Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins for Baking Partners # 3 and Halloween

Theme for this month's Baking Partner's Challenge was Muffins or Cupcakes with Pumpkin as star ingredient. Reshmi of Easy Cook, Priya of Cook Like Priya and Julie of Erivum Puliyumm suggested three recipes of muffins and cupcakes. I baked Pumpkin chocolate chips Muffin suggested by Reshmi from Joy of baking. They tasted way too good, very soft, moist and delicious. Kids here loved it. Try out these cupcakes to make the Halloween fun filled and interesting for your kids :-)

Ingredients Used:-

  1. 1½ cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  5. ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  6. ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  7. ½ teaspoon salt
  8. ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  9. 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  10. 2 large eggs
  11. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  12. ¾ cup (180 ml) solid packed, canned pumpkin puree
  13. 1 cup (175 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

How I made It:-
  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F (177 degrees C).
  • Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. 
  • Take out and place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Makes 12 regular-sized muffins.
Note: The batter can be baked in a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan. Butter or spray the loaf pan with a non stick vegetable spray. Bake the loaf in a 350 degree F (177 degree C) oven for about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gulab Jamuns from Scratch for Cook-Ezee's 150th Post

Gulab Jamun is one of the most popular dessert in India and many countries in Indian Sub-continent. Traditionally, these are made with Khoya and flour together rolled into small balls and deep fried in low temperature then soaked in warm sugar syrup flavored with cardamom seeds and rose water. Here I have used  Milk powder available in Indian stores which is a great substitute for Khoya .The term Gulab Jamun comes from Gulab meaning  Rose referring to rose water scented syrup and Jamun a South Asian fruit with similar size and shape of that of Gulab Jamuns.

I wanted to do a dessert post on Cook-Ezee's 150th post and had been thinking of making something real quick which tastes fabulous as well. I got a perfect occasion to make these wonderful Gulab Jamuns last weekend as we planned for a friend's surprise baby shower party. Everyone relished the Jamuns which was very soft and melt-in mouth, dumplings perfectly sweetened by the syrup and well flavored with cardamom and rose water. And believe me it is not much of a labor, it is a very simple procedure, if you execute it with clear state of mind you are the winner and I'm sure the family will never want to eat the Jamun's from outside. :- ) So make them at home today and Enjoy !!!

The below recipe yields approx. 45 Gulab Jamuns, you can reduce the ingredients to half to make around 20- 25 Jamuns.

Ingredients Used:-
  1. Milk Powder - 2 Cups(Use low fat or high fat milk powder like Everyday available in Indian grocery stores, both works fine)
  2. All purpose powder/Maida - ½ Cup
  3. Baking Soda - ¼ tsp
  4. Unsalted Butter at room temperature -  5 tbsp
  5. Milk at room temperature - ¼ Cup(or just enough to knead the dough)
  6. Oil to deep fry
For Sugar Syrup
  1. Sugar - 2½ Cup
  2. Water - 3½ Cup
  3. Cardamom Pods coarsely ground - 4 or 5
  4. Rose Water - 2 tbsp(If you don't have them, opt out using it)
How I made It:-
  1. Combine milk powder, all purpose flour, baking soda and mix well with your clean, dry hand.
  2. Add butter and mix slowly with hands to get a crumbled flour mix for a while.
  3. Add milk little by little and knead well to form soft dough. If it crumbles add more milk and knead, if it  is very sticky add some flour and knead again. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile make the sugar syrup. Add water and sugar in a wide vessel, stir well till sugar is dissolved  and bring it to boil.
  5. Add cardamom and rose water and stir again. Reduce the heat to medium and let boil for another five minutes and take off the flame. 
  6. Make small balls out of the dough and roll it to smooth balls. 
  7. Heat oil in a kadai, keep the heat in medium flame. Drop one ball to check for the appropriate temperature. If the balls sinks first and rises up eventually the temperature is just perfect.
  8. Deep fry the balls, couple of them together, keep rolling them well so that balls are evenly cooked. Take them out and drain off in paper towels(Don't get them to deep dark brown which will result in bitter taste)
  9. Let the fried balls cooled down for a while.Check for the sugar syrup, it should be hot but not boiling. If you feel the syrup is cold just heat it up to make it medium hot.
  10. Drop the balls one by one, gently pressing the balls with a spoon to immerse in the syrup. Leave it for couple of hours till Jamun absorbs the sweetness from the syrup. 
  11. Garnish with slivered almonds or pistachios when ready to serve. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.
  12. I love to have them with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream.
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