Nutty banana-fig bread

My tryst with low-carb food has been going pretty well. Apart from the occasional spoon of sugar in my tea, I haven’t had the urge to splurge on high carb food. And after losing 12-15 lbs on this diet, I am a pretty happy camper. I recently ordered Kal brand Stevia and my first few experiences were bad. It made everything super-sweet! But then I realized that I needed to know exactly how to use it. For my first baking experience, I tried an almond flour plum bread, which in the end was weirdly sweet and had a pudding consistency. Thankfully it wasn’t so bad that I had to throw it away. For my second baking experiment, I wanted to make a banana bread and this time I was determined to use less stevia. Surprise! It’s so good, just like normal moist banana bread. This banana bread is low-carb and you can’t even tell ­čśÇ I did cheat a little bit with the chocolate chunks. Next time around I will substitute those with homemade sugar free chocolate chunks.

Ingredients:

5 small overripe bananas

6 Calimyrna figs (I used the ones available in a container at Trader Joes)

3 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla essence/extract

1/4 tsp stevia (appx. 1/2 cup sugar equivalent, or more if you like it sweeter)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups blanched almond flour (I use Honeyville) (Substitute 1 1/2 cups regular all purpose flour/maida for all of you high-carb people out there!)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup walnuts, broken into pieces

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Put bananas, figs, eggs, vanilla, stevia and oil in a food processor. Pulse ingredients together until completely mixed.

Add the almond flour, salt and baking soda. Pulse everything again until well blended.

Pour batter into a greased 7.5″x3.5″ bread loaf pan and put the nuts and chocolate chips on the top. Shake the pan to┬ámake┬ásure the batter is evenly distributed.

Bake it in the pre-heated oven for appx. 55-60 mins. Keep an eye on it after 40-45 mins and cover it with foil, if you think it’s getting too dark on the top. I baked mine on the middle shelf and I didn’t have to cover it.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 -15 mins before  turning it out and cooling it completely, right side up.

Bon Appetit! I have already eaten two slices since I baked it ­čśÇ

Nan khatai

Happy New Year everyone! I know that I am really behind on updating this blog. I didn’t want to start the year by rushing things, so I thought I’d take it slow. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We traveled to the Northeast and took in the beauty as we drove up there. It was good to catch up with friends and share the joy of the birth of Christ with them.

Since we weren’t home for Christmas, I didn’t make any traditional “thindi” (snacks) we traditionally┬ámake┬áfor Christmas. After we got back from our trip, however, I decided to make at least one thing. I decided to try out some nan khatai. They are the Indian version of shortbread cookies. They even taste similar.

Here’s the recipe –

Ingredients:

Self-rising flour – 1 cup

Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup

Unsalted butter – 1 stick, room temperature

Nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp

Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

Method:

Preheat the oven to 300 F.

In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until well combined. You can use an electric mixer or you can use your hands.

Add the nutmeg powder and cardamom powder and mix well.

Slowly incorporate the self rising flour, little by little, until the mixture forms a soft dough.

Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let it rest for 15-20 mins.

Knead the dough once again and divide it into 12 equal portions.

Pat each portion into a smooth circle with no cracks. The circle with be about 1/4 inch thick. Be careful not be make it too large and thin (I made that mistake and the cookies browned a little by the time they were cooked).

Place the cookies on a cookie sheet that is lined. Leave enough space between the cookies because they will expand while baking.

Bake them on the middle rack for about 20-25 mins. Make sure they don’t brown too much, they should maintain the color.

Remove from the oven and let them cool before storing them in an airtight container.

Enjoy! These scrumptious nan khatais were gone in a few days.

Easy-peasy key lime pie

Since I was cheating on my diet anyway, I decided to make a key lime pie as well. This is a real easy recipe that can be made quickly. It’s especially easy when you have guests over ­čÖé

Ingredients:

4 egg yolks

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup key lime juice

3/4 cup cold heavy cream

9 inch prepared graham cracker crust

Method:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the crust in the oven until it preheats, about 5-10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, beat the egg yolks in a bowl with the condensed milk, and cream. Whisk in the lime juice a little at a time to thicken the custard. Pour the custard into the pie crust and return to the oven.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes to help the custard begin to set. Cool to room temperature before covering loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight.

Whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

It’s been a while since I updated this blog, but I have good reason. For one, I was busy packing to move to DC. Secondly, I have found out in the past few weeks that I need to change my food habits. Due to my sluggish thyroid I need to eat low carb food and low GI food too. Since then I have been on the lookout for all kinds of food that my body can process well. This search has led me to look at various recipes online and in books. It also means that I cannot eat something I used to eat very often – rice. I have now started making rotis or chapatis (Indian unleavened whole-wheat bread) more often and we eat them with various meats and vegetables.

I have also tried to eat more fruit and go easy on dessert. It has worked for a few days, but then my sweet tooth got the better of me and I decided to bake something that would satisfy my craving and still not contain white flour. This is what I came up with – trust me, they are simply delish!! I made smaller cookies, so I could eat 1 or 2 and not feel guilty ­čÖé

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 stick or 1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 tbsp vanilla essence or extract

1/4 tsp baking soda

a pinch of salt

1 cup heaped whole wheat flour or chapati flour

1/4 cup walnuts cut into bite sized pieces

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl use a whip to cream together the melted butter , white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Make sure the brown sugar is not hard or lumpy (you can nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds and crumble it before adding it in.)

Add in the egg and mix well.

Stir in the vanilla essence, baking soda and salt until well blended and then add in the walnuts. Add flour and chocolate chips last. Mix well enough to make a dough, but don’t over mix.

Bake in the oven for about 10-15 mins. (I didn’t have to bake them for more than 12 mins – each oven is different though so keep a watch after 10 mins.)

The dough was not of dropping consistency so I tried making them two ways. I took small golf sized balls and rolled them between my hands and then pressed them slightly into 1.5 inch circles to get some shape. They ended up looking like little cookies. For another batch I used a spoon to drop the dough onto the pan in little lumps. Both of them taste really good. They made about 25-30 small cookies. My sweet tooth is very excited at the moment. I have promised myself not to overeat though, especially after I have seen the weigh scale dip since I last stepped on it ­čÖé Enjoy!!

P.S. Sorry about the pictures, it’s a real cloudy day here in Arlington, VA ­čśŽ