Its Christmas time !!

Special thanks to my dear friend Supraja for contributing these Christmas Special recipes for my blog ! I had the "Death by Chocolate " & "Sugar Cookies" made by supraja and I asked her to share these for my blog..The cake and the cookies were out of this world.

Gingerbread men recipe:

Christmas baking at our home wouldn’t be complete without a batch of these cute little gingerbread men. When we were kids we would each take turns decorating our gingerbread men with a happy smile, grumpy look etc. A lovely aroma of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves fills the whole house while baking these cookies. It’s truly an experience. The original recipe calls for molasses but since I couldn’t find it here in the stores (in muscat) I substituted it with brown sugar.

3 cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp nutmeg powder
¼ tsp clove powder
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup [160ml] molasses
[Substitute for molasses:
1 cup molasses =1 cup honey OR
=¾ cup brown sugar plus ¼ cup water. Boil water and add the brown sugar. Stir till sugar dissolves]
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and all spices in a separate bowl
In another separate bowl beat butter and sugar till fluffy
Add egg and molasses [brown sugar + water or honey] and beat till well combined.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix till well incorporated and it forms a dough.
Divide the dough into small parts and cling wrap them and refrigerate for about 2 hours or so.
Preheat oven to 180 deg cel.
Place rack in the centre of oven
Roll out the dough on a well floured flat surface to ¼ inch thickness and use a well floured cookie cutter to cut the desired shape.
Place them on the baking tray about an inch apart.
 Bake for 8-10 minutes till the edges start to brown.

Remove from oven to and transfer the baked cookies to a cooling rack

Basic Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are one of the easiest and simplest cookies to make, especially since all the ingredients are right there in your kitchen. You can have them either frosted or plain. Although they were once made during the holiday/Christmas season only they are now a year round favorite. Decorating them can be fun as well :-). You can have them at birthday parties as well where you can ask the kids to decorate their own cookie [just something to keep them all entertained and occupied :-)]

3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have smooth dough.
Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven
Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes (depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown.
Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
You can either frost the cookie using a simple sugar glaze or have it plain.

Makes about 36 - 4 inch cookies
Sugar glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tbsb milk
1 tbsp light corn syrup [the corn syrup adds an extra glossiness to the frosted cookie. You can do without it as well]
1 tsp vanilla essence
Food colouring of your choice
• In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and vanilla extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup/milk and if it is too thin add sum confectioner’s sugar.
• Don’t let the icing get too runny. The proper consistency is when you lift the spoon, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before disappearing.
Divide into separate bowls, and add food colourings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or flood them with a spoon/knife.

The first time I had this was at “The Corner House” ice cream parlour in Bangalore. The moment I tasted it, I knew I was in love - in love with the combination of rich chocolaty cake and the yummy chocolate sauce. It goes really well with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. I always wanted to recreate this at home and I finally found a recipe of a cake which did taste like the one they have in corner house.
This recipe is a sure guarantee to make your heart sing and your stomach happy. The actual work involved in this is very less. After u finish making the chocolate ganache, you will realise that you should have made double the quantity as it is so yummy, you couldn't stop tasting it :) (You can also make double the quantity and keep half of it to be used as a sauce along with the cake and ice cream).verdict: my little family loves it…..SO there’s no better way to enjoy this holiday season than to treat yourself with a nice rich piece of chocolate cake and chocolate over again……and oh don’t forget the ice cream.
225 grams dark semi-sweet chocolate
140 grams butter
210 grams [1cup] sugar
4 eggs
4 heaped tablespoons of all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 tbsp sour cream [I couldn’t find sour cream here in the super markets so I substituted it with 4 tbsp yoghurt and 1 tsp baking powder]
Pre-heat oven to 180 deg.cel
Prepare baking tin [8X2 inches]
Break chocolate pieces and melt along with butter in a pan over hot water.
Beat eggs with sugar till they turn pale yellow
Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and vanilla essence.
Add the sour cream [or yoghurt with 1 tsp baking powder]to the above mixture and mix well
Finally add the melted chocolate-butter mixture.
Pour it in the prepared cake pan.
Bake for at least 40-50 minutes or till the toothpick inserted in come out clean
Cool cake to room temperature.

2/3 cups heavy cream or whipping cream.
260 grams semi sweet chocolate
Heat 2/3 cup of heavy cream or whipping cream in a sauce pan.
Remove it from the heat and add the semi-sweet chocolate pieces. Keep stirring it until it becomes smooth and let it cool till it thickens.
Pour it evenly over the cake, and keep some aside for the topping to go with ice cream as well.

I used an ice cream cone to make the christmas tree on top the cake….it just adds an extra touch to the cake….piped it with a regular buttercream frosting using the STAR tip.happy baking and wishing you all a merry christmas and a happy new year :-)

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