Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

A jarful of Sugar Cookies, that’s my Christmas wish! What’s yours?

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Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

These Gingerbread Cookies are here to cast their sweet spell on you this Christmas! ❤

Gingerbread Cookies

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Friendship, Chocolate & Gilmore Girls

Friendship, Chocolate & Gilmore Girls

Join us, as my lovely friend Monita and I celebrate our first Friendaversary with gorgeous Chocolate Madeleines, Brookies (Brownie Cookies!) and our shared love for the ‘Gilmore Girls’ in a sweet, virtual get together! 🙂 ❤

GG Chocolate Collab Winola&Monita 2

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Lemon Cranberry Biscotti

Christmas came early to The Foodscape in the form of these Lemon Cranberry Biscotti! ❤

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Mini Cherry Galettes

These Mini Cherry Galettes are the perfect treat for all you home chefs and bakers who’d rather cook up a storm raging with delicious flavours than spend hours having something look restaurant worthy! Don’t get me wrong, I love making desserts that look super pretty. But some days, I just want good ol’ sweet, fruity, pastry-perfect dessert that doesn’t require too much effort. Dessert that can be prepared relatively quickly; dessert that doesn’t leave a tonne of dishes for me to clean up later! 😛 And these Mini Cherry Galettes tick all those boxes! 🙂

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Last-minute Chocolate Fudge

IMG_9057I think we can all agree that Christmas prep can be quite hectic. Between the decorating, cleaning, hosting family and friends, cooking multiple elaborate meals for them and getting on track with your Christmas baking and candy making, it’s hard to catch your breath during the holiday season. I face the same every year. Which is why I love this recipe for Last-minute Chocolate Fudge so much. You just need five ingredients – stuff you’ll always find in your pantry if you’re a baker, and/or a dessert person –  to whip it up, and 15 minutes later, Voila! Your Chocolate Fudge is ready! Minus the setting time, of course!

I like to put together this chocolate fudge a day or two before Christmas so that it sets into a nice hard layer that can be cut easily. You don’t want to make it much in advance, because, well, there won’t be a crumb remaining till Christmas! Remember those Christmas Tree Brownie Pops I posted about a few days ago? Yeap, not a morsel remaining! 😛

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So without further ado, here’s the recipe for my Last-minute Chocolate Fudge.

Here’s what you need:

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  • Dark Chocolate – 400 g, roughly chopped
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – 400 ml (It’s called Milkmaid in India)
  • Unsalted Butter – 30 g
  • Walnuts – 200 g
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 and 1/2 tsp

Here’s how you make it:

IMG_8850Step 1: Place the butter, dark chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir slowly, making sure to mix the melted butter, chocolate and condensed milk without incorporating too much air into the mixture.

Step 2: Once the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is dark and glossy, take it off the heat. At this point, add in the vanilla extract and fold slowly. Make sure not to overheat and avoid stirring too swiftly – this could cause the fudge to turn grainy.

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IMG_8858Step 3: Add the chopped walnuts into the chocolate mixture and fold until well incorporated. Then pour the mixture into a box/baking tin lined with aluminium foil or parchment paper and smooth the surface with a spoon or offset spatula. Leave the fudge uncovered at room temperature to set for about 5-7 hours, or even overnight if you wish. Once the fudge layer is hard to the touch, pull it out of the box/tin and cut into squares and grab a bite before the chocolate lovers in your family get their hands on them! 😛

This fudge is smooth, luscious and oh-so-chocolaty. Once you’ve popped a piece into your mouth, it takes all of your strength to stop. The dark chocolate makes it rich and decadent, the condensed milk sweetens it up just the right amount and the walnuts add their crunchy bitter nuttiness to the fudge giving it a good bite. So wonderfully melt-in-the-mouth. 🙂

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It’s Christmas eve, and if there’s one candy you must make for tomorrow, let this Last-minute Chocolate Fudge be the one! You’re going to love it, and the family is going to adore you all the more for making it! 😀

Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! May your day be filled with the joy of your loved ones’ company and tonnes of fun! 😀

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Before I go, here’s a few tips for the fudge:

  • You can substitute walnuts with any other nut (or a mixture of many) you like  – pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios. You could also make a Fruit N’ Nut version by adding raisins, cranberries and candied cherries to the chocolate mixture.
  • You could always leave out the vanilla extract or substitute it with any dessert liqueur – kahlua and rum go great!
  • It is imperative that you leave the fudge to set at room temperature. Do not refrigerate it as it may set faster, but will melt immediately when taken out to cut.
  • Once cut, store the chocolate fudge in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Christmas Tree Brownie Pops

Christmas is my favourite time of year! I love putting up the tree, lighting candles around the house, the sweet aroma of baked goodies and traditional kuswar (Mangalorean Christmas confectionery) being made in the kitchen while carols play in the background. The whole nine yards.

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Last Christmas (no, I didn’t give you my heart! 😛 ) I was busy with what felt like a million orders for traditional Rich Fruit Christmas Cake, that I had little time to spare to make any other holiday goodies. I just whipped up a batch of last-minute chocolate fudge and that was that. This year I have tonnes of time on my hands and thanks to my major baking plans, that means tonnes of flour and frosting smeared all over my clothes. (Just how I like it!) No seriously, I ought to invest in a nice apron one of these days!

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In between all the Christmas-prep madness last year, as I was flipping the pages of my favourite magazine BBC GoodFood (I love the Middle East, India and UK versions) I came across this feature wherein a circular cake had been cut into wedges and frosted to look like individual Christmas trees. It was a brilliant idea and they looked stunning and so rare – I was glad for once it wasn’t all about the gingerbread man . So this year, I decided to take inspiration from that feature, thus creating my very own Christmas Tree Brownie Pops and here I am sharing them with you!

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Here’s what you need to make these cute Christmas treats.

For the Brownies:

  • Dark Chocolate – 150 g
  • Butter – 113 g, cold and cubed
  • Cocoa Powder – 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – 160 g
  • Eggs – 3
  • All Purpose Flour – 95 g
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Walnuts – 100 g, coarsely chopped

For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • Butter – 120 g, softened
  • Icing sugar – 200 g, sifted
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  • A few drops of green gel food colouring
  • Sprinkle of your choice
  • Pop sticks

Here’s how you make them:

Step 1: In a bowl, mix together butter and dark chocolate and place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Allow the butter and chocolate to melt, giving it an occasion stir, until it is well-combined and luscious.

Step 2: Take the bowl off the heat and sift in cocoa powder and sugar.

 

Step 3: Beat in one egg at a time, making sure to beat quickly in order to trick the egg into not cooking in the warm chocolate mixture.

 

Step 4: Blend in the flour and the vanilla extract until just incorporated. Then add in the chopped walnuts and give it a final mix.

 

Step 5: Pour the batter into a 9-inch circle baking tin greased and lined with parchment paper. Pop it into the preheated oven and bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 20 – 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs attached to it.

To make the Vanilla Buttercream: Blend butter, icing sugar, food colouring and vanilla extract until it forms a light and creamy frosting that holds its shape when piped.

The Last Step: Once cooled, cut the brownies into wedges. Then watch the below video wherein I show you how to decorate these pretty Christmas Tree Brownie Pops!  (Psst, this is The Foodscape’s first video; please do show some love. And follow the channel too!) 🙂

These brownie pops are gooey, nutty and just spectacular. The dark chocolate really gives it a wonderful rich flavour, while the walnuts add that crunch and welcome bitterness that I love in my brownies! And the concept of brownies in a Christmas Tree avatar is a complete winner! 😀

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It’s a great idea for an edible gift too, though I would suggest decorating it with royal icing instead of buttercream in that case. You don’t want your frosting decorations all smudged, so the quick-drying properties of royal icing will come to your rescue in such a situation. Oh, and without a doubt, everyone, both young and old, will surely love these. They are colourful, Christmasy and chocolaty, what’s not to love?

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Through this post, I hope I brought a little Christmas cheer to your home! 🙂 Try this recipe out, it is easy-peasy and ready in a jiffy. Happy holiday baking! 😀

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

There is nothing like this. Trust me, you will never want to stop eating this. There is no such thing as too much Sticky Toffee Pudding. This is the BEST dessert ever! Period.

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It was a usual laid-back evening. Curled up on the couch, the boyfriend and I were putting ourselves through another excruciatingly-torturous-for-our-stomachs episode of the current season of Masterchef USA that is being aired on Star World. The contestants were to cater for the wedding of an extremely picky couple. We were both sitting there, clutching our hungry tummies, watching the guests gobble up the glorious-looking food, when chef and host Gordon Ramsay produced the dessert for the night – his signature Sticky Toffee Pudding with Brown Bread Ice-Cream. That just did it for us – now our stomach’s hurt like they had been punched in the gut. I mean, where on earth were we to find those smooth, soft date puddings, doused in a sticky salty toffee sauce? (Where… WHERE?)

That was our sorry state a couple of days ago.

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Today, about a week after that really depressing-for-the-stomach ordeal, I woke up with a strong urge to bake. I have these out-of-the-blue urges to bake something immediately, and once that feeling has overcome me, it is very hard to shake it off. That is the trigger; and within minutes I find myself determinedly searching through the internet for ideas to try something I’ve never baked before. So today, I decided to put an end to my torment and Sticky Toffee Puddings is what I made.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding is a traditional English dessert – a moist steamed date cake drenched in a warm toffee sauce. It is one of those desserts which are to be eaten warm and a dollop of vanilla ice-cream is the perfect accompaniment to it. I am not a big fan of steamed puddings – I find the texture to be sludgy. So, instead of a steamed base cake, I decided to bake the date cakes instead.

Here’s what you’re going to need for the date cakes:

  • Boiling Water – 1/2 cup
  • Dates – 225 g, pitted and chopped finely
  • All Purpose Flour – 1 and 1/3 cups
  • Baking Powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Butter – 6 tbsp
  • Dark Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Eggs – 2
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  • Cocoa Powder – 1 tsp

This is how you make them:

  • Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
  • Soak the dates in the water. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In another bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until soft. Incorporate the eggs one at a time.
  • Then add the soaked, softened dates into the mixture.
  • Stir in the flour mixture into the batter until flour streaks are no longer seen. Add vanilla extract and cocoa powder and mix.
  • Divide the batter into the greased cups of 12-tin muffin pan and pop them into the oven. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Once your little date muffins are done, take them out and cool them upside-down on a rack. While the cakes are baking, you can make the toffee sauce on the side.

Here’s what you’re going to need for the sauce:

  • Unsalted butter – 113 g
  • Dark Brown Sugar – 1 cup
  • Heavy Cream – 3/4 cup
  • Cinnamon Powder – a tiny pinch
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp

This is how you prepare the Sticky Toffee Sauce:

  • In a skillet, melt butter and brown sugar on low heat.
  • Once melted, gradually add in the heavy cream while stirring continuously until the sauce becomes thick.
  • Add in the cinnamon powder and salt and bring to a boil.
  • Once it bubbles, take it off the heat.

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Once you’ve got both – the cakes and the toffee sauce –  ready, it’s time to plate up. Place the cakes on a plate and with a skewer or a toothpick, prick holes into the top of the cake – this is to make way for the sauce to seep into the cake. Then pour the sauce on to the cakes until they are covered completely. Then pop the plate into the microwave oven for a few seconds just to warm it up a bit. And lastly, dig in!

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Ideally, this dessert is perfect for a chilly winter day. The wholesome warmth oozing from the flavor of the dates and the sweet and salty stickiness of the sauce, all come together to fill your mouth with a delicious velvet texture and make your insides cave in and crumble with its decadent pleasure. But this dessert is just as good on a hot summer’s day too – that extra bit of ice-cream will surely help.

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I must be honest, I didn’t know how these sticky puddings would turn out and if any of my loved ones would like them. Having never had anything like it before, I had that feeling of uncertainty constantly nagging me while I was putting these together. But one bite taken by the boyfriend and I had nothing to worry about anymore – “Oh my God, Babe,” he said, “this is freaking amazing!” ( And after a little playful coaxing, I got him to admit that he thinks I’m a genius) My mum hasn’t tried them yet, but she loves dates and she’s excited that the dessert is made with only brown sugar, I’m sure she’s going to love them. Personally, the first time I took a bite just after baking them, I felt they were okay. But then a couple of hours later, I gobbled one up and I immediately teleported to sweet sweet heaven!

Once you take a bite, you’re just going to keep coming back for more.

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