16 December 2012

Butter Cookies with Chocolate Leaves

Time for the jingle bells and celebrations.. Its that time of the year when the whole world is celebrating. Its the time for festive cooking. This year lets gear up and give our friends and family home made gifts from our kitchen. How about butter cookies with a twist? Butter cookies with chocolate leaves.

Recipe adapted from here

For the cookie dough:
All purpose flour - 400 g
Sugar - 125 g
Butter - 200 g (I used unsalted cold butter)
Egg - 1
Salt - 1/4 tsp

For the chocolate leaves
Dark chocolate - 200 g
fresh rose leaves

Preheat oven to 180 degree C for 15 minutes.
Chop the butter into cubes.
In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients and knead it to form a ball.
Divide it into 3 portions and knead again.
Place one roll at a time on butter paper/ parchment paper and roll it out to a thickness of 0.3cm.
Pile each flattened dough in between parchment papers and freeze for 30 minutes.
Remove from freezer and cut out the dough using cookie cutters of your choice.
Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment and freeze again for 15 minutes.
Bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until it is just browned at the edges. (I baked it for 20 minutes).
Transfer it to a cooling rack.
Now to make chocolate leaves wash and pat dry rose leaves preferably small ones.
Melt chocolate using a double boiler method or in a microwave.
Using a small paint brush, paint the back of the leaves with chocolate. It has to be a thick even layer.
Place it slowly on a baking sheet and freeze for 60 minutes.
Remove from freezer and gently peel out the leaves.
Use melted and cooled chocolate to fix the leaves on to the cookies and place in the refrigerator until set.

Always preheat the oven before baking.
If you freeze the cookies after cutting it out they don't lose shape.
While cutting out leaves, leave a part of the stem too so that it is easier to hold and paint the leaf with chocolate.
Place the chocolate leaves on the cookie only after the cookie has cooled down.

02 December 2012

Dosa / Indian Rice and Lentil Crepes

Who does not like a crispy dosa. I can have it at any time of the day be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Masala Dosas have become famous all over the world now. This is one breakfast that everyone loves at home. And the most frequently ordered breakfast at our resort. We always have cooking classes for our long stay guests on request and it feels so good to see them watch in awe how these beautiful crepes are made. And jump with joy when they get it right through trial and error. :) So as per my guests request here is the recipe for dosas we make at home.

Dosas are best made on a cast iron griddle. The texture is so different and lovely compared to the non stick pans. Dosas taste best with shallots sambar, coconut chutney and potato masala. We usually make coconut groundnut chutney at home.

Par boiled rice / Idly rice - 3 cups
Urad Dal / Skinned black gram (whole) - 1 cup
Chana Dal / Split chickpeas gram - 3 tbsp
Methi Seeds / Fenugreek Seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - as required

Soak all the ingredients except salt for 6 hours or minimum 3 hours. Fill with water so that the ingredients are submerged and there is water 2 inch above it.
Grind it into a paste (but not very fine paste, it should be slightly grainy) in a wet grinder. It should coat a spoon well.
Let the batter ferment overnight.
Add salt before making dosas.
Heat the seasoned griddle. It is very important that the griddle is of the right temperature. Drizzle little water and it should sizzle and evaporate immediately.
Turn the heat to medium low.
Take a laddle or even a small steel bowl and pour a laddle (approx 1/4 cup) of batter on to the griddle. Then start making concentric circles using this laddle or bowl in a quick motion.
Turn the heat to medium high.
Drizzle little oil or ghee on the dosa. Use a spatula to evenly spread the oil.
When the dosa turns golden on the edges and leaves the pan flip it. Turn the flame to low.
When the dosa is done flip it back and roll it.  Serve hot with sambar, coconut chutney and potato    bhaji. 

Tips to make the perfect dosa:
1. It is very important that the batter ferments well. If you are living in a cold region place the batter in a warm place. You can preheat an oven for 5 minutes. Switch off and then place the batter in it to ferment. Don't forget to close the oven. :)
2. The consistency of the batter should be thinner than idli batter and not too runny. If the batter is too thick add little water to get the right consistency. So it is better to add only as much water that is required to grind it. Water can be added later also.
3. Make sure the batter is stored in a vessel that can hold twice the amount of batter.
4. The griddle temperature should be right. If it is too hot you will not be able to spread the batter. If you have seen dosas made in open kitchen restaurants you will see that water is splashed on the griddle, wiped clean and then the dosa batter is poured.
5. If you have difficulty removing the dosas from the cast iron griddle smear little gingelly oil on it and wipe off with a kitchen tissue. Or dip a piece of onion in this oil and smear on it.
6. Chana Dal gives that golden colour to the dosas and fenugreek gives the fluffiness to the batter.
7. You can refrigerate the batter and use it for 2-3 days. But make sure you bring it back to room temperature before making dosas.
8. If you are making paper dosa just scrape off the excess batter from top of the dosas and there is no need to flip it. Just roll it once done.
9. It is better to have these crisp dosas as soon as you make it. The more you keep it, dosas become soggy and lose their crispiness.
10. Do not use the cast iron griddle used to make dosas for any other cooking purposes.