12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 10: Cookie Butter!

20141210_135310So cookie butter is a thing, and Trader Joe’s has some to-die-for Speculoos flavoured cookie butter, and I haven’t had the good fortune of eating it myself.

But I have eaten Speculoos biscuits, and Speculoos-flavoured Haagen-Dazs by the tub, so I can only imagine how delicious Speculoos cookie butter is!

I saw the recipe for cookie butter on Get The Dish with Brandi Milloy on Popsugar, and once I saw it, I knew I had to make it. And hey- how can cookie in a spreadable, spoonable form be bad? Sure, it’s not healthy by a long shot- butter, sugar, milk and cookies- but this is an indulgence. Creamy, tasty, grainy, caramel-y goodness on a spoon.

This tastes good on crackers, toast and straight out of the jar; I topped some vanilla ice cream with it and even added it to a smoothie. I think it makes a fun edible gift to give your foodie friends for Christmas, and if you are handy with mason jars, twine and a sharpie, you could make the jar look quite pretty. (I, unfortunately, am not very crafty, which is why my son has no toilet-paper -tube binoculars or owls.)

Another bonus: it’s no-bake and comes together in minutes!

COOKIE BUTTER (Adapted from Foodie Fiasco and Popsugar.)


  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup cookie crumbs of your choice (I used graham cracker crumbs and chocolate chip cookie crumbs, both of which I crushed by hand.)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • A pinch of fleur de del or Maldon sea salt (optional)


  • Using a food processor or blender, pulse the almonds till they almost get clumpy/pasty.
  • Add the cookie crumbs and pulse some more.
  • Add the milk, melted butter, brown sugar and salt (if using,) and keep at it until you reach the desired consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.
  • Store in a clean dry jar.

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 5: Evelyn Sharpe’s French Chocolate Cake

20141106_131346I discovered this recipe when I was browsing through Amanda Hesser’s old columns in The New York Times, pre-Food52. I am a big fan of her writing, and she shares some really interesting recipes and tidbits about the history of food. This comes from her Recipe Redux column, which she wrote as she researched and compiled The New York Times cookbook. Hesser would take a recipe from the NYT archives, hand it over to a contemporary chef, mixologist or cookbook author and ask them to add their own twist and update the recipe.

While she uncovered dozens of old gems, many of the recipes, when tested by modern chefs, weren’t met with enthusiasm- they lacked flavour, texture, or both. Many NYT readers, however, preferred the older recipes. For her farewell column, Hesser chose a recipe titled Evelyn Sharpe’s French Chocolate Cake from 1969, which was a universal hit. A recipe ahead of its time, quite similar to the molten chocolate cakes/bull’s eyes/chocolate decadence cakes you’ll find in restaurants today.

I’ll vouch for one thing: it’ fudgy, rich and oh-so-chocolatey, a safe end to any meal. It’s fudgy in the middle like a brownie, but has a moist crumb as well. It’s not entirely flourless, but calls for just a smidgen of flour- a tablespoon. One could easily swap in almond meal or a gluten-free flour to make a gluten-free version.

There’s another thing I’ll vouch for: you absolutely must use the nicest dark chocolate you can lay your hands on. Spend a little more, buy Callebaut/Lindt/good quality chocolate and your cake will not disappoint.

I made this recipe twice before posting. Once, with a cheap chocolate I found at the grocery store and the second time around with Lindt intense dark chocolate. The first slab of chocolate I used- which was packaged nicely and labelled “stone ground dark chocolate compound,” was a quarter of the price of the Lindt bars, but TERRIBLE. I kid you not- the cake smelled like a baked potato and tasted like plastic. I threw it out, the entire thing. The recipe is all about the chocolate, so use the best.






  • 450 grams semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup/110 grams butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated



  • Heat oven to 220 C.
  • Grease the base of an 8-inch cake pan or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Melt the chocolate gently using the double-boiler method.
  • Once melted, pull off heat and stir in the butter, flour and sugar. Lightly whisk the egg yolks and slowly mix into the chocolate. Set aside.
  • Beat the egg whites until they hold a definite shape but are not dry. With a light hand, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. (Overbeating and underbeating will ruin the cake!)
  • Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Open the oven door, leaving it ajar, and allow the cake to cool completely in the oven.
  • Serve warm, with some whipped cream or ice cream.


As for who Evelyn Sharpe is, I honestly don’t know- a 1960s New York society lady, perhaps? Luisa Weiss has a link to the comments section of the original NYT recipe on her blog, but unfortunately, it doesn’t open. We’ll just think of Evelyn is a nice lady who gave the world a fabulous recipe!

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 1: Orange Almond Olive-Oil Cake

Have you ever come across a recipe that is so simple, yet seems to wow and impress the people around you each time you bake it? This is mine. It’s quick to prepare, travels well, (trust me- it’s travelled 3 hours on an expressway and from one end of Bombay to the other and hasn’t let me down!) and is a one-bowl affair that comes together in under fifteen minutes.


My son’s hand got in the way

I found this recipe on Food52 when I was searching, very specifically, for an “almond and olive oil cake.” You see, after I made Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Olive Oil cake, I kinda went bonkers over oil-based cakes with ground almonds. Oil-based nut-flour cakes are lovely and dense; rich and nibbly.  I love the unpretentiousness of a loaf cake and the quirk of a cupcake, but olive-oil cakes have a more grown-up air about them. Plus, they have this amazing ability to come out nice, flat and even- which makes icing and slicing them a breeze. Continue reading