Biscotti

It’s so funny how similar we are to our parents, be it in beliefs, values, manners, or preferences. Growing up (even now), while snacking on potato chips, I would actively seek out the chips that were folded. My brother would snack on them inconspicuously, while I would look into the bag and deliberately reach for the extra-crunchy folded chips.

Pizza preferences are similar- given a choice between a crunchy crust and a softer crust, I will always choose crunchy. The same goes for toast.

My father was the same way. Whenever I baked cookies, he would ask that I bake them longer so that they would be extra crunchy. Growing up, I never realized that I shared the same affinity for all things crunchy that he had; but now that I look back, I’ve realized that I too was his partner in the crunchy camp. It’s not like my parents purposefully fed me crunchy things, so that I would grow to prefer them; it’s just one of those things that happened naturally.

I see similar shared traits between my son and husband too- they both love snacking on popcorn and nuts (especially pistachios and pine nuts). Don’t even get me started on chocolate. Although we feed our son a vast variety of foods, I see him enjoying certain things that his father enjoys.

 

That’s where these Biscotti come in. I wanted to bake something to keep on hand to snack on, and when I stumbled upon them in my ATK Family Cookbook, I just knew that they would be something I would enjoy. The day after I made them, I remembered that my father too was someone who enjoyed biscotti. A few weeks before he passed, he specifically asked that I pick up a package of them for him to enjoy with his tea. He loved to eat them as is, enjoying the crunch along the way.

Oh my Papa, may Allah bless you with the gardens of Heaven, and may you be blessed with all of those things that you enjoyed and savored!

 

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Biscotti

Yield: 2 to 3 Dozen Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup desired add-in (chocolate chips, toasted chopped nuts, etc.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla, until completely incorporated. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in flour mixture. Add desired add-in, and mix until combined.

Divide dough in half, and using floured hands, shape each portion into a 2-inch by 13-inch log. Transfer to baking sheet, placed at least 3 inches apart. Bake 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the loaves are golden and begin to form cracks on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 325°F.

Transfer the loaves to a cutting board, and cut diagonally into ½-inch to 1-inch slices. Lay the slices cut-side up on the baking sheet, leaving a bit of room between each piece. Bake 15 minutes, flipping halfway through baking, until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

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 :)

 

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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!

 

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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.