Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels

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Ginger Snap Memories

I have always loved ginger cookies. Back home, we call these ginger biscuits. We have this bakery called McRennett in Madras which has been around since pre-Independence days (which is why the English/Scottish name). When I was younger, my mom used to work and she would bring us back tasty McRennett treats from an outlet near her work. The store expanded as I grew up and quite a few of them popped up near where we lived.

It was at McRennett that I tasted my first cinnamon bun, Swiss roll and other yummy pastries. My paternal grandfather (Thatha) used to love ginger biscuits and people would buy it from McRennett when they used to visit him. His personal pantry was always open to his lucky granddaughters and he would indulge us in rummaging through it on weekends and summer holidays. My favorite treats from my Thatha’s stash would always be ginger snap cookies and orange sugar candies.

I had quite a volatile relationship with my grandfather while I was growing up. My grandparents lived with us and Thatha disapproved of quite a few things I did in my growing up years. Those dark years didn’t really stop him from indulging me in the weekly treats. Thankfully, all that passed and we formed a strong bond for the last seven years of his life. So after Thatha passed away, a few of us grandchildren got together in his room one day, rummaged through his pantry and feasted on what was left of his goodies while sharing wonderful stories about him. So these gingersnap cookies might as well be a tribute to my Thatha. Only thing is, the store-bought ones were always darker in color and crunchier in texture. But they had the same wonderful ginger taste.

Ginger also happens to be one of those doc-recommended flavor for me so I am all on board!

This time, when I go to Madras, I will make sure I stop at a McRennett outlet and buy a few goodies.



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!