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Monday, July 18, 2016

NanKhatai Desi Cookies

Some memories will last forever. In Chai and small bites of goodness.

My mum was an avid baker (now she prefers to buy from the local bakers, or she expects me to bake)and my dad still loves these little bites. And these were a standard cookie box staple in our house. They had to be there always. So my mum used to make a huge batch.


And way back in those days ,trans fats and margarine and dalda were ok. According to mum, the best cookies and biscuits and puff are made with these. Even better than butter. So we use a substitute. We use Desi Ghee. Brown Butter or Clarified butter. 



There's always been a debate about the benefits and mal effects of Desi ghee. All I would say is , moderation is the key word.
Don't sit with the cookie jar in front of you. Have one. And be happy. Share... 
Share the calories.

For the 

NanKhatai Desi Cookies 

You need

1 cup heaped or 125 gms All purpose flour or maida -remove 4 tbsp flour and replace with 2 tbsp each suji and besan
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup desi ghee or soft butter
2-3 cardamom  &/ 2-3 grind nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
Sliced pista or almonds or any not to garnish

By weight , the flours, sugar and fat will be of equal quantity. You may need less or more fat according to the quality of the flour.
Nankhatai can be made only of maida Or with a combination of maida , semolina , besan . Start with Maida and move on to adding/ substituting according to tatse.


Grind the cardamom with the sugar and sift out the cardamom shell fibres.


Preheat oven to 180C.
Mix the flours ,baking powder and ground sugar. Add in the ghee.

First mix with a spoon and then lightly knead. The dough should come together. If its losing shape-add a little more flour. And if its crumbling, add a little ghee/ milk or sprinkle some water.
This is what  good dough should look like.


So now make the NanKhatai.


Make small balls. Flatten and press pista on top. Place at a distance from each other and chill 10 minutes. Bake till the bottom is colored... 12-14 minutes. The second batch bakes faster. 10 minutes.

Remove onto wire rack and cool before serving. Keeps for 4-5 days in an airtight container.

They should be brought out of the oven when they are soft. Over baking will make them rock hard and they don't become soft even when dunked in hot tea.

Yup, much to the  disgust of hubby dear , I love dunking my cookies or biscuits into my tea. Its desi , but I'll  do it. You know you have this facade of elitist elegance in front of people....

And then you just go and blow it up when your cookie falls into the hot tea. And then another cookie is dunked to save the first.
Aw, You do it too....
Admit it.



And then fall for the aromas... aromas of cardamom and ginger wafting through the corridors...


So what are you baking today???

Friday, July 15, 2016

Rainbow Bagels - How to make Bagels and create Magic with your hands

"Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."


"Is that dough ?"
"You'll make Coloured bread ?"
That was my daily help asking ,after I used 6 utensils and lids to prove the dough. Yup, I pay her a lot of money, because I hate doing dishes. And well, my sink is always overflowing.
So I indulge her and often feed her cake...I don't want her taking too many days off and stuff.
So well, Magic.
I'm a believer. In magic and in the power of colors and the happiness they spread.
When my bagels came out of the oven... I was so Happy, I was jumping.
 And doing those dreadful jumping jacks. Now mind you, I'd never do them out of the gym ,or even in it. If I can help it.
There was no one home...
So I had to wait for sweet child to come home from school, wet and tired.... and one look and he thought his mum had gone Loco.
 Right , that's the new expression of cool here... "LOCO!" ,Only reserved for me ,OK.
He was happy to see them too... but reserved his excitement for the Chai spice flavored  NanKhatai .
I generally do Marathons, people.
Baking Marathons !



OK ,back to colors. I've been meaning to do a different bread for days now. And then I saw a reference to Scott Rossillo and his Rainbow Bagels that I'd seen before. So I tried out Steve's Kitchen's recipe. Very similar to my bagels ... only there's no sugar. We don't want to caramelize and brown them ,right?
OK...
So a little simple.

A lot of patience. And some cream cheese frosting with sprinkles. We're nutella people here... and trying to avoid calories like the plague. So it was only cream cheese and sprinkles.
But if you aren't fighting the battle of the bulge... feel free to whip up some cream cheese frosting and indulge.

You may use a stand mixer,but it was two extra utensils. I could have kneaded on the worktop.
What is essential is a small weighing scale.
If you are really interested in baking, then invest in a small scale.
And colours. Wilton or Americolor. Light on kneading, they just pop out on baking.


For the

Rainbow Bagels - How to make Bagels and create Magic with your hands

You need

900 gms plain flour
4 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tsp salt +2 tsp extra
600-650 mils tepid water
6 gel food colours
Oil to grease bowls

If you don't have a scale yet, take one kg flour or maida. Remove 12 tbsp to make 900 gms maida.
Place your flour in the bowl, add the yeast on one side and 2 tsp of salt on the other side.
Slowly add in most of the water and knead till almost together.
Now get out your weighing scale and measure 6 equal parts.
Cover the remaining parts and dab the first with yellow . I used lemon yellow. Start with light color first and then go to dark... use your bench scraper to keep the dough together.

So now knead ,stretch ,fold and some more to get an elastic dough that can pass the window pane test. Ok, this is super speed... I'm slower at kneading.

 Just stretch a small portion of dough and if it can stretch without breaking and you can pull to a thin almost window pane like translucent film...you are fabulous. In an oiled bowl. That's all the oil we use.

Do that with all 6 and cover and set aside to proof half an hour. Color... lemon yellow, golden yellow, no taste red, kelly green ,royal blue and violet. Use any color you want....

 After half an hour, they're ready to use...oh Mumbai and my kitchen is around 32C . So you may need to wait a while longer.
Place a large pot of water to boil and add the remaining salt.
Remove one colour at a time and gently flatten into a rectangle. In the Vibgyor order try and flatten all colors to almost equal sizes and place on top of the last colour.
My rectangle was 12 inch by 4 inches.
Like so. Next time, I'm putting Green on top... yellow was everywhere. 

Now using a sharp knife or your bench scraper cut 1 inch off. Twist as you go.

 Twist and wrap around your hand. So you ll need a rope of about 5-6 inches and roll to make this donut shape.
 Place on parchment paper till the water boils. Repeat to make all bagels. Twist the dough to get all colors. I got 15 bagels. You can make bigger ones by cutting the dough rope wider.
 Once the water comes to a rolling boil ,pop in two -three at a time and poach each bagel 30 seconds on one side and flip.
This is from an old post as I was working alone and couldn't take too many pics.
Bring onto wire rack.
Repeat for all bagels.
Preheat oven to 190C.
Place the bagels on parchment paper or on an oiled cookie sheet and bake 12 minutes.
Flip the tray around and give them a couple of minutes more.

Don't walk away from the oven. You don't want to let the rainbow brown.
They won't brown so easily because we poached them in a salty liquid.
Cool and take pictures first.
 Cream Cheese and sprinkles. See the riot of colors within? I am placing yellow in the centre next time, green and blue on top...

The colours just make you feel so amazing. It doesn't matter if these bagels are plain salty , fat free or seed free... they taste great because they look great.
For once this bagel of beauty brings such joy...

So what are you baking today???






Until the next

Until the next

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