Category Archives: Sweets

Cakes, Cookies, Squares, Dessert and Sweets

Ma’amoul

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Maamoul

Ma’amoul are small shortbread pastries filled with pistachios, walnuts or dates. They are served all over the Arab world for Eid and Easter.

A special wooden mould is used to shape a ma’amoul, the round shallow molds are for dates, oval molds are for pistachios and deeper molds for walnuts. If you do not have the molds you can shape the ma’moul in your hand or use a small tart pan.
Makes 36

Pastry Ingredients

  • 2 1/2           cups all purpose flour
    1/2               lb unsalted butter
    1                  tbsp rosewater
    4                  tbsp milk
    icing sugar for dusting the pastries

Pistachio filling

  • 1               cup chopped pistachios
    1/2            cup sugar(granulated or icing)
    1                tbsp rosewater

Walnuts Filling

  • 1           cup chopped nuts
    1/2        cup sugar(granulated or icing)
    1/2        tsp cinnamon
    1           tbsp rosewater

Instructions

  1. Make the fillings. Chop the nuts and mix in the sugar. If you don’t like a grainy texture, you can use icing sugar. The tblsp of rosewater will make the nut mixture moist and easy to shape. Add cinnamon to the walnuts.
  2. In a large bowl add the flour.
    Cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour(using the tip of your fingers)
  3. Add the rose water, followed by milk and make a soft dough.
  4. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each quarter into about 9 balls to make approximately 36 balls of dough-depending on the size of the mold.
  5. Fill the dough balls with a spoonful of nuts. First, flatten a ball of dough with your thumb and make a hollow. Place the nuts into the hollow. Be generous with the filling. Pinch the dough back over the nut filling, making a ball shape. Do this with the rest of the balls.
    Press the filled dough balls one by one into the ma’moul mold.
  6. To snap the dough out of the mold, tap the tip of the mold against the edge of the counter with a firm quick movement. With the other hand, catch the ma’moul and place it on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dust some flour inside the mold if it’s sticking.

Cherry Winks

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Makes 5 doz

Ingredients

  • 2                jars(8 oz each) maraschino cherries
  • 2-1/2         cups all-purpose flour
  • 1                tsp baking powder
  • 1/2             tsp baking soda
  • 1/2             tsp salt
  • 3/4             cup butter, room tempreture
  • 1                 sugar
  • 2                 large eggs
  • 1                 tbsp milk
  • 1                 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1                 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4                 cups cornflakes, coarsely crushed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 2 large cookie sheets.  Finely chop 1/2 cup cherries and set aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugar in a a large mixer bowl at medium high speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, then milk and vanilla, until smooth.
  5. With mixture at low speed, beat dry ingredients just until blended.
  6. Stir in chopped cherries and nuts.
  7. Divide dough into quarters and shape into disks.  Wrap and refregerate overnight.
  8. Spread cornflakes on large plate.  Working with one disk at a time, divide dough and roll into 1-inch balls, then roll in cornflakes to coat.(Keep remaining rough refregerated.)
  9. Place 2 inches apart on a prepared cookie sheets.
  10. Cut 30 cherries in half.  Gently press a cheery half onto centre of each cookie.
  11. Bake 12 – 14 minutes, until browned.
  12. Transfer cookies to wire rach to cool.
  13. Repeat process with remaing douch, cornflakes and cherry halves.

Coconut Pecan Bars

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Makes 36

Ingredients

  • 1/3           cup butter
  • 3/4           cup all purpose flour
  • 1               tbsp lemon juice

Filling

  • 1               cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1               cup pecans
  • 2               egg
  • 1/2            cup packed brown sugar
  • 4               tsp all-purpose flour
  •                  pinch salt
  •                  tsp vanilla
  • 1/2            chopped dried sour cherries
  • 1/4            cup chopped bittersweet chocolate ot chocolate chips

Icing

  • 1-1/2         icing sugar
  • 3                tbsp butter softened
  • 2                tbsp milk
  • 1                tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or bowl, cut butter into flour until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
  2. Drizzle with lemon juice, process just until mixture holds together when pressed.
  3. With floured hands press into parchment-paper-lined 8 inch Square metal pan.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until ligh golden, about 15 min.

Filling

  1. Meanwhile, spread coconut and pecans on baking sheet; bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until fragrant and lightly coloured, about 8 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla; stir in coconut mixture, dried cherries and chocolate.
  3. Spreed evenly over base, pressing lightly to smooth.
  4. Bake in 350 degree oven until firm and golden, 25 minutes.
  5. Let it cool.

Icing

  1. In a bowl, beat sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla; spread over filling.
  2. Refrigerate until icing is firm.  About an hour.
  3. Cut into squares.

 

 

 

Spumoni Slices

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Makes 7 doz.

Ingredients

  • 3          cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2       tsp baking powder
  • 1/4       tsp salt
  • 1          cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 1          large egg
  • 2          tbsp milk
  • 1          tsp vanilla extract
  • 1          square unsweetened chocolate melted
  • 1/3       cup candied red cherries, finely chopped
  • 5          drops red food colouring
  • 1/2       cup pistachio nuts, finely chopped
  • 1          tsp dark rum or 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 5          drops green food colouring.

Instructions

  1. Combine flour. baking soda and salt to a bowl.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg, milk and vanilla and mix.
  4. With mixer at low speed, gradually add dry ingredients just until blende.
  5. Divide dough into thirds, placing each in a separate bowl.
  6. Combine one third dough with melted chocolate.
  7. Combine cherries and red colouring with the second one third of the dough.Stir nuts, rum and green food colouring into remaining dough.
  8. Line an 8 x 4 inch bread pan with plastic wrap.  Press green dough evenly into bottom of the pan.  Repeat layering with chocolate and cherry doughs.
  9. Cover and refregerate overnight.
  10. preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  11. Invert pan onto a cutting board.  Remove pan and peel of the plastic wrap.
  12. Cut dough crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick slices, then cut each slice crosswise into thirds or quarters.
  13. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  14. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned.
  15. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Pistachio Stuffed Coconut Ladoo

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Makes 4 doz

Ingredients

  • 8           oz butter
  • 3/4       cup half and half cream
  • 2           cups sugar
  • 1/2       cup powder milk
  •               few drops of pink food colour
  • 1/2         tsp elechi seeds crushed(cardamon seeds)
  • 1/4         tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1             lb unsweetened coconut

For Stuffing

  • 1/2         cup pistachio

For Rolling

  • 1/4         cup coconut

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan heat butter, half and half cream and sugar, bring it to a boil and let it boil for 5 minutes, stiring a few times.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook till the mixture is thick and starts forming a ball.
  3. Let it cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Take small amount of the mixture and roll into a 1″ ball, then roll the ball in the extra coconut.
  5. Flatten this ball on a piece of plastic, put 1/2 a teasp pistachio in the centre, pick up the plastic with the four corners and make a tight bundle, making a ball again.
  6. Roll the ball in coconut.

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Gulab Jambu

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Ingredients

Jambu 

  • 1              lb pacific powder milk
  • 6             oz all purpose flour
  • 1              heaped tsp baking powder
  • 5             cup whipping cream
  • 4              cups oil for frying

Syrup

  • 4               cups sugar
  • 1/4            tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/4            tsp freshly ground cardomom seeds
  • 1/4            tsp saffron

Instructions

  1. Put the milk powder in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the all purpose flour and baking powder.
  3. Make a stiff dough with the whipping cream.
  4. Make small balls about inch round.
  5. Heat the oil in a wok at 350 degrees.
  6. Deep fry the balls a few at a time (The balls will double in size) turning every few minutes to get an even colour.  Fry till they are light brown in colour and doubled in size.

Syrup:

  1. Make a light syrup with sugar and 3 cups water.
  2. Add the spices and the colour.
  3. Add the warm balls in the warm syrup.  Let it soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Sprinkle it with almonds and Pistachio before serving.

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Pear-Cranberry Hand Pies

These flaky little pies may be the ultimate grab-and-go dessert.

Pear-Cranberry Hand Pie

Makes 8 pies

Ingredients

  • 2                  Bosc pears (1 lb), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/3               cup plus 1-1/2 tblsp sugar
  • 1                   tbsp all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4               cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • pinch          ground cloves
  • pinch          ground cinnamon
  • pinch          salt
  • 1                    14 oz package frozen puff pastry (thawed)
  • 1                    egg beaten
  •                      Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl,toss the diced pears with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tbsp flour and the cranberries, ground cloves, cinnamon and salt.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry to a 14-1/2 inch square, about 1/8” thick.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry into 8 squares.
  4. Spoon the pear filling onto a corner of each squares, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
  5. Fold the pastry over the filling to make a triangle and firmly press the edges to seal.
  6. Crimp the edges with a folk to allow steam to escape during baking.
  7. Transfer the pies to a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until chilled.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  9. Brush the chilled pies with the beaten egg and sprinkle them with the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoon sugar.
  10. Bake the pies for about 30 minutes, until they are golden brown.
  11. Let the pies cool for at least 5 minutes.
  12. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
  13. Pear-Cranberry Hand Pie

Stollen(Jamie Oliver)

This rich German fruit bread is particularly popular in the city of Dresden, where a huge stollen is traditionally paraded through the streets at the annual Stollenfest.

StollenIngredients

  • 1.5           oz candied peel
  • 2              oz glace cherries
  • 1              orange
  • 4              oz raisins, sultanas and currants
  • 1              oz dried cranberries
  • 2              tbsp brandy or rum
  • 3-4           cardamom pods
  • 1              tsp dried active yeast*
  • 1              oz sugar
  •  1/4          cup whole milk, plus a little extra
  • 10            oz all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2           tsp mixed spice
  •  2             oz unsalted butter(at room temperature)
  • 1              medium egg
  • 1              tsp vanilla extract
  • 1              oz almomds
  • 8              oz marzipan
  •                 olive oil, or vegetable oil for greasing
  •                 icing sugar, for dusting

Instruction

  1. Finely chop the candied peel, and quarter the glace cherries.  Finely grate the orange zest.
  2. Place all the diced fruit into a bowl with the orange zest.  Squeeze the orange juice into a pan, add the brandy or rum and heat to just below boiling point, then pour it over the dried fruit.  Mix well, then set aside for 1 to 2 hours to allow it to plump up.
  3. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods, then grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar(roughly 1/4 tsp)
  4. Spoon the yeast into a bowl of a free standing mixer, then add sugar.
  5. In a pan, heat the milk until just warm, add to the yeast and whisk to combine.  Set aside for 5 – 10 minutes, until the yeast has formed a thick foamy crust on the milk.
  6. Add the flour, spices and 1/2 tsp of sea salt.  Using a dough hook, combine the butter, egg and vanilla, then mix for 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  7. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
  8. Roughly chop the almonds and pistachio.
  9. Pour away about half the liquid from the soaked fruit, then add the fruit and remaining liquid to the dough, along with the nuts.  Mix again.
  10. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for 1 minute.  Shape the dough into an oval shape, about A4 size.
  11. Roll the marzipan into a neat log, about 4cm shorter than the length of the dough , and place in the middle of the oval.
  12. Brush one long edge with milk and fold it over, completely encasing the marzipan, and press the edge together to seal.
  13. Carefully lift the dough onto a baking sheet, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  14. Preheat oven to 350 degrees/gas mark 4.
  15. Remove the clingfilm, then bake the stollen for 30 minutes, or until golden, risen and the underside sounds slightly hollow when tapped.
  16. Leave to cool on a wire rack before dredging with icing sugar.

*Not to be confused with fast action dried yeast, which comes in a tub.  Unlike fast-action, it needs to be activated with warm liquid and sugar before adding to the mixture.

Hamantashen

Hamantaschen is a filled pocket or pastry recognizable for its triangular shape, usually associated with Jewish holiday of Purin.  The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough with a filling placed in the centre.  Hamantaschen are made with many different filling, including poppy seed(the oldest and most traditional variety), prunes, nut, date, apricot, raspberry, raisins, apple, fruit preserves, cherry, fig,  and chocolate.

Hamantaschen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2                cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2            cup granulted sugar
  • 4                tsp poppy seeds
  •  1               tbsp lemon or orange zest
  • 1/ 2           tsp baking powder
  • 1/4            tsp salt
  • 1/2            cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2                egg yolks
  • 1                egg
  • 1                tsp vanilla
  • 2/3           cup apricot or raspberry jam
  • 1               tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. Whirl flour, sugar, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a food processor.
  2. Add butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form.
  3. Whisk yolks, egg and vanilla in a bowl and pour through feed tube. pulsing until dough starts to come together.
  4. gently knead into a ball and divide in half.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and press into discs.  refrigerate at least 1 hour or unto 3 days.(bring to room temperature before rolling).
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  7. Roll dough on a lighty floured surface to1/4” thickness.  Use a 3” round cookie cutter to cut out dough, rerolling scraps.  Scoop a scant 1 tsp jam into centre of each round.
  8. Lightly brush edges of rounds with milk.  Pinch in 3 corners to seal, forming a triangle, leaving jam centre open.
  9. Refrigerate for 15 min.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Cherry Almond White Chocolate Biscotti

These are ideal dunked in a cup of coffee or tea.  Or serve alongside a glass of VinSanto or other dessert wine.  Use blanched or un blanched almonds.

Cherry Almond White Chocolate Biscotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makes 72 Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 3/4               cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
  • 2                   tbsp kirsch, brandy or water
  • 1/2               cup butter, softened
  • 1                   cup granulated sugar
  • 2                   eggs
  • 2                   tsp almond extract
  • 2-1/2           cups all-purpose flour
  • 2                   tsp baking powder
  • 1/4               tsp salt
  • 3/4               cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 12                 oz white chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a microwaveable bowl, microwave cherries, kirsch (water) on high for 45 seconds.  Stir; let stand until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in eggs, 1 at a time.
  3. Beat in almond extract.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture in 2 additions, stirring just until combined.
  5. Drain cherries if necessary.  Add cherries, almonds and 1/3 of the chocolate.  Mix well.
  6. Divide dough into thirds.  On a lightly floured surface, roll each into 12 inch long log.
  7. Place, 2 inches apart, on parcement paper-lined or greased baking sheet;  press to flatten logs slightly.
  8. Bake in 325 degree preheated oven until light golden and just firm to the touch, about 30 minutes.
  9. Let cool on a pan on rack for 10 minutes.
  10. Transfer log to  cutting board.  Using a sharp knife, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Stand slices up, about 1/2 inch apart, on baking sheet.
  11. Bake in a preheated 325 degree F oven until almost dry, about 30 minutes.
  12. Transfer to a rack, cool completely.
  13. In a bowl over saucepan of hot water, melt remaining chocolate.
  14. Dip 1 end of each biscotti into chocolate.  Place on waxed or parchment paper-lined baking sheet;  let stand until set, about 1 hour.

Make ahead:
Store layered between waxed paper in airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for upto 1 month.