Christmas Pop Tarts

Remember when we were young, living in India, watching English TV shows, watching kids put fancy rectangle shaped sweet tarts frosted with icing & sprinkles and think where can I get this? I used to fantasize about Pop Tarts and Twizzlers (yeah fat kid problem), when I used to spot their ads in Archie’s Comics. After about a decade of drooling, I finally found them in Mumbai at an exorbitant price. Now that I look at Pop Tarts and see how easy it is to make them, I contemplate whether it is a good thing I started baking late or not (fat kid can turn obese anytime).

Hence better late than never, I present to you Christmas Pop Tarts. The idea of Christmas Pop Tarts came because I bought these Christmas Sprinkles and I had to use them before Christmas or else what was the point. Then once again I came across Pop Tarts ad, and told myself, it is a tart filled with jam or chocolate. I can totally do this! So I decided I had to make them. The best part about Pop Tarts is you can customize it any way you like. I stuck to my Christmas-y theme and created a festive version of it. To see how you can customize it check the notes section in the end.

Ingredients –

Tart –

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 75 grams cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup cold water

Filling –

  • 200 grams dark chocolate
  • 100 grams cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup cranberries

Toppings –

  • Christmas theme sprinkles

Directions –

  • In a food processor, add flour, cocoa, cinnamon and pulse.
  • Add the cold butter and pulse till the mixture reaches a sandy consistency.
  • Remove in a separate bowl and add ice cold water one tablespoon at a time and knead to form a dough. Once the dough is formed, wrap it with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Heat the cream till its scalding – not boiling and add to the chocolate. Mix till all the chocolate is melted. If the chocolate is not melting after a few minutes. Melt it in with a microwave by giving it 10 seconds bursts.
  • Once the ganache mixture is formed. Refrigerate till it sets.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  • Roll the tart dough and cut into 3 x 4 inches rectangles. This recipe is for 6 pop tarts. So you should have 12 rectangle sheets.
  • Take a sheet, spread some ganache. You can microwave the ganache for 10 seconds if it is too stiff. Sprinkle almonds and cranberries and cover with another sheet.
  • Take a fork, press down all four sides and punch in some holes on the top sheet with the fork.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool completely.
  • Frost the top with the remainder of the ganache and sprinkle the Christmas themed sprinkles.
  • Store in a refrigerator for up to 5 days. Heat it in the microwave before serving, so the ganache melts and it is soft in the center.

Notes –

  • You can add whatever you want for the filling. Any type of jam, more chocolate, or even chocolate chips in the center.
  • You can vary in the dry fruits department by adding walnuts, cashew, raisins, whichever you fruit you like.
  • You can make ahead the tart dough and keep. I would suggest make a bigger batch store it in the freezer and enjoy the Pop Tarts whenever you want. You can also store the ganache in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. The dough can stay for 1 month.

 

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Gingerbread Scones

Okay too many things are happening. Firstly, as usual I have been MIA since a couple of months. If you are curious and you want to know what I was up to – well I can’t believe I am saying this because I have my own Kitchen! I have a professional kitchen all to myself… well almost all to myself. Me and my very talented partner decided to take the plunge and start The Omakase Kitchen, which is a Japanese and Korean delivery and take away joint. So its been three months, it’s been mad, it’s been hectic but I am enjoying every minute of it. Secondly, it’s that time of the year where I go crazy. Christmas is coming! And as you guys know that it is my favorite time of the year. Thirdly it is my blog’s anniversary. Yes I just completed four years of blogging. Happy Blog Birthday to me!

Coming back to the recipe – every year I do my take on the ever popular and delicious Gingerbread. This year, I have made Gingerbread Scones. This British delicacy is perfect as your tea time snack. 

Gingerbread Scones

Makes about 10 scones

Ingredients – 

  • 225 grams All Purpose Flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 25 grams Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon mix spice 
  • 37 grams softened butter
  • 112 grams milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions – 

  • Preheat oven to 220 C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, ginger powder, cinnamon, mix spice and sugar.
  • Add the butter and whisk till sandy consistency. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla and milk. 
  • Leaving 1 tablespoon of the milk and egg mixture to glaze the scones later. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix in two additions. 
  • Mix until combined. The dough should be sticky and a little wet. 
  • Dust flour on a table, take the dough and flatten it with your hand till about 1/2 cm in height. Taking a 1 inch round cookie cutter, cut circles and put them on the baking tray. Repeat the process by reusing the scraps.
  • Using a pastry brush glaze the scones with egg and milk mixture.
  • Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or till golden brown at 220 C. Let them cool completely before serving. 

Notes – 

  • You can add or delete the amount of spices according to your liking. I prefer the flavor of spices on the heavier side in my dishes. So I have modified it accordingly. 
  • You can also modify the size of the scones according to your liking. 

Gingerbread Doughnuts

Recently I was one of the few chefs who was talked about it in the article by Mid-day regarding baking Christmas goodies. They wanted something revolving around Gingerbread and hence I told them about Gingerbread Doughnuts. While we were talking about Gingerbread, a very good question was asked and that was – What makes the dish – Gingerbread. I realized the concept was very simple – to anything if you add ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice. Replace the castor sugar with brown sugar to add in a little bit of nutty flavor. And oh! you have a gingerbread dessert. It is pretty simple. Honey or molasses is also added to enhance the flavor.

I absolutely love anything Gingerbread, cause I love spiced up dishes. Gingerbread somehow brings out a different taste altogether. This year, I thought lets change things a bit and not bake the regular cookies that I make and go for Gingerbread Doughnuts. They are very easy and takes a little bit of time, as I am doing yeast – leavened doughnuts. But other than that they are a perfect treat for this festive season.

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Gingerbread Doughnuts

Makes at least 2 dozen of regular size doughnuts

Ingredients –

  • 2.5 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 teaspoon all spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 55 grams butter, room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Oil, for frying

Coating –

  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Method –

  • In a stand mixer bowl – take the warm water, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast and mix until the yeast is dissolved. Keep it aside for 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a bowl mix – flour, both the sugars, baking powder, salt, ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice.
  • When the yeast is active, it will become foamy, add the yolks, butter, and vanilla. Mix with the paddle attachment for 1 minute.
  • Keeping the speed on low, keep adding the flour with a big spoon. After adding half of the flour, shift to hook/dough attachment and add the remaining flour. Mix for 3 – 5 minutes on medium high.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
  • After 1 hour, knead the dough and roll it to an 1/2 inch thick height.
  • If you want small bite size pieces, cut them with 1 inch round cookie cutter. If you want the original doughnut shape – cut it with one 3 inch cookie cutter and then 1 inch cookie cutter to cut the centers. If you have a doughnut cutter, then you know what to do.
  • You can re – roll the remaining dough and cut them.
  • Let the doughnuts rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil till its 180 C. Fry the doughnuts for 30 – 45 seconds on each side or until brown.
  • After removing, let them sit for 2 minutes on tissue papers and then coat them in cinnamon sugar.
  • Serve warm.

Notes –

  • You can add / delete the amount of spices in the dough according to your taste.
  • If you don’t like too much cinnamon in your dessert avoid the coating of cinnamon sugar and just coat them in plain sugar.

Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread

As I have mentioned in the previous post – I am in the holiday mood and I absolutely love baking during this time. So mixing my current obsession bread and my long lasting obsession of baking Christmas-y goodies, I have made Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread – which is a cross between cinnamon roll and bread. It looks amazing. The major reason I wanted to make this was because I love the way it looks. It looks complicated but it is extremely easy and takes very little time.

Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread

Bread

Ingredients –

  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 40 gms butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 3/4 cup slightly warm milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Filling –

  • 2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 30 gms butter, softened

Method –

  • Warm 1/4 cup water in a cup, make sure it is not hot. Add a tiny pinch of sugar, and the instant yeast (instant yeast and dry active yeast are different, please check the package). Mix until yeast is dissolved and leave it aside for 10 – 15 minutes till it is foamy.
  • Using a stand mixer with dough hook attachment combine 40 gms butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Mix for 1 minute. Add the yeast and then the flour. Mix for 5 – 7 minutes till the dough is elastic and check the gluten development by doing the window pane test.
  • If you are kneading by hand, then mix in the same format but knead with your hand for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Window pane test – take a small piece of dough and stretch it. It should stretch without tearing, forming a thin layer and if you see it against the light it should feel like you are looking through a fogged glass.
  • After the test, rest the dough in a bowl for 1 hour or until double in size covered with plastic wrap.
  • In a small bowl mix the cinnamon and sugar, and keep it aside.
  • After an hour, shape the dough again, weigh and divide it in to four portions.
  • Take the 1st portion, roll the dough until its thin and place it in a greased cookie sheet.
  • Brush soft butter on it and generously sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.
  • Roll the 2nd portion of the dough, and place it on top on the 1st. Repeat the butter and cinnamon sugar. Continue layering by rolling the 3rd and repeat butter and cinnamon sugar. Roll the 4th and place it on top.
  • Taking a plate or a big bowl, lightly place the round side on it, to indent a large round, so you can cut the excess dough and make a proper circle with a knife.
  • Taking a 1 – 2 inch cookie cutter, make a slight indent in the center but make sure you do it lightly.
  • With a knife cut equal 16 portions, starting from the outside of the indent line till the outer end, leaving the 2 inch round center as it is. Take two portions and twist them outward individually, joining them at the end.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Melt the remaining butter of the filling and as soon as the bread is baked, brush the top lightly with butter.
  • Serve warm.

 

Cappuccino Snickerdoodle

Its Christmas time! My obsession of baking delicious winter-y goods is on an all time high. This is my time to experiment and try all the new dishes that I have in mind. I made these cookies in October for Halloween, but I had made a huge batch and right now its frozen in my freezer. So I am ready with these delicious treats whenever I want them.

I know the last recipe was also coffee related, but I am not sorry – I love coffee and as I said before coffee in desserts is just perfect.

According to me Cappuccino Snickerdoodle is the best version of Snickerdoodle. Snickerdoodle is basically – Cinnamon cookies. As you all know cinnamon and coffee compliment each other very well. So this mingle was bound to create great flavors.

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Cappuccino Snickerdoodle

Ingredients –

  • 200 gms butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Method –

  • Preheat the oven to 175 C.
  • Sift flour, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl.
  • In a small bowl mix 3 tablespoon of castor sugar and 3/4 tablespoon of cinnamon and keep aside.
  • Using the paddle attachment of the stand mixer / hand mixer, cream butter and the remaining castor sugar, and brown sugar till light and fluffy, for about 4 -5 minutes on medium speed.
  • Add eggs, vanilla, and instant coffee powder in the butter – sugar mixture. Mix for 1 – 2 minutes until combined.
  • Add the flour mixture. Add the vinegar. Mix until everything is combined.
  • Scoop the batter with a tablespoon on your hands and roll it into a ball. Coat them in the cinnamon sugar prepared before. Place them on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake them for 12 – 15 minutes or until brown.

Tips –

  • Make ahead  – You can wrap the batter in a plastic wrap and store it in the freezer. When needed, remove it from the freezer. Let it thaw till its soft, and continue with scooping, rolling and coating.
  • You can substitute the brown sugar with castor sugar. Though I feel the brown sugar brings in a subtle nutty flavor.

 

Pffernusus aka Pepper nuts cookies

Pffernusus aka Pepper nuts cookies originated in Germany and are a part of traditional Christmas cookies. We all have baked or eaten our ever favorite Gingerbread Cookies and Sugar cookies. But I felt like experimenting a bit this year and creating things which we are unaware or just don’t bother baking. These cookies are super simple and super tasty. Its a must for all those who love spiced cookies.

Pffernusus aka Pepper nuts cookies

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Ingredients –

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 100 grams butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup icing sugar

Method –

  • Preheat oven – 180 C
  • In a bowl sift flour. Add baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground pepper, ground cloves and nutmeg. Mix well with a spoon.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together for 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. Add honey, mix until well combine.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix with the electric mixer until everything is mixed well.
  • Grease and line a baking sheet pan with parchment/butter paper.
  • Take a tablespoon and scoop half tablespoon of the cookie batter and gently roll it in your hands and place it on the pan.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 – 15 minutes at 180 C till brown and cracks appear. Let it cool.
  • In a medium bowl, put the icing sugar and with a spoon take one cookie at a time and roll it. Coat the cookies with sugar, then eat on the spot or store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Pumpkin Pie

So I had planned to post it before Thanksgiving but its me and I get late. But better late than never. Here I present to you first time ever – Pumpkin Pie. But first of all a bit Gyaan (information) –

We bakers usually complain that most of the international desserts cant be made over here cause of one constant reason “That INGREDIENT is not available” but I always wonder why nobody bakes/sells a Pumpkin dessert. Pumpkin is ample available here. Or is it our logic of “who will eat Kadu” So I am breaking this … whatever this myth/reasons/blah blah is and baking a Pumpkin Pie.

Without further ado here goes –

This recipe is for enough for 8 inch Pie.

Pumpkin Pie

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First Pumpkin Puree –

Ingredients –

  • Half decent size Pumpkin / 4 cups chopped Pumpkin
  • Water

Method –

Boil pieces of Pumpkin until soft. I used pressure cooker.

Drain the water. In a food processor puree the pumpkin. In a muslin / cheesecloth let the Pumpkin puree hang for at least 2 hours. As Pumpkin will loose a lot of extra water.

While the puree is getting ready. Get started with the Pie Crust.

Pie Crust –

Ingredients –

  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 100 grams cold Butter cut into pieces
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons cold water

Method –

In a food processor pulse flour, salt, sugar or whisk it in a large bowl.

Add butter and pulse again until sandy texture. Or mix it with a whisk/spoon/hand by rubbing the butter with the flour.

Add 1 tablespoon of water and knead with your hand. Keep adding cold water till the mixture begins to hold together and forms a dough.

Form a ball and wrap it in a plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Remove the dough, sprinkle some flour on the surface and roll it to 10 inch disk for a 8 inch pie pan.

Grease the pie pan with butter and flour. Put the rolled dough onto the pan, press slightly around so it will take the shape of the pan.

Preheat the oven – 180 C

Cut a square piece of parchment paper and put it on top of the dough. Put some raw rice/beans as pie weights on the paper.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pie weights and bake more for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Remove and let it cool.

Pumpkin –

Ingredients –

  • 3/4 Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup cream

Method –

Preheat oven 180 C

In a large bowl whisk everything until combine.

Pour the mixture into the cooled Pie crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes till the sides are set and center slight wobbly.

Let it cool for an hour and then cut into slices or just dig in.

If any question or comments or reviews if you tried the recipe please do let me know in the comments section below.