Nothing gets me going like a good recipe and a new dish to bake. The planning, the excitement when the dish looks like its working out, the joy of seeing my family and friends gobble it up and eagerly looking forward to what I can bake next, everything about baking makes me happy (the messy kitchen counter top aside :p) Here's a peek into my kitchen, my cooking, my wonderland.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Spooks in a teacup

Spooks in a teacup
I'm going all out on Halloween cookies. Yes, we don't celebrate Halloween in India, but when you get a chance to make cute lil monster cookies, you take it. I chanced upon this idea long back from a picture I had saved some time ago. But not wanting to just give credit to an unknown picture, I dug deeper as I wanted to credit the idea to the rightful owner and after trawling around, I found her. The inspiration behind these cuties is from Meaghan Mountford and her delightful blog - The Decorated Cookie. If you haven't heard of her, head over to her blog by clicking on the link above and go ogle at her creations like I do. But wait, only on one condition. That you come back to my post. My family of spooks in a tea cup need your tender loving care :)
Spooks in a row

These cookie sticks are so easy that you could do them as a last minute Halloween idea. Just be prepared for family to just stare at them and not want to eat them. I know Halloween is supposed to be filled with scary monsters but try as I might, I cant get these to look scary. They look better looking as cute as a button. And if that weren't enough, I made them their very own family. Mamma spook, Pappa spook and two little spooklings who say Boo in unison. Ok, now before I die of cute overload, 

Here's what you will need:

  •  Cookie dough (You can use shortbread or sugar cookie dough for this). Here's a link to a good shortbread cookie recipe
  • Royal icing and Royal icing candy eyes. You can find my recipe for both here 
  • Food colouring of your choice
  • Piping bags
  • Candy flowers (optional)
Prepping mummy spook
  • Roll out your cookie dough and cut out strips of cookie, approximately 4 inches long and half to 3/4th inch wide.
  • Chill them for about ten minutes in the fridge.
  • Bake the cookies at 180 C for about ten minutes till the sides are slightly browned.
  • Once the cookies are cool, put some royal icing in your piping bag, snip off the end and pipe random squiggles for the mummy cookie. Refer to the pic on the right for instructions. You basically pipe diagonal lines all the way down and then the opposite side. Once that's done, drop in two candy eyes and leave to dry. Viola, you have your mummy cookie.
  • For the Dotted daddy, drop in thick dots of icing in any random pattern in your choice of colour and drop in two eyes on the top and leave to dry.
  • For the swirly baby, again, pipe swirls, going from the right to left or vice versa. Drop in eyes and leave to dry. Add candy flowers to some if you want to, or leave them as they are.
The family that spooks together sticks together
You can experiment with different colours and designs. Let me tell you an little secret. Spook cookies are messy little things, so this is something even someone with no cookie decorating experience can do. The messier the better, it adds more character to your cookies. So put on your baking gloves and bake and decorate these 'boo'tiful cookies.

Happy Halloween in advance to you'll and go ahead, Get, Set, Bake!...

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Baby shower cookies

Baby carriage cookies
Lately, I've begin to love making itty bitty cookies and more so, baby shower cookies. The lil onesies, the baby pram and the cute as a teacup baby bottles, they invoke an aww from just about anybody, guys included. So here are a few simple designs for baby shower cookies. 
Hand-cut baby bottle cookies

Inspirations are countless, from catalogues, to pictures of onesies, to the hundreds of pictures available online. I tend to keep it simple, so if you want to start off with baby shower cookie designs, these are perfect for you.

What you will need: 
Polka dotted onesies

  • A sugar cookie in the shape of baby shower themes. Use any sugar cookie recipe and use baby shower cutters to cut out the desired shape and bake them.
  • Royal icing. You can find the recipe from my previous posts here.
  • Piping bags and tips or ziplock bags.
  • Separate your icing into different bowls, according to the number of colours you need and mix in the colours accordingly. Keep a larger amount for the base colours and slightly lesser for the colours that you will outline the cookies with.
  • Start off with a base coat of icing in the colour of your choice. Flood the entire cookie and let it dry. if you want to add polka dots that don't stand out, like in the polka dotted onesies pic, add the dots in another colour before this dries.
  • Once it's dry, use a #1 tip with your piping bag or snip off the end of a zip lock into a tiny hole and pipe out outlines, following the edges of the cookie.
  • Add a few dots and zig zags along the way to add to the design. Be creative here and try your hand at different patterns. Don't worry, if you don't like what you made, save it to gobble up later and try again.  
  • That's it, that's how simple they can be. Leaving you with a few pictures of what I have done to inspire you to start cookie'n. 

Baby bottles
Baby onesies

Packed and ready to go to an expecting mommy

So what are you waiting for, Get, Set, Bake!! 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Choconana cookies (eggless)

Choconana crinkle cookies

I've been a very bad girl. Its been a very long time since I updated the blog and that's not good at all. So much so that hubby dearest lately came up to me and said, "Why aren't you updating your blog?"

If the busy bee like him has noticed, then I have really really been a slacker. I think I just got caught up with everything else and more often than not, only updated my FB page . Since having a page was new to me, it took all my attention, but that's no excuse. I hope to be more active on my dear blog, the one that started my baking journey. So here I am, back to blogging with a recipe from a fellow blogger (Cheryl, the super talented blogger at Kitchen kemistry) and friend who I look up to for her culinary knowledge and awesome recipes.  This recipe, like most of her recipes, is a keeper. Its an eggless chocolate banana cookie that is made out of atta (whole wheat flour). Now I have only used atta for making chapatis other than this one time I accidentally used atta instead of maida (all purpose flour) for a cake and I kept wondering why the batter looked funny till I realised what I had done, thankfully, before baking the cake. More on that blunder later, but coming back to this recipe, one would think, atta cookies, but they won't taste so good. But trust me, anyone who has had this cookie did a double take when I told them it had atta, not flour in it as it tastes so yum.  Now, those who follow my blog know that I do not like bananas, but this one, I love. It has an oh so subtle taste of bananas that contrast beautifully against the dark rich chocolate that makes you go yum. 
So without further ado, here's the recipe.

Choconana crinkle cookies

(Makes about 20 cookies)

You can find the original recipe and more awesome recipes here 

Dry ingredients:
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp atta (or whole wheat flour as you might call it).
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
Wet ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar. (I used brown sugar to add to the moreish taste of these cookies, but you can use caster sugar as well)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp oil. (Any neutral flavoured oil will do)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder ( the darker and richer, the better, especially for pronounced crinkles, taste aside)
  • 1/2 cup banana puree. (Make sure to use ripe bananas and if you want to save time and not puree them, mash them really really well).
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
You will also need a bowl of icing sugar to coat the cookies in for the crinkle effect

  • Give the dry ingredients a quick whisk
  • Mix/whisk the wet ingredients together. You can use an electric mixer, but I did it by hand and it works just fine. Just make sure to not over mix as that will lead to dense cookies.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine with a spatula. It might look runny, but it will come together.
  • Cover the ‘dough’ mixture with cling film and refrigerate overnight or for a couple of hours if you don’t wanna wait that long.
  • When you are ready to make the cookies, preheat your oven to 170 C and using a melon baller or a tiny scoop, take out even sizes of dough balls and roll them between your palms to make even shaped balls and place them on your baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper. They will expand slightly, so leave a gap between each cookie.
  • Take each ball and roll in icing sugar till completely coated.  Ensure that no chocolate bits are seen through the icing sugar coating. Double roll if necessary.
  • Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes. As they heat they will crack, exposing  the chocolate interior, making them crinkle cookies.
  • I personally prefer them hot from the oven, but you can cool them and store them in an airtight container.
  • So what are you waiting for? Get, Set, Bake!

Friday, 17 May 2013


Honey honey, how you thrill me
Ever since I saw Nigella Lawson make honeycomb on her show ages ago, I wanted to try it out. It looked like so much fun and she was right, when you make it, you are filled with glee. It's probably the shortest ingredient list you'd ever see and like Nigella says, it's not cooking, it's kitchen alchemy... 

Someone lately asked me for suggestions for a Winnie the Pooh themed B'day party and she liked the idea of honeycomb. It is rarely made in kitchens here and I don't see many people in Bangalore talking about it, so there is a novelty factor to it. I went out and got myself some golden syrup, the one thing that was stopping me from making it for so long. Thankfully, Bangalore has lately gotten a number of suppliers for stuff that was previously unheard of... I knew it was available for sometime now, but the thought of honeycomb had slipped off my radar. The Winnie theme party got it right back and I am glad....

So without further ado, here is my recipe for honeycomb, aka hokey pokey. It is all and out Nigella's recipe....

Honeycomb/Hokey Pokey

  • 100 grams castor sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup (substitute with honey if unavailable)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Take a heavy bottomed large pan and mix in the golden syrup and caster sugar till combined.
  • Place the pan on heat. DO NOT stir once it is on heat. The mixture will get clumpy and crystallise and you will have to keep stirring till the mixture is ready and that is a pain. If you feel you need to mix it, swirl the pan instead..
  • Wait till the mixture is bubbling. If you have a sugar/candy thermometer, wait till the temp hits 250 to 265 F. For those who do not have a candy thermometer (me included), test it but dipping in a spoon and dropping a drop of the mixture into a bowl of cold water. When you touch it, if it is almost firm and holds its shape as a ball, you are good to go. If not, wait a little longer... 
  • Once you reach the hard ball stage, turn off the heat and quickly whisk in the baking soda. You will see that the mixture begins to froth and bubble up. This is why you need a large pan as it rises up. Pour the mixture onto a plate lined with parchment paper and leave to set for a few hours. You can speed up the process by placing it in the refrigerator. Once set, break it into shards and enjoy the sticky crumbly honeycomb.
  • So go ahead - Get, Set, Bake... 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Fondant Tortoise Tutorial

It's been really long since I posted a tutorial here, so here goes. This is a tutorial for a super cute tortoise or tortie as I call him. I made this ages ago and clicked pictures to share with you'll but it got buried under a huge pile of pics. Found them today and like I keep saying, it's better late than never right? :) I am no fondant expert, I rarely use it, but I like experimenting here and there. Tortie was one of my experiments and I loved him so much I wanted to share the joy of making him with you'll. Hopefully, you'll will make him with ease and love him too.

This is a very basic and simple tortoise as you can see, it barely requires any instructions. I have skipped a few steps which I thought were very simple and I hope instructions suffice there.
One, Two, Three, make a tortie for me

Tortie tutorial:

  • Step 1 - Colour your fondant in the shade you want the tortoise shell to be. I used a light shade of blue. Knead till the colour is fully incorporated, roll out and cut a circle. Keep the rest in a zip lock bag for later use. Colour another batch of fondant green for the tortoise limbs. Also leave a tiny amount uncoloured and another tinier amount coloured black. Store them in a zip lock bag as well. I used a cookie cutter to cut the circle. Choose a circle cutter according to the size you want the tortoise topper to be. Use a quilting tool to imprint lines on the tortoise shell. If you don't have the quilting tool, use a toothpick and dot your design for the tortoise shell on the fondant. I have used a toothpick many times and apart from being time consuming, it's no different when it comes to the outcome of the design. Take a piping tip and use the round end to cut off a semi circle off one side of the tortoise back. You can also use a small circle cutter for the same.
  •  Step 2 - Place the cut, imprinted fondant circle on your palm and mould it to form a bit of a dome. After that, on top of anything that has a dome so that it dries out in a mound shape. You need to leave it out for a day to dry out and hold its shape. You get fancy tools for this, like spherical foam balls. If you have one, go ahead and make your life easier. I would suggest an orange if you have one handy. It's a cheaper alternative. I didn't have one around, so I substituted as you can see.
  • Step 3 - Use the remaining green coloured fondant to shape 5 balls, one for the head and four smaller ones for the arms and legs. Indent the limbs with the back end of a toothpick to resemble claws or if you are lazy like me,  just basic dots will do. Place them on your work surface and attach the dried shell on top of them, using a dab of water or edible glue. Adjust the placement of the limbs accordingly. Now, take a minuscule amount of white fondant, roll it into two tiny balls for the eyes, attach with a smear of water. Take two tiny dots of black fondant and paste on top of the white balls to make eye balls. You can also use an edible black marker to dot the eye balls, it works out much easier than having to colour such a tiny amount of fondant black for the eye balls. Use a toothpick to form the smile and there you have it, a cute lil fondant tortoise topper.
P.S - Knead a bit of tylose powder into your fondant if you need, it helps the fondant hold it's shape better and dry up into that curved shell shape that you need.

Now go ahead and Get, Set, Bake.. A cute cake maybe to use this adorable topper on....

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Flea market adventures

Our table at the flea market
As part of our launch, we participated in our first flea market - The Kitsch Mandi in the first week of February. It was a whirlwind of chaos, confusion, excitement, nervous fits and what not. What to make, how much to make, how to package, how will lil me handle it all? Aaargh.. I must have pulled out my hair umpteen number of times in all the craziness. 

Customers at the flea market
Thankfully, I had a great support team in the form of friends and family - Candice, Ambika, Arjun, Shubham and my ever loving hubby who was my driver, printer, cashier and what not. He was my rock and another solid rock - my mom who came down from my hometown just to help her little girl launch her business officially. Yes, I have the best mom in the world, period....
Our character bookmarks cum visiting cards

 Our menu was simple - red velvet/death by chocolate smash cakes in a jar, Stu the starfish, Bella the naughty nymph, Boo meringues with choice of lemon curd and chocolate ganache to dip and munch, (refer to the previous post for details on them), sticky chewy cocoa melts, Cinnamon lip 'stick' cookies, and hangover on a stick. 

Sticky chewy coco melts
We set up our table and then started the crazy crowds. The atmosphere was electric and we had a ball. People started trickling in in huge numbers and thus began our journey into our first flea market. 

With butterflies in our stomach, we waited to see who would buy what, would they like what we had to offer, and of course crazy fears like will anyone buy anything? What if they hate my stuff and what not :p

 My mind's a whirlwind on most days and this day, there were a dozen whirlwinds rushing through my brain. I kept my crazy fears aside and put on a big smile and waited for the day to unfold. It was truly magical, with the response that took my breath away. Happiness unlimited was my state of mind, whirlwinds clearly pushed away. 

Sticky chewy cocoa melts was the sleeper hit of the day. We saw people walk with it and send their friends to pick up a few as well. No points for guessing they got sold out first. 

The second favourite was the red velvet/ chocolate smash cakes. Proof was that we managed to sneak out one jar and gobbled it in seconds, licking our spoons, wishing we could grab a few more. But we resisted and kept them for our eager customers. Everyone oohed and aahed over our designer cookies and many took our cards for future orders. Happy days :)

The happy troopers sat and laughed with all our cheerful customers. Towards the end of the day, many came for seconds of our Hangover on a Stick (rum and raisin skewers) which were very potent (hic)!. 

Giggly girls loved the cinnamon lip sticks, in their vibrant red hues. 
Cinnamon Lip cookies

We gorged on all the yummy stuff on display on the other stalls and got a bit of shopping done as well. All in all, a great beginning. Our tired happy feet dragged us back home and we slept in contentment on a day well spent. For those wanting to tred on similar paths, here are a few tips on your first flea market, from someone who is only 3 markets old :p but has important flea market lessons to give - 

Me holding up my Boo Meringues

  • Pack everything to go as much as possible and have suitable covers for everything. We were all covered in a thick layer of dust owing to the open area. A neighboring stall was selling cheesecakes by the slice and it was open all day. I can't stomach the fact of how much dust buyers got in each bite. Eww.
  • Ensure a good display. Your creations might be the best but if they aren't displayed attractively, people won't notice in the manic rush.
  • Smile, it makes a difference. You might be fighting world war 3 in your head owing to lack of sleep, aching feet and crankiness, but if you are approachable, people will linger on around your stall, leading to potential customers.
  • Keep a lot of business cards handy. A lot of people don't remember your brand name as much as you'd like to think they would. A business card ensures they have a name and number to contact when they remember your yummy creations, days later.
  • Stay hydrated, you don't want to faint and miss out on your first flea market.
  • Get friends to help. No you aren't superwoman/superman. You need a dedicated cashier along with yourself handing out the goodies. 
  • Keep visible price tags for everything along with names of dishes. People like to see information on display instead of playing 20 questions with the stall owners.
  • Keep enough stocks handy and plan on how much to bring according to the crowd.
  • Always check out previous flea markets of the organizers  This one time, we went to a new group's flea market and came back with boxes as the crowd turnout was pathetic. All the stall owners sat with woeful expressions and were swatting flies in boredom (just kidding about the flies bit :))
  • Lastly, have fun, don't stress yourself out. It is tough, it is hard work, but at the end of the day, it's all worth it...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Dessert Island

The new year whizzed past me and how. My first post for the year and it's 3 months overdue. A big apology to my readers. However, I have some fantastic news to share which I probably hope will make you'll less mad. I launched my home-based dessert outfit in February 2013 and I am officially a home baker who sells her yum bakes to customers. The Dessert Island is alive..  Yayyy :) 

Join us on Facebook by clicking here. Go click it NOW... You can find all sorts of pics and updates and much more..  Now a lil something about my venture for those who don't wanna head over to FB to find out more - 

The Dessert Island is a place where desserts come to life. We don't just make desserts, we create characters that you would love to take home. The population of this island grows ever so often, with new characters coming to life in this magical place. Drop in, take a tour, pick a character to take home with you. If you'd like a new character, give us a holler and we shall create one just for you. Who knows, he/she might be an inhabitant of the island one day. 

We have four characters as of now. First I'd like to introduce Fae:

Fae the fairy princess

Fae the fairy princess:

A magical island needs a magical fairy and that's where Fae comes in. 

She loved desserts so much that when she was asked what she would like to be marooned with on a deserted island, she chose a whole island with desserts. 

If that wasn't enough, she brought them all to life so that they could all live happily ever after. 

Fae can be seen on the winter solstice night, waving her wand and conjuring up new and yummy creations to join her family at The Dessert Island

Next on the list is the ever loving Stu - 
Stu the starfish

Stu the starfish: 

Stu was a humble starfish who lived in the ocean. The eternal bachelor boy that he was, he longed for some excitement. Sure, the corals were good for a few occasional laughs, but young Stu kept looking for a place where he could feel like home. That one day arrived when he heard sounds of laughter from an island as he was swimming along the sea. Always one for adventure, he hopped on to the nearest tortie (tortoise) and off he went to explore. Next thing he knew, he was on an island where the party never stopped. Fairies, owls and other magical creatures sang, danced and lived happily on this magical island. Each one of them were desserts that had come to life and partied all year round in their magical abode. They greeted him with open arms and next thing he knew, he was living in the island, which he now calls home. As is the custom, he got turned into a yummy dessert to be part of the island. He got to become a buttery vanilla bean cookie with his goofy smile making everyone smile around him. If you wanna meet Stu and his friends, head over to The DessertIsland, take a bite or two.. We promise, you wouldn't wanna leave...

Bella the naughty nymph

Next up, Bella - 

Bella the naughty nymph: 

Bella was the average teenage drama queen who got shipwrecked and was washed ashore The Dessert Island. The magical island took her in and the creatures looked after her like she were their own. At first she couldn't believe her eyes. Talking starfish, blue candy owls, a friendly ghost who was perfect for her as she could eat him and still fit into her gorgeous bikinis as he was a diet friendly dessert. Soon, she was up on her feet, matching steps with Stu and Boo, the friendly ghost who soon became her best buddy. As tradition states, she had to be immortalised into a dessert to be part of The Dessert Island and she was done so in her favourite avatar - an itsy bitsy vanilla bean bikini cookie, soaking up the sun. If you come to the island, you can probably spot her surfing, with a Appletini in one hand. She is most sought after at bachelor parties at nearby islands to add her naughty charm to the do.

Last but not the least, the cutie pie Boo
Gossipy Boo

Gossipy Boo:

Boo is a friendly ghost who loves to chat, so much that his nickname is gossipy boo. He floats around the island gathering all the gossip. He is a favourite with the ladies, not just because he is irresistibly charming, but because he is a dieter's delight. He is truly light as a feather and women chomp him up with no guilt thereafter. One can spot him by the shore of the island, taking long gossipy walks with his best friend Bella, the naughty cookie. Want to know what the island folk are up to? Boo’s the guy to meet.

So there you have it, my baby venture. Do like us on Facebook and join us at the island. Your support means the world to me and will help me take my baby steps with more confidence...