Bake Yummy Brownies and Cookies this Diwali
The bustle and happiness associated with the festival of Diwali are incomparable to any other day of the year in India. The glorious fireworks that adorn the night sky, like colorful jewels, appear almost in rhythmic succession. Houses are clad with beautiful diyas and everyone is dressed in their finest ethnic wear. But it has to be said, the best part is the copious amount of sweets that guarantee the need to renew one’s gym membership!
Over the years we have seen how homemade desserts and gift hampers are gaining in popularity. The benefits of homemade desserts and hampers are that they are more cost efficient, especially in large quantities. Festivities can start days in advance by getting the whole family involved and, above all, there is nothing more personal than a customized goodie hamper made with oodles of love.
To get started here are some easy, yet scrumptious, recipes you can make to celebrate the festival of lights.
Easy Brownies with Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 175 grams unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- A pinch of salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a medium-sized saucepan.
- When it’s melted, add the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon (still over a low heat) to help it blend with the melted butter.
- Whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and pinch of salt, and then stir into the pan; when mixed (this will be a very dry mixture), remove from the heat.
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and then mix into the brownie mixture.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and quickly pour and scrape into a foil-lined 13x9x2 inch baking tin pan, spreading the mixture with a spatula, and cook in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.
- It will look set, dark and dry on top, but when you feel the surface, it should still be wobbly underneath like a cake.
- 170 grams semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons whipping cream
- Whisk all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted and smooth.
- Pour evenly over brownies in a pan. Chill brownies until ganache has set.
- 225 grams bittersweet chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 3 large eggs (beaten)
- 1½ cups almond meal
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 170°C. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan.
- Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little.
- Beat the eggs into the pan along with the ground almonds and chopped walnuts. Turn into a 24cm/9-inch square baking tin or, most sensibly, use a foil one.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, by which time the top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey. Once cooler, cut carefully into 16 squares.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, Beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine.
- On low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl.
- Divide the dough in half, wrap in butter paper or cling wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to190 degrees C.
- Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove one half of the dough from the refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick.
- Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If the dough has warmed during rolling, place the cold cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.
- Out of cardboard, cut out templates in the shapes of diyas, flowers and other desired shapes. Place template over the rolled out dough and with a knife, cut around it. Place the cookies at least one-inch apart on a greased baking sheet or silicone baking mat and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges.
- Rotate cookie sheet halfway through baking time.
- Let it sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from the oven and complete the cooling process on a wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container.