Chocolate Banana Muffins

As Garlic Goddesses turns 2, here’s another sweet treat from our kitchens. The past year has been slow from our end due to personal commitments. We do hope we can do better this year! We appreciate and welcome all your support and encouragement. Here’s to another year of delicious food 🙂

I always turn to making the dependable Banana Bread every time I have ripened bananas on hand. This time I wanted something different and decided to turn to my favorite, Nigella Lawson, for ideas. These muffins are definitely more interesting than the bread given that it has chocolate in it and I decided to throw in some chips for good measure! I’ve swapped the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Good for breakfast or if you want to sneak in a snack. You can find the original recipe here

Yields: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour – 1.5 cups
Over-ripe Bananas – 3
Unsweetened cocoa powder – 3 tbsp
Vegetable oil – 1/2 cup
Eggs – 2, room temperature
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Raw cane sugar – 1/2 cup
Semi-sweet chocolate chips – 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius
  • Place 12 liners in a muffin tin
  • Sift flour, baking soda and cocoa powder in a bowl; set aside
  • In a large bowl, mash the three bananas using a fork until you get a thick paste
  • Beat on low using a hand mixer and add vegetable oil to the bananas
  • Continue beating and add the eggs one by one, followed by sugar
  • Add the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder mixture, beating on low until everything is combined
  • Stir in the chocolate chips
  • Spoon this mixture into the muffin liners
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes 
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack before refrigerating
  • You can eat them warm as well

Adhirasam

With Deepavali just around the corner, what better way to celebrate this occasion than with some delicious Adhirasams. This is a very traditional South Indian dessert and it also happens to be my most favorite! The preparation itself does take a bit of an effort, but with the right ingredients, proportions and consistencies, one should be able to make some great Adhirasams. It is very important that the right type of rice is used. Traditionally, this sweet is prepared with red rice but if you cannot find it, you can use regular Sona-masoori rice.

Adhirasam

Ingredients:

Rice, raw – 500 gms
Jaggery – 250 gms
Water – 100 ml
Oil – 4 tbsp + for frying
Poppy seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds, lightly crushed – 3/4 tsp
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

Method:

  • Wash and soak the rice in water for 30 minutes
  • Drain the rice and spread it on a thin cotton cloth or paper towels and let it dry

Adhirasam2

  • When the rice is 80% dry, grind it into a fine powder. You don’t want the rice to be completely dry before grinding and you should be able to feel the moisture in the powder
  • Pass it through a sieve to remove any large, coarse particles
  • Add the poppy seeds, fennel seeds and cardamom powder and mix well
  • Take the jaggery and 100ml of water in a pan and bring it to a boil
  • Keep stirring and check for single string consistency. To check the consistency, take water in a small cup and drop a little bit of the jaggery in the water, If it does not dissolve in the water and you are able to roll it into a ball, then it has reached the right consistency

                                        

  • Pour it into the flour and mix well. The dough might seem loose but over time it will absorb all the moisture and get harder
  • Add 2-3 teaspoons of oil if needed while mixing. Pour the remaining of the 4 tbsp of oil over the dough and let it rest for a minimum of 2-3 hours or overnight

Adhirasam5

  • When you are ready to make the Adhirasams, heat oil in a wok or wide pan
  • Divide the dough into small balls
  • Using an oiled banana leaf or wax paper, press them into flat circles using your fingers. Use oil to avoid the dough sticking to your fingers. Do not use rolling pin unless you place the dough between two sheets of wax paper but you might get the best results using your fingers to roll the dough

                 Adhirasam6                   Adhirasam7

  • Make sure the oil is hot enough. Right before dropping the Adhirasam, lower the heat a bit
  • Once you drop each of them, do not move away from the pan as it will cook pretty quickly
  • When it rises to the top, flip it and cook the other. It shouldn’t take more than a minute to cook an entire Adhirasam

                                  

  • Remove from oil and with the help of another ladle or spatula, squeeze out the excess oil right into the wok and place it on a plate covered with paper towel and repeat the process

Tips:

  • Do not use Basmati or Ponni rice. The Adhirasams will not hold their shape and disintegrate when frying
  • If the dough is very loose, add some rice flour
  • If the dough is very hard, add few tablespoons of milk
  • After frying, do not leave the Adhirasams on the paper towel for too long as it might become very dry

Brookies

I’ve been meaning to try Masterchef Australia Season 8 contestant Harry Foster’s Dark Chocolate Brookies and finally got around to it! It’s one of the more simpler recipes on the TV show and Nigella Lawson (I love her!) loved it, so I had to give it a shot. A first for me!
For those who don’t watch the show, brookies are a cross between brownies and cookies. 
While I made a couple of changes to the original recipe, the end result was mouth-watering deliciousness – chewy, rich and heavenly! If you love all things chocolate, this dessert is most certainly for you 🙂 With this recipe I also hope to attempt more Masterchef Australia recipes, at least as an ode to my favorite food show on TV!

Brookies

Makes: 12

Ingredients:

72% Dark Chocolate – 175 gms
Butter – 25 gms
Brown Sugar – 1/2 cup
Corn flour – 40 gms
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Eggs – 2
Vanilla Extract – 1/2 tsp
Bittersweet Chocolate chips – 50 gms

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celsius
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside
  • Place the 72% dark chocolate and butter in a bowl and set over a pot of simmering water (double boiler method)

Brookies

  • Once the chocolate and butter melt completely, remove from heat to cool down
  • In a separate bowl, place the sugar, sifted corn flour, baking powder, eggs and vanilla extract

Brookies

  • Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes till all the ingredients are well-combined and you see tiny bubbles forming (the batter will be quite runny, but don’t worry about that)
  • Now add the cooled chocolate-butter mixture and combine well 
  • The batter will thicken as you mix well to form a wet dough
  • Spoon this mixture on to the prepared baking tray (do not worry too much about the shape) to get about 12 brookies
  • Place a few chocolate chips on each of the brookies and press down a little into the dough
  • Bake for 15 to 17 minutes
  • When you take it out of the oven, the brookies will not exactly look cooked, but allow it too cool completely on the baking tray
  • Once cool, refrigerate immediately
  • Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a glass of warm milk!

Brookies

Note:
– While the original recipe calls for the use of an electric stand mixer, I used a hand mixer since I have only that
– I refrigerated the brookies after they cooled completely as I felt they were a bit gooey. Refrigerating helped with keeping their shape
– You can use regular white sugar instead of brown sugar
– I used bittersweet chocolate chips in the recipe. You can use any kind, including dark, milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Carrot Halwa/Gajar ka Halwa

There are very few Indian sweets I love and halwa has never been among the top. But when I made Carrot Halwa for the first time, I loved how it turned out. It also happened to be the first dish I cooked for my in-laws before I got married. Versions I have eaten at weddings and those made by relatives have been sticky, thick, and almost dark brown in color. I don’t like that at all! My recipe is creamy and melt-in-your-mouth! And given that Father’s Day is round the corner, this post goes out to my father (who loves anything sweet!) and all dads. What would we do without you 🙂

Carrot Halwa/Gajar ka Halwa

Ingredients:

Carrots – 2 cups, grated
Whole milk – 2 cups
Saffron – a pinch (optional)
Ghee – 1 tsp + 6 tsp
Cashew nuts – 6
Almonds – 6
Sugar – 1/4 cup

Method:

  • Soak almonds in about half a cup of water for around 15 minutes; then peel the almonds and slice them into slivers
  • Heat milk in a thick-bottomed saucepan and reduce it to about half the quantity, stirring occasionally (do this step on medium heat as this will help prevent the milk from burning)
  • Add a pinch of saffron to the milk just before taking it off the heat
  • In a pan or wok, heat a teaspoon of ghee and fry chopped cashew nuts
  • Drain and set aside
  • In the same vessel, heat the remaining 6 teaspoons of ghee 
  • Add the grated carrots and cook on medium heat for about 8 minutes till the carrots are cooked and turn color
  • Add the milk to the carrots and continue to cook on medium flame
  • Continue stirring till all of the milk is absorbed; this may take about 20 minutes
  • Add the sugar and stir for about 4 minutes till the carrots begin to leave the sides of the pan (when you add sugar, a little water will be released; cook till this is absorbed)
  • Garnish with fried cashew nuts and slivered almonds

Notes:
– It’s important to keep stirring the carrots when you cook them, both before and after adding the milk. Otherwise, it may burn
– You can replace milk with cream or use 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream
– Quarter cup of sugar is just about enough to bring out the sweetness of the carrots and doesn’t make this dish too sweet
– I like the halwa to be of a creamy consistency and therefore don’t reduce the milk exactly to half 
– You can even stir in a pinch of cardamom powder at the very end

Coconut Barfi

I’m always apprehensive about trying out Indian sweets but when my sister told me this recipe, it sounded very easy. And it turned out great! It takes a maximum of 15 minutes or less to make if you have all your ingredients ready.

Ingredients:

Grated coconut – 2 cups
Ghee – 3 tbsp
Sugar – 3/4 cup

Method:

  • Heat ghee in a saucepan
  • Add grated coconut and stir until the raw smell of coconut goes away
  • Add sugar and continue to stir (you can even reduce the quantity of sugar to 1/2 cup)
  • The sugar will release water which will change the consistency of the mixture
  • Keep stirring till the coconut and sugar are well combined and reach a paste-like consistency. This shouldn’t take no more than a few minutes. Add more ghee if it sticks to the pan
  • Transfer this mixture to a greased plate/tray and spread out evenly
  • Cut into desired shape while still warm. You should get about 20 pieces
  • Store in an air-tight container