Wednesday, 21 March 2012

More candy - homemade twix bars

I wish..I wish..I wish I could eat 'em all day.
I mean, thats the least I could say,
1, 2 or maybe even more - flaky crunchy cookie covered with chewy golden caramel and covered in favorite candy bar - TWIX!

Twix, more than 40 years old, stands for 'twin sticks' (anyone who's bought them would know - they are usually packaged in pairs). Eat one, and you'll want more. I've always loved Twix bars - there was a time when one didn't get them here - the occasional foreign returned aunt/uncle had to be requested for this & for my other favorite Snicker bars (one of the ignorant ones wondered why I was asking them for nickers). Ofcourse, now they're available at the local 'kirana store' priced at an affordable Rs. 30 per pack.

One reads that Mars Inc. (the manufacturer) now plans to stop selling candy with more than 250 calories in them. This is part of an ongoing effort on their part to improve nutritional value of their products and sell them in a responsible way. Heck, I don't know, if they reduce the candy size I'll just double, triple or quadruple the amount I'd eat normally.

Browsing recipes, I was delighted with this one with instructions to make this yummilicious candy at home. I immediately bought the brand of golden syrup mentioned in the recipe - Lyle's and somehow nothing really happened after that. That was maybe a year ago, when I was in Mumbai.

Almost a year later, about a month ago, I won an assorted hamper from Nestle with a jumble of products - one of them being the ubiquitous Milkmaid, sweetened condensed milk. Armed with my Lyle's golden syrup and the Milkmaid, I set out to make my beloved candy.

Now, I own a thermometer which goes upto 100C - if you own a candy thermometer do visit the site and follow instructions precisement! Taste-wise it was spot on - this was the real thing - the absence of the thermometer did take a toll on the texture - the chocolate was really difficult to spread, it had to be slathered on - what I now have is a glorious mess of delicious caramel sandwiched between crunchy shortbread and chocolate - oh well, it tasted heavenly so who cares if one needs to lick the spoon and the plate and the dish in which it sat! The husband and our delightful chomped and slurped away!

So here goes:


150 gms unsalted butter, softened (make sure the butter is softened - I broke my hand beater thinking it was 'soft' enough)

1/4 cup sugar

1.5 cups flour with 4 tbsp cornflour added (the recipe calls for cake flour - this the substituted version)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons ground rice (rice blitzed in a grinder until it is able to pass through a fine sieve)

Make the Shortbread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line a 9-X-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper (or even foil).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually add the flour, ground rice and salt. The dough will be crumbly but should hold together when you squeeze it.
  3. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the baking pan. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and bake for another 10 minutes, until the shortbread is a deep golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack to room temperature.


2 cups sugar

3/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (I guess any other brand also should work)

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (thats juice from half a lime)

1 cup cream

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

Salt for sprinkling over the caramel layer (I used Fleur de Sel)

Make the Caramel:

  1. Combine the sugar, golden syrup, water, and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Remove any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan by wiping down the sides with water.
  2. Place the pot on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Make sure no sugar crystals are sticking to the side.
  3. When the sugar syrup starts to turn a dark golden test it by dropping it in a bowl of water - when the caramel cools it will be soft yet hold.
  4. Carefully whisk in the cream. Stir until smooth, add the condensed milk.
  5. Return the pan to the heat and stir constantly over medium heat. Remove from the heat and pour over the shortbread. While the caramel is warm sprinkle the surface with the salt.
  6. Allow to set. This will take about 2 hours.

Chocolate layer

150 gms bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used a combination of milk & dark)

2 tablespoons butter

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave. Make sure you stir the chocolate at 30 second intervals.
  2. Once completely melted pour over the caramel. Using an offset spatula, smooth the chocolate in a nice even layer.
  3. Place in the refrigerator to set.


Monday, 20 February 2012

A little bit of this and that

A little bit if this..these are called Nanaimo Bars and you can find the recipe here

And a little bit of that..a chocolate orange tart - no recipe really - just used ingredients at home all in a biscuit base.

Boozy rum and raisin cake

Yesterday was one of the happiest days of my life - I discovered Modern Bazaar on Arjun Marg :) I'm ecstatic - its covers everything from chocolate to cheese! I mean, I'm literally dancing in my chair! I've been longing to go to Flanders Dairy on Lodhi Road - but its just SO far away from here (or so it seems). Until I discovered Modern Bazaar - they keep a decent stock of Flanders cheese - I picked up some yummy smoked scamorza (which made a delicious Lebanese pizza). Yes, it is also a grocery store - it has all the regular khana peena stuff - was pleasantly surprised to find zatar and sumac as well. It is literally almost all that I was missing about Mumbai - except dear Arife, ofcourse.

This was followed by a trip to Le Marche - heaven knows why - but I think we ended up going there as part of the loitering in MGF Mall program. Le Marche has a patisserie/bakery section called Sugar & Spice. The stuff looks quite neat - doesn't taste all that great. The husband, always on an impulse purchase spree, was found caught staring at a rum and raisin pastry. No way was I going to let him buy it for.. 75 bucks a piece! I had to make it had home - making a mental note to avoid so much frosting - wanting to keep it simple. Having a basic sketch in mind, googling the recipe was a must - though surprisingly not too many turned up. Broadly, followed one I found on Allrecipes but here goes. It turned out quite lovely moist and boozy - a few hours in the fridge made it even better - dense rich rum chocolate cake.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 2/3 cup black raisins soaked for a few hours in rum (amount of raisins can be increased)
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 Egg at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/3 cup cocoa Powder

  • Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Prepare a 9 inch round baking tin.
  • Boil one cup water and transfer into a mixing bowl.
  • Add soaked raisins followed by melt butter and beaten egg and sugar.
  • Sift flour, cocoa and soda.
  • Add to wet mixture taking care not to overdo the mixing
  • Bake for 35-40 mins - making sure the cake passes the clean toothpick test.

The cake looked rather plain was toying on idea of a rum ganache frosting or a simple glaze icing. As you can see from the pics, the cake had been cut and by popular demand was left as is. Such a simple recipe - what I would do differently next time would be up the quantity of fruit. I did contemplate on adding spices - then thought it would remind one, too much, of a Christmas cake! But will try it anyways.

Ok, I need to make a trip to Modern Bazaar, I'm totally in love with the place, for now!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

All new..Part II

To introduce the product, we are back in our healthy snacking space with a milk based snack for children. French food giant Danone, recently launched a brand called 'Fundooz' (they should have called it FunDude - with a fun dude looking character). They first came out with Fundooz Yum Creamy, flavored in strawberry and vanilla. Flavored yogurt. This product is called Yum Chuski which comes in chocolate and kulfi flavors.

The problem is that I have no idea what exactly this product is. Pudding? No. Milkshake? No. Evidently, it is a launch meant for children, so clearly, it doesn't appeal to 30+ me (not even the child in me). Right from the packaging, to the product and the caricature, I found down right ugly.

Then comes actual product (that the only word that come to mind) - the texture is exactly that of milk with lots of cornflour added to it. Goop.

Danone Fundooz Yum Chuski Plus comes in easy squeeze pack which I couldn't pry open, even when I tried to neatly pull it along the 'tear here' perforated dotted line. I used a scissor to cut it neatly. And no chuski business here, I scoooped all the goop out with a desert spoon. The husband liked the product - he works in the food business so I guess he knows better - this product certainly didn't work for me. Let me try it out on my almost 2 year old.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

No bake cheesecake

I love cheesecakes. I can't remember from when, but I always have. From the day of yore, where there was no internet, I'd sit for hours looking a cookery books with recipes of cheese cake and long to make it. But for this ingredient called 'cream cheese'. Unfortunately, cream cheese in India comes with scary prices & even scarier expiry dates. So cheesecaking was limited to friends and relatives arriving from anywhere out of the country.

An unforgettable experience was having that one giant slice of Juniors cheesecake after watching a show at Broadway. This humongous slice of creamy cheesecake - just YUM!

A few months ago, my friend shared this wonderful recipe, which has been modified slightly to suit ones taste. Here goes a cheesecake recipe with well, no cream cheese!


2 packs of digestive biscuit
25 gms of butter (you can add more if you want a crunchier harder crust)

1. Crush biscuits in the mixie, add butter to the crumbs and mix till it all come together.
2. Line a springform tin (or any tin with a loose base) with foil and pack the crumb mixture into it.


Yogurt made from 1 lt milk (full/regular - both work well)
Paneer made from 1 lt milk (full/regular - both work well)
200 ml cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar (can be increased to 1 it you like it sweeter)
1.5 tbsp gelatin
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Hang the yogurt in a muslin cloth till all the water has drained out - usually around 3 to 4 hours
2. Dissolve gelatin in warm water and keep aside
2. Blend together the hung yogurt and cream till smooth
3. Keep adding little bits of paneer till to achieve a smooth texture
4. Add gelatin and vanilla to the above mixture
5. Pour over prepared crust and refrigerate.

You have a choice of toppings, since strawberries are in season you can made a coulis by blitzing about 100 gms of the berries with a little sugar added (depending on how sweet the fruit is). With such gorgeous fruit how can one not use it.

I have also made it earlier with blueberry spread by St. Dalfour. But nothing like using fresh fruit.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

All new..

The first of the series, I hope to update this regularly, provided there are new products arriving in the market.

I honestly do not why I haven’t blogged on this topic before, honestly, because I am such a sucker for new product launches. Earlier it extended to everything new that I saw in the market, face creams and washes, shampoos, lotions – you name it! Now that I’ve turned 30, I have decided to stick to one accessible brand, in this case Himalaya Herbals. Although I did just get off the L’Occitane website, after having spent a packet. Lets get back to food.

Here are ones that have caught my eye, so far. Appears, there is a lot of stress on “healthy snacking”.

Maggi Noodletz: The package design is rather cluttered and garish - at first one couldn’t really figure what it was. Maggi has seen so many variations in the recent years, first Atta Noodles then Multigrain. So when one saw this, one wasn’t sure if it was another ‘healthier’ variant or something new. On further scrutiny one sees the “Ready to Eat Noodle Bits” in the south west corner of the package. They are also very quick in adding NO ADDED MSG! ‘Crunchy noodles in a pack’ is how they describe it. Priced at Rs. 15 a pack.

Taste wise – its rather like regular masala Maggi crushed into tiny shards with the tastemaker premixed. Called Swinging Masala, also available was a Rockin Chicken variant. I’ve eaten regular Masala Maggi uncooked so this tasted pretty much the same. Except, they did live up to the crunchy experience. They are tapping a segment which has only hosted a Wai Wai and Top Ramen Mug Noodles so far. So if you find it hard to spare 2 minutes (do minit) all you need to do is open and eat!

Lay’s Baked Chips: I liked the package design, very clean, simple and straightforward. The ‘Baked’ in bold red letters screams out loud. How can one not pick one up?! There is so much guilt attached to snacking these days – guilt created. I mean if you really wanted to snack healthy why not a gajar (carrot) or kheera (cucumber) salad! This product tries to fit into this ‘healthy snacking’ segment by stating 50% less fat than fried chips. In 3 variants, Regular Salted, Herb Cream & Onion and Tomato – I bought the first two. Priced at Rs. 30 for a pack of 67 gms.

Made out of potato flakes (47%) and wheat flour (maida/flour, duh?! – also they don’t mention how much) they taste almost identical to Lay’s Stax or Pringles except they are ridged (I really wish they weren’t). Had tasted this product about three years ago in the US, liked those better mainly because they weren’t ridged. So basically we have your regular Lay’s flavours with the texture of Stax/Pringles and the claim of being baked. A funny thing, Lay’s always goes out and out to state No Transfats – here there is no mention of this – all it mentions is Fat 15.4 per 100 gms. Food for thought?

Mother Dairy Mishti Dahi: I must say they have done a really good job of bringing the yummy mishti doi to the masses. Ofcourse, nothing can replace the wet earthen pot holding the doi bought from Ganguram great grandson on Ho - Chi - Minh Sarani (yes yes, it’s a sweet shop in Kolkata and the actual name of a road). But when you’re sitting in a concrete jungle I guess one has to do with a plastic cup. Priced at Rs. 10 for a 90 gm pack, they also have a 400 gm SKU. The taste is perfect, almost store bought – once again, yes, one does miss the earthen pot.