Easy Microwave Marzipan

I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but can never turn down Marzipan, especially my homemade recipe make with ground Almond or Cashew nuts, Icing sugar and egg white. Typically Marzipan is made with powdered blanched, skinned and dried almonds, but if I can splurge, I try to buy Cashew nuts and powder that instead for a beautiful taste. Traditionally, Marzipan is made by cooking all the ingredients over a low flame. It requires your undivided attention and a lot of muscle power. A decade or so ago I figured out a way to make this relatively easily in the microwave, and this is the recipe I will share with you!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 100 gms(3.5 oz) ground almonds or almond meal
  • 200 gms (7 oz) icing sugar
  • 2 egg whites (40 -50 ml)
  • 2 drops almond essence

Instructions

  1. Process everything together with half the egg white and then process again
  2. Take the mixture out and add to a microwaveable plate, cover with cling film and zap in the microwave for 10 secs, 3 to 4 times
  3. Remove and scrape onto a board to cool
  4. Once cool add food colouring and knead adding extra icing sugar if sticky
  5. Divide and roll into balls and then press into the molds

Christmas Fruitcake with Rum, Brandy, Fruits & Nuts

View my step-by-step video

Your fruits need to be soaked for 20 – 365 days – Click here

For as long as I can remember, I loved to eat a piece of fruitcake at Christmas at my families or friends houses. Since my boys were little and my hubby doesn’t drink, I never attempted to make the cake. Since we started a fruitcake cook along on Traditional Goan Foodies, I was tempted to try this for myself. But not any fruitcake, I had certain standards even though I never made it before. One one I wanted to make sure I had all the fruit and nuts in it that I loved and had great color – raisins, prunes, mixed peel, orange peel,  candied ginger, glace cherries, cranberries, walnuts & almonds. I also used Fig jam and blackstrap molasses with the flour, eggs & butter and the presoaked fruit to make this fruitcake amazing!

I was lucky to get Leanne’s mom, Annie Mascarenhas’s fruitcake recipe. I was nervous in the beginning as I had such lofty goals but this recipe exceeded my expectations! Thank you Leanne, thank you Aunty Annie – I will be making this recipe every year till I die(morbid I know!)

Follow the recipe, but more importantly the video to make the perfect fruitcake!

Ingredients

  • 200 grams dry fruits soaked in Rum with Orange Peel
  • 125 grams All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 114 grams Butter room temp – 1 stick, 4 oz
  • 125 grams Sugar ( brown sugar gives a darker color)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 tbsp Blackstrap Molasses
  • 1 tsp Fig jam
  • 1 tsp Orange zest
  • 100 gms Walnuts and Almonds
  • more mixed Peel
  • Red and Green glace cherries
  • 1 tbsp chopped crystallized Ginger

Instructions

  1. Sieve the flour and add salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the butter at room temperature with sugar. –
  3. Add egg one at a time and keep beating –
  4. Add the  jam and orange zest to the mix – gradually fold the flour into the mix. –
  5. Add dry fruits and mix with a wooden spoon.
  6. Tap any air bubbles. –
  7. Preheat oven at 150 deg C (300 deg F).
  8. Pour the batter in a baking dish lined with parchment paper or grease the dish with butter. – Pour the batter in the baking dish and ensure it is even. –
  9. Bake for an hour and half and use a skewer to check if it is done. when skewer comes out clean your cake is ready.
  10. Remove from Oven and cool. Then poke a few holes and pour a tablespoon of rum.
  11. Repeat at least once a week before serving

Pistachio & Blackcurrant Thumbprint Cookies

View my step-by-step video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of Kin Community’s Cookie Collaboration, my Pistachio & Blackcurrant Thumbprint cookies are just perfect for the holidays. The Pistachio is the perfect marriage with the rich jammy Blackcurrant center. This cookie is great year round, but the vibrant colors lend beautifully to the holidays.

I’m not even sure how I got started making this recipe, I just know that I’ve always loved jammy thumbprint cookies and instead of paying a dollar each time at the local bakery near my work, I decided to make them myself. When I competed on Come Dine With Me Canada in 2011, I made these cookies as little parting gifts for my friends, if you watch that episode, I refer to it as my ‘favorite cookie’ and years later it still is. It wasn’t after my stint on CDWMC, that I realized I had a blackcurrant bush in my backyard. I’d had it for two years and just referred to the fruit as inedible berries. When Graham, a contestant on the show gave us some of his homemade jam, I had to try the same with my berries.

In the summer of 2011, I tried making jam for the first time with my mother and I’ve been doing this ever since. I think any fruity jam will work well in this recipe, but I have a soft corner for Blackcurrant.

Pistachio & Blackcurrant Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of jam
  • 1 cup chopped pistachios

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter and the sugar together and add the yolks one at a time
  2. Add the vanilla and the flour and baking soda
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, drop the balls of dough on a glass plate and refrigerate for 30 mins
  4. Flatten each one by hand and roll the outside in the chopped nuts
  5. Lay them back on the cookie sheet and use your thumb to make an imprint in the center of each one
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 5 - 7 mins
  7. Remove and cool on a cooling rack
  8. Heat the jam and using a very small spoon, add a dollop in each cookie depression
  9. They are good to serve as is, but if you leave them out for 24 hours, the jam dries up a bit, making it easy to pack and store

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/pistachio-blackcurrant-thumbprint-cookies/

How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake

View my step-by-step video

 

 

 

 

A slice of Rum or Brandy infused fruitcake heralds the warmth of Christmas. If a bite of boozy doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies, I don’t know what will! All over the world fuit cakes of different sizes and colours make their way over to the holiday table with great fanfare. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation and are guarded with pride.

 

In India, this cake is also served at weddings, perhaps because it’s very popular to marry in the Holiday season. This cake is slathered with royal icing and is decorated to perfection. The hard royal exterior icing, protects the juiciness of the cake within and makes a perfect slice.

 

Although my Mom was an amazing cook, she wasn’t too fond of baking and never made this cake, at least not to my knowledge. My grandmother and aunts did make a cake, but I never did ask for the recipe.

 

When I first immigrated to Canada and we bought our first house after Adam was born, I had this strong urge to learn how to make traditional Christmas sweets. My good friend Marianne came over an helped me make them. This was in 1998. Since then I have made so many sweets and some of them are online like my Kul Kuls, Rose Cookies & Marzipan. What I’ve never made till this year was a fruitcake and there’s always a first time.

 

I poured over many recipes on the internet, even though I never made it before, I’ve tasted plenty a fruitcake and I had a very clear vision of how this should turn out. I was lucky that my friend and co admin on the facebook group Traditional Goan Foodies, shared her Mom, Annie Mascarenhas’s recipe with me. I tweaked this ever so slightly to suit my taste and this cake exceeded my expectations – thank you aunty.

 

This post will include the process to soak the fruits and on Dec 15, I will update this with the process to make the cake. Some people soak their fruits for months upto a year. To each his own, INMHO, 20 – 30 days is plentiful to soak your fruit. I like to taste the rum in the fruit and maintain the texture as well. I’ve used a combination of black raisins, cranberries, mixed citrus peel and prunes but you can use any dry ruit of your choice. Instead of just using Rum, I’ve used a combination of Rum and Brandy.

Click here for the cake recipe!

How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake

Ingredients

  • Soaked Fruit
  • 50 gms black Raisins
  • 50 gms Cranberries
  • 50 gms mixed Citrus Peel
  • 50 gms Prunes
  • 1 tbsp Orange Peel
  • 50 ml Rum
  • 25 ml Brandy

Instructions

  1. Layer the fruit starting with the ones that would need the most soaking - raisins, cranberries, mixed peel and prunes
  2. Add the rum and brandy
  3. Top with the orange peel
  4. Store in a cool dark place
  5. Do not shake for 2 days to allow the bottom fruit to soak
  6. After 2 days shake periodically
  7. Soak for 20 - 30 days

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/boozyfruitcake/

Rose Cookies or Rose De Coque

View my step-by-step video

I don’t really have any memories of Rose Cookies growing up, but after we moved to Canada, I was quickly adopted by a wonderful woman who treated me like her own daughter. Every year she would make sure we were invited over with the rest of her family at Christmas and as our family grew our kids expected to be at Aunty Pam’s for Christmas. Many of the Goan traditions that I did not experience as a kid, mostly because I just wasn’t paying attention, was quickly learned and appreciated by spending time under her roof.

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One of my fondest memories were her large oversized steel tins also known as dhabbas which she likely imported from India that she would fill with Christmas goodies. One or more of these tins were always filled with Rose Cookies and I was always getting into trouble for opening it way too many times. I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but I loved the crunchy texture and the slight sweetness. I never bothered making these myself … why do it when Mama Pam was always around? Till one day she announced that she was leaving for Dubai! Her items were put into storage and her kids took stuff they could use. A lot of stuff got dumped in my garage in transit going to her daughter’s home in Ottawa. And there were the tins. Her daughter Tammy decided that she would have no use or space for those tins, and I happily took them off her hands.

I was excited to try out different recipes and adapt them to one I now find perfect! Every year, I fill my tins and send a picture to Mama Pam! You will also need a Rose Cookie tool, I found mine in India, but you can also find a similar one on Amazon. https://www.amazon.ca/Anantha-stick-cookie-maker-murukku/dp/B0163DJBIY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1481212009&sr=8-2&keywords=rose+cookie

Note: I usually make a large batch, but I halved it for you

Ingredients

  • 175 gms All purpose flour
  • 100 gms Rice flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 ml Coconut Milk
  • 200 ml Regular Milk
  • 175 gms Sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Beat all the liquid ingredients together
  2. Sift the flours together and add them in 1 tbsp at a time till you get a smooth batter
  3. Heat a kadai or wok with oil
  4. Make sure the oil is hot before dipping the Rose Cookie mold in the hot oil
  5. Dip in the batter quickly and back in the oil
  6. Free with a fork
  7. Lay them on kitchen towels to drain the excess oil
  8. Store the cold ones in a tin or air tight container

Crispy Rice Flour & Lentil Chaklis

chaklih

This is one of my favorite snacks! It’s cripsy and delicious and you cannot stop eating it. This is pretty popular all over India and goes by so many names, Chakli, Sakli, Murukku, Chakri. The recipe also varies quite a bit, some are made with rice flour and some are made with flour. I’ve never met a Chakli I didn’t like, however I do favor the lighter tasting rice flour and butter version. The recipe and ingredients are simple but you do need a Chakli press which is similar to a Spritz cookie gun. I’ve never tried using the gun for this snack but feel free to see if it works!

Crispy Rice Flour Chaklis

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup urad dhal, washed, soaked for minimum 6 hours and boiled till it's still holding it's shape but mushy.
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp hing (Asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 4 tsps butter
  • water only if required

Instructions

  1. The cooking time for the Urad dhal will depend on the process of cooking. If you're using a pressure cooker, it's almost done before the first whistle. If you're just boiling it in a pot, cover it and cook for about 20 mins.
  2. Drain most of the water.
  3. Process the urad dhal till it forms a puree. Cool
  4. In a food processor with a dough attachment add the rice flour, hing, salt, chilli powder, chilli flakes and the butter.
  5. Add the pureed Urad dhal a little at a time forming a nice dough
  6. You shouldn't need any additional water but if your dough is dry, add a little bit.
  7. Chill the dough.
  8. Add to a Chakli press and in a clockwise or anti clockwise motion start spiraling on a piece of parchment paper.
  9. Fry in hot oil for a few minutes.
  10. Make sure it's completely cool before taking it out and storing in an air tight container.

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/crispy-rice-flour-chaklis/

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Cinnamon Sugared Chocolate Truffles

 View my step by step video

ChocolateTruffles_H2

Who doesn’t love a Chocolate Truffle? These delicious morsels of chocolate are covered in nuts, sugars and other flavourings or dipped in Chocolate. They melt in your mouth, warm your soul and finish off a meal beautifully. Every year at this time the speciality Chocolate stores are filled with beautifully wrapped Chocolate Truffles boxes. Although they can be pretty expensive, they pretty much fly off the shelves. I’m going to make a basic Chocolate Truffle and roll it in some Cinnamon sugar to capture the flavours of the Holidays. This is so easy that you’d be tempted to make boxes of these treats for your own family and friends.

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For the best truffles you must use really good quality Chocolate that has a cocoa percentage of 70% or higher I’m using a semi sweet chocolate and I need about 200 gms chopped. You can either chop this by hand or dump them in a food processor to save time. This is covered in simmering cream and melted into a ganache. What I love about Chocolate Truffles is that you can customize them anyway you like by adding flavoured liqueurs to the ganache and experimenting with different coatings. I started with Cinnamon sugar but also made some rolled in icing sugar, grated chocolate and chopped nuts. This assortment makes a beautiful gift box for the holidays.

Cinnamon Sugared Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients

  • 200 gms dark chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsps Cinnamon Sugar

Instructions

  1. Chop the chocolate using a knife or food processor
  2. Heat the cream to a simmer
  3. Pour over the chocolate and leave for 30 seconds before stirring
  4. Once the chocolate has totally melted, add the flavourings if required and pour into a tupperware container and let set in the fridge for 4 hrs
  5. After 4 hours use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the chocolate and drop in the sugar before rolling between your clean hands
  6. Coat the truffles again in the sugar

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/cinnamon-sugared-chocolate-truffles/

Kul Kuls – Deep fried traditional cookie

Watch my step by step video

KukKuls_H

KulKuls are a traditional fried cookie made by Christians in India.  I have kept close to my heart for well over 20 years. In sharing this recipe, I’m paying homage to my aunt Celie who passed away a few weeks ago, way too young. She was one of the most loving and generous people and an amazing cook. Today I’m left behind with her memories and also some hand written recipes. This one is a gem – I’ve been making it for my family at Christmas every year. It’s not officially Christmas until the Kul Kuls are ready. If you love this recipe and I know you will, please take a moment to pray for my aunt in heaven and the people that love her who are left behind.

The history of KulKuls is vague, yet this delight is made by Goan, Mangalorean and East Indian Christians. Like any recipe, the ingredients vary. Some people use a little Semolina in their KulKuls and others like to encrust theirs in a sugared exterior. I like to think that the recipe that my aunt passed on to me is so unique that this will be your Christmas favourite, it certainly is my families fave.

Kul Kuls – Deep fried traditional cookie

Ingredients

  • 900 gms/1 lb 15 oz all purpose Flour
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 175 ml melted Ghee

Instructions

  1. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar and milk
  2. Add a pinch of salt and the flour a tbsp at a time
  3. Once the mixture starts to get firmer, switch to a dough hook
  4. Add all the flour and then slowly drip in the melted ghee
  5. Cover the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate till firm
  6. Unwrap once firm and divide into small balls
  7. Flatten and roll each one on a comb and seal
  8. Deep fry in hot oil till golden brown

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/kul-kuls-deep-fried-traditional-cookie/