Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

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She has a mouth full of teeth now and she can brush them herself too. Then standing on the tip of her toes on top of the step stool, leaning towards the mirror she counts them every night before going to bed, in case there's one missing. She is embarrassed beyond belief if I ask her in front of "people" whether she wants to go pee pee. She has opinions when it comes to dressing her up or dressing me up for that matter. And she wants to "create food" in the kitchen (yes, that's what she calls it) just like maa does. "I do not want to watch, I want to HELP" she would demand when asked to stay away from the burner. Just letting her drop a couple spoonfuls of sugar or having her stir the pot doesn't work anymore. She wants to "create the food" from start to finish wearing an apron like maa. I wonder who she gets this from! *smirk*

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So we decided to spend some good time in the kitchen together (which we are not getting a lot lately!) and create some food. On being asked what she wants to create the answer was "marshmallows.. No No..egg. No wait, marshmallows is fine!" Now creating marshmallows with a two year old might be little tricky so we decided to take the easy route and baked some cookies with marshmallows on them.  I had this recipe bookmarked in my computer which was very easy to put together and perfect to make while having fun, so I chose that. I made a few variations so that it gets easier for the two year old and also exciting to see what she could do all by herself.

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I was surprised to see how well she measured the flour and broke the eggs. Well, when it came to measuring sugar and melting chocolate I could understand why she was a little sneaky but I was surprised to see how well she did. She patiently cut each marshmallow and waited in front of oven with arms closed and tapping her toes while the cookies were baking. And when the time came to drizzle molten chocolate on top of the cookies, the sparkle in her eyes and that smile on her face could tell how important it was for her to "create that food" all by herself. They came out perfect, soft chocolate cookies with gooey marshmallows and rich chocolate worked well together. Later, all three of us sat down to enjoy those warm cookies with a warm heart!

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The recipe I used for these cookies was from the MarthaStewart.com. I tweaked it a little to make it easier for the little one to manage (under my constant supervision and with a little help of course). I omitted the whole frosting part completely and instead just melted some dark chocolate with some heavy cream and the little one drizzled it on top of the cookies when they cooled down.

Ingredients:  (Adapted from marthastewart.com)
Makes a little over 2 dozen (I made 28)

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I used 3/4 cup whole wheat with 1 cup APF)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (room temperature softened)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12-15 marshmallows
1/2 cup semisweet/dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoon heavy cream

Method:

Preheat the oven at 375 deg. F (Mine burnt at 375 so baked the second batch at 350 for sharp 10 min.)
In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In an electric mixer cream butter and sugar together until they turn light and fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat together until they are well combined. Add flour slowly on low setting until they are combined.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then using a spoon or ice cream scoop drop batter on the baking sheet about a couple inches apart from each other or when you bake the butter melts, cookie spreads and they stick to the ones next to them.
Let them bake for 10 minutes. They bake up fast so keep an eye. Mine burnt on the bottom when I baked them for 12 minutes at 375 deg. F.
In the meantime cut marshmallows horizontally into halves.
Take the cookies out of the oven, place one marshmallow half (cut side down) over each cookie. Put them back in the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes. Transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool before frosting.
While the cookies cool melt chocolate chip cookies with cream in a double boiler. Once the chocolate melts whisk it thoroughly mixing cream and chocolate together making a think paste.
Now you can either transfer this ganache into a piping bag or using a spoon drizzle it over the cookies.
Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Indian Simmer Loves- Family Fresh Cooking

A dear friend came over to spend the night with us while her husband was away on a trip. Little A was so excited to see her maasi (aunt in hindi) entering the door that she practically jumped off her high chair with a mouth full of rajma chawal. She was a "husband's close friend's wife" 5 years back when we first met and I don't even remember us acknowledging each other for the first time. But now she is one of the closer than the closest. That's what happens when you spend time with the right person. One such friend that I am proud to know and love, thanks to my blog, is Marla from Family Fresh Cooking. We were virtual friends for quite sometime before we met for the first time face to face at a blogger conference. The moment I met her the first thing that came to my mind was- fire cracker, because that's what she is! She is always bursting with energy, wearing a smile on her face she loves to listen to what you have to say and is one of the wittiest people I know. The only thing you need to do to love her is to meet her or in our case, read her blog. Family Fresh Cooking is all what Marla is- colorful, fun and informative. So let me present to you Marla Meredith and her beautiful blog because Indian Simmer loves Family Fresh Cooking.


Pear Muffins Marla Meridith-IMG_5612
Hi there! I am beyond thrilled to be guest posting here on Indian Simmer today! I'm Marla Meridith & I publish the blog Family Fresh Cooking. Some of us might all ready know each other and I hope others of you might become new friends. I love making new friends around the web! When I was contacted by Prerna about the wonderful opportunity to guest post on her beautiful blog I leapt at the chance. Today i'll tell you a little bit about myself and share a few of our favorite recipes.

Pear Muffins Marla Meridith-IMG_5630

Tell us about yourself and what you would say is your food philosophy? I grew up in NY and spent my life there until my mid 20's. NY is such a vibrant place. People take each and every meal very seriously. We always poke fun at my dad because he is always planning the next meal....I realize I have become the exact same way! We also spent a good part of my youth at my family's organic dairy farm in Devon, England. It was in the UK and my mother's passion for cooking that built the awareness and passion that I have for food today. I am all about using whole food ingredients in my cooking and participating in mindful eating behaviors.

Mindful to me means savoring each and every bite. Sitting down and really enjoying a meal. Spending time together with loved ones and friends over great food. Completely nourishing the mind, body and spirit with each and every bite. For myself and my family food should taste wonderful, but it should also make us feel our best. This is why I steer away from refined, processed ingredients. For us the benefits from eating whole food ingredients is the most mindful practice we can do. I select organic, sustainable ingredients when available.

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Thankfully in our house we do not have food allergies, but I do however post many vegan and gluten free recipes. I like to mix things up in our kitchen and share my colorful recipes with all of you!

What led you to starting a food blog? At 26 I moved to Southern California and worked as a freelance textile and graphic designer for the likes of Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and many other fun kids based brands. In 2003 I had my daughter and then in 2006 my son. Being a mom is the most gratifying job I have ever had. My creative passions took a back seat for a while and then I realized how much I missed that part of my life.

Carrot Pear Sauce Parfait Recipe-IMG_5511

I launched FamilyFreshCooking.com in 2009 as a fun little space to share healthy, creative recipes for active families and for all people no matter what stage of their life they are in. When I started out, my photos were taken with my iPhone and I had really had no idea what Twitter, Facebook or blogging were really about. I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that my blog would become more than a full time job and the most amazing portal for creative expression.

These days food, travel and lifestyle photography has become a giant passion. Along with sharing my creative recipes with all of you.

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What would you say "Family Fresh Cooking" is all about and please share a recipe that best describes your blog? Family Fresh Cooking is all about embracing all of the colors of life through delicious, healthy food and a vibrant active lifestyle. Lately my readers have been very engaged in Project Lunch Box. An online event I created to get people packing their own homemade meals for work, school and travel.

Pear Sauce Marla Meridith Photography-IMG_5526-2

The recipe I am sharing today is for Chai Carrot Pear Muffins. These are based off a delightful Chai Carrot Pear Sauce I came up with. The sauce is wonderful on it's own or in a yogurt parfait. It is also great to use in baking, as it is used in these muffins. This sauce can be integrated as you would applesauce in baked goods. It adds a nice sweetness, subtle flavor and allows you to reduce the amount of fat you use. These recipes keeps us fueled for a busy day at school, hiking with camera gear or skiing the slopes of Telluride. It is tasty for breakfast, brunch or snacks throughout the day. Also great tucked inside your lunchbox.

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Here is the recipe for the Chai Pear Carrot Muffins and you can dash on over to my blog for the Chai Pear Carrot Sauce recipe:

Ingredients

Yield: 12 standard sized Muffins
  • 1 cup Gluten Free Oat Flour or Quinoa Flour
  • 1 cup blanched Almond Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine Sea Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Chai Pear Carrot Sauce
  • 1 cup light Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Almond or Vanilla Extract
  • 3-4 droppers full of Vanilla Stevia Drops Adjust to taste
  • 1 large Carrot, peeled and finely shredded

Optional Toppings
  • Your favorite nuts
  • Raisins
  • unsweetened Coconut Flake
Method
  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Prepare standard sized muffin tins with liners or cooking spray. Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir together wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring well. Fold in the shredded carrots last. Adjust spices and sweetness if desired.
  • Fill muffin cups evenly with batter. Top with pistachios or other nuts if desired. Bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out virtually crumb free.
  • Enjoy with whipped cream, thick yogurt and/or coconut flake.
Notes
  • You can also use homemade or store bought pear or applesauce in this recipe. The spices add the chai flavor.
Let's stay in touch! Visit me at Family Fresh Cooking and I am all over the web: on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon & Instagram too!
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