Salted Cracker Toffee

Cracker toffee. Yes, I’m serious. Let me also warn you they are so very addictive.

A toffee made with salted crackers topped with toffee caramel and baked until its hardened to a crack. It’s the perfect combination of salty, sweet and buttery. So crazy good and so easy to make. Every bite into that crack makes you go Mmmm – which in case you’re wondering simply translates to gimme more gimme more. I’ve absolutely convinced myself that i don’t need to worry about the expanding waist line, this cracker toffee is totally worth it.

Plus, you don’t even need to fuss with a candy thermometer for this! Its as easy as bringing the mixture to a boil and setting a timer. That’s it! Now, I’m sure that’s all the encouragement you need. Go make it, share it, eat it.

For variations you can try topping the toffee layer with all kinds of nuts, peanut butter, chocolate chips, M&Ms, a drizzle of white chocolate and anything else you can think of.

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Ingredients:

  • approx 16 salted Crackers
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Pistachios, toasted and chopped up for sprinkling on top

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with baking paper.
  2. Place the crackers in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Put it on a counter top near you.
  3. In medium saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Mix in the brown sugar with a spatula removing any sugar lumps.
  4. Let it come to a boil and then set a timer for 3 minutes.
  5. Let it boil without stirring. After 3 minutes, remove from heat immediately.
  6. Pour this caramel mixture over the crackers, and use a spatula to gently spread the toffee over the crackers if required. (If in case the butter separates from the caramel at this stage, don’t fret. You can still use this by draining of the excess butter into a small bowl and use the rest of the caramel mixture to pour over the crackers.)
  7. Once you have the caramel layer in place, sprinkle with the chopped pistachios or any other nuts you prefer and bake for 6 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool completely to harden the toffee.
  9. That’s it. Get cracking! You can try and cut neat little pieces with a sharp knife or just randomly break them apart with your hands.
  10. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator or at room temperature if its not too warm.

cracker toffee

Happy munching!

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Pinterest Recipe Challenge #10

HOMEMADE DIGESTIVE BISCUITS

Yes, digestive biscuits! The humble, not-so-fancy biscuits. They are one of my must have ingredients for this no-bake cheesecake i absolutely love. Also its something mom likes to have with her tea every morning. We always have digestive biscuits in our grocery list. So wanting to impress mom i wanted to make our own homemade version of these biscuits. Luckily I found this recipe for digestive biscuits on a very interesting blog called the little loaf. Here is the pin from my board in case you wanna save it.

Followed the recipe exactly and it came out just amazing. Normally i wouldn’t use a word like amazing to describe some digestive biscuits, but this homemade version really surprised me. They were easy to make and fail proof. They are light, crisp and flavorful. Everyone loved them. Really!

homemade digestive biscuis

Makes 16 biscuits

INGREDIENTS:

100g oats

100g wholemeal/wholewheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g soft brown sugar

a pinch of salt

100g butter, cubed & slightly softened

1 – 1 1/2 tbsp milk

a handful of chopped almonds (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Blitz the oats to a fine powder in a food processor then mix in a large bowl with the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt.

2. Add the butter and mix until crumbly. Add the milk and mix to form a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and pop in fridge to firm up for about 15-20 minutes.

3. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to around 3mm thickness. It can get crumbly so you’ll need to be very careful when rolling*. Cut out circles of about 6cm diameter – or whatever size you prefer. Decorate with a pattern of your choice if desired. Bake in the middle of your oven for about 12-15 minutes.

4. When lightly golden but not too brown, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

*rolling tip: it’s a whole lot easier to roll out the dough between 2 sheets of baking/wax paper and then transfer to baking sheet. 

My Verdict:

These are surely a winner. The subtle sweetness and buttery, nutty flavors makes them a treat to enjoy with a hot cuppa coffee.

homemade digestive biscuis

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #9

Copycat KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS

It seems everyone loves doughnuts. All kinds of them. Though im not totally crazy about them but i do love a good filled doughnut once in a while. When I found this pin I just couldn’t stop staring and drooling at the photos. Oh those beautiful looking doughnuts. I was sure this was really going to be a challenge making them at home. But surprie surprise, they arent all that difficult. Just a long process, but worth it. You can review the original recipe post here.

When i first made these on my sons birthday, the little guy was over the moon and i was getting “wow, you really made these at home?” from my family. Ahh, that’s a great feeling.

homemade doughnuts

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk, warm
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, then more as needed
  • 3 – 4 cups oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a bowl whisk together yeast, warm water and 1/2 tsp of the sugar. Let rest 5 – 10 minutes.
  2. Add in evaporated milk, remaining granulated sugar (3 Tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp), salt, shortening, egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
  3. Add half of the flour and mix using a whisk and blend until smooth.
  4. Now using an electric mixer with a dough hook, slowly add remaining flour and knead on low speed until smooth and elastic about  5 minutes, adding additional flour IF needed (you want dough to be slightly sticky and tacky but shouldn’t stick to a clean fingertip). Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Punch dough down and roll into an even layer onto a floured surface to slightly less than 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into doughnut shapes using a doughnut cutter or two round circle cutters. place evenly on a baking sheet or large tray. Cover and let rise again until doubled, about 30 – 40 minutes.
  6. Heat oil upto to 360 degrees in a large pot. If not using a thermometer, just make sure the oil is hot enough for frying…not too hot or doughnuts will burn and not cook properly.
  7. Carefully transfer doughnuts to oil (frying only 2-3 at a time) and fry until golden on one side, then using a fork/butter knife or even a chopstick, gently flip to opposite side and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
Chocolate glazed doughnuts filled with vanilla pudding.

Chocolate glazed doughnuts filled with vanilla pudding.

My Verdict:

These were OH so good! if you are eating them warm, trust me they will literally melt in your mouth. Ok, honestly maybe a little greasier than i would like…but will try using less shortening next time or substitute it with butter. Lets see how that goes.

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #7

CLASSIC PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

I prefer feeding my kids homemade baked goods. Mainly because i love the baking part. I also wanted to introduce my kids to the famous world of creamy peanut butter that everybody seems to love, but apparently they are MY kids…not into peanut butter. Well, at least now i don’t have to worry about making homemade peanut butter.

The challenge for me here was baking the ‘cookie’ right. And trust me this time there were no tears involved. You can find the pin from my Pinterest board here. The recipe is originally posted on Sally’s Baking Addiction She is the queen of cookies. Will be trying her other interesting cookie recipes too for sure.

peanut butter cookies

Makes approximately 32 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250g) creamy peanut butter*
  • 3 cups + 2 Tablespoons (391g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. Using a hand mixer, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

2. Add the vanilla and peanut butter and mix on high until combined. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be thick, yet sticky. Cover dough tightly and chill for at least 3 hours (and up to 2 days) in the refrigerator.

4. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Roll balls of dough (about 1.5 tablespoons of dough per cookie). Place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Press fork into the tops to create the criss-cross pattern. Bake for 11 minutes or until very lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft and undone. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will continue to “set” on the baking sheet during this time.

6. Cover cookies and store at room temperature.

classic PB cookies, fresh out of my oven

My Verdict:

Ok so Im not a peanut butter fan, but honestly i would still rate these cookies 9 out of 10. They were easy to make and didn’t flop like my cookie baking usually does. That’s a big achievement in my books. So keeping this recipe as my basic cookie science, I’m sure i can play around with flavor as per my liking. And my better half loved them. So that’s a Yayy! for this recipe.

Brownie Cheesecake

What really tests my patience (besides my kiddo) is a cheesecake setting in my refrigerator. I like to leave it in there overnight, so when i wake up the next morning i have a beautiful chilled dessert to look forward to, and of course  my morning caffeine fix…very very important. Although I wonder why the first cup always tastes better? hmm. Well I’m sure there’s some chemistry there and I’m definitely not a scientific person.

Anyway let’s just keep talking about the velvety, smooth, tangy, and OH so sweet brownie cheesecake that i just attempted! This was an experimental combination for me, which im relieved didn’t turn out to be a disaster. But Im sure it can be better. The only thing i will change next time is to make the brownie base layer thinner…so it would be more cheesecake, less brownie. Still a delightful treat! Take a look…

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This no-bake cheesecake recipe is by far the easiest and fail proof recipe. For the base you can use any of your favorite brownie recipe. Please read on for my step by step process:

STEP 1: Make a simple brownie batter according to the recipe you are following. Bake in a springform pan. Set aside to cool completely.

STEP 2: Prepare the no-bake cheesecake batter.

INGREDIENTS: 

500 grams cream cheese (room temperature)

1 1/4 cup condensed milk

1/4 cup + 2 tblsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla essence

DIRECTIONS:

1. Using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth.

2. Beat in the condensed milk a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

3. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice until all is nice and smooth.

STEP 3: Slice/tort the brownie into a 1″ or ideally half inch layer. Place it back into the pan. This is now your cheesecake base.

note: I found it helpful to line the cake pan with wax paper before pouring the cheesecake batter in. It was much easier and neater when i took the chilled cake out. 

STEP 4: Pour the cheesecake batter onto this brownie base. Even it out with a spatula.

STEP 5: Cover with cling film and let it set and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

STEP 6: Next morning carefully take the cake out of the pan. For the top layer i simply blitzed the remaining brownie cake that i had in a food processor along with some toasted almonds. Then simply sprinkle on top of the cake and slice away!

Banana Crumb Muffins

A light & fluffy banana muffin with a delicious cinnamon and brown sugar streusel topping! Trust me, they’re a perfect start to a day. The cinnamon and brown sugar topping is really what makes these rather ordinary banana muffins stand out. The crunch from the topping with the softness of the cake makes these a winner.

In fact all banana baked goodies are my favorite and easiest way of putting those dying bananas to good use. And I’m sure it passes as a healthy treat…it has fruit in it right?! 🙂

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

For the Crumb top:

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon butter, room temperature but not too soft.
  • 2 tablespoon of your favorite chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 375°F or about 190°C. And then lightly grease a muffin tray or line them up with paper cups.
  2. Take a large bowl and then mix together 1 ½ cups flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Next, stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture.
  3. Mix together into a batter. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups.
  4. For the topping whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nuts (if using) in a mixing bowl.
    Add the butter and use your fingers to rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is well incorporated.
  5. Now sprinkle this streusel topping over the muffins.
  6. Place the muffin tray into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center to check if they’re ready.
  7. cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

 NOTE:

– Keep at room temperature.

– Best consumed the same day.

bm1

Banana Walnut Bread

I need a good happy vacation (who doesn’t right!) *sigh* craaavvvvving!

Lately i have been wandering down the memory lane a lot and lingering there longer than i should. But that’s the best source of entertainment right now considering my sleepy, cranky, numb and moody state of mind. And of course, baking! That’s my ultimate savior. 

So if you’ve had and like banana breads, you should be ecstatic to be reading this 🙂 This bread that i baked was initially inspired by the Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread. Yes, initially. Why? well, because when i started looking around for a recipe similar to Starbucks one, i found 2 recipes that seemed authentic enough, but guess what?! they were both totally different, but claimed to taste just like Starbucks. So i actually ended up making it a third way (that’s what usually happens with me) taking a bit of this and a bit of that until it made the most sense to me. And Eureka! I now have the most light, soft and aromatic banana walnut bread to indulge in.

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Oh and this time around i wanted to try making this without using any electrical equipment just to see the difference and also because I was too lazy to get the mixer out. So did all the mixing by hand and really, the result was no different. It baked beautifully.

Go ahead, you need to try this.

p.s, I’m not claiming this to be exactly a Starbucks version, but its more than good enough for me…until i can go on that much wanted vacation and experience the aromatic soothing coffee shop goodies…till then, this will do just fine 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tblsp sour cream

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 180c.

2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in salt. Set aside.

3. In another mixing bowl, add both the sugars and oil. Mix together using a hand whisk. Add in egg and vanilla essence. Mix again.

4. Mash the bananas with a fork.

5. Now , add the bananas and sour cream and give it a good mix again.

6. Now using a spatula, mix in the dry ingredients a little at a time. in 3 batches preferably. Add in the walnuts at the end too, saving some for the top of the bread.

7. Mix the batter together lightly until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

8. Pour the batter into a lined and greased baking pan. Bake for 45-60 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9. Let it cool in the pan completely before taking it out.

Plus point: kids love it too. At least mine did 🙂 he couldn’t even wait till it was completely cool and gobbled up a warm slice of yummy banana walnut bread. Well, now i know what to give him for lunch!

Happy Baking.

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