nutella cream cheese samosas with chocolate drizzle

Hello there!

Phew, I didn’t abandon blogging (which I have a tendency to do so every now and then).  I’ve just been super duper busy.  We are expecting our fourth child in less than a month inshaAllah (god-willing), so you can understand how busy it can get. After giving birth three times, you would think I would be pro at it already.  The reality is that every single time it’s a different experience and another never ending list of things to do before the bundle of joy arrives. Alhamdulillah, I’m enjoying every bit of it, umm except the sleeping part.

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..And my three little boys are impatiently waiting for “new baby” to arrive. They talk about how they are going to play with the baby and hold him/her and share their toys. It’s beautiful to see the strong bond they already share with their sibling to be…even though baby is not here yet.

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Anyway that was a little update on my life…now lets talk about these other babies.

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These samosas are deadly delicious. This recipe is kid friendly and perfect snack for any time of the day. I like to have them with a cup of tea. Nutella pairs perfectly with cream cheese. I love the tanginess of cream cheese and intensity of chocolaty rich Nutella. You really can’t go wrong with this one!

You will need:

  • 1 package samosa wrappers, thawed
  • 1/2 cup nutella
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

For drizzling:

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate + 1 tsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 F

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

For the filling, combine nutella, cream cheese, and vanilla.

Fold and fill each pastry sheet with a tsp of nutella mixture.

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Bake in preheated oven for 5-6 mins or until light brown.

To serve, dust with icing sugar and drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve warm!

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apple galette

I recently found a two years old Canadian Living magazine on my book shelf so I went through it last night before sleeping.  I came across pictures of berry galette and the recipe. Oh it looked so delish!  I woke up today and couldn’t get the berry galette picture out of my head. So that’s when I decided to make Apple galette to satisfy my inner craving.

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Galettes are so easy to make and so so good.  And apple-cinnamon combo is one of the best when it comes to crumbles, pies, turnovers, etc.  Mmm.

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Omg I’m sort of embarrassed to say I ate almost half of this thing.  Pretend you didn’t read that.  Moving on..

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tbsp cold cream cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp ice water

For the filling you will need:

  • 4 apples, preferably organic (peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into slices)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

In a food processor combine flour, salt, sugar and vanilla.  Add butter, cheese and pulse until it resembles coarse meal.  Add water and continue to mix until the pastry comes together in a form of dough.

Gather it together and make a thick disk.  Wrap the pastry with cling wrapper and refrigerate for 45 mins.

Meanwhile, to a saucepan on medium heat, add butter, brown sugar, cinnamon powder, and cornstarch.  Mix well.  Add apple slices and turn to coat.  Cook for 8 mins, until the apples slices are tender.   Switch off the heat and set aside.

Take out the chilled dough and let it rest on counter for 5-10 mins.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into 12-inch circle.   Transfer to large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.   Spread the filling mixture over the pastry, pile up some of it to create overlapping rows of apple slices.   Leave about 1-1/2 inch to 2 inches of border around the edge.

Fold the pastry edge up over the apples to create a border.  Don’t cover the apples completely.

Bake until the crust is crisp and golden.  Around 40 mins.

Cut and serve warm with ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

 

healthy chocolate pb fudge

Lately all my boys are taking turns getting sick.  Imagine a 6 year old, 5 year old, and 3 year old, all of them coughing, congested, and having fever.  Oh boy, house full of germs.  The homeschooling is on halt since my poor kids barely have strength to do anything.  They totally deserve a break.  ❤

On the other hand, I feel slightly congested so I’m loading up on echinacea, and washing my hands with hot water + antibacterial soap.  I seriously can’t afford to get sick when my little boys are down.

Anyhow, I am so tempted to make some amazing dessert but I don’t want to feed bacteria by eating sugar.   So, I decided to make some healthy fudge to keep me satisfied until the sickness leaves our home.

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These are so good … good is actually an understatement, these are scrumptious.  I’m trying to have some self control so I don’t overeat.  Moderation is the key to good health, isn’t it?

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If you look at the ingredients, you’ll be amazed at how clean and healthy this fudge recipe is.  It doesn’t have any refined sugar, so totally guiltless you see.   I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, who doesn’t?   And my favorite part?  The amazing nutty taste from coconut oil.  As you already know, I heart everything with coconut.

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Whether you are on a diet or just feel like eating healthy dessert, then you can whip these up in less than 5 mins…freeze it for 10 mins…voila…ready to eat!   Pretty easy, eh?

Note:  If you’re not a fan of banana, feel free to replace with extra honey to sweeten it up.

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter, packed
  • 1 large banana
  • 1/3 cup packed dark cocoa powder (You can sub regular cocoa powder, just increase the amount slightly)
  • 2 tbsp honey (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Line muffin pan with 10 cupcake liners.

Blend everything in your blender or food processor for 30 seconds, until all of it comes together. Pour the batter equally into the prepared liners.

Pop it in the freezer for 10 mins before eating.  Store in the refrigerator.

baklava

Baking baklava has always intimidated me.  All these years I thought it was very difficult to make the Mediterranean delicacy.

Putting aside my fears, I finally got around to making it.  I watched a few videos on youtube to learn the techniques on how to handle the phyllo dough which is really the most essential aspect of baking baklava.  It was pretty straight forward.  I honestly didn’t find it difficult.  Yes, slightly time consuming no doubt, but not something a mother of three can’t do 🙂  I enjoyed almost every step of it, except the shelling pistachios part.  I would have totally used pre-shelled pistachios, but I had a huge package of shelled pistachios sitting around, so I decided to put it to use.

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This dessert is not for the faint-hearted.  Every layer of phyllo is brushed with melted better.  A baklava’s success actually lies in butter, lots and lots of butter.

I used 3 cups of pistachios and a cup of almond, but you can use any combination, pecan, walnuts, etc.  I suggest that you make the syrup before hand, so its completely on room temperature when you pour it all over the hot baklava.

One thing I’d like to point out before we get to the actual recipe: Try to keep steady hands when you are layering the phyllo dough to make sure they don’t tear.  If they sorta tear, gently try to tuck that part in.  Its not rocket science, I’m sure you will get the hang of it after layering and buttering a couple of them.

Just remember to keep it uncovered after baking for a couple of hours, before you decide to dig in.

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This buttery, flaky, and extremely delicious baklava will become your favorite.  And by making it over and over again you will surely master the skills.  Drizzling with nutella takes it to another level.  Yum!

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For the syrup you will need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 cinnamon stick

In a small pot mix all the ingredients and cook on the stove for 2 minutes on high, then lower the temperature for 15-20 mins until the mixture is slightly thicken.  Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.  Discard cinnamon stick.

For the baklava layers you will need:

  • 1 lbs phyllo dough (contains about 20 sheets), thawed
  • 3 cup pistachios (you can substitute mixture of walnuts, pecans or almonds)
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup of butter, melted

In a food processor combine nuts and chop them.   Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, and pulse it a couple of times. Set aside.

Unroll the phyllo dough and keep it covered with a damp cloth, so it doesn’t dry out as you work with it.

Butter 9×13 rectangular pan.  Add six sheet of phyllo, making sure to butter every single one of them before putting the next one. Layer 1/3 of the nut mixture.  Then, add 4 layers of phyllo dough on top, brush each one sheet in the pan before adding another.  Buttering the layer is very important hence the emphasis.  Spread another 1/3 of the nut mixture on top.   Add 4 more layers of phyllo sheets, again butter each one of them.  Spread the last layer of  nuts.  Finally, layer the last six sheets (don’t forget to brush with butter).

To summarize: Six sheets of phyllo + 1/3 layer of nut mixture + Four sheets of phyllo + 1/3 layer of nut mixture + Four sheets of phyllo + 1/3 layer of nut mixture + Six sheets of phyllo

Drizzle leftover butter on top and refrigerate for 20 mins so its easier to cut them into pieces before popping it in the oven.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 F.

Remove the pan from the fridge and using a sharp knife cut into square or diamond shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan.

Bake baklava for 35-40 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Remove baklava from the oven and immediately drizzle the syrup evenly on it.

Leave it uncovered for the first couple of hours, and if you want to cover later on, just wrap it loosely, since covering tightly can make it soggy.

tahini swirl brownies

I love tahini.  For those who have never had it, its a paste made from ground sesame seeds, very common in Middle Eastern or Greek cuisine. It’s ridiculously good with dates, probably one of my favorite snacks, so fattening and rich, yet so tempting. I should warn you that its very addictive, so try at your own risk.  Your taste buds and waistline will never be the same.

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I’m not really a fan of brownies, If I do end up having a piece or two then I prefer cake-like brownies over the fudgey ones. When I came across the idea of swirling tahini into brownies, it definitely caught my attention and I couldn’t resist making them.  Anything for earthy nutty flavor of tahini. They look so sophisticated and have a great flavor.

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If you want you can skip the brownie recipe below and prepare your own favorite fudgey brownies, just add tahini mixture in the end before baking.

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For the cake like brownie you will need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup good quality cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For tahini mixture:

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line the 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. (If you doubled the recipe, then use 9×13 pan)

In a large bowl add the melted butter, eggs, water, and vanilla. Mix well. Add the cocoa, salt, flour, and baking powder. Beat vigorously with a whisk, around 50 strokes.

Spread batter evenly in the pan.

In a small bowl add tahini, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Mix well. Drop spoonful of tahini mixture on top of the brownie batter and swirl with a toothpick

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges slightly moist with batter (make sure not to bake until toothpick comes out clean, or else you will have dry brownies), around 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting to get clean slices.

Source: hillybillyhousewife (slighty altered by me)