Dry Fruits and Nuts Biscuits

Just like Sharmila, and I believe many other Indians, I tend to get confused between cookies and biscuits. Back home in India, only those that are studded with chocolate chips were called as cookies, whereas all others are referred to as biscuits. So you are free to call them whatever you wish, fruit biscuits, or fruit cookies, these melt in mouth morsels studded with dry fruits and nuts are a treat.

dry fruits and nuts biscuits

The famous Karachi Bakery in Hyderabad city is popular for fruit biscuits, among many other baked food products that they are known for. I had always loved these when I was a little kid. These were perhaps one my most early loves. So you can imagine my joy when I discovered a recipe for fruit biscuits at one of my favorite TV chefs website, Ina Garten. I have tried and took delight in many of her recipes, her homely style of cooking is something that I can identify with.

Simple to prepare and delightful to taste, these biscuits have become a regular in my house. Ofcourse I miss those that were available at Karachi Bakery, but these have been successful enough to win my heart and rock my tastebuds. I have made a few changes to the original recipe so that it suites me. For an eggless version, try Priya’s version.

Dry Fruits & Nuts Biscuits/ Cookies
Adapted from this original recipe

Ingredients:

Dried fruits – 1 cup [I used a mixture of tutti frutti and raisins. You can use whatever dry fruits you fancy, like dried berries, candied cherries (or any fruits) etc]
Dried nuts – 3/4 cup [I used a mixture of cashewnuts and walnuts]
Honey – 1 tbsp
Fresh orange juice – 2 tbsp
Fresh lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup (at room temperature)
Canola oil – 1/2 cup
Powdered cloves – 1/4 tsp
Light brown sugar – 1/3 cup
Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
Eggs – 2, large
All purpose flour – 2 2/3 cups
Salt

Method:

1. Chop the dried nuts and fruits roughly. Place them in a mixing bowl, add orange juice, lemon juice, honey and a pinch of salt. Mix well. Cover with a plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature overnight.
2. In a mixing bowl add butter and oil, powdered cloves, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Using a whisk or an electric hand mixer, beat for 3-4 minutes. Add eggs and beat for a minute or two until mixed. Add the the dried fruits and nuts, including any liquid in the bowl. Now add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt just until combined. Don’t over-mix! Divide the dough in half. Place the half on a wax paper and using the long edge of the paper as a guide, shape them into logs. Cover the logs with plastic wrap entirely if you plan to freeze them now to use later. Or else, refrigerate the logs wrapped in wax paper for 1-2 hours or until firm (you can even freeze them for just 15-20 minutes) so that you can easily cut them into slices.

biscuit dough logs

biscuits, cut and ready to be baked

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on aluminium foil lined cookie sheets and bake for 14 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden on the edges. Mine were done in just 14 minutes. Once done, transfer the biscuits immediately on a rack and let cool. Once cool, store in air tight food storage containers.

Luv,
Mona

Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

A true American delicacy~brownies and chocolate chop cookies are my weakness. Oversize and dense with chocolate chips, these cookies are thin, crisp and slightly chewy in the center.

I got hold of this recipe for these indulgent cookies which are so easy to prepare from my darling dear sister, which she got from one of her close friend. I keep preparing them quite frequently at my home whenever the craving hits me. She deserves all the compliments for these delightful cookies.

Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 15 jumbo cookies

All-purpose flour – 1 1/2 cup
Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Granulated white sugar – 1/2 cup
Brown sugar – 1 cup, firmly packed
Eggs – 2, large, at room temperature
Canola oil – 90 ml
Vanilla powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup, melted and slightly cooled
Semi-sweet chocolate chips – 1 1/4 cup

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. Add all the first 6 listed dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix using a whisk. In an another mixing bowl, add the next 4 wet ingredients and lightly whip using a whisk for approx a minute. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well until dough like. Mix in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon. Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop onto prepared cookie sheets.

3. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Keep a close eye at the last minutes, they can get burned or overdone easily.

4. Leave to cool on tray for 5 minutes. Using a flat spatula transfer them to a wire rack until they are cooled completely, approx 1 hour. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.

Tip: You can also freeze the cookie dough for later use, and when required bake them at a moments notice. Simply, scoop the cookie dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze for 1 hour. Later, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls into to an air tight zip-lock plastic bag and freeze for later use for up to 3 months. When guests arrive, or your kids desire them, simply transfer the frozen unbaked cookie dough balls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake as directed above, adding a couple of minutes to the baking time, keeping a close eye.

Note: Vanilla extract (vanilla in liquid form) is non-halal. Only powdered vanilla is Halal.

Luv,
Mona

Dried Cranberry-Walnut Muffins

Looks like Fall/Autumn has finally arrived in Toronto. Strong cold winds, falling leaves, and the beautiful red, orange and yellow hues on the tree leaves indicating that a new weather has commenced.

Frozen Moment #5 – Vivid blue sky against Autumn leaves

This summer seemed very short to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed and made use of the beautiful sunshine with whatever little gardening I was able to do in my backyard. Now, my lovely tomato plant is slowly dying, and raspberry plants will soon be asleep. Herb pots have all be brought indoors to adapt to the scanty indirect sunshine.

Bed of Fallen Leaves

This kind of weather leaves me craving for warm baked goods. Mornings are commenced with warm coffee or tea, and something baked fresh from my oven. Today I baked these delicious muffins using dried cranberries which I bought from Bulk barn and some walnuts that I had lying in the refrigerator from a long time.

Toasted and chopped Walnuts & dried Cranberries

I really enjoyed the raisin like dried cranberries with a hint of tartness bursting in my mouth with every bite.

Dried Cranberry-Walnut Muffins
Recipe adapted from: Cakes – 1,001 recipes from around the world

Ingredients:

All-Purpose flour – 2 cups
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Dried Cranberries – 1 cup
Walnuts – 1/2 cup, toasted & chopped (you can also use any other nuts you like)
Buttermilk – 1 cup
Brown Sugar – 1/2 cup, firmly packed
Eggs – 2, large, at room temperature
Butter – 1/4 cup, melted

Warm, freshly baked Cranberry-Walnut muffins cooling on rack

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F
2. Butter and flour a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with aluminium foil or paper baking cups.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder, nutmeg and salt into a large bowl. Stir in cranberries and walnuts.
4. Beat buttermilk, brown sugar, eggs, butter in medium bowl with an electric hand mixer at high speed.
5. Stir the egg mixture into dry ingredients. Spoon the batter into muffin cups filling each 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the muffin pan on rack.

My friends of Northern hemisphere, enjoy the fall weather and keep warm!

Luv,
Mona

Jal Jeera

Cumin is a flowering plant that has been grown as a spice, it has digestive properties and a very distinctive aroma. Its a spice used very commonly in Indian cuisines. Its can be store in airtight containers for upto 6 months.

This post is my contribution to Sunita’s monthly event on Spices – Think Spice.. , and she has selected Cumin for this month.Thanks for hosting the event on such a wonderful spice Sunita. Here’s my entry:

Recipe Source: India’s Vegetarian Cooking, by Monisha Bharadwaj

Serves : 4

Ingredients:

  • Cumin Seeds – 2 tsp
  • Tamarind Concentrate – 1 tbsp
  • Hot water – 600 ml
  • Brown Sugar – 6 tbsp
  • Red Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Black Salt/Kala Namak – 1 tsp
  • Cilantro – few, finely chopped
  • Mint Leaves – few, finely chopped

Method:

  • Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small pan. When they turn dark, grind them into a fine powder and reserve.
  • Dilute the tamarind concentrate in water and add to it the rock/sea salt, sugar, chilli powder and reserved cumin powder and mix it well.
  • Let it cool and stir in the coriander leaves.
  • Pour this mixture into a small jug and let it chill in a refrigerato
  • Luv,
    Mona