This one is for you Nithya! 🙂
After a request to share the list of treats I’m planning to make for Deepavali this year, I decided I better post it up soon so that for those interested, there will be enough time to buy ingredients and experiment with a few trial batches.
This is the ‘sweets’ section of the Deepavali menu at my house. I’ve tried to get as many varieties of cookies as I can. There’s chocolate, non-chocolate, various nuts, baked cookies, cooked candy bars, fried biscuits, flour-based cookies, meringues, vegetarian and non-veg…
In the list below, there is a short description of each cookie and how I plan to serve/decorate it this year. For those who are wondering, yes, this is really how I plan my Deepavali menu each year. I have a file on my laptop named Deepavali 2007, which is edited every day or so when I get new menu and design ideas. I’m freaky like that 😛
I’ve provided links to those recipes that I’ve blogged about before, and links to recipes that I’ve bookmarked but have yet to try them myself. I hope I can try all the new recipes out at least once and blog about them before Deepavali rolls around.. *crossed fingers*
The list is also arranged according to how early you can start on the cookies. There’s no way I can bake all these cookies in a day or two so I have tried to put all the cookies that keep well at the top of the list so I know which ones to start on first, up to a week before the actual festival.
Deepavali sweets 2007:
– A melt-in-your-mouth butter cookie with chopped pecans. Tastes better with age. Heavily dust with icing sugar and cinnamon and place in mini paper cases. Get dark colored cases (dark brown?) to contrast with white sugar. Vegetarian.
– Crisp fried sugar cookies. Keeps well in airtight tin. Divide dough in half. Color one half red and the other green before rolling out. Cut into triangles so they curl in when being fried. Vegetarian.
3. Sugee biscuits.
– Fragrant with ghee (use only QBB) and finely ground semolina. Make them very small (half-teaspoonfuls of dough) and don’t overbake. Vegetarian.
4. Pineapple tarts
– Make closed tarts studded with cloves. Stores well in airtight container.
5. Cashew sugee balls
– A no-bake sweet with roasted cashews and semolina. Vegetarian.
6. Chocolate praline cups
– A crisp almond and chocolate cookie baked into mini paper cases. Use light colored cases (white/ pale green?). Drizzle or coat top completely with melted chocolate. Sprinkle with hundreds and thousands. Vegetarian.
– Maple flavored cut-out biscuits. Pipe patterns onto cookie dough before baking (use white/red flour ‘icing’). Vegetarian.
– Meltingly rich cookie. Roast peanuts at home to get best flavor. Use milk glaze to keep it vegetarian. Top with peanut half/ diced peanuts. Vegetarian.
-Delicious double chocolate chip cookies. Use Cadbury Old Gold 45% for the ‘chips’ and varlhona cocoa powder. Roll dough into miniature logs and slice the cookies thickly so they bake up short and fat. Prepare dough ealier and freeze until ready to slice and bake. Vegetarian.
-Crisp cornflake cookies studded with dried fruit and baked in mini paper cases. Add grated orange zest to dough. Bake in light colored cases (pale yellow/orange?). Vegetarian.
11. Melting moments
– I want to make half of these the way Ovenhaven has, with a colored ‘flower topping’. It looks so elegant. With the other half of the dough, I plan to make “doggies“, those koko krunch- toppped cookies that are so popular now. I know those will be a hit with the kids. Vegetarian.
12. 7-cup sweet
– A classic Indian sweet with fresh coconut, ghee and besan. Cut into tiny squares and maybe top with silver leaf if I can find it. Vegetarian.
13. Coconut candy
– Traditional Deepavali sweet in my house. And we must have them in two colors, green and red. Vegetarian.
– Bake in mini paper cases (light colored), top with grated chocolate or chocolate rice. Bake last so that meringues remain fresh.
Okay, so that’s it for this year.
Some things I like in my festive cookies:
1. Variety. That’s why I have a crazy number of treats planned. I like to taste a bit of everything.
2. Bite-sized. On normal days, I adore big, chunky cookies but on festival days when you’re already bloated on food, I like my sweets to be pop-into-the-mouth tiny. That way, you get to eat more and also, not dirty your expensive new clothes with crumbs! 🙂
3. Vegetarian options. Alot of people don’t eat meat or eggs on Deepavali so it’s only nice that you have a good spread of eggless treats for them.
4. Color. I wouldn’t normally add food coloring to my cookie dough but on Deepavali, when you place trays of cookies on the serving table, it’s gonna look boring if everything is uniformly golden brown. That’s why I like decorating festive cookies with toppers like chocolate or colored rice, bake them in interesting shapes like the doggie cookies or simply serve them in different colored paper cases. It brightens up the serving tray and guests are immediately drawn to the bright hues of your treats.
5. Not too sweet or rich. Okay, I’m all for using the best chocolate, butter and sugar you can afford. But to tell the truth, when you present guests with 14 different kinds of sweets, they will stop noticing the Varlhona Guanaja that you have devotedly used for your chocolate chip cookies. After the 6th or 7th cookie, they can’t really tell the difference between premium French butter and Australian butter. So don’t worry, break out the Cadbury Old Gold, use your Golden Churn butter, and forget about the expensive creme fraiche to serve alongside your cakes. I’m not saying stinge, you should still buy good-quality ingredients… (and Cadbury and Golden Churn are not exactly cheap either), but you can afford not to use the premium stuff. And nothing too sweet please, because it does get to be a sugar-overload after some time. I try to focus on other flavors like nuts, fruits and chocolate so that people don’t really notice that my cookies are slightly less sweet than usual.