M&M Illusion Cake

Well, school has opened. It’s been three weeks now. Kids are settled and everything is running smoothly. And I now I have some spare time for myself and for my blog which I was missing so much. It’s been two months since I had posted anything. However, during these two months ( kid’s summer vacation) I made tons of goodies and all my pictures and recipes are laying in my desktop. I will be posting them nearly soon.

Last week of August we celebrated our daughter’s birthday. Obviously her BFFs were with her to celebrate. Few days ago before her birthday she requested me to make an illusion cake for her. I normally bake cake for my kid’s special days. I feel satisfied when I cook for them.

I know all kids love M&Ms. So I had the basic idea to make three layers cake with butter icing and dropping the candies from the top layer but I was not sure how to make the wrapper suspend on the cake. So after some research I found a wonderful link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQkvBLu2aT4 .

It explains very clearly how to make the cake. To give my daughter a surprise, I made  a checkerboard with chocolate butter cream. The outer cake icing was made of white butter cream.

When I brought the cake out, my daughter’s friends were awestruck and everyone wanted the slice which was fully covered with M&Ms. My daughter delighted and said it was the best cake ever.
Illusion M&M cake

Short Bread Cookies

This is one of the most easiest recipes I came across, easy to remember and very quick to cook. Simple ingredients but the result tastes awesome. When I was kid I was always eager to open my tiffin box during lunch time in school. My mother always used to pack some surprise goodies in my tiffin box (I have somewhat followed my mother’s tradition and kids love surprises in their lunch boxes). Shortbread cookies was one of them. There was a bakery shop near our house who used to make yummy treats like this. This shortbread recipe reminds me of that place.

Short Bread Cookies

Short Bread Cookies

I got this wonderful recipe from my fellow blogger Kenneth Goh:
http://kwgls.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/one-two-three-lets-start-making-traditional-short-bread-biscuits/

Wonderful recipe and easy step by step instructions. Thanks for the recipe!

My only change in this recipe is that I have used whole wheat flour instead of white flour. And it came out just as good and tasty. I might pack these in my daughter’s lunchbox tomorrow as a surprise ūüôā

Ingredients:
50 gms sugar (I measured first and then ground it into fine powder)
100 gms unsalted melted butter (approx 1 stick)
150 gms whole wheat flour
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.
Mix all the ingredients and make a soft dough.
Roll it to 1cm thick. Cut into the desired shapes. Pierce lightly with a fork.
Transfer cookies in the baking tray at bake them for 12 – 15 mins.

Delectable Alcoholic-free Jelly Shots

One day my daughter came from school and announced, “Mom, starting¬†today I won’t be eating jello anymore because it comes¬†from animals.” I respected her decision. But soon,¬†days passed by I forgot all about it!¬†One day, I thought of surprising her with her favorite jello pudding. But, when I served it, she reminded me that she can’t have it. How forgetful I’d been! I was feeling so guilty- but¬†like all other Super Moms I thought of a quick fix. I searched my pantry and I found pectin. I had oranges too and I knew that pectin acts as a food thickener. Can I make a jello out of it? Absolutely!¬†The end result was different but very tasty. It was not jiggly like jello but more like¬†jelly in consistency. But hey, who cares? It was outstandingly¬†tasty and this simple dessert brought a million dollar smile on my baby’s¬†face. She hugged me so tight. The little things really do matter in our life.

Here is my recipe:

shot jello

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup Fresh Orange juice
1 Tblsp Lemon juice
1 tsp chia seeds
1/4 cup sugar ( add more for more sweet)
1 Tblsp Ball Low sugar pectin

Method:
Soak chia seeds in 1/2 cup water for 30 mins. Drain chia seeds after 30 mins.
Mix orange juice, chia seeds lemon juice and pectin and boil for 2 mins. Add sugar and boil to a rolling boil for another two minutes.
Pour into shot glasses. Refrigerate¬†until it’s firm. Serve with whipped cream.
It sets faster than jello.

*Vegans can serve with whipped coconut cream.

Coffee flavored Almond and Coconut Milk Panna Cotta

Image

Panna Cotta is a very simple Italian set dessert which simply melts in your mouth. 

This is a dairy free recipe and very easy to make.

Ingredients:

1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 cup cold Whole coconut milk
1/3cup +2 Tblsp sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract
1 envelope unflavored gelatin( I used Knox brand)(for vegans: agar agar or plant sourced gelatin)
2 1/2 Tblsp of Instant coffee granules (add more if you like strong coffee flavor)

Method:

Boil almond milk for 10 mins. Keep stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Mix sugar, coffee and vanilla and let boil for another one minute. Switch off the burner.

While the milk is boiling sprinkle gelatin on cold coconut milk for 5 mins to proof. After 5 mins of proofing add hot milk over the gelatin mixture and mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps. Use beater to make it airy.( You can add more sugar if you like more sweet but at this stage add fine powdered sugar and mix properly)

Pour into ramekins and refrigerate for 4-5 hrs.Serve chill.