Thursday, June 13, 2013

~Praline~

Posted by M.S. at 2:29 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Almond praline chocolate truffles and apricot pistachio candy


Don’t they look like edible jewels

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
This month’s daring bakers challenge was a mind blowing showcase of creativity and talent. The mere idea of a challenge named candylicious was so tempting that I had to participate even though time was NOT  on my side.I really wanted to try tempering chocolate but I couldn’t find a thermometer anywhere..I have 2 more stores to check out that I didn’t have the time to this month but I sure will soon and I have every intention of tempering chocolate and writing about it.

I decided to make milk chocolate truffles rolled in almond praline and it turned out every bit as heavenly as I expected it to. The creamy rich chocolate, the crunchy almond, the amber caramel tasting praline…irresistable. The end result looked like jewels..I was tempted to name the post edible jewels.
I’m posting all the variables for you in case you’d like to make a dark or white chocolate one. I made the milk chocolate one and scaled it down to 100 grams of chocolate to minimize the damage that would result if I wound up eating them all lol

Truffles

Servings: Makes +- 30 truffles, recipe easily doubled or halved
For the best tasting truffles, a high quality chocolate is ideal, especially one that is 62% cacao or higher
Ingredients
1 ¾ cup (9 oz/250 gm) Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup (5 oz / 160 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% – 48% butterfat)
OR
1 ¾ cup (9 oz/250 gm) Milk Chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (4 oz / 120 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% – 48% butterfat)
OR
1 ¾ cup (9 oz/250 gm) White Chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup (2 oz / 60 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% – 48% butterfat)

Flavor Ideas:
Add to taste (Approximately 1 teaspoon – 3 Tablespoons)
The amount of flavorings are dependent on either the recipe you use, the amount of chocolate and cream, and frankly, your own taste. Start by adding a teaspoon, try it, then add more to taste, up to as much as 3 tablespoons.
Various Spices (Chili Powder, Cardamom, Wasabi Paste or Powder, Ginger, Cinnamon etc.)
Instant Coffee Granules or Espresso
Matcha, Chai and Various Teas
Zests (Orange, Lemon, Lime etc.)
Herbs (Basil, Thyme, Mint, etc.)
Malted Milk Powders
Nut Pastes or Butters
Other Tips
• If you are using fresh or whole/solid flavorings such as fresh herbs, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods etc… simmer it in the cream then remove from heat and let steep for an hour. After steeping, strain away solids, return the cream to a simmer, and proceed with recipe.
Directions

Making the ganache

1. Finely chop or grate the chocolate
2. Place in a heatproof bowl
3. In a saucepan, heat cream until just about to boil (it will start bubbling around the edges of the pot)
4. Pour the cream over the chocolate
5. Gently stir the mixture until all the chocolate has melted and it is smooth
Tip: If you end up with pieces of chocolate that won’t melt, put the bowl over simmering water (but not touching the water) and stir gently until it’s all melted
Tip: Be careful if you do need to heat it over simmering water, if the mixture gets too hot it will split and you’ll end up with gooey chocolate swimming in oil, so don’t overheat the ganache, steam from a gentle simmer is all you need.
6. Stir in your desired flavorings
For rolled truffles
1. Allow the ganache to firm up in a container of choice, preferably deep rather than shallow
2. Using a teaspoon or melon baller, scoop up room temperature ganache
3. With gloved hands, roll the balls between your palms to round them off
4. Dip in tempered chocolate or roll in various ingredients like cocoa or chopped nuts as desired
Tip: If dipping in chocolate, it’s best to refrigerate the ganache balls before dipping so that they’re firm and don’t melt from the warm chocolate
Tip: For a thicker chocolate shell, dip once in tempered chocolate and allow to set. Then do a second dipping or smear a small amount of chocolate over the truffle and roll in desired ingredients
5. Place on parchment paper until set


Almond praline and praline stars

1 cup whole almonds
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
Squeeze of lemon
In a pan put the sugar, water and lemon juice, cook on medium low heat.
When the color turns amber add the almonds and stir to coat the almonds
Cook for 1-2 minutes more.
Pour praline on an oiled pan or metal tray or metal mold (I used my cookie cutters to make praline stars)

Allow to cool completely


To make the praline coating for the truffles grind one part of the praline finely and the other coarse

For my other candy creation I decided to make an apricot pistachio candy, there is a very famous candy store here called Ghrawi that sells all kinds of AMAZING candy and chocolate creations. My all time favorite is an apricot pistachio candy they make that is to die for, it was the inspiration for my candy creation. I searched for a base recipe to use and came across this one on what’s cooking america and decided to adapt it by using pistachio instead of walnuts and rosewater instead of lemon juice. I have to say that the out come was really good and close to Ghrawi’s amazing creation

Preparation for Ramadhan

Posted by M.S. at 2:28 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Preparing For Ramadhaan-The 'Month Of Mercy'


As the dawn of Ramadhan approaches, offering us glimpse of its golden rays of purity, every Muslim around the world prepares to experience the warm ambience which only this month can bring. From Suhoor to Iftaar to Night Salaah, Ramadhan brings together brothers, sisters, parents and children. In order to derive the utmost benefit from the sacred month of Ramadhan, it is crucial to recognize the spiritual significance and importance of this month. Fasting during this month should be only for ALLAH TA'ALA, and that HE will give the reward for it, for the reward of ALLAH SWT, the Bountiful and Manificent, is greater and vaster than anyone could 
imagine, Subhaan-ALLAH!
A Hadith so beautifully encapsulates:"The reward for every good deed of Adam will be multiplied anywhere between ten and seven hundred times. 
ALLAH said: 'Except for fasting, because it is for ME and I MYSELF will give recompense for it. He gives up his food and his passion for ME.' For the one who fasts, there are two times of rejoicing, one when he breaks the fast, and one when he meets his Lord. Verily the smell that comes from the mouth of one who is fasting is more pleasing to ALLAH than the scent of musk." (Hadith:Bukhari and Muslim)
Beloved Reader! This is a month which ALLAH TA'ALA has designated for the revitalization of the soul and one's spiritual ascension after a year full of sin and spiritual retrogression. However, all this will only be possible if we value this precious month and prepare for it accordingly. It is reported that Muhammad (SAW) used to commence His preparation two months prior to Ramadhaan by reciting the following supplication at the beginning of Rajab, "O ALLAH! bless us in Rajab and Sha'baan and make us reach Ramadhan”.This shows the importance of conditioning oneself mentally and spiritually for the advent of this month. Ramadhan is a long- awaited CELESTIAL GUEST; accordingly, we ought to prepare the grandest reception in appreciation for all of it's beautiful blessings and barakah. It is only through such yearning and longing that the significance of Ramadhan will develop in our hearts serving as a catalyst to increase our good deeds and to fulfil the objectives of Ramadhan.
Therefore, we should strike a balance, during this all-too-short blessed month, between our domestic duties and the opportunity this month brings, to draw closer to ALLAH through worship and good deeds. Do not let our household chores and other work distract us from performing the obligatory Salaah at the appointed times or from reading the Al Qur'aan Shareef or Nafl Salaah. Nor should we let traditional late-night family gatherings keep us from performing Salaah al-Layl and making Du'a. There are three main objectives to attain from this blessed month, namely absolution of one's sins, attainment of piety and enhancing one's communion with ALLAH TA'ALA.
The main element mentioned in this Hadith is that our effort and striving in worship throughout the month should be with the zest of Imaan and zeal of reward. The recompense of this will be a thorough effacement of sins. The veil of inhibition that impedes a person from his or her Rabb will be removed and the doors to a life of spiritual bliss, ecstasy and harmony will be flung open. Subhaan-ALLAH!
ALLAH TA'ALA states,
"O you who believe, fasting has made compulsory upon you as it made compulsory upon those before you so that you may become ALLAH fearing." (Quran:2:183)
Alhamdulillah! Fasting is one of the best spiritual exercises to establish piety, patience and a perpetual consciousness of ALLAH TA'ALA and the reward for true patience is Jannah. In this beautiful month four things you should continue to perform in great number, two of which shall be to please your Rabb, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot do. Those which shall be to please your Rabb, are that you should in great quantity bear witness that there is no diety to worship except ALLAH (i.e. recite the Kalimah Tayyibah Laa Ilaaha Illallaah) and make much Istighfaar (beg ALLAH'S forgiveness with Astaghfirullaah)." And as for those without which you cannot do, you should beg of ALLAH, entrance into Paradise and ask refuge in HIM from Jahannam(Hell)." Once a person feels the bliss of being completely pardoned and relieved from the burden of sins coupled with the feelings of ALLAH'S Omnipresence, he or she would have reached a very high pedestal of divine communion. This pedestal is what referred to as the stage of Ihsaan; where a person worships ALLAH as if he or she is seeing HIM or with the full conviction and cognizance that ALLAH is watching him or her.
Beloved Reader! The Mubarak month of Ramadhan requires special preparation because it requires complete dedication on part of the Mu'mineen. Below are a few easy ways to Inshaa-ALLAH (ALLAH willing) help prepare our minds and hearts for this upcoming Month of Mercy.
1. INTENTION TO PREPARE:
One of the most essential elements of preparing for the arrival of Ramadhan is to make the intention for preparation for verily “every action judged by it’s intention”.  The preparation begins the day you start practicing humility and patience and learn how to control your nafs (desires) and anger.





2. PERFORM REWARDING ACTIONS:
In the spirit of Ramadhan, it is best to start preparing for the blessed month by performing actions that are rewarding and appreciated by our beautiful ALLAH. According to a Hadith, “If a person says, “SubhaanALLAH”(Glory be to ALLAH) 100 times, a thousand good deeds are recorded for him and a thousand bad deeds are wiped away.”


3. INCREASE THE WORSHIP:
To start preparing for the blessed month of Ramadhan, it is best if you start increasing your worship. This will allow you to adjust your routine for the arrival of Ramadhan.  Increase all forms of Ibadah(worship) such Fasting,recitation of Qur’an, Zikr, Sadaqah(Charity) , Nafl (voluntary) Salaah etc
4. DETERMINE SPECIFIC DAYS FOR FASTING:To adjust your body to fasting, it is best that you start fasting beforehand. You should define specific days for fasting. For example, if you fast every Monday and Thursday, you will be more fully prepared for Ramadhaan making the adjustment much easier.



5. READ THE MUBARAK QUR'AAN  REGULARLY:
For individuals who have not prepared for reading and reciting Qur'aan during Ramadhan, Qur'aan Kareem recitation while fasting becomes difficult. It is best if you start reading the Mubarak Qur'aan  after Fajr salaah on a daily basis just to prepare for the Ramadhaan spirit.


6. ADJUST SLEEPING HABITS:Ramadhaan teaches us to adjust the way we lead our life. Therefore, before the arrival of Ramadhan, it is ideal if you start adjusting your sleeping habits. You should start off by going to bed early and rising early. If you are used to this routine, you will not feel sleepy and tired when our blessed Guest called Ramadhan arrives.





7. DEFINE OBJECTIVES:
In essence, Ramadhan is the most blessed and rewarding month. Therefore, all Muslims should try their best prepare for this auspicious month of Ramadhan. Regular recitation of Qur'aan, voluntary charity and recitation and offering prayers will help you prepare for the Ramadhan spirit. Inshaa-ALLAH!
O Beloved Reader! Let us embellish our Akhlaaq(character) in this beautiful and blessed month with gifts presented by the Prophet of guidance (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). Let us make this Ramadhan a means of gaining nearness to Allah Ta’ala and preparing for the eternal journey that each and every one of us must traverse.
By Sister  S Bemath & edited by me:0



Always Dream

I want to curl up here and enjoy my leisure time with a book and cup of hot chocolate /coffee late and relax whilst the Sunshine warms me and the breeze plays through my hair.







My Dreams:)