Golden Milk Cake

Golden Milk Turmeric Cake

Golden Milk Cake is the ‘cake’ version of golden milk or turmeric spice milk. It is warming and cozy and light and fluffy and full of aromatic spices. The cardamom glaze is sweet and sticky with a heady fragrance. To be honest, I am feeling like I am going back to office after two weeks of fun, awesome, indulgent holidays. You know, like it is my very first day at my first job and I know nothing, I am clueless about what to do, how to do and so I switch on my assigned computer, grab a mouse and rotate it on the screen or click random folders frantically to look busy. I feel the pressure of 2017 on me! Especially for the blog, like I need to give it more validation by investing more time and energy into it. And often, with stress comes, turmoil, indecisiveness, nail biting, day-dreaming and total blanket blankness. I planned to work on my new calendar – nothing, I planned to do a couple of recipes in advance – blank, I planned to study and experiment with Pinterest – nada. From time to time I find myself in this state of blank immobility. I […]

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Brown Butter Skillet Cake

Brown Butter Coffee Cake

Brown butter gives this cake a nutty aroma and a buttery crumb. Baked in a cast iron skillet, it has wonderfully chewy, caramelized edges.   OMG, can you believe all the amazing things popping up on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest in prep for Christmas?? Since I am only a few months into blogging – following a thousand food bloggers and watching all the social media platforms – I am mostly filled with awe at the effort that all the awesome bloggers take, the abundance of creativity, the hard work that shines through. I spend most of the time with my mouth open in amazement and pools of saliva forming over the awesome creations. I want to be invited over to everyone’s house to share their meals and be on all the cookie-exchange lists so I can sample everything! Does everyone feel the same way? Even the seasoned bloggers? What I have here is not a Christmas-sy cookie, a festive cake, a spiced libation, a rich fancy dessert to feed a crowd or a cute house made of cookie! It is a ‘slow-down’ cake – a simple, quick to make cake, ideal for all those who work so hard to make Christmas […]

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Thyme Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies

Christmas Cookies - Thyme and Poppy seed Shortbread

Butter is infused with thyme.  A little sweet, a little savory, these thyme poppy seed shortbread cookies are great for gifting or simply to make your home smell festive. While growing up, we did not really have the tradition of receiving gifts from ‘Santa’. We got a new dress, lots of good food and Santa would visit along with church carolers to do a merry dance and give us candy. My mom and aunt would make lots of homemade sweets and we distributed that amongst friends and neighbours. Keeping that tradition, while I was in Dubai, I started giving my friends homemade chocolate truffles. There is something so special about homemade / DIY style gifts. Whether it is fancy craftsy stuff from talented DIYers or just cookies or truffles or cake. Simple, sweet, made with love and care. And you avoid all the frenzied holiday shopping! This year I decided to give truffles a rest and make cookies instead for gifting. Steve’s aunt makes a really good gingerbread, his mom makes delicious eastern European crescent cookies. So, I combined flavors I like and made these thyme poppy seed shortbread cookies I was inspired by Teresa Floyd’s recipe for pink peppercorn […]

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Caramelized Pear and Mixed Berry Skillet Pie

cast iron skillet recipes - piears and berry pie

Finally, here it is! I got myself to bake in my cast iron skillet, instead of just removing it from the oven drawer, gazing at it lovingly and feeling its weight in my hands. Its not that I haven’t done any cooking in it at all, I seared chicken once to very satisfying results. But mostly in the 6 months or so of having owned it, it has mostly lived packed up in cartons while we were moving around or in my oven drawer. So why did I name my blog the The Baking ‘Skillet’? Because it was an ideal. Every time I saw the amazing pictures of gorgeous dessert in cast iron skillets I went ‘awwww’. But having never used and never known anyone who used it, there was quite a bit of apprehension around it. Then there are so many articles on the internet on the correct usage and what to do, what not to do. Seemed so daunting, like dating a high-maintenance gorgeous model. I know that in the western world, there is often sentimentality attached to these pans because maybe your grandmother or ‘that aunt who cooked so well’ used it. Maybe you inherited it. Maybe […]

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Apple Butter Pie Dough Roll Ups

Apple Butter Pie Dough Roll up Cookies

This is the scrappy baby of leftover pie dough and apple butter. Once you have made them, you will be happy you didn’t throw away the pieces of pie dough after making the gorgeous pie! Last evening we went for a walk and realized that while the US is preparing for Thanksgiving, the Canadians have already moved on to Christmas. String Lights are up, little bushes on front lawns have been tinseled, garlands have been hung up on doors. Obviously, I got a bit worked up about putting up our Christmas decoration – which don’t exist. I used to put up a teensy, very artificial looking Christmas tree in Dubai which I bequeathed to my cousin before leaving for Canada, because I knew that on my first white Christmas, I would put up a big-ass tree with shimmering lights and all my gifts sitting under it. Just like in Home Alone! So soon there will be a frenzy to buy a tree (no clue how to pick one), collect the assortment of ornaments from various sources – Steve’s old possessions, his family, online and in-store. The target is to have everything up and pretty by the first week of December. […]

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Spiced Chocolate German Buttercream

Chocolate German Buttercream

The spiced chocolate German buttercream inspired by cozy fall evenings and Mexican hot chocolate, takes these moist and decadent chocolate cupcakes to new level of indulgence. Did I mention there will be some spicing up going on here? Here comes another one – for cozy, rainy, chilly or somber days when you feel like cuddling up with a spiced warm chocolate-y beverage but the craving does not stop there and you also need a decadent frosting-y cake but then you are terrified of your uptight self who will judge you for your weakness. Well it happens to the best of us! I am in one of those moods, not because of the weather – luckily we have been having gorgeous, sunshiny, crisp days here in Toronto, but because I have been thinking about concepts of happiness and reaching for more or reaching within yourself to find more, and transformation and courage and beauty and basically giving life a big hug! No, I am not having a mid-life crisis or revelation. And no, I usually don’t sit around with these thoughts for fun. I read this beautiful article on experiencing happiness by my very good friend and sister-in-law and it makes […]

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Spices in Desserts – a revelation

Spiced Brownies

I think there will be a lot of spicing up going on here. A bit of heat is called for in the chilly months. Right? It is so strange my relationship with spices in desserts. When I was a kid, I hated it when I found whole cardamom pods or little pieces of nutmeg in Gajar Halwa or Rice Puddings or Mango pulp (Aamras) or Gulab Jamuns. It would put me off completely. I suppose that is how my love for chocolate and cakes began. There was no threat of hidden spice ‘landmines’ waiting to explode with every other bite! It was safe. Chocolate, vanilla and blackforest pastries alongwith jam rolls fashioned after lamingtons was my idea of what comprised of western desserts. And that was good. They were all safe. Ofcourse as I grew older and especially once I moved out of India, the scope of ‘western desserts’ started to broaden and to my utter dismay I found out that spices (read Cinnamon) are extensively used. There were pies, and crumbles and fruit crisps, muffins, carrot cake (!)and what not and I ran away from them as soon as the scent of cinnamon hit my nostrils. I remember in my […]

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Gajar Halwa Cookie Cups

Gajar Ka Halwa Nankhatai recipe

Many Indians get nostalgic at the thought of Gajar ka Halwa I suppose. It is a common dessert made at home and served at restaurants. I am not sure if the same goes for ‘nankhatai’ though – a kind of crumbly, melt in your mouth eggless cookie aromatic with ghee and cardamom. I am Trick or Treating right now and trying to write about Diwali. This is bizarre, I can’t wrap my brain around it. The two worlds are so far from each other. To me, this seems unusually quiet for a celebration that involves morbid costumes, dark house decoration and sugar highs – and it is busy on our street – I have handed out candies to atleast 100 kids and expecting a hundred more. Back in India, wherever you are in the city, you can hear fireworks going off. The sound of celebration in the air. Homes are decorated with strings of light, colourful lanterns and diyas. Those who celebrate Diwali, are dressed up in silks and chiffons, sequins and gold embroideries, the beautiful saris, vibrant lehengas and elegant kurtas. Of course, there is the sugar rush and food coma, mainly due to several fried foods, ghee laden […]

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Phirni – Indian Rice and Coconut Pudding Tart with Granola Almond Crust

Coconut Phirni recipe Rice Coconut pudding

It is Diwali season in India – the festival of lights and crackers and sweets and gifts and pretty clothes. A rich, creamy rice pudding or Phirni is one of the popular desserts back home. This version is a take on the classic, served in a granola tart base. My head has been full of Halloween, just like the blogging world is full of Halloween desserts. Then the other day I was Skyping with my mom and she mentioned Diwali holidays coming up soon and I realized that it is indeed Diwali season back home. And just like there is thanksgiving and Halloween and pumpkin talk everywhere in this end of the world, plans for Diwali – shopping for clothes, crackers, lighting, home décor, sweets making, invitations – are being laid out in India. It is easy to forget when you are away from home, busy immersing yourself in a new culture, learning its ways and discovering new things; it is fun, but it is also equally fun to celebrate your own culture in small ways in a different country. To share the spirit from back home with new family and friends here. And although the two celebrations are as […]

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Pumpkin Cookies with Chocolate Chips or Cranberries

Pumpkin Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

This very simple, pumpkin cookie batter comes together super quickly and you can either add chocolate chips or fresh cranberries, or you can have a few of both like me. I spent the weekend in the kitchen with my oven and butter and flour and sugar… Do baking bloggers end up having hands that smell like butter permanently? And hair that smells like flour? It was a quiet weekend, and it rained some so it was kind of perfect to spend most of it in my cookie-scented kitchen. I made two batches of pumpkin cookies and other cookies which will not be mentioned here as of now because they will bring shame and sadness for the wasted ingredients. Do all food bloggers feel so sad about the ingredients that got wasted or do they become cold and hard-hearted after a couple of months of dumping their deformed, ruined, creations into the waste-bin along with that perfect idea that was envisioned exactly in its yummy baked/cooked glory! How dramatic! My first batch of pumpkin cookies were so soft, they were like free form cake. I think I went overboard with the pumpkin puree. Anyway, take two – me running off to […]

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