Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chocolate chip Pecan Blondies

After having a hectic festival season, slowly I have started realizing that the year 2015 is coming to an end. It gave me lot of pleasure when I was looking back and rewinding happy moments of the year, mostly it was the year of having party on every weekend with our close friends J. Before the new year begins, we are planning to visit our home country. So I am very excited about the trip and nervous at the same time, because not ready yet with packing and shopping. But whenever I think that soon will meet my parents and relatives after a year, it makes my mind delighted.

Today I will share a recipe of rich sweet dessert bar, Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondies. You can save this recipe for holiday baking. Blondies are like partly cookies, partly brownie made of  flour, brown sugar , butter , eggs  and baking powder. They are baked in a brownie pan and then they are cut into squares to serve. Though they are like cookies and brownies , but much more easier to make than those two. You don't have to roll the dough into balls like in cookies or there is no chocolate to melt like in Brownies.

The version, made with Chocolate chips and pecan is my favorite, but you can omit the pecan from recipe if you have a nut allergy. Though the traditional recipe is with egg, but unfortunately I didn't have enough eggs when I tried the recipe. I used plain yogurt in the place of eggs and came out darn good. So out of necessity an egg-less Blondies was born. I know many of you who don't like to eat eggs can try this recipe.

It has become a huge hit for my family and friends who have tasted it that day. So I will prepare again this recipe once I am back from my holiday season.

Recipe Of Egg-less Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondies , makes 16  to 18 squares 


All purpose flour : 1 cup
Salt : 1/2 teaspoon 
Semisweet chocolate chips : 3/4 cup
Chopped pecans : 1/2 cup 
Baking powder : 1/2 teaspoon 

Unsalted Butter : 1 stick, at room temperature 
Light brown sugar : 1/2 cup
Granulated White sugar : 1/3 cup 
Plain Greek Yogurt : 1/4 cup
Vanilla Extract : 1 teaspoon 

Method :

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13-in. x 9-in pan then line the pan with parchment paper, again spray it with non-stick cooking spray. 

2. In a large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, sugar, yogurt and vanilla extract, just until blended. 

3 In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder, mix well. Now add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Gently mix it together. Stir in chocolate chips and pecan. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

4. Bake it for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top becomes lightly brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack completely. Cut into bars.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Elo Jhelo ( Bengali Fried Pastry Dipped in sugar syrup )

Happy festive season to all of my Indian friends. Hope you all had great time with friends and family, taken lots of pictures with them. My today’s recipe is a traditional Bengali sweet or snack, generally served during festivals like Durga Puja and Bijaya Dashami (the day when rest of the India celebrates Dussehra). It’s called Elo Jhelo which is very old school traditional Bengali sweet. It is a sweet pastry, made of all purpose flour, vegetable oil and ghee. I have seen my grandmother making this sweet for our joint family and used to greet her guests with this sweet. While I am thousands of miles away from my root and culture and miss home in the festive seasons, what else I can do other than recreating what we used to eat in our back home.

The good thing about Elo Jhelo is that they are not overly sweet but delicious in every bite. On the other hand, it’s a great fun making this dessert. The dough is first prepared, made into small balls. Then they are rolled like a luchi or puri. With a sharp knife, make 5-6 slits vertically across the surface of the rolled dough. Then fold over and over until it gets all overlapped. After this step, it is deep fried until it becomes crispy and then get dipped into the sugar syrup. When you read this process it may sound difficult, but don't hesitate to try it out. This was also my first attempt but the result exceeded my expectation J

Recipe of Elo Jhelo ( Fried Pastry ) : for 10 to 12 pieces 

Ingredients :

For Dough : 

All purpose Flour ( Moida ) : 4 cups ( approximately 500 g ) 
Salt : a pinch 
Nigella seeds : 1 teaspoon 
Vegetable oil or ghee : half cup 
Water : little less than 1 cup

For Sugar Syrup : 

Sugar : 1 cup 
Water : 1 and 1/2 cups 
Cardamoms : 4-5, crushed 
Lime juice or vinegar : 1 teaspoon 

Oil  : for deep frying 

Method :

1 : Take a big bowl, add flour, salt and nigella seeds. Mix it well, now add the oil or ghee to it. Again mix it well. Slowly add water to the flour very little at a time. Add water and knead it for about 5 to 6 minutes until it becomes smooth. The dough will be soft but firm. Once it is done, cover it with wet kitchen towel and set it aside for half an hour. 

2. Now divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Make it a perfect smooth surfaced round ball. Roll out each ball with rolling pin into a thin circle of about 3 inches like puri or luchi. With a sharp knife make 4 to 5 slits vertically on it by leaving about 1/2 inch space at the ends. Hold the end parts together and start rolling the pastry carefully until it gets all overlapped. Slightly twist the ends . Do the same process for the remaining balls.

3. Take a deep frying pan and heat oil on medium high heat. When smoke comes up, lower the flame and fry the Elo Jhelo in small batches till they are golden brown on both sides. Take out from oil and let it cool down first. 

4. Now  take a pan, add sugar and water and boil it. Add crushed cardamoms and vinegar to the syrup. Let it boil for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the fried Elo Jhelo in the sugar syrup. Mix them to coat with syrup. Take it out from the syrup and place it on serving plate.