Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


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Pumpkin Pie Spice and Pumpkin Spice Latte

If you have been following the fan page on Facebook, you would be very aware of the fact that I am obsessed with pumpkin at the moment. It is as much a fall thing as it is my personal palate thing. Although I am pretty late getting into this pumpkin everything game, I can tell you that I am fully committed. In fact, I took a pledge to get out there and try everything there is to try with pumpkin! Now, my house plays host to the spicy sweet fragrance of a pumpkin-spice candle and it is only the beginning. So before I begin to tell you about the goings on in my pumpkin perfumed home, let me paint you a picture about the first time I tried this wonderful warm flavor that has become the fall colors equivalent of the culinary world:
Pumpkin spice mixIt was a warm (what else did you expect from the south?) fall day in 2013, we hit the park with a surprisingly cheerful four month old. After walking for a bit, Kishore, Amma and I decided to go to Dunkin’ Donuts because Amma needed  to taste a proper donut, the American pride. Krispy Kreme was out of question because, well, it was further away compared to DD. I decided to bring fall into my tall glass of cold latte and opted for the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Needless to say, I was hooked proper for not even a crying baby could pry me away from my latte. And thus began my experiments with commercially made pumpkin latte. I tasted it in Starbucks, the official home of the PSL; I had it at Einstein Bros Bagel (aka, my favorite spot at college) and then some more at DD.

Although Starbucks does make the best PSL, I, like a good (erm, the jury is still out on that!) enthusiastic blogger, just had to try my hands at making some. So before I began the experim-erm-cooking, I had to find some spice mix. So instead of buying a box, I decided to make mine. I mean, there are a zillion blogs out there that give you the recipe. You must be cuckoo to actually go out and buy that stuff!

My favorite recipe is from The Kitchn and it is perfect as it is. But the mix is so accommodating that you can play around with the quantity of the spices and personalize it according to your preference. The one advantage of running a predominantly Indian kitchen is how easily available each of these spices are. My pantry already had ground ginger (also called Sukku Podi in Tamil), ground cinnamon, ground clove, all-spice powder, ground nutmeg and mace! Talk about luck and the lack of need to substitute with some random spice!
Pumpkin spice mix2 Thus the pumpkin spice was born, the primary reason I ditched my boring old coffee this morning and whipped up some pumpkin spiced latte (with ice, of course!). Since a few of my friends and faithful fan page followers (hem-hem, take the cue, people, and go like it!) asked for the recipe, I decided to put it up here. I adopted it from The Kitchn‘s recipe but made quite a few alterations to suit my taste.
Pumpkin spice lattePumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients:
Two Tbsp mashed pumpkin (I used it off a can)

One tsp pumpkin spice mix (and more for sprinkling)

Two Tbsp sugar

One cup milk

Half cup ice cubes

One Tbsp vanilla essence

One tsp instant coffee powder (I used Nestcafe Clasico but you can actually brew your coffee with water and freeze it in an ice tray. Just eliminate the ice in that case)

Whipped cream (optional, I didn’t use it)

Method:
Place the mashed pumpkin and the spice mix in a saute pan and cook them for a couple of minutes. However, I skipped this step and didn’t think it made a difference to the taste. Pour all the other ingredients into a blender. Add in the pumpkin mix. Process until the ice is crushed and the latte turns frothy. Transfer to a glass and enjoy the pumpkin-y goodness all season long!

Mmm, don’t mind if I do!

Ps: So about the spice bottle- I’ve been getting questioned about it. Although I haven’t branched into commercially producing spice mixes, I do have future plans to. I have a store on etsy.com but don’t search for it since it has literally nothing in it. I have stowed the idea away for the future when my schedule is slightly free and I don’t have to bend over backwards to get my very basic-daily chores done (I hear laughing in my head).


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Sticky Cinnamon Bun

If I ever got to rule the world, I would make eating cinnamon buns mandatory. No, seriously. I strongly feel that cinnamon buns make this a happier place to live in. Make em sticky and I will be in eternal heaven. So when Amma came across a wonderful Ina recipe for easy sticky buns on tv, it was only natural for me to look it up and obsess over it until I gave in to temptation and made it. So what if I had my finals the next day, right? Sticky Cinnamon Buns deserve more of my attention than my Accountancy book… for half hour they did because making these lovelies was the easiest thing ever.
sticky bunLike all Ina Garten recipes, this is five stars-worthy but then, I had to go on and make my own alteration. First of all, I was not over the moon about using  pastry sheets for a quick snack so I decided to make it “unquick” by replacing it with the yeast dough from my cinnamon bun recipe. Result: seriously yum! No, seriously. We didn’t miss the puff pastry. I also replaced pecans with walnuts but this was only because walnuts were what I had in my pantry (apart from every other nut except for pecans). Finally, I made two versions of the sticky buns- one with brown sugar and another, sugar-free (for Amma). Although the latter was really not sticky, it was pretty delicious but there is room for improvement. I am looking forward to working on it.

The brown sugar made it wonderfully caramelized, chewy and uber gooey, which is really what makes sticky buns, well, sticky. So if you love cinnamon buns, you’ve gotta try this recipe. I cannot wait to make it again over the weekend. No, I am not joking!


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Coffee-time Craving: Cinnamon Coffee Muffins

When life gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pie. When it gives you cinnamon, save it up for a rainy day and make cinnamon muffins for coffee-time!

This recipe has been doing its rounds on the blogsphere but I decided that I need to get my hands on it only after reading it on TheCookingChook‘s blog (who in turn found it on Can You Stay for Dinner). Since I fancy myself to be a “creative” cook, I HAD to go and alter the recipe, of course. But surprisingly, it worked!
cinnamon coffee muffins2So come coffee-time and a very rainy city, I treated myself to the ultimate snack: coffee and cinnamon muffins! The hot coffee and the warm flavor of cinnamon in my sweet-treat were the ultimate combination to munch on as I watched the rain make its patterns on my windowpane. So here is my version of the muffins:

Cinnamon Coffee Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground all-spice

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 large egg

3/4 cup milk

For the topping-
1/4 cup melted butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350º F (180º C). Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Whisk so that the egg and the oil are all mixed together. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet in batches and make sure they are well combined. Grease 12 muffin cups and divide the batter among them. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes. While that is happening, melt the butter and mix it with the sugar and cinnamon on a plate for the topping. When done, knife the muffins out of the pan while they are hot. Gently roll them in the topping. Be generous! Let them cool on a wire rack.

The wheat flour gave it a nutty taste that I very much love and by replacing normal sugar with brown, I enhanced the taste of the spices in the muffins. One of these days, I’ve got to try a sugar-free version of this because something tells me that my fellow caffeine loving mother would love it!

You could probably bake this in a cake pan or a brownie tray. Those are my plans for the next couple of times! Oh, we are going to be very happy together, these muffins and I.
cinnamon coffee muffins

 


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Cinnamon Swirlies

Since I got asked a million times what’s special for the day (and got threatened a couple of times that there better be something new too), I had to post this. The temperature has dropped here in East Coast and we are all looking at our woolens with resigned eagerness. The clothes I had cast off with glee into the hibernation drawers have all marked their appearance and are in the process of calling our closets home. So to match the mood, I decided to make something cheery for the day.

A couple of days ago, a good friend of mine posted a recipe link on my wall. The cinnamon bread looked so tempting and delicious that I made up my mind to try soon. Unfortunately, I didn’t have egg in my fridge so I had to stall baking the bread. The recipe actually reminded me of McRennett’s cinnamon bun and I couldn’t help but salivate at the thought. Long long ago, when I was working at my first job in ITC, one of my colleagues introduced me to the these baked goodies.

The rolls were a signature dish at the bakery and anytime I walked into McRennett, a very popular chain in Madras, the aroma of cinnamon and fresh bread would send me to a blissful gastronomic heaven. Hence, we used to haunt the outlet near work at least twice a week to buy fresh, warm cinnamon buns for the whole team. After coming here, I discovered (thanks to FN and the Neelys) that Cinnamon Roll is a popular Southern dish. And so, as the story goes, I decided that this would be my “special” of the day.

The dough, like all breads and buns, has dough, yeast, salt and sugar in it. The only difference is this one also contains milk (instead of water) and butter only  to make it softer and yummier. So 1 1/2 cups flour (not tested with wheat), half a packet yeast, two tablespoons sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt. So mix the dry ingredients together, add two tablespoons butter to half cup milk and warm it in the microwave (for 45 seconds). Mix this to the flour mixture and knead it well. Add two tablespoons of water (one at a time) if it is thick. Adjust the consistency to a nice supple ball of dough. Cover it with a damp kitchen cloth or tissue paper for ten minutes.

While the dough rests, mix together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 cup raisins and a tablespoon butter. Roll the dough with a rolling pin into a rectangle (I have no idea about the actual dimension). The dough should be neither thick, nor thin. The height will finally decide the size of your roll. Spread the topping on the dough. Now roll the dough up from the width (the longer size) side nearest to you. Show some TLC, don’t roll it too tight. You will love the result! Cut then horizontally and then magic! You will see the swirls on the pieces of what is soon going to be the cinnamon rolls.

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C), bake for 15 minutes or until the rolls are completely cooked (you will know if they are if you are in the habit of peeping into the oven multiple times like I do)

That’s it. My so easy to bake cinnamon twists are ready. Replace the raisins with tooty-frooty (remember those colorful yummy things?) and you have the McRennett version of the rolls. So after this (not so) quick post, I am looking forward to eating a couple while watching Friends as I wait for the Mister to get back. Happy Birthday to me! 🙂

Please tell me you noticed the largely improved quality of my photos! I spent a zillion (half hour actually) hours editing them. My latest resolution (pun, ha ha) is to churn out better blog pics. Who said a digi cannot produce awesome pics? I didn’t, certainly!