Feature on Ainy Cooks!

Hello my dear friends! I’m off to visit my beloved California, toddler in tow, bright and early tomorrow morning (God willing) for a few weeks. Before I leave, however, I wanted to tell you about my feature on the ever-popular Ainy Cooks. Ainy, the brains behind the blog, reached out to me asking if she could feature me as part of her Pakistani Blogger Spotlight Series. The series is meant as a way to showcase fellow bloggers of Pakistani descent. I thought that her idea was a great way to meet and learn about other bloggers of and from the Subcontinent.

To see my feature, and also get a glimpe of the awesome treats that Ainy shares, check out this link.

See ya on the other side friends!

Hot Cocoa Mix

How is the weather in your parts? We’ve been freezing our tooshies off here in the Midwest. Most days are spent indoors, trying to keep warm by baking up lots of goodies and drinking warm cups of deliciously milky chai and hot cocoa.

I’ve been on the lookout for a recipe for hot cocoa mix that not only keeps well, but also has the perfect amount of chocolate flavor without being overly sweet or thick. When I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I knew I had to give it a shot. The resulting cup’o cocoa is just the right thing to help combat the winter blues :)

 

HotCocoaMixPic

 

Hot Cocoa Mix

Yield: Enough For 8 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until powdery. If a food processor is not available, finely grate the chocolate and mix with remaining ingredients.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To use: In a saucepan over medium heat, warm one cup of milk until steamy. Add 3 tablespoons of prepared hot cocoa mix and stir or whisk until dissolved. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream or marshmallows.

Guest Post: m&m Cookies

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Hi Friends! We just returned from an amazing trip to Orlando, Miami, and Key West; but that’s what’s not I want to talk about right now. Right now I want to tell you that I’ve been honored to be guest posting over at my blogging buddy’s, Faaiza of Modest Munchies, site!

Faaiza and my paths’ somehow crossed amongst the vast foodie blogosphere, and since then we have become very good friends. I was honored when she asked that I guest post over on her space, and for that I thank you Faaiza :)

You can catch the post and recipe for m&m cookies, a totally kid-friendly and overall everyone-friendly, here! :)

Mango Ice Cream

YOU GUYS! I HAVE BREAKING NEWS!

Are you ready?

I have discovered the code to an actual custard-based mango ice cream, that you actually churn in an ice cream maker, that tastes like the amazing stuff you find at Pakistani and Indian restaurants!

What? You’re not excited? You see, there’s something about this freezing wintery weather that has it’s own charm to creating and consuming frozen treats. I’ve been churning quart after quart of homemade ice cream lately (including an amazingly creamy egg-free chocolate ice cream, whose recipe I will be sharing soon!), and a recent nonscientific at-home survey concluded that the constituents wanted mango ice cream :)

A quick Google search will show you that most recipes are of the no-churn variety, and most include some variation of condensed milk and frozen non-diary whipped topping. Those options are great, and I even use a variation of those kinds of recipes for my Kulfi, but for this ice cream I wanted an actual custard base that needs to be churned.

I stumbled upon this recipe from Epicurious, and adapted it heavily based on the techniques that I picked up from The Perfect Scoop. The resulting ice cream was creamy and had the perfect mango flavor. I highly recommend using canned mango pulp sold in Pakistani or Indian grocery stores. Although they are overly sweetened when consumed as is, they lend the perfect mango flavor and sweetness after churning.

Enjoy my friends, as we are :)

And stay tuned for some more yummy frozen treats!

 

MangoIceCreamPic

Mango Ice Cream

Yield: 1 Quart

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 cup canned mango puree
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Set aside a large ice bath and strainer for later use.

Lightly whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.

Pour approximately half of the whipping cream, mango puree, and corn syrup in a large bowl. Whisk well and set aside.

Combine remaining whipping cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm and steaming.

Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks (tempering), while whisking constantly. Add warmed yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula (check for doneness by running your finger across the coated spatula. If your finger leaves a trail that doesn’t flow back together, the custard is done). Pour the custard through the strainer into the large bowl of mango puree mixture. Add vanilla, stir to combine, and set the bowl over the ice bath and cool completely.

Once the custard has cooled, transfer to the refrigerator and chill for several hours, preferably overnight. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions.

Focaccia

Yoo-hoo? Anyone out there?

Soooo… I totally disappeared. I’m sorry :(

I don’t really have an explanation for what happened. I returned from California, have tried to get back into my old routine, and for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it. I’ve been feeling mentally and physically groggy.

Not to worry though :) I’ve been feeling a bit better and I plan on getting back on track very soon.

 

Focaccia has been on my Baking Wishlist for quite some time now, and I’ve finally stumbled upon a recipe that is, in my opinion, perfect. You see, I have a history with Focaccia. When my husband and I were newly married, we used to frequent this restaurant in Detroit, and they would always serve a slice focaccia with a side of house-made marinara dipping sauce before the main course or appetizers.

I’ve used an Anne Burrell recipe and the only thing I’ve tweaked is that I’ve added minced garlic and rosemary inside and on top of the bread, you know, so it’s just like our favorite little restaurant :) (oh, and I also like to serve it with my favorite marinara sauce!)

 

FocacciaPic

Focaccia

Yield: 8 – 10 Servings

Ingredients:

For Bread:

  • 1 ¾ cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

For Topping:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Directions:

Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and set aside until frothy, about 15 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add all-purpose flour, oil, salt, rosemary, and minced garlic. Knead on low speed until the dough comes together, then increase speed to medium and knead until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. If dough seems sticky, add a sprinkling of flour.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand a few times. Lightly oil the bowl used for kneading, and transfer the dough back to it. Turn the dough to coat with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside until the dough has doubled in volume, at least one hour.

Coat a jelly roll pan with the olive oil reserved for topping. Punch down the dough and transfer it to the prepared pan. Using fingers, stretch dough out to fit the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side. Top with remaining minced garlic and rosemary. Continue to stretch the dough out so that it fills the pan. Set pan aside and allow the dough to rise until doubled, about one hour.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Bake the focaccia until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool before slicing and serving.