Eggless cashew orange drop cookies

I had just visited my favorite Whole Foods market and picked up these great cashews and oranges , they looked so fresh and tempting I just had to build a chewy but tender cookie around these ingredients . I decided not to over process the cashews giving the nuts some chew , I also decided to zest the orange and squeeze the juice of one half . to hold the cookie together I opted for unsweetened apple sauce , it works best in cookies . The result ? a chewy but tender orange scented cashew cookie !

Makes 30

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1/2 cup room temperature butter/   Or Earth Balance , if vegan

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

zest of 1 orange

juice of  1/2  orange mixed with 2 tbs unsweetened apple sauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup ground cashews ( I like mine more coarsely ground )

In a mixing bowl of an electric stand mixer place butter and beat with paddle beater just until creamy . Add in sugar . Beat just until combined . Scrape bowl.

Beat in apple sauce plus orange juice mixture , beat to combine . Stir in zest.

In a separate bowl sift all-purpose flour with spices , salt , baking soda and baking powder. With mixer on the lowest setting , fold in flour mixture . DO NOT OVER BEAT . Scrape bowl to be sure all ingredients are incorporated . Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest , refrigerated for 1 hour.

Prepare 2 baking trays with parchment and preheat oven to 375*F.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons on to the tray allowing room for spreading .

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Cool on trays for 5 minutes . Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


Spicy Thai lemongrass and mint lamb chops

Lamb is an acquired taste , it can have a strong , overwhelming aroma , if not allowed to marinate in the right herbs and spices for at least 4 to 6 hours . This marinade is so flavorful and lends itself beautifully to this succulent piece of meat . I serve 4 pieces per person with a flavorful and simple Gado Gado salad with peanut sauce and a stir fried vegetable rice noodle . This is perfect food for summer and grills up to perfection . If the chilis are too much for you simply omit or tone down the amount.

Serves 2

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

8 lamb rib chops

2 sticks lemongrass , inner tender portion only

1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves

1 large clove fresh garlic , peeled

juice of 1 medium sized lime

2 red Thai chilis , minced ( optional )

2 tbs palm or brown sugar

2 tbs fish sauce

2 tbs vegetable oil

Clean and defat the lamb , place in a plastic freezer bag. Set aside.

Combine in a food processor the rest of the ingredients to blend well . Pour over the chops in the bag and massage well to distribute evenly making sure each rib is coated . Seal bag and rest in refridgerator for at least 4 to 12 hours .

Light grill to about 450*F . Oil grill or spray with non stick cooking spray . Place chops on grill removing excess marinade . Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side , depending on how well done you prefer your ribs .

Remove to a platter and serve . I have often taken the excess marinade , boiled it in a small saucepan and serve it along side the rigs as a dipping sauce .

Eggless Snickerdoodles

Not really sure why these cinnamon sugar cookies are called Snickerdoodles , but they are a real favorite amongst young and old alike . I love sugar cookies , but there is something about cinnamon sugar that just hits the spot . These crackly topped cookies are a delight to see and eat.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Makes 36

1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1  1/2 tsp EnerG egg replacer mixed as directed to equal one egg plus 1 Tbs unsweetened apple sauce

1/2 tsp vanilla

1  1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 Tbs granulated sugar plus 1 tsp cinnamon combined to make cinnamon sugar

In a medium bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds . Add 1 cup sugar , baking soda and cream of tartar , beat until combined , scraping bowl occasionally . Beat in combined EnerG and allplesauce and vanilla and beat till combined. Beat in flour , just till combined . DO NOT OVER MIX . Cover and chill in refridgerator for 1 hour .

Preheat oven to 375*F.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls . Roll in the cinnamon sugar and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 375*F for 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden . Transfer cookies to a wire rack . Cool.

Paneer in a cashew tomato sauce

This is a well known and well published dish known as Paneer Kaju Pasanda. It is a rich paneer dish with cashews , cream , coconut and lots of spices . I have turned this into a lower fat dish omitting the cream and replacing it with lowfat plain Greek yoghurt . The recipes I have come across all call for frying the cashews , I omitted this step by dry roasting the nuts , again lowering the calories . Finally I did away with the coconut , it really did not affect the taste at all .

Serves 4

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 lb store bought or home made paneer , cut into cubes and pan fried

20  roasted  cashews

1 large onion

1 inch piece fresh ginger , grated

2 cloves garlic , grated

a few sprigs of fresh coriander , washed

6 dry red chilis

1 tsp each , ground cumin  and coriander

a 1/4 tsp each ground cinnamon and cloves

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 cup puree of tomatoes ( I really like Pomi pureed tomatoes )

Salt to taste

about 1 tsp or less  sugar

1/2 cup beaten plain Greek yoghurt

a few tablespoons oil

Grind onion , garlic , fresh coriander and all the dry spices , including the dry red chilis and cashews together .Heat some oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan . Add the paste and fry for 7 to 10 minutes , stirring on medium heat .

Stir  in the tomatoes , sugar and salt to taste . Stir for 5 more minutes . Add water 1/2 cup to 1 cup to form a semi thick sauce . Bring to a boil , stir , lower heat and allow to simmer about 15 minutes .

Stir in the fried paneer . Cover and cook on low heat for another 3 minutes . Off the heat

Stir in the Greek yoghurt , gently so as not to break the paneer pieces . Turn on lowest heat and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve hot , garnished with fresh cilantro.

Eggless yogurt Almond coffee cake

My inspiration for this great coffee cake cake from Nita Mehta and ATK , one for the cake the other for the topping . Then I set about trying to figure out how to get more almond flavor in the cake , by switching some of the regular all purpose flour for almond meal . The topping is a mixture of sliced almonds , sugar and orange zest . This is just delicious and you simply cannot imagine the aroma wafting from the oven.

1 nine inch coffee cake

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1  1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup plain yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 small orange


1/4 cup sugar

zest of 1 small orange

1/2 sliced almonds

Mix the sugar and zest ,set aside for 2 minutes for the orange oils to release . Stir in the almonds . Divide mixture into 2 . set aside.

Sieve the flour and baking powder together , stir in the almond flour.

Beat sugar and butter till light and fluffy.

Add the yogurt , vanilla , and zest . Mix well .

Fold in the flour and almond mixture lightly so as not to deflate the batter .

pour half the batter into the greased pan. Top with half the almond mixture . Pour over the other half of the batter , smoothing the batter . Top with the balance almond mixture. Tap the pan on the counter top to deflate any air pockets .

Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean . Cool on a rack , remove after 5 minutes . Serve when cool .

Mum’s fantastic classic baked ziti

Pasta makes me happy . There is a real comforting sound of cheese and sauce bubbling away in the oven that keeps me salivating for dinner time . My mum made the best baked ziti , simple , straight forward cheesey baked goodness . she , ofcourse , made her own simple marinara sauce , but store bought is fine too . She also used the best freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese and thinly sliced Fontina , it has a superior melting texture and , naturally what is a baked ziti withour Rikotta , the fresher the better . To freshen up the dish she added freshly torn basil leaves to the dish just before assembly , that kept the flavor of the herb fresh all through .

Serves 4 to 6

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 lb cooked ziti or penne ( cook for half the reccomended time and set aside).

4 cups home made or store bought marinara sauce

1 lb fresh rikotta cheese

1 cup freshly sliced Fontina cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

15 to 20 fresh basil leaves roughly torn

pinch red pepper flakes , ( optional )

Preheat oven to 350*F .  Set aside a 13 by 11 baking dish.

Toss the cooked pasta with 1 cup of sauce . Stir in red pepper flakes ( optional ) and fresh basil. Set aside.

Pour in 1 cup of sauce in the base of the baking dish , spread it out to cover the entire base of the dish . Pour in and spread the sauced pasta .

Top the pasta with spoonfuls of rikotta , make sure to cover the pasta evenly , top with more basil .

Top the pasta and basil with 1 cup of marinara sauce , spread it to cover the pasta well . Sprinkle on 1/2 the Parmigiano cheese and half the fontina cheese .Cover with the final cup of sauce and the rest of the cheese . This may seem excessive sauce but , during baking , as the pasta continues to cook , the dish will dry as it cooks without adequate liquid .

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes , until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned . Serve

The best eggless chocolate thumbprints ever

Thumbprints are a joy to behold , there is always the cookie to enjoy , plus a little yummy filling in the center of the cookie , and it can be whatever you want . In this case I went with a really good French Apricot preserve with bits of fruit in it , but I have made these with a variety of fruit preserves to chocolate Nutella or even ganache ! the possibilities are endless . The beauty of this fabulous dough is that it is made in the food processor , quick , easy , painless . The cookie just melts in your chocolate loving mouth , just the perfect bite to quell those cravings .

Adapted from Fine cooking

Makes 30

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

10  oz ( 2  1/4 cups ) bleached all purpose flour

3   3/8  oz ( 1 cup plus 2 tbs ) unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1  1/3 cups granulated sugar plus  1/3 cup  extra for rolling cookies in

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

10  1/2 oz ( 1 cup plus 5 tbs ) unsalted butter , slightly softened

4 1/2 tbs whole milk

1  1/2  tsp pure vanilla extract

Any filling of choice

Place 1/3 cup sugar in a wide bowl. keep aside.

Place parchment on two baking sheets, set aside

Preheat oven to 325*F

In a food processor combine the flour , cocoa , sugar , baking soda and salt. Pulse several times to mix throughly.

Cut the butter into about 12 chunks and add them to the bowl . Pulse several times .

Combine the milk and vanilla in a small cup. With the processor running add the milk mixture and continue to process until the dough clumps  around the blade or sides of bowl .

Transfer the dough to a large bowl or cutting board and knead with your hands a few times to make sure the dough is evenly blended. Using a tablespoon portion out dough by 1 tablespoon dough balls . Roll each ball in reserved sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Once all dough is rolled in sugar , make thumb indentations in the center of each cookie .You could use the back of a wooden spoon for this too .

Fill each indentation with choice of filling.

Bake 16 minutes at 325*F . Allow to rest on baking sheets for 5 minutes , then transfer to cooling rack to cool completly . Store in an airtight container.