Diwali has gone by and the cool weather is arriving in Bangalore. The rains have been regular daily visitors and the boys have moved from shorts to track pants and light sweatshirts. They are a lot more excited by the smell of baking and are generally super snacky when they are at home.
Yesterday i decided to make some gingerbread cookies. I got the recipe from Martha Stewart’s site (http://www.marthastewart.com/343445/gingerbread-cookies)
Anyway, long story short..a little tedious but turned out absolutely delish! The boys woke up from their afternoon nap like puppies with their noses in the air sniffing around in the kitchen. We pulled them out, I let them cool and did a simple icing on top. Then before i knew it, the kids had taken them off the cooling rack and made off with a gingerbread man each.
Sid looked at Amu who was admiring his cookie in general and said “eat it up quickly before the gingerbread man runs away!”
Nish my ever musical boy immediately broke into the gingerbread man refrain “run run as fast as you can….”
Amu of course had us all in splits a minute later. He promptly chomped at his cookie and then held it up saying “no worries, i have eaten up his legs…now he cant run!
Cars, trucks, constructions toys and now Dinosaurs…the current thing my boys seem to be into. As we were reading about dinosaurs last month we came across a whole section on fossils and that was another thing that caught the twins’ fancy.
So, i decided to make hem fossil cookies. We played with some playdough and they loved putting their plastic bugs on it to make ‘fossils’. taking this one stwp further i googled for fossil cookie recipes and came across a really nice one by Martha Stewart:
They were pretty simple to make (the only part that really took a little time was toasting the walnuts in a pan and then putting them into a mixie to get a powder. But that walnut meal packed a lot of taste and texture into the cookies and generally made them more nutritious for the boys as well. The recipe is on the Martha Stewart site of you just click on the link.
My quest for interesting food for the kids led me to another fun and delicious recipe today…actually Nish was flipping through a cookbook and spotted it and we decided to make the cookies.
The cookies are quite unconventional. The recipe calls for rice crispies and chocolate chips and walnuts (optional). I used puffed barley instead of the rice (picked up from a place called Vriksh which is a nice small organic store in our neighborhood). I also tossed in a handful of cranberries for good measure and they only enhanced an already stunning cookie…crunchy, chocolatey with a tinge of tartness from the cranberries and a delicious nuttiness from the roasted pecans (which i used in stead of walnuts). You can pull them out in 10 mins if you like your cookies slightly chewy or leave them for about 14 minutes if your wan them crispy. I did a couple of batches of both!
Here is the original recipe
Crunchy Jumbles (Source: The Complete Book of Baking by Carole Clements)
1/2 cup butter at room temp
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
50 gm crisped rice cereal (I used puffed barley that i roasted to make it crisp)
175 gm chocolate chips
50 gm walnuts- optional (i used pecans because i had a few lying around)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcious (350 F)
With an electric mixer, cream sugar and butter till light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift over the dflour, baking soda and salt and fold in carefully.
Add cereal, choc chips and nuts. Stir to mix well.
Drop spoonfuls of thre mixture onto greased baking sheets and bake until golden. (10 -14 minutes)
Transfer to a rack to cool.
Like i mentioned, i also tossed in some cranberries to cut through the sweet elements! Absolutely yum. Sid wants to eat it again first thing in the morning!
I keep trying to think of interesting snacks for the boys …today i tried ‘frozen chocolate bananas’ (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Frozen-Chocolate-Bananas-240064). Really really simple and the kids enjoyed it quite a bit. And it was really healthy too as they ate a banana each with more relish than they normally do (which is quite a bit anyway). Basically took small “yellaki” bananas, put them onto a popsicle stick, and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes. In the meanwhile i melted some chocolate chips with a little butter (the recipe calls for vegetable oil but i used butter), then dipped the bananas into the melted chocolate and put sprinkles on top before putting it back in the freezer for the chocolate to set.
The boys loved the novelty and enjoyed their “popsicles” in the veranda. Definitely a treat that i recommend!
Here’s a recipe I found online for the most scrumptious white chocolate cranberry cookies! Like most of the recipes i pick, this one is fairly simple, straightforward, uses easily available ingredients and turns out finger licking good! seriously!
It smells super divine in the oven and i literally had the twins waiting in the kitchen and drooling as we pulled them out of the oven and let them cool on the rack. Sid could not wait long enough for it to cool completely so he grabbed himself a couple while they were still a little warm and gobbled them down so he could get two more! Nish was a little more civilized and took his in a bowl while the little one crawled all over with two cookies of his own! That, my friends, is the true test of whether something tastes good…really good. Because my very honest children will not think twice about telling me it is too sweet or not crunchy or really not nice at all!
Sadly…no pictures…just a delicious smelling kitchen and full bellies!
But here is a link to the recipe.
If you feel like baking and want something yum yet not complex…this is it! I baked 2 batches and gave a bunch to some friends as well as a christmas present! The current recipe makes slightly chewy cookies. For the boys i let it stay in 5 minutes longer and got them crunchy…for the remaining ones i stuck to the suggested baking time. You can play around with that piece based on what you like. Oh, and i am thinking that hazelnuts and white chocolate chips might be a delightful variation!
Given the boys interest in cooking and kitchen activities we decided to surprise them with a present. While my husband and i were browsing through the ELC section at Mothercare we came across a really nice kitchen set as well as a tea set. It was at a 40% discount and seemed well worth it so we picked it up. This was on Saturday.
Since the time we got it home there has ben non-stop excitement. The kitchen set has some lovely fake food items too..there are pieces of cauliflower and broccoli, sausages, burger patty and buns, tomato slices and salad leaves as well as chicken leg. There are pans and spoons and a cooking top that has a stovetop on one side and a grill on the other. Put in a pair of AA batteries and the cooking range provides very realistic sizzling and boiling sounds when a utensil is placed on them.
This has already provided hours of endless fun…they have been busy cooking, making tea and serving us or each other.
Definitely a great buy…now i am off to have some sausages and fried eggs that Nish is making for me.
Cooking seems to be such an important activity for the twins. They love being in the kitchen and watching the action. They want to taste stuff, they are curious about what is inside an egg, about what a vegetable smells like…so a few days ago we decided to let them help us with dinner.
Dinner was simple, soup and pizza. we picked up the small sized individual kiddie portion pizzas for them. They watched us make the pizza sauce and identified the ingredients that were going in. (baby amu made off with one tomato in the midst of the action)
Then we turned the oven on and the boys spread the pizza sauce on the bread. Then they put some shredded chicken and topped it off with grated mozzarella cheese. There were other toppings like olives which they tasted and decided against.
Not only were they super excited about helping make their own dinner, they actually polished it all off with no reminders or requests to eat without wasting.
I had some figs getting soft…had bought them hoping the boys would like them but they barely touched them. so i decided to try using them to bake something.
now, i have this fantastic banana bread recipe. so i simply substituted the bananas in the recipe with pureed fig. it actually came out pretty yum. Am going to try it with mango next. it’s quite healthy and very delicious.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (350 degrees fahrenheit)
1 cup granulated sugar (i used 3/4 sugar and 1/4 honey)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups flour (i used 1 1/2 cups wheat flour and 1/2 cup flour)
1 cup ripe banana mashes – approx 3 bananas (i substituted with pureed figs)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1. Mix all the dry ingredients and set aside
2. Cream the butter and sugar (or sugar + honey)
3. Add the eggs, one at a time and the vanilla essence
4. Add the pureed fig to the mixture and beat
5. add the dry ingredients to the mixture and mix with a ladle or spoon.
6. pour the batter (it will be thickish not runny) into a greased and dusted bread pan
7. sprinkle some muesli on top (optional – but gives a nice crunch!)
8. Bake for about 50 minutes or till inserted toothpick comes out clean
Let it stand for 10 minutes and then take it out of the pan and place it on a wire rack to cool.