Eid Eats 2017: Baklava Biscotti

You guys, my favorite day of the blogging year is here- Eid Eats 2017 is officially live! Ramadan is rounding out, and I love that us food bloggers band together to celebrate the blessed month! I, along with my cohost, Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies, are excited to see the yummies that are being brought to the party 😉

The party is live from now until June 24, so you’ve got some time to get in on the fun (the guidelines can be found here).

By the Grace of God, Eid Eats is in its 4th installment (2014, 2015, and 2016), and this year we have some fun in store for you all, but more on that later 😉

Click on this graphic to submit your entry for #EidEats2017. You can also click on it to check out all of the delicious bites our participants are sharing.

This year I’ve decided to attend this party in my finest attire, bearing Baklava Biscotti! I was inspired by a recipe shared by the genius blogger behind Brewing Bliss. I used a mish-mash of recipes, including the topping from Brewing Bliss, and the base of the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. The resulting biscotti is a treat for the senses! It’s nutty, chocolatey, not tooth-breaking-hard, and downright irresistible! The end product results in a decent-sized batch (and is a great make-ahead item!), perfect for your Eid entertaining needs 🙂

(Check out what my co-host Asiya has contributed here! Looks amazing!)

Baklava Biscotti

Yield: 15 – 20 Pieces

Ingredients:

For Biscotti:

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  •  ¼ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Egg wash: 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk

For Topping:

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • ¼ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

Make Biscotti:

Preheat oven to 300°F and set aside two parchment paper lined baking sheets.

Spread almonds evenly over one baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes, stirring twice during that time. Remove from oven and pulse the almonds in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives, until the mixture is crumbly. Fold in the almonds and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix together until moistened.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough gently until soft and slightly sticky.   If the dough is too sticky to handle, knead 1 or 2 more tablespoons all-purpose flour into the dough.

Divide the dough in two. Place each half on a baking sheet. Using floured hands, gently shape each piece into a 8 or 9-inch log, patting down to ½-inch thickness. Lightly brush the slabs of dough with prepared egg wash.

Bake until the top and sides are lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Cut each slab into 1-inch slices. Set the slices cut-side upwards, ¼-inch apart, on the baking sheets. Return to oven and bake for 9 minutes. Flip each biscotti over and bake for an additional 9 minutes. The centers of each biscotti will be slightly soft, but will crisp up after cooling. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make Topping:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a small bowl. Add honey and butter and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a separate bowl in the microwave or double broiler until smooth.

Dip the top of each slice of biscotti in melted chocolate, and then top with nuts. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or cooling rack to allow the topping to set.

***

This biscotti pairs very well with a cup of piping hot tea- which brings me to the question: How does tea play a roll in you and your family’s Eid festivities? For my family, tea is a must! No celebration, especially Eid, is complete without trays of piping hot chai being passed around and enjoyed. Chai is the icing on the cake, so to speak, after a day of celebrating.

Speaking of chai, Tea India teabags are an excellent choice to quench your tea needs. They use only top notch ingredients and recognize the importance of quality packaging. Also, did you know that Tea India teabags come in four unique flavors, so there’s something to suit everyones taste? They include: orange pekoe black tea, masala chai, cardamom chai, and ginger chai.

Now, the fun part that I mentioned a little bit earlier- Tea India has graciously offered to sponsor a giveaway in honor of Eid! The winner of the giveaway will be sent a Tea India prize pack which includes a box of Cardamom Chai, Ginger Chai, and Masala Chai. Also included in the price pack is a set of coasters made from recycled Tea India teabags handcrafted by a group of South African women from a local township.

Here are the terms and conditions:

Giveaway runs from 12:00 a.m., June 20, 2017 through 12:00 a.m., June 25, 2017.

Open to Residents of the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec) aged 18+ only. Winner will be randomly picked and emailed and will have 48 hours to respond. If they fail to do so another winner will be picked. Entrants can enter on multiple blogs but can only win one prize. Blogger is not responsible for delivery of prize. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook or Twitter.

Be sure to enter through the link below (you can enter through Chocolate & Chillies too!)

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

*This post is sponsored by Tea India and I have been compensated for it.*

Chicken Tikka Box Patties

Ramadan Mubarak!

How blessed are we to have gotten another chance to experience the greatness of this month! I pray that the peace and blessings of this month are felt throughout the world ❤

***

With Ramadan comes an array of fried goodies for iftar (break-fast time)! My family has a no-fried-food rule during the week, but we do indulge during the weekends. These crispy treats, Chicken Tikka Box Patties, are a direct result of inspiration from our trip to Pakistan this past March. The filling is my version of a samosa I had eaten at someone’s house, and the wrap is inspired by a Box Pattie I had tried at a wedding. By the way, I had never heard of Box Patties until this recent trip. In all honesty, it’s just a fancy name for a square samosa 😉

Enjoy!

(I’ll include written instructions on how to fold the Box Patties, however here is a good link with photos for those of us who are visual learners.)

 

 

Chicken Tikka Box Patties

Yield: Varies

Ingredients:

Note: measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons tikka masala (any brand)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Green chilies, minced finely, to taste, optional
  • Samosa or spring roll wrappers, thawed, as needed
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Water, as needed
  • Oil, as needed, to deep fry

Directions:

Prepare Filling:

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add chicken, tikka masala, ginger-garlic paste, and black pepper. Stir and cook until the ground chicken is no longer raw and large chunks have broken up, about 10 minutes (if mixture is dry and sticking to the pan, add a few splashes of water). Add water, stir, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until the water has dried up, stirring as needed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

When completely cooled, add cilantro and green chilies (if using) and mix well. Set aside.

Prepare Flour Slurry:

In a small bowl, mix together all-purpose flour and enough water to create a thick yet spreadable paste. Set aside. This will be the binding paste for the patties.

Assemble Box Patties:

If using square spring roll wrappers, cut into 3 equal strips. Wrap wrappers in a damp paper towel to prevent drying out.

Place one strip vertically, and then another strip horizontally on top of it to create a plus sign. Brush a bit of the flour slurry where the two strips meet, so as to bind them together.

Place a tablespoon of the chicken filling in the center, making sure not to get too close to the edge.

Fold one of the strips over the center. Then in clockwise fashion, fold the remaining strips over the center. On the last strip, brush the slurry on over its entirety and seal the pastry.

Continue assembling the pastries with the remaining filling and set aside. Pastries can be frozen at this point.

Heat a large vessel with oil over medium heat. Add a few box patties at a time and fry until both sides are golden brown, a few minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Lemon Pound Cake

Oh hey, lemon again? To be honest, I’m not a fan of lemon flavored things.  Actually, let me correct that; I’m not a fan of overly lemon flavored treats.  I don’t mind mild lemon flavor, but I’m not a fan of the body-distorting-mouth-puckering-in-your-face-lemon flavor. This pound cake takes a ride on the milder side, and is refreshing and perfect for the ongoing gorgeous spring season.

Fun fact- these lemons were actually grown in my mother’s backyard! When she was visiting in December, she filled her luggage with these lemons (her tree only produces harvest in the winter months) to share with us 🙂

 (Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

lemonpoundcakepic

 

Lemon Pound Cake

Yield: 1 Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup yogurt or sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons (1 whole lemon) lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and oil and beat on high speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time. Add yogurt (or sour cream), lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined, making sure to scrape the bowl as needed. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, about 45 to 60 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly, tent with a piece of aluminum foil.

Allow cake to cool for 1 hour, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Make Glaze:

In a bowl, whisk together sugar and 1 tablespoon milk, adding more milk if needed to thin it out. Pour over cake while it is still slightly warm, and cool completely before serving.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Thanksgiving came and went, and I’m sitting here asking myself where the year went? We’re about one month away from ringing in 2017. 20-17. Let that sink in.

 

Sweet potatoes are in season every season, but we find ourselves loading up on them especially during the cooler months.  I stumbled upon this fabulous recipe by Grandbaby Cakes for Sweet Potato Pound Cake, and I was sold. I had one lonesome sweet potato hanging out in my pantry, and I just knew that it was destined for greatness.

sweetpotatopoundcakepic

 

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Yield: One 9”x5” Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed roasted sweet potato
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup neutral flavored oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased loaf pan.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine mashed sweet potato, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and oil. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined. Add cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger. Mix on low speed until completely combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

 

Note: Cake can be kept at room temperature for a few days.

Instructions on roasting sweet potatoes: Wash and pat dry potatoes. Place each potato on a square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a tiny bit of neutral flavored oil. Wrap loosely with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 40 to 60 minutes. Potatoes will be ready when they can pricked with a fork easily. Cool slightly before using.

Ground Beef Puffs / Keema Puffs (Patties)

I’ve shared a lot of nontraditional (nontraditional for us Pakistanis) Ramadan foods, and I think it’s time to share some traditional Pakistani Ramzan fare 😉

We love the deep-fried goodness that are pakoray (fritters) and samosay (triangular meat or vegetable filled pastry), but we try to limit our intake of them to 1 to 2 times a week (2 is really pushing it) during Ramadan.  I love the ease of homemade Puffs/ Patties (pronounced pey-teez), and they make for a really impressive addition to your spread.  The key to amazing Patties is to use a good quality puff pastry, and you need a knockout filling recipe.  I finally scored a filling recipe that I can use as my go-to from Fatima Cooks.  The resulting Patties are delicious and gorgeous, and totally stand up to the beauties from Pakistani bakeries 🙂

 

KeemaPuffsPic

 

Keema Puffs/ Patties

Yield: Varies

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ onion, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 pounds puff pastry, thawed and cut into desired size (may need more/less)

Directions:

Heat oil in a vessel over medium-high heat. Add onions and ginger-garlic paste, and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper, red pepper flakes, red chili powder, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add ground beef, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Stir often while breaking up large lumps. Cook until all liquid has evaporated and mixture is dry. Cool completely, then add cilantro. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F and set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

Prepare an egg-wash by whisking egg and water together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Lay puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground beef mixture in the center of the pastry. Fold pastry as desired and seal edges by pressing down gently with a fork. Place on prepared baking sheet and continue with remaining ground beef and pastry, placing at least 2-inches apart. Brush with egg wash, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and on the bottom. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

Note: Puffs can be kept frozen and baked at a later time. Freeze unbaked puffs (with egg-wash) in a single layer on a parchment or plastic wrap lined baking sheet. When completely frozen, remove from pan and store in a freezer-safe container. Bake unthawed, adding a few minutes extra to baking time.