Thursday, March 13, 2014

Eggless Linzer Cookies

I bought the linzer cookie cutter set an year before, thinking I will use it sometime. However it did not happen. Recently, I saw these cookies posted by Nitha on the weekly hosted event Love2Bake by Spicy Treats, and bookmarked the recipe. I showed my daughter the picture of these cookies, and she was very excited to bake and decorate these cookies. I prepared the dough and kept in the fridge overnight , and baked them the next day with my daughter. My kid enjoyed cutting these cookies, and liked to decorate these with jam, and icing sugar. Hope you get to enjoy these too!

I adapted the recipe from  Nitha Kitchen and  Cook's Hideout. Please refer to Nitha's blog for detailed step by step pictures.

All Purpose Flour – 1 cup + 2 tbsp (I used whole Wheat Pastry Flour)
Ground Almonds – 1/2 cup (Used store bought Almond meal)
Sugar – 1/4 cup
Salt – 1/8 tsp
Ground Cloves – 1/8 tsp
Ground Cinnamon – 1/4 tsp
Unsalted Butter – 8 tbsp, (1 stick)Softened at room temperature
Lemon zest or Lemon extract- 1/4 tsp
Orange zest or Orange extract -1/4 tsp
Vanilla Essence –1/2 tsp
Strawberry Jam or any other fruit preserve as required
Powdered Sugar – 1 tsp + extra for dusting

Combine the flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves, zest, and vanilla essence in a stand mixer or by hand. Add the butter, and mix well until the dough comes together. Don't over do the kneading. Divide the dough in half, then wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour for easy rolling. I refrigerated the dough overnight. Line a baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough 1/8" thick. Cut the shapes using the Linzer cutters. Bake at 325 F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove the cookies onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before. Spread the solid cookie with the filling and place the cutout cookie on top of the filled cookie.  Note that filling/preserves makes the cookie gain the moisture.  I did not fill on the cookies with preserve. Therefore, I stored some of the cookies in air tight container, and took out to decorated as need basis.

Sending these cookies to Sangee's weekly Monday event  Love2Bake.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Sambhar is the one among the most popular and main meal accompaniment in South Indian cooking. You can find more information on wikipedia. It is a kind of vegetable and lentil stew. I learnt making authentic sambhar recipe from my mother-in-law. I make once a week sambhar in my home. I make the less spicy version for kids by adding less sambhar powder while initially cooking. Then I take out kids portion after everything is cooked, and add more sambhar powder to make spicier version for S.  My mother in law (MIL) makes the sambhar powder at home, and I use the same for making the sambhar at home.  My MIL will boil the daal (lentil)  and the vegetables separately, however I cook everything together.

I am sending this recipe for My Legume Love Affair # 69 hosted this month by Cindystar. This event has been started by Susan of Well-Seasoned Cook, and supervised by Lisa at Lisa's Kitchen.

1 Cup Toor daal (If possible wash and soak an hour or so before cooking)
1 medium size cut onion
1 large tomato cubed in small pieces
1-½ cups mixed vegetables, cute into bite-size cubes (I use mix of beet-root, zuchhini, carrot, beans, summer squash, drumstick, brinjal or any other vegetable available in fridge)
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seed (methi)
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
Pinch of Asafoetida (hing)
Pinch of turmeric (haldi)
10-12 curry leaves
2 red chillies (optional if need more spicy)

2 tablespoons tamarind pulp  (I make the tamarind pulp and store it in fridge, else you can buy ready made from grocery store or make at home by soaking lemon size tamarind in hot water, and extract the pulp using strainer)
2 teaspoon salt (per taste)    
1-2 Tablespoon sambhar powder (depending on spice level

Heat oil in pressure cooker. First add the seasoning. Add the mustard seeds, once the mustard seeds crackle, add the jeera, hing, curry leaves, methi seeds, and red chilli. Now, add the cut onion. Once the onion begins to brown, add the cut tomato. Add the turmeric and sambhar powder. Now fry these for 1-2 minutes, and add the cut vegetables. Add about 3-4 cups of water, salt per taste, and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles and then reduce the heat to minimum and slow cook for 5-10 minutes. Open the cooker once the steam is over, add the tamarind pulp, and let it boil for 3-4 minutes. Add water to adjust the consistency per taste. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve. This dish goes well with rice, dosa, idli, and serves 4-5 people.

Sambhar Powder Recipe (Source: Mother-in-law)
Please note I am lucky enough to get this powder from my mother in law, however you can easily buy it in Indian stores, or make per the recipe below.
  • Red Chilli  4-5
  • Coriander seeds (Dhania) 2 Tablespoon
  • Astofeida (Hing) a pinch
  • Fenugreek (Methi) seeds 1/4 teaspoon
  • Black pepper 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds (Jeera) 1/2 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds 1/4 teaspoon
Low roast above ingredients. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature, and grind it to find powder. store in an airtight container. Above proportion can be used for making sambar 4-5 times.