Ricotta Donuts

Happy December everyone! It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the end of the year. In the midst of all of the holiday craziness, I am trying to find ways to stay centered. We celebrated Esha’s 10th birthday and Nisa’s 3rd birthday. I went on a hike with a good friend last week, had a family dinner with a bunch of friends for Friendsgiving last weekend, and was blessed to reconnect with someone important in my life. As we gear up for new adventures next year, we are trying to find ways to be cozy for the end of the year. Enter these amazing donuts – please excuse the pictures, I was so skeptical that these would be good (they are so easy! I have never made donuts before!) that I didn’t take pictures until the girls took a bite and were wowed.

I thought that these were going to be a weekend project but really they only take a few minutes and they are well worth the effort! They may have been even more delicious because I fried them in ghee. We also made these GF by using spelt flour – you really couldn’t tell the difference.

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Ricotta Donuts

Ingredients:

  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • ghee (or canola oil for frying)
  • 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy (about 1 minute)
  2. Stir in the ricotta and the vanilla until blended.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and then add to the sugar/egg mixture until just combined. Careful not to overmix.
  4. Heat the oil until shimmering.
  5. Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to drop small balls of batter into the oil.
  6. Fry each side until golden brown (about 30 sec to 1 minute). Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels placed on a cookie sheet. Once they are slightly cooled, coat in the sugar.
  7. Using a sieve, shake powdered sugar over the donuts, flip to cover both sides.
  8. Enjoy them hot and fresh! We will never go to Dunkin Donuts again!!

Love,

Pooja

Breakfast Cookies!

Happy Wednesday everyone! We are well into October with Halloween coming up right around the corner! Hard to believe it, right? My girls have their costumes all picked out and they are going to be super cute. I am probably going to dress up again this year, even though I got a bunch of funny look as the ONLY adult wearing a costume last year at Whole Foods:

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I was flipping through recipes and found this lovely post by Robyn at sweetish.co. I love the idea of living your best life and it really inspired me to think about what that looks like for me/us. The breakfast cookies looked amazing too and we made them a couple of days ago with some minor tweaks. They are barely sweet and delicious as a morning meal with milk or coffee. These would be great to take along on a plane for a healthy pick-me-up.

We are not eating apples right now so I swapped out the applesauce for homemade pear sauce (I put in the recipe below, in case you want to make some for yourself since pears are in season). We also left out the maple syrup (didn’t miss it), walnuts, and chocolate chips. I would highly recommend using the chocolate chips – it would take these over the top! We are just avoiding it right now.

Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup oat flour (we only needed a half cup)
  • 2 cups gluten-free (or regular) oats
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened pear sauce (recipe to follow)
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup  (optional)
  • ½ cup / 150g peanut butter or almond butter (salted or unsalted, we used salted PB)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • cup walnuts, chopped – we omitted
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chocolate chips (optional)

 

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Instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  2. Measure all of your dry ingredients (oat flour, oats, salt, soda + flax) and put them in a bowl and mix.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar and peanut butter until well mixed with an electric mixer.
  4. Mix in pear sauce and vanilla.
  5. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry mixture. Mix well until moistened throughout. Add in the add-ins that you are using (we used only the dried cherries). If you find that the mixture is too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of the milk of your choice to wet it.
  6. Form balls and press down to flatten on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 12-15 min – these are best a little underdone so they retain their moistness.
  8. Dunk and enjoy! Yum!

Pear Sauce

Ingredients:

2-4 pears

1-2 tsp of ghee

water

Instructions:

  1. Dice pears finely, discarding cores. It is fine to leave the skin on.
  2. Place in a medium saucepan and add water until just covered. Cook on medium-high for a few minutes until pears are soft (this will vary based on the type of pear you are using, bosc pears are firmer and so take more like 5-7 min to cook, softer varieties will only take 3-4 min to cook through).
  3. Drain off the excess water.
  4. Blend the pears using a bullet blender or a food processor with the ghee until smooth. The ghee really enhances the flavor and I find that my kids love to eat this sauce with a spoon!
  5. Eat and enjoy or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

Cooking up a storm…

Good morning! I haven’t posted in a while because I have been too busy cooking! We are on a bit of a restricted diet as a family and as a result, I have been spending a lot of time being creative with what we are eating.

The good thing is, we have started to pay more attention to all of the extra junk that is in so much of the food we eat.  We have also tried a lot of cool recipes that we wouldn’t have tried before. Here are some of the more successful ones:

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Fresh paneer!
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Mascarpone-Oat Blondies
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Greek Yogurt Date Pistachio Bark
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Oat Milk

 

The best recipe that we made (I don’t have pictures because they are gobbled up THAT fast) is the one for Spelt Cookies. I made some adjustments: I decreased the sugar to 1/3 cup of coconut sugar and left out the chocolate chips. Sometimes I also brown the butter which makes them even yummier.

The mascarpone blondies are truly amazing. The recipe is awesome as it stands but I swapped out oat flour for the all-purpose to keep them gluten free. I also decreased the sugar to 1/3 of a cup of coconut sugar instead (but you may want to halve it instead) . They are barely sweet and perfect with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

I hope that the beginning of fall is going well for everyone.

 

xo

Pooja

Vanilla Ice Cream with Blackberries Swirl and Speculoos cookies

Happy summer everyone! I know that I have been away from this space for too long. The problem is that the longer I was away, the more activation energy it was taking to get started again. But then, this ice cream! And I knew exactly what I needed to tell you about. But first, a bit about the summer.

We had the chance to have an epic adventure this summer where we lived/worked in a small town outside Zurich called Zug. Our life there was simple – no driving, only taking trains and buses and walking. Lots of playing at the park with a view of the lake. And, of course, lots of chocolate. We did local sightseeing, a short jaunt to Prague and then ended the trip with a few days in Paris and then London. We watched the entire World Cup in Europe which is was an added bonus! I will share some of the pictures in a separate post for those who are interested.

Now, the ice cream! I was hanging out in the back yard with Nisa last week when I noticed that we have a blackberry tree/bush! I was so excited! There are not that many so I wanted to find something that I could make with them that would work. I got my inspiration from this blackberry cobbler ice cream. I hope that you enjoy this version as much as we did!

One tip: If your berries are firmer, really smash them down with a fork so that they incorporate well into the ice cream. Otherwise, you will end up (like we did) with whole frozen blackberries – not so easy to eat!

P.S. Thank you to Aparna for this awesome housewarming gift!

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Vanilla Ice Cream with Blackberries Swirl and Speculoos cookies

Ingredients:

Ice cream:

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

Blackberry smash:

1 cup blackberries

2 tablespoons sugar

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Cookies:

a handful (to taste) speculoos cookies

Instructions:

  1. Freeze the freezer bowl (ahead of time if possible – needs 24 hours).
  2. Put the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl and either mix by hand or use a hand mixer until well incorporated and no separation between the sugar and liquid remains.
  3. Put it into the freezer bowl and then into the ice cream maker and churn for at least 20 min or until starting to form into ice cream.
  4. Meanwhile, smash the blackberries well with a fork and toss with the sugar – add more if needed for desired sweetness, although better to leave it a bit tart since the ice cream is sweet.
  5. Crumble the cookies into a bowl and set aside.
  6. When the ice cream is done, swirl in the blackberry mixture, and mix in the cookies. Put it in the freezer for another 15-20 min to firm up the ice cream.
  7. Enjoy! We ate ours in these cones!

 

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Love,

Pooja

 

 

Double Chocolate Cookies

Happy Wednesday!

We tend to be a chocolate chip cookie eating family. We love all types: oaty ones, brown butter ones, thin and crispy ones….but sometimes we all want something really chocolaty. We have made Deb’s brownie cookies which are delicious – but take a bit more work as you are supposed roll them out. These double chocolate cookies are much more forgiving – I definitely didn’t chill them for the full amount of time and they still came out delicious.

In other news, we went to the Taylor Swift concert last week and it was EPIC!

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I hope that you all have a wonderful rest of the week and that you get to eat some cookies!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 tablespoons/141 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups/ semisweet or bittersweet chocolate discs (or use 2 cups chocolate chips – which is what I used)

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Instructions: 

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you have one), beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until very light, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix briefly to combine. Chill the dough for at least 30 min (the original recipe calls for 24-36 hours).
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough into balls using your hands – you can decide what the best size is. Be aware that the cookies will spread a little. Bake the cookies until set, being careful to remove cookies from the oven when still soft in the center, about 18 minutes. Transfer the parchment with the cookies to a rack to cool. Serve warm.

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NYC and a couple of recipes.

Today the food focus is on Deb Perlman from smitten kitchen. She is one of our favorite bloggers and has recipes that are dependable and delicious. This week, I made her melting potatoes which turned out amazing and were actually pretty easy in terms of time spent and effort. They are highly recommended. Recipe here:

Melting Potatoes

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Diya was craving cake and even though she didn’t feel like baking one, she did it anyway. Sometimes the craving wins over the laziness, you know? Diya made the chocolate peanut butter cake and although it was a little lopsided, it was her first layer cake and I was proud. And it was delicious!! Recipe here:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake


The end of the week we went to NYC for a big girls trip. And we learned a lot. We remembered how much fun we have together when we get to adventure without an agenda. We also learned that we all got stressed out leaving Nisa behind – and stress manifests differently for all of us: migraines, reflux and general crankiness. So we learned that we won’t plan to do that again anytime soon. And we learned that we must be grateful for all that we have in our lives – because what seems to be a big obstacle now (throwing up in the taxi) is really a very small thing in the big scheme of things.

We learned that drinking a big fishbowl drink from Dylan’s candy bar seems like a good idea but sometimes really isn’t.

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I also learned that having a friend who says the exact right thing to you at the exact right time is an absolute necessity (Tati). And that my mom always has a helpful suggestion when I am stuck.

And NYC is a lot of fun. Plus, we walked 7+miles every day we were there!

Here are some of the pictures:

Let me know if you try the potatoes!

Love,

Pooja

Chocolate Truffle Torte

This post is coming a bit late since this is what I made for Valentine’s day. Before we had kids, we didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s day. Now, it feels like a good reason to do something special (even on a weekday) that is focused on love. So we have a “family romantic dinner” with candles and a fancy dessert. This year, Vivek was away, but the girls and I had a greek-inspired dinner and I made fresh pretzels (who doesn’t love fresh bread!). The celebration was complete with this chocolate torte – it was pretty simple to make and came out amazing – the girls and Vivek  all said that is tasted “professional”. Now, you should be warned that it is incredibly rich and it lasted more than a week in our house because you can only eat just a sliver. But, it is SO good in the afternoon with a cup of coffee (how I prefer it) or in the morning for breakfast with a glass of milk (yes, i did let the girls do that once or twice!). The other nice thing is that it is flourless and so naturally gluten free. I did cut the sugar down by a bit so if you like things sweeter, you may want to use a half cup. If you try it, please let me know what you think! And, love to you all for a belated Valentine’s day!

Dinner pics:

 

 

Chocolate Truffle Torte

Ingredients:

15 ounces chocolate chopped (I used trader joe’s dark chocolate and some semisweet chocolate chips)

7 ounces butter, chopped

5 eggs

2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave (in short intervals), stirring occasionally. Pour the chocolate-butter mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer).

3. Add the eggs and mix at low speed, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is completely smooth, 2 to 5 minutes.

4. Pour the water into a small saucepan, then add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar and salt dissolve (a minute or 2), swirling the pan to aid in even cooking.

5. With the mixer at low speed, stream the melted sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture. When all the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and mix until the batter is smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes.

6. Scrape the batter into the springform pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges look set but the center still looks shiny. Let cool before serving.

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My Valentines:

 

 

Love,

Pooja