CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BANANA CUPCAKES

Recipe adapted from Kevin and Amanda

Serves 4

What you’ll need:

 

For Muffins

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

½ cup mashed banana (about 1 medium banana)

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

For Topping

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1-2 tablespoons milk

½ cup chocolate chips or chunks of chopped chocolate

 

How to:

1.  Preheat oven to 180 C. Line the cupcake tray with muffin liners.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and egg. Then add banana, oil, and vanilla extract, mixing until thoroughly combined. Stir in the flour mixture, stirring until there are no lumps.

4. Pour batter into muffin tray and bake for 12 -15 minutes. Do the toothpick taste, once your toothpick is out clean take the cupcakes out and let cool.

5. Whisk together peanut butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Slowly add 1 tablespoon milk, whisking constantly until you get a smooth frosting. Add remaining tablespoon of milk and / or sugar if needed to get the right consistency.

6. Dip the top of each cupcake into the frosting and transfer to a wire rack. Then dip the top of each cupcake into the chocolate chips and press to coat.

 

 

 

PRODUCT REVIEW: HOKEY POKEY ICE CREAM

For troubled times
There are days that can only be survived with the aid of your most comfortable {and most tattered} pyjamas and a tub of ice cream. My preference is usually mango or in particularly dire circumstances, double chocolate. Nature’s Basket and Modern Bazaar are now stocking gloriously creamy tubs of Hokey Pokey for exactly those kinds of days. India’s answer to Ben & Jerry’s, Hokey Pokey’s quirky, yet delicious, flavour blends include Live and Laugh Brownie {Fresh Cream Ice Cream with Crumbled Brownies, Roasted Cashews and Dark Chocolate Fudge} and my current favourite, Manic Monkey {Chocolate Ice Cream with Almonds, Crunchy Praline and White Chocolate Fudge}. The adorable packaging and unabashedly rich ingredient layering all recommend Hokey Pokey over its more mundane, plain vanilla competitors {I can’t wait to try Cherry Chipchunks and the Black Forest Blend} but what really caught my eye was that the products contain no added flavours or preservatives.
A walk down HKV revealed that they’re opening up a full fledged ice cream parlour where you can realize all your ice cream fantasies but till then we’ll have to make do with their pint tubs!

Dig into a tub of Hokey Pokey and you’ll find the texture is palpably creamier than most Indian brands, and you don’t have to feel guilty about having bought a product with a larger carbon footprint than you. No added colouring and preservatives mean there’s less chemical gunk floating around in your system at the end of the tub. Crazy flavour combinations mean you’ll never get bored.

*photos from Hokey Pokey

BANANA STRAWBERRY CHOCOLATE BITES

“Behind all your stories is always your mother’s story. Because hers is where yours begin.”
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

My mother recently pointed out that she’d had two kids by my age. While I don’t have any plans to push any out in the near future, this lovely list of lessons from a mother to a daughter (read it here) inspired me to put together my own list of lessons learnt for any future female progeny.

1. If you can’t figure out why someone is doing what they are – look at what they’ve done in the past.

2. Learn to play a team sport.

3. Wear nice shoes and take care of your feet.

4. You don’t have to be a great cook but you need to be able to: (a) fend for yourself in the kitchen if there’s not takeout available, (b) feed the ones you love once in a while, and (c) have a signature dish that you do amazingly well.

5. If you can help, do it.

6. Sunscreen is for everyone.

7. If s/he is telling you someone else’s secrets then be sure they’ll tell yours to someone else.

8. Marriage is not the solution. You are.

9. Find a shade of lipstick that works for you and wear it when in doubt.

10. Travel. A lot. Often.

11. Carbohydrates, gluten, men, women and/or math are not the enemy.

12. If you take their money they’ll take your freedom.

13. Don’t stop dreaming but nobody promised you a rose garden.

14. Make mistakes, everyone does. Just be honest about them.

15. There’s nothing wrong with liking nice things but try to save atleast a little of your salary every month.

16. If he left someone for you, he will leave you for someone else.

17. There are some things we do for money and some things we do for love – know which is which and that both are valuable.

18. You should be able to wear/say/do what you want but the world is unfair. Make the most of what you’ve got. You’re better off than most.

19. Value old things. Half your story is where you came from.

20. Pick your addictions, friends and fights well.

21. Cleanse, exfoliate, condition, moisturize. That’s pretty much all of it. Don’t let beauty magazines tell you there’s more.

22. Don’t change for a man and don’t expect a man to change for you.

23. You need to be able to pay for your existence by 24.

24. Massages, bath products, great food, books and live performances are always worth it.

25. Diet pills, fairness products and cheap shoes are not.

26. Don’t believe everything you read.

27. Don’t believe everything you hear.

28. Don’t believe everything you see.

29. You don’t have to pick a signature scent.

30. Hydrate.

31. Call me if you’re in trouble. Any trouble.

32. Worry about the environment.

33. You have every right to pick your job, husband, religion, politics and wardrobe. Just remember all choices come with consequences.

34. Move abroad, if you like, it’s probably a better life but I’d like if you made a difference here.

35. Don’t worry about making people angry.

36. Life is only ever going to get busier. Learn to make lists.

37. Hobbies are necessary.

38. Vote.

39. Sometimes the smartest thing to do is get out.

40. When you feel overwhelmed, walk away, drink a glass of water and wash your face.

41. Your surroundings reflect who you are and who you want to be.

42. Keep a journal.

43. The curative properties of a hot bath are greater than those of alcohol.

44. If you have an option, choose handmade.

45. Do not sideline your friends for a relationship. This has never worked out for anyone.

46. Know the difference between how you look in crepe, chiffon, georgette and silk.

47. You don’t have to get along with your gossipy aunt, busybody cousin or chauvinistic uncle but you have to be polite to them.

48. Mentor someone.

49. Donate. Many in our country have very little.

50. There is a middle ground between what your heart says and what your mother says. Look for it.

51. Be kind to those who work for you, children and animals.

52. Learn how to tie a sari.

53. Your boss will lie to you. It’s part of the job description.

54. Everyone needs a good dentist, tailor, gynecologist, dry cleaner, financial advisor, dermatologist and mentor.

55. Firsts are overrated. This first love/job/apartment drama is a scam – some people only get it right in their 35th try and there’s nothing wrong with that.

56. “This is how things have always been,” “this is not our culture,” “what will people say,” are not valid arguments.

57. Don’t put up with anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself.

58. This too shall pass.

59. Be ambitious.

60. Call your friends home often.
About 15 – 20 bites
Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows
What you’ll need:

3-4 bananas
Handful of strawberries
½ cup of chocolate (melted)
¼ cup of chopped almonds/ walnuts/ shredded coconut (whatever you have on hand)

How to:

1. Chop up the bananas and strawberries into the same number of pieces and make little skewers of strawberries and bananas.

2. Put together an assembly line to avoid getting melted chocolate and nuts all over the place with the bowl of chocolate first and then the bowl of chopped nuts.

3. Dip the skewer first in the chocolate and then quickly coat the melted chocolate with the nuts/coconut.

4. Sit the skewers in cupcake liners and stick them in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes.

 

PRODUCT REVIEW: DIVIN-E-LICIOUS CUPCAKES

I’m a huge fan of the good work being done by the lovely sisters behind Divin-e-licious, Gayatri and Anushka Kakkar. They’re an embodiment of my favorite modern fairy tale, both sisters fought off the siren song of filthy lucre to pursue their gourmand dreams and made a huge success of it. The princesses then lived happily ever after pursuing a lifetime of successful entrepreneurship.
I’m not the biggest cupcake fan so I was really excited to hear they had decided to push the baking envelope and expand their menu to include a variety of mini jar cakes. Each eggless cake is baked into a little jar dripping in pearls and packed into a gorgeous floral box just in time for the festive season.
I tore through the classic chocolate, licked the jar of chocolate ganache clean and wept with joy over the red velvet. My personal favorite though was the chocolate nougat which made me feel like my mouth was surfing through waves of impossibly rich chocolate interspersed with perfect, little bursts of nougat-y crunch.

Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Divin.e.licious.cupcakes
Contact: 9811961572

THE GOOD PEOPLE AT GOONJ AND MEXICAN MOCHA CRINKLE COOKIES

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
Anne Frank
, diary of Anne Frank

 

I think we all want to do good. I believe most people would like to leave the world a better place than they found it. Sometimes this life we’re trying to better gets in the way of our efforts at improvement. Our good intentions can get buried under smaller but more numerous daily distractions. Unfortunately the world we live in makes ordering pajamas from a different country easier than helping the one we live in. Thankfully, people like the ones behind Goonj can inspire and remind us to do better.

Instead of throwing out your old stuff check out the Goonj website for the donations they accept and considering passing these things on to the people who need it more. They do excellent work reusing old clothes through their donation and Cloth For Work programs. They’re also working to collect relief material for those struck by floods in Assam, Bihar and West Bengal and trying to forge long term strategic relationships between well off urban schools and rural schools. You can read more about their exceptional work at their website (http://goonj.org/).

Whether you just want to donate some things or some money, do reach out to this outstanding organization to see how you can help. One of the easiest but most effective things to do is organize a clothes drive to collect old clothes from our friends and acquaintances – me and my friend have tried this with enormous success.

Remind yourself of how much good we can all do if we put our minds to it and bake yourself these celebratory cookies once you’re done. They’re lovely, crunchy, sticky, spicy and chocolatey all at the same time and very, very easy to make.

 

Makes about 20 fat cookies
Recipe adapted from A Spicy Perspective

What you’ll need:

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 ¼ granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp instant coffee granules
4 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla essence
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 pinch red chilli powder

How to:

1. Whisk together the cocoa, granulated sugar, coffee, cinnamon, red chilli powder, baking powder and salt. Add the oil and mix together.

2. Add the vanilla and eggs – beating the batter till smooth. Refrigerate for an hour or 2 to firm up the batter.

3. Preheat the oven to about 170°C. Pull out 1 or 1 ½ inch balls of the batter, roll into balls and then roll the balls in a plate of powdered sugar.

Note: This rolling into balls business is not going to be as easy as it seems. This is the problem with most recipes. People just write stuff like “roll into cookies and bake” like it’s simple without telling you that this is going to be a fudgy mess that refuses to hold any kind of shape and destroys your manicure. So the best way to go about it will be to flour your hands lightly, use a spoon to scoop out the quantity you want (a heaping teaspoon is about right) and to use your fingers to scrape the batter off the teaspoon and into the powdered sugar. At this point use the sugar to give you traction and roll the dough into a ball.

4. Plonk on a greased baking tray and bake for 10 mins. Let the cookies cool completely before trying to scrape them off or eat them.