Ria's Collection: 2022

Monday, February 14, 2022


Cinnamon Rolls
I've baked a fair share of cinnamon rolls in my life so far. A lot of them were for others and some for our family. Our kids absolutely love them and request them every chance they get. I must admit that I don't bake them as much as they ask for even though it's very simple to bake. I've shared a recipe for these rolls a long time ago. They are really good but these ones are even better! I still remember those days when the aroma of cinnamon gave me a headache and now, it warms my heart! I must mention that even though I like the smell of cinnamon in food, I don't like candles that smell like cinnamon. I don't know why but that kind of makes me feel very dizzy.
Cinnamon Rolls

Making bread at home is simple as long as you know how to treat the star ingredient, yeast. A lot of you often write to me saying that your bread dough never rises. The only part where you could go wrong is with the temperature of your liquid. It should be warm and not hot. If you were to use a thermometer, which I highly recommend, it should measure between 100 degrees F & 110 degrees F. Otherwise, stick your finger into it and the liquid should feel warm and cozy, like bathwater. Any hotter, your yeast will die because it is a living organism. 
Cinnamon Rolls

Last week, Zara requested me to bake cinnamon rolls and I kept pushing it because of orders.
I made a promise to her that it will be ready when she gets back from school but it wasn't really done because my usual dough needs a slow rise in the fridge and I didn't have the time that day. So I did a quick search online and found this recipe with brilliant reviews. I love trying out new recipes even if I have a successful, tried & tested one in my back pocket at all times! It's the whole experience of experiencing new things, right?  So here you go!
Makes 12 large rolls
1 cup warm milk
1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour*
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 - 11/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk

 In the bowl of stand mixer, combine warm milk, yeast, sugar, salt, butter & eggs. Add in flour. Mix on low speed using a dough hook. Once the flour begins to incorporate into the dough, increase the speed to a medium and knead till the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The final dough should feel tacky and soft. Cover the bowl with a lid/ plate/ towel and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
Lightly grease a 9X13 inch baking tin and keep it aside. Dust your counter top with some flour. Punch down the risen dough and roll it out into a 12 inch by 18 inch rectangle. 
Brush the melted butter all over and sprinkle brown sugar followed by cinnamon.Roll it up tightly from the longer side. Slice them into 12 pieces and place them onto the prepared tin. Cover and let rise for 30-35 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 325F. Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown on top.
While the rolls are baking, cream together cream cheese & butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar & vanilla and beat well to mix. Add enough milk to get a drizzle -like consistency.
Frost the rolls while warm and enjoy!
* Don't pack the flour into your measuring cup. Spoon it and level the top . This way you will get the right consistency for the dough. If the bread dough is dry, your baked cinnamon roll will be dry. Like how it mentioned in the method, the dough should feel tacky. That is, if you touch it, you will notice that it's slightly sticky but when you pull you fingers away, nothing sticks to your fingers. 
* I used half the filling and frosting recipe. You can use white sugar for the filling if you are out of brown. I had only dark brown sugar on hand, so I've used that here.
* You can bake them at 350F but for a little lesser time.
These cinnamon rolls were super soft, like pillows! Since I used only half the amount of filling and glaze, it was really like a mildly sweet bread roll that's flavoured with cinnamon. We absolutely enjoyed them with our evening cup of tea! I hope you give this a try and enjoy these rolls as much as we did. Do keep in mind the tips I've shared for the recipe. 

Monday, February 7, 2022


Tea Cake
There was a time in my life when I enjoyed cakes with some kind of frosting on them. It's slowly changing now and I see myself baking more plain cakes than frosted ones. I end up making frosted cakes mostly for some kind of a celebration these days. When I say plain cakes, I don't mean that they are boring. Instead, they are simple cakes where the main ingredients shine through. A good butter cake is our favourite and whenever I bake them, I try to get the best possible butter that I can lay my hands on. I love using Irish butter for it because they are extremely high in fat content and their flavour truly makes the cake shine!

Tea Cake
A tea cake can be made in three ways. The first one is where dried fruits are steeped in tea overnight and added to the cake batter while baking. The second one is the kind I've eaten the most in my life. It's a slightly dry cake when compared to a butter cake and is flavoured with caraway seeds. Both cakes are enjoyed with a cup of tea (or coffee!) and hence the name Tea Cake. The third one is like a cross between a cake and a cookie and is baked commonly in the Southern states. Oh, that reminds me of Snowball cookies which are also known as Mexican & Russian Tea Cakes! Do share if you know of any other tea cakes that I am not aware of! I love learning new things!

Tea Cake
I wasn't sure how Ian & Zara would enjoy this cake because it uses very little butter and they both are used to very buttery cakes. I was definitely surprised when they devoured the cake slices. They took to the taste of caraway seeds very well. Please know that caraway seeds are not the same as shah jeera. Caraway seeds are also known as cake jeerakam in Kerala. It has a very distinct flavour. It's widely available in most grocery stores here.

This recipe comes from Mrs Bava Lukose and is a keeper just like all the recipes I've tried from her book Suriani Pachakam. The cake keeps getting better by the day and it slices like a dream! She uses a different method for making the batter from what's done traditionally.  Try this recipe when you are looking for something simple & tasty to go along with your cuppa next time!

Tea Cake
Makes one 9 inch loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon caraway seeds 
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C and line a 9-inch loaf tin.
Sift the dry ingredients and keep them aside.
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer beat the butter until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and eggs alternately and mix well for 15 seconds after each addition. It will become a very fluffy and light coloured mixture.
Add flour & milk alternately and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the caraway seeds and pour the batter into the cake tin.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn it out onto a rack and cool completely. 
Slice them into thick slices and enjoy! Store the leftover cake in an airtight container for up to a week.
Like how I mentioned earlier, this is a very tasty basic cake. I wouldn't recommend any frosting for this, it's meant to be served plain. This will make a delicious cake to take with you for picnics. I cannot wait for it to be warmer here in Minnesota, just so that we can explore the outdoors as much as we can!

Monday, January 24, 2022


Maa Laddu

Ilove Besan Laddu's and it's all because of my best friend Vasu. Her mom would send large boxes of homemade Besan Laddu's all the way from Allahabad and by the time the courier reached Bangalore, it would have all melted into one big slab! Her sister's MIL would patiently reshape them and send them to Vasu's hostel. Then we would just devour them endlessly and it never showed on our waistline! How I wish my metabolism was still like those days! I remember pestering Vasu for her mom's recipe and like a lot of Mother's, Aunty didn't have a proportion as such. Then I chanced upon this recipe and have been making them for 13 years now! They are super good!

Maa Laddu
Having said all of that, this is not a Besan Laddu recipe post. What you see here are Maa Laddu's. A lot of people are confused about their difference. Besan Laddu is made using raw besan /chickpea flour, which gets roasted for a good while till the raw taste vanishes. Then all the good stuff like sugar and ghee goes in and there's quite a bit of stirring involved. Whereas, these Maa Laddu's are made with roasted bengal gram. The kind you snack on. It was a staple at Govind Ettan's shop right across our school in Kannur. It even leaves an after taste,which I kind of love!

Maa Laddu
Jobin's sister made these for me once when we were visiting her in Gwalior and she also sends it across whenever she can. The whole process is very quick and the end result is very tasty, almost like my favourite Besan Laddu's. Last evening, as I was grocery shopping at our Indian store nearby, I saw a few packets of roasted bengal gram and quickly grabbed a couple. I knew I would be in trouble if I left them as is because we love snacking on it and it would never make it into being the delicious laddu that I have been craving for! This is a very quick and easy sweet that you can make in no time at all! 
Makes 30 
4 1/4 cups (400 grams) powdered roasted bengal gram
1/2 cup ground almonds  (optional)
3 cups powdered sugar (or as needed)
Approximately 1 cup melted ghee

Powder 400 grams of roasted bengal gram using a mixie and then sieve it into a large bowl. It should measure between 4 cups to 41/4 cups. Add ground almonds and powdered sugar to it and stir to mix.
Pour in the melted ghee a little at a time and mix well with your hands. Stop adding ghee when you can form balls with the mixture. It will feel somewhat like damp sand, not a wet mixture at all.
Form laddu's and store them in airtight container.

Maa Laddu
This is a very forgiving recipe. There's absolutely nothing to go wrong here. The amount of sugar I've mentioned here is what I thought was right for us. Taste the mixture and add more if you want. Otherwise,start with a lesser amount of sugar and adjust as needed. Jobin's sister mentioned that she adds almond flour when she makes them for us. So I added some today. This can be omitted or substituted with cashewnuts or even walnuts as well. It adds more nutrition. You can add cardamom too, if you want to. I omitted it because I wanted it to taste of pure ghee! As always, I used homemade ghee. It's far superior in taste and aroma when compared to storebought.

Maa Laddu

I know it's been extremely quiet here for the last one year. Life has been so busy on the personal front and we travelled a LOT in 2021. In November, I launched Malabar Bakehouse, my own company and it has literally taken over my life now! I've been doing a lot of bake sales lately so that kind of keeps me on my toes along with all the other local orders that I have been getting. It's good to be busy for sure but sometimes, it does a bit too busy! :)
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