Monday, July 21, 2014

Creamy Dark Chocolate IceCream

Once you own an ice cream maker, you are constantly in the hunt for new recipes and you will experiment with all the possibilities that could whip up.  I have to warn you that its pretty addictive.  At least that is true in my case.  I love making ice cream for my kids rather than buying them.  My kids are at the point where they say No to the store bought tub ice cream.

People who know me always inquires, 'But it seems suspicious that you make these and don't gain any weight?'.  Well, the truth is that I don't have a big appetite for sweet treats, I enjoy them moderately.  The guilt of indulging too much sugar and the fear of increase in waist line always haunts me, so as soon as the inner conscience starts to bicker, I evade from the sweets :)  That doesn't stop me from making them and enjoying them moderately.  Baking and preparing desserts are therapeutic to me.

Here is the recipe of Creamy Dark Chocolate Ice Cream I made couple of weeks ago.  I also made some Popsicle with layering vanilla (before adding chocolate) and chocolate ice cream out of this recipe.  But I never got the chance to take pictures as they were dissipated into thin air when I decided to serve them to the group of kids in my family who were exhausted after a fun filled volley ball match in our backyard.

4 cups - half and half
5 - egg yolks
1 cup - sugar
1/2 tsp. - salt
1 tsp. - vanilla extract
1 cup - semi sweet dark chocolate chunks/chips

  • Whisk the egg yolks together in a bowl and keep it aside.
  • In a heavy bottom sauce pan, mix  half & half, sugar and salt and bring to simmer.
  • Take 1 cup of the warm half & half mixture and pour into the egg yolk mixture by whisking continuously.  The egg mixture is warm enough now.  Pour the egg mixture back into the sauce pan.
  • Cook the mixture for 15 - 20 minutes by stirring continuously on medium heat till the mixture reaches custard consistency and coats on the back of the spoon.  Turn off the burner.
  • Take the bowl with 1 cup of chocolate chips/chunks.  Pour the hot custard through a fine mesh sieve (to remove any coagulated egg) into the bowl with chocolate chips.  Use a spoon to stir continuously so that the chocolate melts and mixes well.
  • Add vanilla extract and stir well.
  • Cover the custard and refrigerate over night.
  • Make the ice cream according to the ice cream maker's instructions.
  • Enjoy them fresh or store them in air tight container in the freezer.
  • If you don't have ice cream maker, pour them into Popsicle molds and freeze.  Either way you can enjoy this silky smooth and luscious treat on a sunny day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mango Almond Ricotta Cheese Bars / Mango Badam Burfi

I had mentioned in one of my previous posts my love for Indian sweets.  Burfi is my favorite among all and I only make them occasionally though.  But whenever my brother visits us, I make sure to prepare this sweet as he likes them too.

 I have some funny story related to Burfi from my childhood which has been told over and over by our parents and laughed about several times.  I don't remember it as I was 5 or 6 years old and my brother being younger than me had no chance to remember the incident.  We were in North India and my parents had a big circle of friends.  During one of the usual visit to one of the family friend's house, my lil brother found this plate full of Burfi on the table, which was of course for the guests.  He went straight to the table and innocently grabbed a piece.  I too joined him and enjoyed the sweets well.  On the way back home, my Dad stopped at the sweet store; bought couple of boxes of Burfi.  He was disappointed at our behavior which we had no clue.  It was the time for learning good manners for both of us; how to behave in other's house; get snacks only when it is offered or just simply say 'no, thanks'; the lessons went so on.  So with the new lesson learned we happened to visit the same family after a month or so.  There again was plateful of snack for us.  This time both of us pretended that we didn't see the snack at all.  The snack was untouched for some time, the mom of the house might had felt something fishy, she came up to us and offered the snack.  As learned from our previous disciplinary session we both said, 'OUR PARENTS SAID WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO EAT FROM HEREEEEEEE'.  Even imagining the face of my parents makes me chuckle now.  They might have been ridiculed so much in front of their friends.  From Dad and Mom's stories we found out that my parents intervened and corrected the 'verbiage' we used and tried to make up for what we said.  But that was a good lesson we learned how to behave at other's house.  My Dad being an Air Force Officer, he was strict about table manners and discipline when we were kids, but I guess that helped us to mold our behavior later on.  So now you can guess why we love Burfi so much!!!

1 tub (30 oz) - Ricotta Cheese  or Paneer
½ cup - Sugar
2 tsp - Butter/ghee
2 1/2 cups - Milk Powder
1 cup - raw almond crushed/coarsely grounded
1 1/2 cup - mango puree
¼ tsp - Cardamom powder

  • Melt 1 tsp of butter in a non-stick pan and add the Ricotta cheese to it and cook for 3-4 mins.
  • Add the sugar, milk powder, mango puree and crushed almonds to the Ricotta Cheese.  Use a long wooden spoon to stir occasionally.  Use a low flame to cook it ,otherwise  it will splash and cause burns.  It takes almost 40 minutes for the mix to thicken and separate from the sides of the pan.
  • Add the cardamom powder and stir for another 1 min and turn off the stove.
  • Apply 1/2 tsp of ghee on the rectangular 8' x 8' /20 cm x 20 cm glass/ ceramic pan and transfer the burfi to the container.
  • Apply 1/2 tsp of ghee and flatten the burfi using a spatula or spoon.
  • Garnish it with almonds.
  • Cover it and refrigerate for overnight.  It can be sliced into desired shapes.
  • You can substitute almonds with cashew nuts or skip the nuts.
  • If you are not adding the nuts, make sure you substitute it with milk powder so that the burfi can be set easily.
  • Make sure you use a flame between low and medium so that the cheese will not be burned and the hot mixture doesn't splash. 
  • Use a wide deep bottom pan that have enough space to remove the moisture quickly.
  • I set the timer between every 10 minutes to stir the mixture since I was using low flame.

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