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

Cool delight

Fruit lassi~smoothies are my personal favorite options for iftaar when you break fast during Ramadan, or during the morning rush hours for your breakfast. Full of vitamins and minerals, they help replenish nutrients in the body.

Blueberries

My favorite berry is blueberry among all other berries, I admit, and I just love the gorgeous color of blueberry lassi. This smoothie is loaded with long-term-health boosters. It also contains yogurt, a source of bone-strengthening calcium and immune-supporting probiotics. Blend it for breakfast, or Iftaar during Ramadan, and the vitamins, protein, and fiber will replenish your energy and make you feel blooming.

Blueberry Lassi~Smoothie

Ingredients:

Organic Blueberries – 300 gms
Low-fat Yogurt – 2/3 cup
Honey – 4 tbsp (or you can also use Turbinado sugar or other natural sweetener to taste)
Almond powder (with skin) – 1 tbsp (or you can also use ground flaxseed instead)
Ice cubes – 4

Blueberry Lassi~Smoothie

Method:

Wash the blueberries in surplus water in several changes. Drain and reserve. Combine all ingredients in an electric blender and blend on medium speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Garnish with fresh berries and serve. (Note: For a nondairy alternative, you can substitute cultured soy for the yogurt.) Pour into glasses and serve chilled.

This is my second entry to the ‘Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival ’09’ that I am hosting on my blog.
Do send me your entries as soon as possible before Ramadan starts. The deadline is 20th August ‘09.

Luv,
Mona

Butterscotch Mini Loafs

The beautiful aroma that fills my house when I bake these beauties revs up my appetite for them. These beautiful mini loafs are perfect for breakfast along with a cup of warm coffee or tea, or you could also enjoy them as a snack. Children will especially love these butterscotch mini loafs, as well as adults.

Butterscotch Mini Loafs

Just put all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and mix them well using a rubber spatula until everything is well blended together, and pour the batter into the moulds to get perfect results. There is no need for an electric mixer or a food processor for the mixing.

Butterscotch chips

Stock up your pantry with chocolate, white chocolate and butterscotch chips. They come extremely handy when baking to flavor up the goodies.

Butterscotch Mini Loafs

Makes – 8 mini loafs (I have used a mini-loaf tin, instead you could use use around 20 muffin cups)
Source: Cakes – 1,001 recipes from around the world

Ingredients:

All-Purpose flour – 2 cups
Baking powder – 2 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Granulated sugar – 1/4 cup
Butterscotch chips – 1 1/2 cups
Milk – 1 cup
Butter – 4 tbsp (1/2 stick), melted
Egg – 1, large, lightly beaten
Honey – 2 tbsp
Vanilla powder – 2 tsp

Method:

-Preheat the oven to 400°F.
-Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and butterscotch chips. Make a well in the center and pour in milk, butter, egg, honey and vanilla. Mix well with a rubber spatula until you get a smooth batter. Spoon the batter into the mini loaf pan, filling each 3/4 full.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool the muffins on racks.

Luv,
Mona

Chocolate Muffins

Breakfasts are the *most* important meals of the day and I am one among those people who can just not live without a proper breakfast every morning. Nevertheless, breakfast is most neglected and disregarded by people.

Chocolate Cupcakes/Muffins

These Chocolate cupcakes/muffins are another of my favorite breakfasts. Bake them on the weekends and store in air tight plastic boxes in a single layer, so that your breakfast for atleast a week is ready for you to just pick and go, and what more, these are butter free! They keep well for around a week or so.

Recipe adapted from:Cakes – 1,001 recipes from around the world

Chocolate Cupcakes/Muffins

Ingredients:

All-Purpose flour – 2 cups
Unsweetened Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Milk – 3/4 cup
Canola Oil – 1/2 cup
Granulated Sugar – 1 1/4 cup
Honey – 1 tbsp
Eggs – 2 large
Semi sweet chocolate chips – 1/4 cup

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Spray a 16 muffin-pan or individual muffin cups with cooking oil, or line with foil or paper cups.
3. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
4.  Beat the oil, sugar and honey in a large bowl in a food processor or using an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, until just blended after each addition. With mixer at low speed, gradually beat in the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
8. Cool the muffins on racks.

Enjoy, and remember, Never skip breakfasts! Start having a delicious healthy breakfast from today and make your kids always have their breakfast too right from their childhood.

Luv,
Mona

Minty Strawberry Banana Smoothie~Lassi

I am so delighted and glad! The good news is that both zaaiqa(dot)net website has been closed down and the my recipe pictures has been removed by the blogger as they both had violated the copyright policy of my blog. I thank all those who helped me out in this cause. Cheers!

A few days back I had brought home some ripe bananas and fresh strawberries, and they were lying in the refrigerator waiting to be turned into something delicious. I thought of preparing a smoothie immediately as I am a huge fan of strawberry lassi/smoothies.

Enjoy this smoothie on a hot summer afternoon. Your kids will also love this drink. Its healthy and nutritious.

Minty Strawberry Banana Smoothie~Lassi

Makes – 5 small glasses

Ingredients:

  • Ripe Banana – 1
  • Whole Strawberries – 4 cups
  • Mint Leaves – 8, large
  • Yogurt – 1/2 cup
  • Honey – 8 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice – 1/2 tbsp
  • Ice cubes – 1 cup

Method:

  • Halve the banana and strawberries, roughly tear the mint leaves with you hands and add with all the remaining ingredients into a food processor or a blender container. Blend till pureed. Add the few ice cubes and blend again till they are lightly crushed.
  • Pour into chilled glasses and serve immediately. Do not store to serve at a later day.

For this smoothie, I used the mint from my Mint plant which I planted indoors in container. This goes as an entry to Grow Your Own Event hosted by Jai and Bee of Jugalbandi.

Some of my bloggers friends were kind enough to pass me some awards during the last few weeks. I am honored and feel delighted to recieve them. Now I have two more awards on my shelf to show off 😉

Silvana of UvAromatica has forwarded me the “Brilliant Weblog Prize”.

Brilliant Weblog is a prize given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design. The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogsphere. Here are the rules to follow:

  1. When you recieve the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back.
  2. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog’.
  3. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).

I furthur pass this award to Indira of Mahanandi, Asha of Aroma, Meeta of Whats For Lunch Honey, Elise’s Simply Recipes, Cinnamon of Cinnamon Trial, Shilpa of Aaayi’s Recipes and Nupur of One Hot Stove.

I also recieved the Inspiration Award from Zainab and Hameeda of Arabic Bites.

This is given to bloggers whose stories and recipes inspire us.Whether it’s to eat healthier, dive back into our past to conjure up something we ate as children, or just make the light bulbs in our brains go on with a new idea for a recipe. The rules of the award are: As recipients of this award, please share with us what inspires you and then pass on the Inspiration Award to 4 other deserving bloggers. Please let them know what the award means and what to do with it

My Mother’s simple and quick cooking, my readers and their comments is what inspires me.

I pass on this award to Kay of One Bite at a time, Priya of 365 Days of Pure Vegetarian, Sunita of Sunita’s World and JZ of Tasty Treats.

And last but not the least, I thank Foodbuzz for sending me the goodies which include Moo cards, an organic Tote bag and a personalised ‘Zaiqa’ site badge. I loved them all a lot.

Luv,
Mona