Rainbow Cookie Cake

This cake might be a stretch as a holiday cake, but, since I normally make Rainbow Cookies around the holidays I figured a Rainbow Cookie Cake would be a nice addition as a holiday cake. It definitely has a bit of a wow factor and it’s much easier & quicker to make than the cookie version.

One of the things that made this cake easy was using three boxes of white cake mix. I prepped each following the directions on the package and added in 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to each. While the almond flavor was noticeable, I think it would have been better to add in 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of extract to each. Or, you could skip the extract altogether and grate in almond paste. I would suggest buying one package of almond paste and dividing it into three equal parts. Once the cake mix was prepped I then added in gel food coloring to achieve the pink, yellow & green colors. Here’s a tip, instead of adding a bunch of one color to achieve your desired shade, add in a little orange to the yellow, add a drop of red to the pink and a bit of blue for the green. This will also result in more vibrant shades of each color as well.

I baked each of the layers in a 9 inch square pan. While the directions said to bake the cakes in a 350 F oven for about 35 minutes, I found that after 30 minutes my cakes were still undercooked so I lowered the oven temperature to 325 F and baked the cakes for an additional 10-12 minutes. I let the layers cool in the pan for about 15 minutes and then inverted them on wire racks to cool completely.

Once the layers were cooled I leveled each of them with a serrated knife. I placed the pink layer on a cake board, trimmed side up, and spread about 1/2 cup of raspberry jam. I repeated this step with the yellow layer and then topped the cake the green layer, trimmed side down. While the directions called for the cake to be frozen for 1 hour, unfortunately I used a round cake board that wouldn’t fit in my freezer so I ended up refrigerating it for about 2-3 hours. Don’t worry if your layers are not flush, i.e. not the same width, you will be trimming the sides of the cake once you top it with chocolate. This ended up happening to me because while both of the pans I used were 9 inch squares the sides of one of the pans was straighter than the other.

Before removing the cake from the refrigerator I made the chocolate topping. I melted chocolate and butter together in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Well, to be truthful, I microwaved it once at 30 seconds and the second time at 45 seconds and then stirred it together until smooth. I set it aside for about 10-15 minutes so it could cool and thicken before pouring it on the cake. If you pour it right away the chocolate will be too thin and just run down the sides of cake when you try to spread it. Also, you won’t be able to create the usual wavy lines in the chocolate that rainbow cookies normally have.

Once the chocolate was ready I removed the cake from the refrigerator and poured the chocolate over the top and using an offset spatula I spread it into a thick even layer over the cake. And for the final touch, using the tines of a fork I created wavy lines in the chocolate. If you find that the chocolate isn’t holding the wavy pattern, wait a minute or two and then go over the patter again with the fork. It could just be that the chocolate needs to cool a bit more. I then returned the cake to the refrigerator so the chocolate could set, but, not harden.

And finally, I trimmed all for sides of the cake. I did find this part a bit tricky as my cake was crumbling while doing so. Partly because, as per the directions, I only used eggs whites in the batter which produces a much lighter cake. You could use whole eggs as opposed to the egg whites which would produce a denser and moister cake and one that is slightly yellower, which would be good when tinting the yellow layer of the cake.

So, everyone who tried this cake, including me, loved it. They all agreed that it was light and not crazy sweet. The perfect type of dessert.

Rainbow Cookie Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:

3 16 to 18–ounce boxed of white cake mix (plus the required ingredients)

1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract

Pink, yellow and green gel food coloring

1 cup seedless raspberry jam

Chocolate Topping:

2 4–ounce bars semisweet chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch square pan with baking spray and set aside.

Prepare 1 cake mix per box directions adding in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Tint with the pink food coloring, stirring well making sure no white streaks remain. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat to make the yellow and green layers.

Trip the tops of each of the cakes to make level. Don’t worry if the widths of the cakes are different, you will even it out at the end.

Place the pink cake, trimmed side up, on a cake board and spread with 1/2 cup of jam. Top with the yellow cake, trimmed side up, and spread the remaining jam on top. Top with the green layer, trimmed side down. Freeze for 1 hour.

Microwave the chocolate and butter together in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Let it cool slightly.

Pour the cooled chocolate over the top of the cake and using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate in a thick even layer over the cake.

Using the tines of a fork create a wavy lines pattern in the chocolate. Return the cake to the freezer so the chocolate can set, but not harden, about 15 minutes.

Using a long serrated knife trim all four sides of the cake.

 

Recipe notes:

You can use whole eggs as opposed to the recommended egg whites on the box directions

For a stronger almond taste try adding in more almond extract, or substituting it with almond paste.

To achieve brighter shades of pink, yellow and green, add a little red to the pink, orange to the yellow and blue to the green

You can place the cakes in the refrigerator as opposed to the freezer, but, will need to leave them in longer.

Recipe from Food Network

Rum-Raisin Apple Bundt Cake

For today’s holiday cake I bring you a Rum Cake. Rum cakes are a traditional holiday treat in the Caribbean. And yes, they have a decent amount of rum in them which normally burns off as you bake them so you don’t have to worry about a strong alcohol taste or getting a little tipsy from your dessert. Although, you can add more rum to the cake once it’s done and the cake will gladly soak it in. It’s completely up to you. One of my favorite types of rum cake is a Black Cake, it contains rum soaked fruit which help to give this cake it’s dark chocolate cake appearance. If you’re thinking it’s similar to the traditional fruit cake most people want to avoid during the holidays you are way off. It’s nothing like that. The cake I am sharing with you today has some rum soaked raisins in it, a grated apple and a nice cardamom glaze to top it off… it’s not your traditional rum cake, but delicious nonetheless.

While there was rum baked into the cake, once it was out of the oven I pierced the cake with a fork and drizzled it with a glaze consisting of more rum, confectioners’ sugar and cardamom and let it sit for twenty minutes. Per the directions after the twenty minutes I was supposed to invert the cake on a platter so it could cool completely. Unfortunately when I attempted to invert the cake it didn’t sit flat and almost broke in half because my cake didn’t end up with a flat bottom as you can see from the picture below. This was partly due to the fact that my cake baked a lot quicker than the time on the directions and I left it in the oven too long. The directions  said 65 – 75 minutes and I set my oven for 60 minutes and it was probably done in about 45 – 50 minutes.

After letting the cake cool completely,  I made a glaze using the remaining cardamom glaze and added whole milk and more powdered sugar and whisked it until it was smooth and then drizzled it over the cake and let it set.

And then finally enjoyed a slice and it was delicious. I normally skip adding glazes to my cakes but I am so happy I didn’t skip this one. The taste of cardamom really adds a nice layer of flavor to this cake. And in case you do need more rum, this cake is dense enough that you could pour more rum over it and it won’t fall apart.

Rum-Raisin Apple Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup raisins

3/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons spiced rum, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups flour, divided

1 medium Golden Delicious Apple, peeled and grated (1cup)

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup dark brown sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided

1 tablespoon whole milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a Bundt pan with baking spray (or grease and flour). Combine the raisins and 3/4 cup of the rum in a small bowl and microwave for a minute. Drain the raisins and reserve the rum.

Whisk the baking powder, salt and 3 1/2 cups of the flour in a medium bowl. In another bowl, toss together the drained raisins, grated apple and remaining 1/2 cup of flour.

Beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the reserved rum, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in the raisin mixture.

Spoon the batter in the prepared Bundt pan and bake until a cake tester inserted comes out clean, about 60 to 75 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the cardamom, 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 6 tablespoons on rum in a small bowl.

After removing the cake from the oven pierce the bottom all over with a form and drizzle 1/2 cup of the cardamom glaze over the cake. Let the cake stand for 20 minutes and then invert onto a plate and let cool completely.

Whisk milk, remaining confectioners’ sugar and cardamom glaze and then drizzle over the cooled cake.

Recipe from Real Simple

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

For today’s Holiday Cake Week treat I am bringing you Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. Snickerdoodles are a simple cookie rolled in cinnamon sugar and are a traditional Christmas cookie. People sometimes confuse them with sugar cookies, but, there is a distinct difference between the two of them, besides the cinnamon sugar topping, Snickerdoodles are chewy while sugar cookies traditionally have a more crisp bite to them. These cupcakes have a cinnamon sugar topping similar to the cookie and are the perfect texture. The original recipe called for a Brown Sugar Buttercream frosting that I opted to omit, I truly feel the cupcake is enough on its own. If you’re interested in the frosting, follow the link after the recipe below. And, if you are looking for a yummy Snickerdoodle recipe, check out the one I post a few years ago. I still use it to this day.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

  • Servings: 18 cupcakes
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Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 egg whites

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Then whisk in the sugar, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into the batter until combined.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full – about 1/4 cup batter in each one.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon for the topping and sprinkle a generous 1/2 teaspoons on top of each cupcake.

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs.

Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire tack to cool completed.

Recipe from The Cake Blog

Yule Log Cake

Each day this week I will be bringing you a cake / cupcake idea that is perfectly festive for this time of the year… It’s Holiday Cake Week.

To kick off Holiday Cake Week a traditional cake seen around the holidays… A Yule Log Cake. It originated in France and is a sponge cake rolled and then frosted with chocolate frosting to resemble a tree bark. Customarily a small portion of the cake is cut off and either placed on top of the cake or protruding from the side of the cake to resemble a chopped off branch. The cake can then be furthered decorated with powdered sugar to resemble snow, fresh berries, mushrooms made of marzipan and so forth.

I opted to go the easy route with my cake and used a box cake mix and a container of vanilla frosting for the filling. Also, while the recipe didn’t call for it, I ended up a slicing off a portion of the cake and placing it on the side to get that traditional branch look. And to top it off, I sifted confectioners’ sugar over the cake and placed some decorative holly berry picks I got from a local craft store around it.

Yule Log Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:

6 eggs

1 box of Devil’s food cake mix

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

 

Chocolate Frosting:

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Filling:

1 container whipped vanilla frosting

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 F. Line the bottom of a 15x10x1-inch (Jelly Roll Pan) pan with foil or waxed paper, spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high until the eggs are thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. Add the cake mix, water and oil and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 1 minutes. Pour about 2 3/4 – 3 cups of the batter into the prepared pan. Use the remaining batter to make cupcakes, or as you wish.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Turn the cake out on a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with the confectioners’ sugar. While the cake is still hot, carefully roll up the cake and towel together from one shorter end to the other. Cool completely on a wire rack from 1 hour.

While the cake is cooling make the chocolate frosting… In a medium pot heat the whipping cream over medium heat until the cream starts to boil. Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate chips and corn syrup, let stand for 3 minutes. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth and then add in the vanilla. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until it’s a spreadable consistency.

After an hour, unroll the cake carefully and remove the towel. Spread the vanilla frosting evenly over the cake and roll it up once again. Place the cooling rack on sheet of waxed paper and return the cake to the wire rack and frost the cake with the chocolate frosting. Drag the tines of a fork through the frosting to give the cake a log look. Let the cake stand for 15 minutes and then refrigerate loosely covered until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature prior to serving.

*If you want to make the log resemble more of a branch, prior to frosting with the chocolate frosting, cut a piece of the cake off and place on the side of the cake or on top and then frost.

Recipe from Betty Crocker

Cookie Palooza: Key Lime Crinkles

How about some crinkles for Mr. Kringle? Sorry for corniness, but, I couldn’t resist. While crinkles are customarily a chocolate cookie I decided to switch things up a bit and bring you Key Lime Crinkles for the last cookie of Cookie Palooza week. And in case you didn’t know, crinkles are a drop cookie that is rolled in confectioners’ sugar prior to baking. The sugar draws moisture out of the cookie while it’s baking allowing the cookie to crack and dry out. Leaving the exterior of the cookie with a bit of a crust and the interior soft and yummy. This key lime version is a great cookie for someone who wants something sweet but not with all the decadence of chocolate.

The search for these cookies came about because I recently asked some friends what cookie they wanted for Christmas and one friend said rugelach and a key lime pie. So, I started searching for key lime cookies since I wasn’t planning on making a pie during my weekend of cookie baking in a few weeks. The first cookie I came across was a thumbprint cookie that actually has a key lime filling, I was all set to make that one for Christmas and then I came across this recipe and decided that I would share this recipe with you as my final cookie for Cookie Palooza week. While I normally share a no-bake cookie as my final cookie, I just couldn’t find one this year that I liked 100%. My friend who wants the key lime pie tried these and he said that while they are good and they do have the key lime flavor he likes, he was hoping for a key lime filling, a la the aforementioned thumbprint cookie. So, I will be making the pie after all since that is quicker and easier than the cookies.

It may be hard to find key limes this time of year, so, you can use bottled key lime juice. I usually find this key lime juice in the baking aisle of my supermarket. This is the same juice I use to make my key lime pie when I am short on time to squeeze key limes, or they are not available at my supermarket. In all honesty, I’ve made key lime pie with fresh limes and with this juice and the taste is exactly the same. And if all else fails, you can use regular limes. I actually used the zest of a regular lime in this recipe. And speaking of zest, if you want more of a lime flavor I suggest adding in more zest. I would avoid adding in more lime juice as that will alter the consistency of your dough.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Cookie Palooza 2018 as much as I enjoyed baking the cookies and bringing you the recipes. Check back next week for Holiday Cake Week. I’ve also got some other Holiday treats hitting the blog soon as well… Chocolate Covered Pretzels, Slow Cooker Spiced Nuts (they are really Candied Nuts) and a Chocolate Truffle Cookie (which I initially was thinking would be cookie #5 for this week).

 

Key Lime Crinkles

  • Servings: 30 cookies
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Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon key lime zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon key lime juice

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, zest and salt.

In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Mix in the lime juice.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl.

One chilled, use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and roll into balls and then roll in the confectioners’ sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookie begin to brown along the edges.

Cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Bake or Break

Cookie Palooza: Cranberry Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Welcome to day 4 of Cookie Palooza. Today’s cookie is basically a kitchen sink cookie. Don’t worry, there are no food scraps in this cookie, but, there are a bunch of add-ins, hence the kitchen sink analogy. There are pecans, dried cranberries, semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, oatmeal and coconut. And while I know many people are not a fan of coconut (it seems people either love it or hate it) don’t fear, this cookie does not have a coconut flavor. The coconut adds texture to the cookie. And I am sure I may have lost some of you already as I know people are not always fond of a cookie with texture, especially a cookie like this that already has so much going on, but, trust me, all of the ingredients work so well together you will forget that there may be an ingredient or two you don’t like. Unless you have an allergy to one of them of course.

I got this recipe from Food Network’s 50 Chocolate Chip Cookies, and while there were quite a few among those 50 that sounded yummy I opted to make this one because it reminded me of another cookie I like to make around the holidays, a White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookie, that I just realized I have never posted about. I’ll have to do that this holiday season as I am sure I will be making it again. Something I did realize though going through some old posts, I need to stop taking pictures at night. Unfortunately I do a lot of baking at night, but, I will have to refrain from taking picture then because they just do not post well.

The recipe called for 1/4 cupfuls of dough (about an ice cream scoop size) to make about 10 cookies, I opted to use a cookie scoop to make mine. Which yielded about 30 cookies. A nice amount to gift or to have on hand for a holiday guests.

 

 

Cranberry Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup milk chocolate chips

2/3 cup old fashioned oats

2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

2/3 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup chopped pecans

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Using a cookie scoop, drop the dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until set around the edges. Let cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheets then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Food Network

Cookie Palooza: Checkerboard Cookies

It’s Day 3 of Cookie Palooza and once again I am bringing you a cookie that looks difficult to make but really isn’t, a Checkerboard Cookie. Normally I avoid making slice and bake cookies. Mine never end up looking like a perfect circle, but more like an oval. They taste good, but, the shape is off. I prefer drop cookies and occasionally I will make roll-out cookies. But, I am trying to step up my baking and challenge myself a little more and figure out ways to overcome the pitfalls that I encounter when I try different things in the kitchen. Sounds a little silly since I am just talking about simple cookies, but, it’s a good attitude to adopt to face other challenges that life may throw at you. So, I figured these Checkerboard Cookies were a good way to overcome my avoidance of slice and bake cookies. They are simple to make, are pretty forgiving in terms of their shape once sliced and are pretty impressive looking.

To make the dough I combined butter, sugar and vanilla extract and beat it until it was light and fluffy. I then added in flour and an egg and continued mixing until the dough came together. Finally, I divided the dough in half and transferred one half to a piece of parchment paper and left the other half in the bowl I made the dough in. To the bowl I added unsweetened dark cocoa powder and used a rubber spatula to fold the powder into the dough making sure it was fully incorporated and no streaks of the plain dough remained.

Next, I divided the plain dough in half and rolled each piece into a 12-inch log. I did the same with the chocolate dough. I placed one plain log and one chocolate log next to each other on the piece of parchment paper and then placed the remaining 2 logs on top of them alternating the dough. I then wrapped the dough in the parchment paper and rolled it a few times to smooth the dough and to make sure all 4 pieces were pressed together well. Finally I placed the dough in the refrigerator until it was firm, at least an hour.

Once firm, I removed the dough from the refrigerator and sliced a small piece from both ends of the log so it would have straight ends. Next, using a ruler and a sharp knife I scored the dough before actually slicing the cookies. You want to work pretty fast as the dough will begin to soften and your slices will become more oval-like than square as the dough warms up. If this happens you can place the dough back in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up again, or, simply flip the log so the bottom is now the top.

 

I placed the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and placed it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before baking in a 350 F preheated oven for 12 minutes.

While some of my cookies didn’t have a perfect checkerboard look to them – partly because each of my logs wasn’t the same width – they did taste delicious and the shape wasn’t completely off.  These would be a nice addition to any cookie platter you are making this holiday season. Here’s a fun idea, instead of mixing half of the dough with cocoa powder you could tint one half of the dough red and the other green for a real festive checkerboard cookie!

Checkerboard Cookies

  • Servings: 40 cookies
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Ingredients:

1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups flour

1 egg

2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder

 

Directions:

In a large bowl beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Sift the flour 3 times and add half of it to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Add the remaining flour and the egg and beat until combined, about 2 minutes.

Divide the dough in half and transfer one piece to a sheet of parchment paper. Leave the other half in the bowl and add in the cocoa powder. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dough and cocoa powder together until no streaks of the plain dough remain.

Divide each piece of dough (plain and chocolate) in half. Roll each of these pieces into a 12-inch log. Place one plain and one chocolate log next to each other on the piece of parchment paper. Place the other two logs on top of them, alternating the pattern to create the checkerboard pattern. The chocolate log should be on top of the plain log and the plain log should be on top of the chocolate one. Wrap the log in the parchment paper and press each of the logs together while rolling and smoothing the edges. Place in the refrigerator until firm, at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two cookies sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap it. Using a sharp knife (and a ruler if necessary) slice the log into 1/4 inch slices and place on the parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Bake until the cookies are just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from Nik Sharma