Coffee Toffee Lindt Shortbread Cookies

coffee_toffee_lindt_shortbread_

Jump to the Coffee Toffee Lindt Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Did you ever watch Home Alone? You know, from back when Macaulay Culkin was cute. Apparently it released in 1990 and the fact that I remember it well makes me way old. But back to the movie. Growing up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia that movie was the first time I was exposed to Christmas. You see we are Muslim and before the whole world shrank thanks to the internet Christmas was still a very North American/ European thing. Now I see friends still living in Pakistan putting up trees with twinkling lights. It is fun to see that Santa has gone global 🙂 

I love the carols, the lights, the magic of it all, but I also really love having another excuse to bake. When I spotted these Lindt Shortbread Cookies from Salma of The Write Balance I knew I had to bake them pronto. Because, well it’s the season after all. Coffee Toffee Lindt Shortbread Cookies

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Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies

triple chocolate cheesecake cookies

It’s sunny, it’s beautiful, but there is a decided nip in the air. The kind of slight chill which makes you reach for that cozy blanket even in the day. At times like these what is a girl supposed to do, but crave cookies. And when a girl wants a cookie what is she supposed to do, but bake some. If she has been baking for the bulk of her 35 years then she probably knows what kind of cookie she craves. Something choclatey (because duh), but with a cheesecake-y depth and tenderness. Something like these Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies below. Is she the stuffing cookies with bits of cheesecake filling type? Nope. Clearly she is the speaking in third person for no damn reason type. Ok then, will stop now.

triple chocolate cheesecake cookies

There is no question in my mind that I am an emotional eater. I am not sure what the mechanisms there are – is it because chocolate floods your brain with all those positive feel like love chemicals or is there more to it? Note to self: ask husband, he knows everything.triple chocolate cheesecake cookies

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French Yogurt Cake – a Tender Everyday Cake

french yogurt cake
french yogurt cake

Isn’t it funny how the forever recipes sometimes get ignored? The ones that you make for so long that they become the equivalent of boiled rice (but much tastier). This French Yogurt Cake is one of them. I first made it as a little girl and many times over since. The premise is simple, all the ingredients are in a fixed ratio measured by yogurt containers. After a lifetime of eating it I relegated it to the past when some years ago a friend (Hi Reshma!) reminded me about it. Like many recipes that handed down to me there were two versions of this one too. I prefer this one because it makes a more modest cake and one that I can actually fit in my rarely used bundt cake pan. Dust it with a little icing sugar, glaze with marmalade, or serve just as is. This French Yogurt Cake is a wonderful mid day pick me up or after school snack. french yogurt cake

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Dorie Greenspan’s Peanuttiest Blondies

peanuttiest blondies dorie greenspan

Home. After spending the summer travelling through other homes – mine in Karachi, my brothers’ in Oxford, a friends in London and a beautiful apartment in Paris I find myself rethinking what home means. Clearly, I have been thinking hard and not blogging quite enough, but on to cheerier things 😉 

This recipe for Peanuttiest Blondies is ever so slightly adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks of all time “Baking” by Dorie Greenspan. When I first moved to Toronto almost ten years ago I found myself friendless in an unfamiliar city and without *gasp* google maps. So I did what I could, I wrote directions down in a notebook, searched out independent coffee shops, and familiarised myself with the bookstores. There was a big Indigo at the corner of Richmond and John and it became one of my Toronto go tos. It was there that I discovered this cookbook. Although I would read it there many times over I couldn’t bring my unemployed self to buy it. That’s where my friend stepped in for which I am forever grateful. Given how well used it is, my family and friends in Toronto are too 🙂

peanuttiest blondies

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Quick Strawberry Nutella Hand Pies

The Story of Quick Strawberry Nutella Hand Pies:

Once upon a time there was a girl who is now a woman, but still calls herself a girl. In her head she is the kind of person who makes everything from scratch, it is her dream to make her own bread. The only reason she doesn’t is because she would eat it all. She pins the same Strawberry Nutella Hand Pie recipes over and over ooh-ing and aah-ing over the variations in crust. She has done this for two years.

And then one day she does something scary: she walks into a store and buys a premade pie crust. After that something wonderful happens – with five minutes of work she makes these delicious little hand pies, cute as a button, their flaky crust oozing with strawberry and nutella, their tops crackly and finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. One bite and she stops judging herself, but just to be safe she took two (hand pies not bites) and now plans to live happily ever after. The Beginning. 

strawberry nutella hand pies

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Cake Rusks + Eid Eats Invite!

cake rusks

I get a little confused when I do these ‘double’ posts – I mean do I talk about the cake rusks first or the Eid ‘potluck’? It’s a tough choice – excuse me while I use some sophisticated eeny-meeny-miney-mo to decide.

Okay, Eid Eats! it is. Readers of my blog (I love you) will remember that we have done this before, twice before to be precise. This year, just like last year, it is hosted by Asiya at Chocolate & Chillies and Henna at My Ninja Naan and the premise, as always, is simple. It is a ‘potluck’ where we ask our blogging friends to ‘bring’ any recipe that they would make for Eid. Sweet, savory, traditional, or entirely new – it is always so much fun and some of my favorite eats have come from this foodie get together!

Eid-Eats-2016

The rules if you will are these:

1.) Make any dish of your choosing that you would make for Eid, write a post and have it ready for the 3rd of July 2016, you are also welcome to add your links until the 6th of July. Please submit only ‘new’ recipes!

2.) Our posts will also be live July 3rd 2016. You can link back to our blogs i.e. My Ninja Naan, Flour & Spice and Chocolate & Chillies  through a link party  we will set up and use the button above in all of your posts 

3.) Remember to check out and leave comments on participating blogs!

4.) Please use the hashtag #EidEats2016 on your social media posts so we can follow along there too!

Cake RUsk

Now with the business of partying out of the way (lol) let’s talk about cake rusks shall we? This recipe is adapted from Henna at My Ninja Naan. I know all of you know her by now so introductions are unnecessary, but since she is one of my blogging besties I have to just throw out there that I love her to bits and am so happy to have her (and her blog) in my life.

Ode to Henna done, let’s go back to the Cake Rusks. These are a classic Pakistani tea time treat. Where Italians make biscotti we essentially twice bake our cake. The first time will render you a delicious vanilla cake which is so good that I will probably make it just like that this summer and top it with some jam. The second baking turns that sweet vanilla cake into a crispy crunchy less sweet classic cake rusk which is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.  I halved the original recipe and used a 8*8 square pan to bake the cake. It did lead to some less pretty looking pieces, but fortunately those somehow magically disappeared. 

cake-rusks-1

In all other respects I went with the original recipe and it has that classic bakery taste. Big plus of making your own? That you don’t have 50 humongous ones staring at you for months on end. Another plus? You can have some fun with it. In the future I think a simple substitution like using a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract would take it to the next level! You could also go the biscotti route with lots of add ins – would love to hear what you come up with!

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A One Bowl Chocoholics Chocolate Cake w Chocolate Ganache + What is the difference between all these recipes?

Here is my philosophy on cakes – they should be easy to make. Oh wait – that is my philosophy on just about everything.  But here is the thing, a great chocolate cake is just a must know and it can seem intimidating, so intimidating that you just give in and reach for the boxed mix. Do yourself a solid and walk away from the mix. This delicious Chocoholics Chocolate Cake is ridiculously easy to make, has a rich moist crumb and can be made in just one bowl. Oh and the ganache – the ganache just makes me swoon, and it is the perfect decadent pairing for this richly chocolate cake.

chocolate cake best

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Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies were born from a craving – I really wanted something chewy and peanut buttery, but the more I thought about it there have been few stand out peanut butter cookies in my life. These slim beauties are a notable exception. All the other cookies I have eaten have been more or less the same. That got me thinking about cookies in general and the ones I consider to be home runs and right at the top of that list are these Salty-Sweet Butterscotch Pecan Cookies . What makes them so special? The outstanding flavor combo aside it is that little sugar salt roll around and I knew that’s what my peanut butter cookies needed.sweet-salty-peanut-butter-cookies-11

It is good to be right. These sweet salty chewy undeniably peanut buttery cookies with M&Ms thrown in are just so darn fun to eat. So much so that I even hid them from myself. True story. 

Unlike the usual recipes which seem to make a hundred or so cookies these produce 2 dozen moderately sized cookies. I used my inch cookie scoop to scoop out the dough, but you can just as easily drop it off by the spoonful or go bigger and make a dozen huge cookies with a little under a quarter cup of dough per cookie. 

This cookie dough like all others improves considerably after ‘resting’ in the fridge. If you are baking with kids though then cookery science doesn’t really resonate so I would suggest baking off a few cookies to appease little tummies and refrigerating the rest of the dough to bake another time.

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I am not a big tea drinker; I don’t like admitting it, feeling that that sullies my South Asian-ness so to speak. But I love the idea of tea time. Not only is there a big culture of tea drinking there is also a big culture of ‘tea visiting’ so to speak. People will drop in at each others houses ‘for tea’, go visiting ‘for tea’. This usually means tea (duh), a savory pastry or samosa an everyday cake. When I go ‘for tea’ to other peoples houses I unabashedly chug the tea and thoroughly enjoy all that comes with it. 

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This Cream Cheese Pound cake reminds me of that tradition. It sweet, flavourful with an underlying tanginess, and gets even better the next day. When I am feeling extra indulgent I sprinkle it with some coarse sugar, but it is excellent as is. I suspect – that like other cakes of its ilk – it too freezes well, but I have never had the resolve to find out. 

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A Decadent Brownie Tart topped with Caramel Sauce & Peanuts

I cook for many reasons – because I have to, because I ought to, because I want to, because I like to. Baking is different – that comes from a place of love. It is my therapy and my cure all. Whipping up eggs to magical frothiness, the aroma of melting chocolate, that first bite, the feeling that it has all come together just right is a balm like no other. This brownie pie with it’s caramel sauce and smattering of peanuts is gloriously indulgent. The brownie base is decadent and rich, the caramel luxuriously oozy and the peanuts provide a counter crunch. It is so good on it’s own, but I suspect it would be even better paired with some simple vanilla ice cream. 
A Decadent Brownie Tart topped with Caramel Sauce & Peanuts

You can bake just the pie on it’s own and top it with mounds of ice cream drizzled with chocolate and topped with flaked almonds for a dramatic pretty dessert. For more casual affairs slice and serve each piece with a dollop of cream and the most colourful sprinkles you can get your hands on.
A Decadent Brownie Tart topped with Caramel Sauce & Peanuts

 

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Brownie Tart with Caramel Sauce & Peanuts

Author Sarah Mir, Flour & Spice

Ingredients

Tart

  • 6 tablespoons 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups semi or bitter sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Caramel

  • 1 cup sugar
  • Water to sprinkle over the sugar
  • 3 tbsp whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 - 1.5 cup peanuts optional

Instructions

Tart

  1. Grease and flour a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Make sure you are thorough.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. Add the chips and stir till melted and combined. Heat for another 20 seconds if necessary
  4. Beat the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla on medium-high speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cooled chocolate.
  6. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl then fold the flour mixture into the batter until just combined.
  7. Pour into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed (the top may crack). Cool to room temperature before removing the sides of the tart pan. If parts stick then use a wooden skewer or toothpick to separate the brownie from the sides of the tart pan.

Caramel

  1. Spread sugar in the bottom of a heavy bottomed pan and sprinkle with water, approximately 2 tbsp, just enough to moisten the sugar.
  2. Cook on medium heat watching carefully as it changes color. Do not stir, tilt the pan to swirl if needed.
  3. When it becomes amber immediately pour in the cream and stir rapidly till the mixture becomes smooth.
  4. Add the butter and vanilla.
  5. Fold in the peanuts if using.

Recipe Notes


Adapted from Ina Garten (Tart Recipe)
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