It’s been a long long time, I participated in the last Daring Baker’s challenge. Every month, I get excited about the challenge and wait for it be revealed. But there is very bad habit, which I have developed and that is to keep delaying it till the last week of the submission. And then I end up realizing that 27th has gone past and I am still there uninitiated. Hopeless…and then I start repenting it for missing it again.
But when I read about this month’s challenge, It made me super excited. I had planned to bake this off as soon as possible and I was there with this one done and dusted much before the final date. I was so relieved to have done this finally…that too after such a long break.
Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious!
Theme was Indian, and I felt more comfortable doing this, partly because the recipes were simple and doable. And also because, it made me feel proud. All three recipes were really wonderful, yielding perfect results with all of them. Aparna encouraged us to make our own Mawa (reduced milk) at home, which is more readily available in any sweet shop in India.
Bolinhas De Coco (coconut and semolina cookies) were just perfectly sweet, neither over nor scant. The only problem I faced that the cookies became softer the next day. But they were nonetheless delicious.
Masala cookies reminded me of the diamond shaped miniature cumin cookies, my father used to buy us. And of course, my grandmother used to keep jars full of those masala cookies when we used to visit her place during summer vacations. The only difference these have is in their bigger size.
Amazing amazing recipes from Daring Baker this month. Thank you Aparna for sharing the treasure with us!
For the Mawa:
1 litre (4 cups) full fat milk
For the cake:
1/2 cup unsalted Butter (soft at room temperature)
3/4 cup packed crumbled mawa
1-1/4 cups castor sugar
3 large eggs
5 to 6 cardamom pods, powdered
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts
- To make mawa, Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably a non-stick one. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until reduces to about a quarter of its original volume. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.
- Stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides or bottom of the pan and get burnt.
- Once the milk has reduced to about one fourth of quantity, lower the heat to low and let cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance. There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be moist and not stick to the sides of the pan.
- Remove the pan from heat and transfer the mawa to a bowl and let it cool completely. Then cover and refrigerate it for a day or two (not more) till you’re ready to make the cake.
- For the cake, Preheat the oven to 180 degree C. Beat the butter, the crumbled mawa and the sugar in a largish bowl, using a hand held electric beater, on high speed until soft and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed till well incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and beat till mixed well.
- Sift the cake flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt onto the batter and beat at medium speed and well blended.
- Divide the batter into 12 paper cups and sprinkle the pistachio nuts over them and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until top of the cakes spring back when touched gently.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Bolinhas De Coco
2 cups fresh grated coconut, packed
1-1/2 cups semolina
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 large eggs
8 to 10 pods cardamom, powdered (about 1-1/2 teaspoon)
- Run the grated coconut in your processor or the small jar of your blender a couple of times so that the flakes are smaller and uniform in texture. Do not grind into a paste. Keep aside.
- Put the semolina in a pan and toast/ roast it, over low to medium heat, until it starts giving off an aroma, and looks like it’s about to start changing colour. This should take a couple of minutes. Do not brown. Transfer the semolina into a bowl and keep aside.
- In the same pan, pour the water and add the sugar to it. Place it on medium heat and keep stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Once the sugar has dissolved, keep stirring the solution and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. The sugar solution should just begin to start forming a syrup but is still watery. Do not cook until it forms a thick syrup.
- Add the toasted/ roasted semolina and mix well. Then add the coconut, salt and ghee (or melted butter) and mix well. Put the pan back on the stove, and over medium heat stir the coconut mixture until it is really hot and easily forms a thick clump. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat and let the semolina coconut mixture cool to room temperature. Transfer this into a bowl or container, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, ideally overnight. For really fluffy biscuits/ cookies, the overnight rest is recommended.
- The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Lightly beat the yolks with a fork to break them and add to the dough. Also add the powdered cardamom and mix well with a wooden spoon or fork.
- Whisk the egg whites by hand until frothy and add to the dough. Mix well till incorporated.
- Refrigerate this dough for about half an hour so it firms up a bit. Preheat your oven to moderate 180°C. Line your baking trays with parchment or grease them well with some ghee or melted butter.
- Take the dough out and pinch off walnut sized bits of dough. The dough should be firm enough to handle without difficulty. If the dough is sticking to your palms, lightly dust your palms with flour before shaping the dough. Roll the bits of dough into balls and then flatten them very slightly.
- Decorate the top by marking criss-crosses, with a table knife. Press down a bit but not too deep or right through the biscuit/ cookie. Use up all the dough this way.
- Place the shaped dough on the baking trays leaving a little space between them. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until they’re a golden brown and done. Let them cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then transfer to racks to cool completely.
- Store the biscuits/ cookies in airtight containers.
1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ragi (millet) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 gm chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
3/4 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
1-1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorn, crushed coarsely
1-1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and crushed coarsely
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped curry leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander/ cilantro
3 to 4 tablespoons cold yogurt
1-1/2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (or white sesame seeds)
A little oil to brush the tops of the biscuits/ cookies
- Put both flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl of a food processor and add the pieces of chilled butter. Pulse until the mixture takes on the texture of breadcrumbs.
- Now add the chopped green chilies, finely grated ginger, crushed peppercorn and cumin, sugar, the chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves. Pulse a couple of times to mix well.
- Add 2 tablespoons of yogurt and pulse again. Add one more tbsp of yogurt (or two, as much as needed), and pulse again until the dough just comes together and clumps together. You want a moist dough, not a wet one – somewhat like pie dough.
- Do not over process or knead. The dough should be just moist enough for you to use your hands and bring everything together to shape into a ball. Flatten it into a disc and cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least hour. You can also leave it overnight (up to about 24 hours) and work on it the next day.
- Preheat your oven to moderate 180°C and line your baking trays with parchment or grease them with oil.
- Lightly dust your working surface and roll out the dough to 1/8”(3 mm) thickness. Sprinkle the sesame seeds uniformly over the dough and use your rolling pin, very lightly, to press them in.
- Using cutters of your choice , cut out biscuits/ cookies and place them on lightly greased baking trays. Brush a very thin coat of oil over them. This will help them brown while baking.
- Bake them for about 20 to 25 minutes or till they’re done and golden brown on the top. Let them cool on the trays for about 5 minutes and then cool them on racks. Once they’re completely cool, they should be a bit crunchy and not chewy.