Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Chocolate Cookies

Are you as excited as I am about the upcoming long week end? Are you planning on flying out? Do carry these cuties for your fellow passengers or the flight crew, especially if you are taking a noisy and probably troublesome little monkey along! I can guarantee that your flight will be much smoother, and your neighbor might even let you use the armrest :)

If you don't have an airplane shaped cookie cutter, you can even draw or print the shape and make a cut out of thick paper or the thin plastic lids of containers like for yogurt, and then use it as a template to cut out the dough with a knife, or simply make whatever shape-hearts, stars (and stripes in honour of the upcoming holiday maybe?) or even roll the dough into a log and slice off rounds and bake them. Leave them plain, or decorate with glaze or royal icing. Whatever you do, and whether you are baking them for others or your self, these hearty whole wheat, brownsugar chocolate cookies from Joy the Baker will make the weekend nicer. I found that they have a heftier and rather coarser texture than melt away butter cookies I must warn, but  you will love them especially if you like the nutty whole wheat flavour in general as I do. If so, you must also try favourite cookie ever- these wholewheat cardamom nankhatais 

Dorie's Sugar Cookies got Cardomized!

Cardomized sounds a little scary. But you know what I mean right? It's when I take a perfectly good recipe and have the audacity of sprinkling cardamom all over it. I can't help it. I have a cardamom addiction! 
When I was looking to test out basic sugar cookie recipes, I decided to start with Dorie's and I was not disappointed. These are not too sweet, so they are the perfect blank canvas to paint all your colourful icing (awesome fail-proof  recipe coming soon!) dreams, being sandwiched between chocolate ganache, ducle de leche or nutella, you can add chopped nuts, zest, extracts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, dried fruits....or cardomized and sprinkled with a little cardamom sugar. 

I made these for that poor little teddy. He deserves it after being gnawed at, drooled over, tossed around and in other ways completely manhandled by my little monkey. I was going through the little one's stuff to put away things he's outgrown or no longer uses- onsies, tiny t-shirts, that pretty pastel blanket from his God Mom and that blue one I started knitting as soon as I knew I was expecting a winter baby, looking up basic knitting stitches on youtube video tutorials! That's when this little guy looked up at me sadly and I though he is probably the most loved yet most ill treated teddy ever, and deserved some cookies, though the greedy fellow ate them all himself! Really!

Flourless Orange Cardamom Almond cake (Dairy-free, Gluten-free)

..a walk through a sunny orange orchard, breathing the zesty air!

It was a very special blessing to live so close to an orange orchard since I love all things citrus. The sight of all those bright sunny oranges never failed to cheer me up and truly California is sunnier with all those orange and lemon trees everywhere!
You would have seen many citrus desserts on this blog, but nothing quite like this cake, made with whole oranges, boiled in their thick orange skin and flour less and butter less to boot! Sounds pretty crazy right? I thought so too!

I was introduced to these at that bakesale we had taken part in. There was a sea of colorful baked goodies- iced sugar cookies in all shapes, gorgeous layer cakes under glass domes, cupcakes piled high with frosting.....but what caught my eye were these tiny clementine mini muffins with a very intriguing ingredient list: Whole clementines, eggs, almonds, sugar, baking powder. No flour? No butter?! Curious, I bought a bunch to share with friends and wow! was I rewarded! 

Each little bite was  incredibly tender and moist, more like pudding than cake, with a heady citrussy flavor and fragrance. I loved them so much I had to have the recipe which the lovely Andrea who baked for the sale, mailed to me. They are made in the food processor or mixie and are quite easy to make too. 

They are perfect to nibble on with a cup of tea or strong coffee ( in my case) and simply perfect for the Mad Tea Party today. What could be madder than a flour less, butter less cake I say ?!

Apple Oatmeal Smoothie

Do you have a cheeky monkey running loose? I do. Is he a picky eater? Mine is, most of the time :( He stubbornly refuses delicious roast chicken after having devoured it like it was candy the previous day. He clamps his mouth shut at the mere mention of cauliflower. Some days all he wants is his soy milk. So what's a Momma to do but sneak in apples and oat meal, with a dash of cinnamon and a spoonful of brown sugar, or maple syrup, and watch the cheeky monkey slurp it all down. Pappas will like this too- why not start off Father's day with some healthy and yummy, cool fruity-oatmeal goodness, perfect for these warm summer days :)

The sticky fingered apple thief! From knocking over props to running off with them, kids are not conducive to photography :( On the other hand these may be my two most favourite pictures ever!

P.s What do you think about my blog tweakings? Like it? or do you like the old look (with the cupcakes, remember them?) better? Do let me know! 

Easy Baked Chicken and The Kerala Kitchen June 2011 Event Announcement

Last month the amazingly sweet Sarah of Spoonful of Delight hosted the Kerala Kitchen while I was busy packing, shifting houses, unpacking and rescuing a little monkey who loves to dive headfirst into cardboard boxes. Head on over to her wonderful site here to check out the awesome collection of Kerala inspired dishes we received from our awesome members. Now that I am all settled into my new home and new kitchen, I am happy to be hosting again! Sarah had a neat idea to make it even easier for you to submit entries, with a simple form that you can see at the end of this post, so no need to fuss with emails. Thanks for that, and for being such a wonderful person Sarah! 

Last week was another good friend, awesome blogger and my co host of Kerala Kitchen Ria's birthday and I celebrated with Chocolate Oreo cake. Today I am posting her grandmother's recipe for a delicious tender and juicy baked chicken which is also super easy to make. It earned her mom the Pachakarani ( Queen of cooking) title at a cookery competition so you can be certain this is a surefire hit! 

Chocolate Oreo Cake with Quick Fluffy frosting- Happy Birthday Ria!

"Birthdays are Nature's way of telling us to eat cake ;) Here's one filled with wishes for you Ria! Hope the year ahead is as awesome as you are!"

I am always looking for an excuse bake cakes. And what could be a better reason to bake a moist chocolate cake and slather it with fluffy clouds of marshmallow like 7 minute frosting ( which takes about 10 mins to make by the way) and crumbled Oreos than a galpal's special day! 

Yesterday was my friend and awesome blogger Ria's birthday and of course I immediately wanted to bake her a cake. Even though she lives at the other end of the country and would only get to see the cake, while I get to eat it, on her behalf of course :P  I then proceeded to happily spend all day looking for the perfect cake recipe and thinking of a pretty pink girly cake. As I called to wish her I asked her if she had any preferences, the birthday girl revealed that she would like chocolate. We got to talking about one of our favourite cakes to bake, which I know as my sis-in-law's easy but perfect chocolate cake, and which Ria knows as the Hershey's Perfect cake. 

The interesting thing about this cake is that it is made with oil instead of butter. Now there are lots of arguments about butter being the vital ingredient in cake and oil is like a dirty word when it comes to baking.  I agree that butter imparts a lot of flavor, but the thing about oil based cakes is that apart from being easier to make without all that creaming of the butter etc., they are incredibly moist and stay moist longer too. I have dabbled quite a bit with butter-less cakes since this discovery.