Monday, March 16, 2020

Soft sugar cookies with marshmallow cream frosting


The compulsion to bake on a grander, more multifarious scale is purely the result of our newfound quarantine propagate. When the home is full of its members, adult, semi adult alike and nowhere for anyone  to go, all those "ones' cluster around the kitchen and consume copious amounts of food. Included in the isolation bred consumption is the certainty of ceaseless on- demand baking. For example, when your adult kiddo begs for a familiar sprinkle- frosted cookie she's stealth eating like a champion at the dorm, you cede to the request. Purely for the reason that yes, you can better up the whole shortening and forty ingredient store package with your cupboard's supply of a handful of basics.  Plus, mandated social distancing has led to your social circle being the three, and only the three people you do life with. Which isn't bad, but when one is the child that towers over you and believes you are the solution to her weeklong college diet woes... wherein is the freedom of choice, please?

And seriously, those of you claiming millions of hits on Oreo biscuits and gravy - ugh, in the wake of mega viruses and toilet paper rationing, demanded my good self to interrupt, for the sake of sanity. In all, it helps me forget lapses in judgement and especially grace, example in point: morning gym time, now replaced with Bollywood dance workouts that bring me to a daily realization that not all of us Indians can gyrate like an Indian. 

The probability of a homemade cookie with an inferior outcome in my house is near nil. Especially when those cookies par in a fine ratio of butter, which we all know are of higher caliber to those without. Taking it one step further and adding sour cream can unquestionably bring batch after batch to unrivaled heights, with soft bellies and deep, supple bites.

It's quite insane how sour cream makes a definitive difference in the number of cookies you eat. 

The marshmallow frosting completes it, a delightful fluff, draped green, in time for St. Patrick's Day. The one day I pretend I'm Irish. 

Quick and easy, cookie dough makes two dozen. With enough sprinkles, baubles and sugared gems, I believe it can festive up the dullest of days.

Ingredients:
For the cookie~
  • ½ cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ baking soda
  • ¼ tsp cream of tratar
  • 1 tsp orange rind
For the marshmallow frosting:
  • ½ cup butter
  • 7 ounces marshamllow creme
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tbsp heavy cream

Directions:
For the cookie~
  • Place butter and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale in color.
  • Add egg and sour cream, vanilla. Beat until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and orange rind.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour, or pop in freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Preheat over to 375°F.
  • Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Take dough out of fridge/freezer.
  • Roll one tablespoon of dough into a ball. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Flatten each ball with slightly damp hand.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until center is lightly puffed, and begin to get  light golden around the edges.
  • Cool cookies on sheet for five minutes, then transfer to to wire racks.
  • Frost or serve as is.
For the marshmallow frosting:
  • Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula until combined.
  • Pour in vanilla extract and cream. Continue to beat until fluffy. Add more cream if you desire a thinner consistency.
  • Add food color of choice and pipe or spread onto cooled cookies. Top with sprinkles if desired.
March:

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"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Paneer roast: three ways

The first two months of 2020 nearly dashed by without a prompt. I mean, could the days/hours/moments/blinks have been a little less eventful? A mere ten words from the 10,000+ recipes that plague my mind would've sufficed, to keep motivation going, both yours and mine. Though, I'm not going to use unset resolutions and slack on my part as an end-all marker to our food dialogue here. Despite the long gaping silences, I  promise to spill out the contents of my head for as long as I can wax poetic on cakes and curry.

Over some eight years, dreaming, creating and reinventing recipes for BFMK put me on constant rethink mode, as to what delicious food truly is. It's an evolution, magically satisfying, where that thing you fiercely loathed in third grade has now become your palate's greatest desire. A few decades ago, if you'd told me I'd love solids from curdled milk, I would've desperately questioned our friendship.

And yet, here I am, bringing you Show Number Three with gloriously rancid milk starring as our hero.

It's remarkable, this blueprint, of how enhancing a main course with a handful of seasonings not only makes it abound in the flavor of these extrinsic elements, but the taste imprint is distinct in ways that you're kind of hoping to have the same meal, in the same fashion throughout the entirety of your life. Much like good friendships. It's how basic transforms to sublime. Crumbled dairy transcends to silkenly regal. And certain plates, like certain individuals, are a questionless part of your life.

That being said, the effort in making a variety of basting sauces and broadening marinade horizons is totally worth it. Paneer is neutral tasting, so it seamlessly assumes much of what it's dunked in to or what's dunked on to it. In this case, I craved contrastive degrees of spice, salt, and acid. Not only does it break the common tikka rut, but it shuts up arguments from the few unnamed picky members of our dinner table, perhaps specifically the hypercritical adolescent type that has a history of saying paneer is not real food. I believe a tray of these changed that mindset forever.

High temperature baking yields firm pieces with juicy insides. The broiling ensures paneer get toasty, with an enviable bit of char.

If you're a visual eater, the three colors of paneer make for a stunning display. This, with stacks of kheema naan (story to continue in a separate episode) was, incidentally, 
my dinner on January 26, India's Republic Day, and a nod to my first heritage. It's a pretty grand deal when I can channel my inner food stylist, and  color my meal to match national sentiments. 

Cue now the story of how a total 18 pieces of paneer roast skimmed straight into my mouth when no one was around. Yes. All 18 pieces. 

Of course, I now make double batches. Just in case, history repeats itself.

Ingredients:
  • 14 ounce paneer slab ( homemade recipe, right here), cut into 18 small-ish cubes
  • 1 batch cilantro mint marinade
  • 1 batch red chilli marinade
  • 1 batch sesame marinade
Cilantro mint marinade:
  • 3 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 sprig mint
  • ¼ cup fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ tsp ginger paste
  • ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
Red chilli marinade:
  • 1 tsp cayenne or Indian red chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 pinch kasoori methi powder
  • ¼ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • salt
Sesame marinade:
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ¼ tsp chaat masala
  • ¼ tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp sour cream
  • salt
Directions:
Cilantro mint~
  • Blend the cilantro, mint, spinach, ginger and lemon juice until combined. Whisk in salt and pepper until smooth. 
  • Blend the cayenne, paprika, garlic , ginger, k.methi,  and lemon juice in a blender jar and blend until smooth. Whisk in yoghurt and salt until combined.
  • Blend tahini, garlic, pepper and chaat masala until smooth. Stop the blender, add sesame seeds. Give mixture a quick whir so as to barely crush the seeds( there should be some crunch). Whisk in sour cream and salt until well combined.
  • Pour each marinade into a designated bowl. You should have three separate bowls, one for cilantro mint, one for red chili, and one for sesame. 
  • Place six cubes each of paneer into each of the bowls bowls, i.e., six pieces in the cilantro mint, six pieces in the red chili, and six in the sesame.
  • Allow the paneer pieces to soak in the individual marinades for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F . 
  • Place paneer pieces onto a foil lined, greased baking tray.
  • Spray with nonstick cooking spary or drizzle canola oil over pieces lightly.
  • Stick a toothpick in paneer cubes( optional).
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes. Switch to the broil option and time broil for about 2-3 extra minutes, checking in to see that pieces do not burn , but are just browned.
  • Serve with chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, chopped onions and yoghurt.
"Yahweh, you are my soul’s celebration. How could I ever forget the miracles of kindness you’ve done for me? You kissed my heart with forgiveness, in spite of all I’ve done. You’ve healed me inside and out from every disease. You’ve rescued me from hell and saved my life. You’ve crowned me with love and mercy. You satisfy my every desire with good things. You’ve supercharged my life so that I soar again like a flying eagle in the sky!" Psalm 103:2-5 (TPT)