 inch circles like this.
  • Make sure not to disturb the dough too much, even though it looks like mound before baking like this. It will become flat after baking.
  • Bake it in a preheated oven for about 12 minutes or until the sides becomes brown in colour and center is baked.
  • Let it cool over a rack.
  • Store coca cristinas tightly wrapped in at room temperature for two or three days or in the freezer.
Coca Cristina/Valencian Almond Cookie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious, chewy, melt in mouth, these Valencian almond cookies are made with ground almond and eggs. And yes, they are gluten-free!
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: Valencian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 83.4 g of blanched almond flour/almond meal
  • 86g of caster sugar
  • Lemon zest of half
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C/160 C fan-assisted/350 F/gas 4.
  2. Line the baking sheet with silicone mat and set aside.
  3. In bowl add almond meal, cinnamon, lemon zest and mix well.
  4. Separate the egg whites from the yolks and place the egg whites in a bowl
  5. and beat them well till it becomes frothy.
  6. Start adding sugar and beat until you get a stiff peak.
  7. When you tilt the bowl, it shouldn't fall.
  8. To this, gradually add lightly beaten egg yolks.
  9. Add almond meal, lemon zest, cinnamon mixture.
  10. Using a plastic spatula gradually fold in everything without disturbing the egg white too much.
  11. Divide the batter into six and place it in a parchment paper rounds of 4 inch circles like this.
  12. Make sure not to disturb the dough too much, even though it looks like mound before baking like this. It will become flat after baking.
  13. Bake it in a preheated oven for about 12 minutes or until the sides becomes brown in color and center is cooked.
  14. Let it cool over a rack.
  15. Store cocas cristinas tightly wrapped in room temperature for two or three days or in the freezer.

 

Salted cookies with carom and onion seeds

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Salted cookies with carom and onion seeds
Salted cookies with carom and onion seeds
These salted cookies, with a little hint of sweetness, have an amazing taste and are great snacking option at the tea time. It’s really easy to make and the flavours of carom seeds and onion seeds are just great!

This is another guest post by my friend Reena Khalkho. Remember her EGGLESS extra dark chocolate cake frosted with chocolate mousse? She’s here again with one more delicacy. Read here to know the baker behind this beautiful bake.

How to make salted cookies with carom and onion seeds

Salted cookies with carom and onion seeds
Salted cookies with carom and onion seeds
INGREDIENTS:

1 & 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 & 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion seeds (known as kalonji in Hindi)
1 teaspoon carom seeds (known as ajwain in Hindi)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Milk as required

METHOD:
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/180 C fan-assisted/400 F/gas 6.
  • Sieve flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together then mix butter to it. Lightly mix everything well.
  • Now add milk gradually little by little to make a soft dough.
  • Sprinkle some dry flour on the rolling surface and roll the dough into 1/2 cm thick.
  • Spread onion seeds and carom seeds on it and press a little with the help of rolling pin. Cut the cookies into desired shape using a cutter.
  • Now put the cookies on the baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake in the preheated oven for 17-18 minutes.
  • Take out the cookies and let them cool for 5-8 minutes in the baking tray itself then transfer to the wire rack.
  • Cool completely and store in an airtight jar.
Salted cookies with carom and onion seeds
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 12-15
Ingredients
  • 1 & ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 & ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion seeds (known as kalonji in Hindi)
  • 1 teaspoon carom seeds (known as ajwain in Hindi)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Milk as required
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/180 C fan-assisted/400 F/gas 6.
  2. Sieve flour, sugar, salt and baking powder then mix butter to it. Lightly mix everything well.
  3. Now add milk gradually little by little to make a soft dough.
  4. Sprinkle some dry flour on the rolling surface and roll the dough into ½ cm thick.
  5. Spread onion seeds and carom seeds on it and press a little with the help of rolling pin. Cut the cookies into desired shape using a cutter.
  6. Now put the cookies on the baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake in the preheated oven for 17-18 minutes.
  7. Take out the cookies and let them cool for 5-8 minutes in the baking tray itself then transfer to the wire rack.
  8. Cool completely and store in an airtight jar.

Chocolate rosette cookies with cinnamon infused Belgian dark chocolate ganache

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Chocolate rosette cookies sandwiched with cinnamon flavoured ganache
Chocolate rosette cookies sandwiched with cinnamon flavoured ganache
Chocolate rosette cookies with cinnamon flavoured ganache, made with Belgian dark chocolate, is a crowd pleaser dessert. You can make them for kids birthday party or for valentine’s day or for any get together.

Though it looks too pretty but it’s really easy to make.  Continue reading Chocolate rosette cookies with cinnamon infused Belgian dark chocolate ganache

Mango and Saffron Opera cake

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Mango and saffron opera cake
Mango and saffron opera cake
Opera cake, a French CLASSIC, is made with layers of almond sponge (also called Jaconde in French) soaked in coffee syrup layered with ganache and coffee buttercream and covered in a chocolate glaze.

Here, I have tried to give this cake a complete makeover with mango and saffron twist. Almond sponge are soaked in saffron syrup and layered with mango buttercream and mango mouse. Continue reading Mango and Saffron Opera cake

THANDAI flavoured NAN KHATAI (Indian shortbread) with homemade thandai mix

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Thandai flavoured Nan Khatai
Thandai flavoured Nan Khatai
Thandai, a chilled almond flavoured beverage, is an integral part of Holi. Holi, the festival of colours, is the celebration of arrival of spring and is being celebrated by Indians across the globe.

When the mother nature adorns herself with spring blossoms, we play with colours to celebrate it. Continue reading THANDAI flavoured NAN KHATAI (Indian shortbread) with homemade thandai mix