Expensive chocolates, exotic fruits, endless boxes of laddoos—you’ve gifted them all. Don’t your cousins, friends and colleagues also come up with exactly the same, clichéd ideas? This Diwali, be different. Send out boxes of home-made, easy-to-bake desserts.
Makes 3 dozen
65g icing sugar, plus some extra for dusting
200g Toblerone chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celsius. With a hand mixer, mix butter, both the sugars and flour until the lumps disappear. Now, add the chopped chocolate and knead well.
Dust the table with flour. Roll the dough to about 1cm thickness. Cut into desired shapes, like stars, hearts or circles.
Bake at 165 degrees Celsius for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Let them cool completely and then dust on the icing sugar with a sieve.
—Recipe courtesy Anna and David Hambly, Red Moon Bakery, Okhla, New Delhi
Choco Combo Brownie Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 vanilla pod
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Orange marmalade or nuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the sugar and then the eggs. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder, the seeds from the vanilla pod and chocolate chips. If you want, you can add hazelnuts to this mixture. Scoop out into cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool, and wrap the next day and make your own Diwali hampers.
Oven fresh: (From left) Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies from Elma’s and Choco Combo Brownie Cupcakes from Foodaholics. Priyanka Parashar/Mint
—Recipe courtesy Kishi Arora, Foodaholics.in, New Delhi
Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually beat into the butter mixture. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop by the teaspoonfuls on to cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly, remove from the sheet to a wire rack. Cool completely and pack batches to send out.
—Recipe courtesy Shelly Sahay, Elma’s Bakery, Cakes and Tea Room, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi
Chocolate Lollipop Bouquets
Makes 8 lollipops, 1 bouquet
800g chocolate sponge cake (store bought or make your own) 400g chocolate icing (melted chocolate and heated cream in a 1:2 ratio)
Chocolate Lollipops from Niki’s Desserts. Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
100g melted chocolate for dipping
Assorted decorative sprinkles, sugar balls, etc.
For each lollipop, take 100g of cake and 50g of icing. Mix them together in the palm of your hands and roll together to form a ball. Once rolled, place in the fridge for 10 minutes. Then insert the straw into the ball right to the very end, so that the ball does not fall off. Then dip into the melted chocolate to form a thick coating on the ball all the way till the straw. When still moist, sprinkle with toppings and place in the fridge to set. Repeat the process to make more lollipops. Place in a glass jar with shredded gold paper or marbles, etc., and present as a bouquet.
—Recipe courtesy Nikita Dembla, Niki’s Desserts, Breach Candy, Mumbai
Thick, Chewy Granola Bars
Makes 16 bars
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
1/3 cup oat flour (or wheat flour, wheat germ)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2-3 cups dried fruits and nuts (could include dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, almonds, cashew nuts, dried figs, melon seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, walnuts, sesame seeds, flax seeds, dried apples or even chocolate chips)
Granola Bars by Whisk and Whip. Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
1/3 cup peanut butter (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
6 tbsp melted butter (or olive oil)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp honey, maple syrup (or combination)
1 tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper—place the sheet in such a way that two ends stick out. This aids in lifting the baked slab out afterwards. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing the mixture in firmly so that it moulds to the shape of the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until brown around the edges. If it looks soft and almost under-baked, do not worry—it’ll set once cool. Cool in the pan completely on a cooling rack. Once cool, use a serrated knife to cut 2x2-inch bars or use cookie cutters to get the desired shapes. If the bars still seem crumbly, chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.
—Recipe courtesy Samruddhi Nayak and Nina Subramani, Whisk and Whip, Indiranagar, Bangalore (adapted from the King Arthur Flour blog).
Gayatri Jayaraman, Komal Sharma and Pavitra Jayaraman contributed to this story.