Tag Archives: snack

Indira’s Favorite Date Muffins

This afternoon, the school mums group had organized a little gouter (as the afternoon snack is called) in the primary school canteen.

This is an annual end-of-the-school-year event, at which the children in the various classes gift the collective presents from their families to their teachers.

It is the mums who usually provide the snacks and drinks and I took along Indira’s favorite after-school snack, which is date muffins.

When she was much younger, she assumed that any brown colored food was chocolate.  I was happy to exploit this misconception, and routinely made cakes and muffins with dates instead of chocolate.

This is not to say that she has been spared a fondness for chocolate. But she does love dates too, in any form, which I consider an adequate reward for my efforts.

At the gouter today, too, I was glad to see that the muffins were well-liked.

This is my recipe –

Date Muffins (or “muff-uns”, as Noor calls them)

(makes around 16)

1 and a 1/2 cups of finely chopped soft dates

3/4 cup of very hot water (just boiled)

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1/4 cup (a 160 ml cup) unsalted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 and 3/4 cup refined or wholewheat flour (I use the latter when baking for the girls, but you may want to use white flour. The difference in taste is not very significant, to my mind, and hence I stick with wholewheat flour since that packs more nutrition)

1tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Mix the first 3 ingredients and leave to cool. Next, mix the last 3 ingredients in a bowl and keep aside.

Beat the eggs till they are frothy, then add melted butter and sugar, and beat again till these 3 things are well-blended.

Once the date mixture has cooled, add it to the eggs-butter-sugar mixture and mix a couple of times to blend. Now add the flour mixture, and mix everything together so the flour is well-blended.

While you mix everything together as described above, remember to switch your oven on, so as to pre-heat it for 5-8 minutes, to 180°C.

Fill the muffin moulds 1/2 to 3/4 full, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

These muffins are extra nice with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on the side, if you really want to make this in to a fancy dessert or really indulge the kids.

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Filed under Breakfast Ideas, Cakes and Muffins, Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks

Shakkarparas

I remember one time, when I went back home for Diwali after I had started working. My brother was going to come too, and my mother started to make shakkarparas as a welcome treat, since this was always  one of his favorite meetha snacks. When she got to the part where the fried paras have to be turned in the gradually-crystallizing sugar syrup(this can be quite tiring), she let out a sigh of exhaustion and said – “there is no one else I will do this for anymore, except Bittu”.

I understood what she meant only when I made shakkarparas all by myself for the first time 3 years ago, for the “Cuisine du Monde” day at Indira’s kindergarten.

It sure is hard work, but well worth the trouble when you see little faces tentatively munching first a small half of one para to try what it tastes like, then coming back for a handful.

Here’s my mother’s recipe for this delicious treat.

500 gms of refined flour

220-250 gms of oil

300-400 gms of milk

500 gms of sugar

Add a pich of salt to the flour and then gradually mix in the oil.

Now make a stiff dough using 300-400 gms of lukewarm milk.

Divide the dough into 4-5 equal-sized balls and roll out each to a thickness of 1/4 cm.

Cut the sheets you thus obtain into little squares (no bigger than 3cm by 3cm or they could break when you are turning them in the syrup, in the next step) and fry these until they turn a light brown, in medium-hot oil.

While you fry the paras, dissolve the sugar in one cup (200ml measure) of water in a large pan (like a wok) and heat till a 2-strand syrup is formed or till you start to see a slight deposit of sugar forming on the side of the pan.

Now add the fried squares to this syrup and toss them gently in the syrup over a moderately hot setting until the syrup has completely dried up. At this point, the squares will be well-coated with an almost powdery deposit of crystallized sugar.

Make sure to stir the shakkarparas from time to time to keep them from sticking to each other, while the syrup dries.

Guaranteed to please young and old alike !!

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Filed under Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks