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Sweet treats for the festive season

Sweet Shells

2 Cups all purpose flour

½ Teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon hot Crisco or oil

¾ Cups +1 Teaspoon warm water

2 Cups oil for deep-frying the shells.

Mix flour, salt, and hot Crisco or oil with flour in a medium bowl. Add water and mix to make stiff dough. Set aside covered for an hour.

Shape the dough into lemon size balls. Roll each ball on a cutting board or on a clean and dry counter top with palm of hand to make a one-inch diameter rope. Cut the rope crosswise into half inch pieces. Place each piece on fork press with thumb to create shell imprint on dough. Stretch dough slightly lengthwise to form into shell shape. Repeat until all the dough is finished. Keep shells separated so that they do not stick together.

Heat oil on medium heat in a frying pan and fry the shells until crisp and brown, a hand full at a time. Remove the shells from the oil with a slotted spoon on to a paper towel lined plate to cool.

 Sugar Syrup

2 Cups light or dark brown sugar or white sugar or one cup brown sugar and one cup white sugar

½ Cup water

½ Teaspoon cardamom powder

1 Teaspoon home made ghee (optional)

In a wide saucepan mix sugar and water and boil syrup on medium high heat stirring continuously. Test syrup by putting a drop on a plate. It should feel thick and not runny. Remove syrup from the heat. Add cardamom powder and the ghee if using. Add fried shells. Mix quickly and thoroughly until the sugar syrup coats all the shells and no more syrup left in the bottom of the pan. Transfer shells onto a plate to cool the shells.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Note: If all the shells are fried evenly they will stay fresh and crisp for a long time in a glass jar with tight lid.

My mom used to serve this sweet on Deepavali day just before we started fire works.

Sweet Kachori

Sweet kachori dough

3 Cups all purpose flour

3 Tablespoons melted Crisco, butter or warm oil

1 pinch of salt

1 Cup warm water

1⁄2 Cup all purpose flour for dusting

Sugar syrup

2 Cups sugar

1 1⁄2 cups water

 Filling

1 1/2 Cups non-fat dry milk powder

1⁄2 Cup sweetened condensed milk

1⁄2 Cup ricotta cheese

1⁄2 Teaspoon cardamom powder (elaichi)

2 Tablespoons chopped roasted cashews (optional)

1 Tablespoon chopped pistachios (optional)

2 Cups of oil for frying

1⁄4 Cup sliced almonds for decoration (optional)

In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour, Crisco and warm water to make dough; knead for few minutes. Keep the dough covered for an hour.

In a three – quart saucepan mix sugar and water. Boil the syrup for three minutes. Turn heat to low and keep it for three minutes. Turn the heat off. Keep the syrup aside until the kachories are ready

In a separate bowl mix all the filling ingredients.

Make large marble size balls with dough and dust them with all purpose flour. Roll each ball in to four -inch diameter purees. Place a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of the puree, fold it into a half circle and seal it tight so that the filling doesn’t come out when fried.

Heat oil in small frying pan and fry three or four kachories at a time in a low heat, until they become light brown and crisp. Take the kachories out of the oil and put them in the sugar syrup. Make a small hole on one side of the kachori. You can use a clean Phillips screw driver. Pour a teaspoon of syrup through the hole. Take them out of the syrup and keep them in a platter side by side. Don’t keep the kachories in syrup for too long otherwise they will become soggy. Let the left over syrup thicken and sprinkle over kachories.

Cashew laddus

Cashew laddus

2 lbs (about 4 cups) pounded cashew nuts

1 lb sugar

1/2 lb khoya

1 tbsp cardamom seeds

1 tsp essence of rose

 Method:

Mix essence, cardamoms and nuts together. Melt sugar over a slow fire, add khoya and mix till smooth. Add cashew nut mixture and keep on stirring till the mixture turns thick. Remove from fire and set aside to turn cold. Form into round balls. Store in an airtight container.

Ricotta cheese barfi

Ricotta Cheese Barfi 

 BY MINA KUMAR

Ingredients
16-ounce ricotta cheese
½- stick unsalted butter
1-cup milk powder
½-cup sugar
½-teaspoon cardamom powder
2- sheets of silver foil

Mix ricotta cheese and butter in a microwavable container and cook in microwave for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, stir and then cook for 3 more minutes. Then, add milk powder, cardamom powder and sugar to cheese and butter mixture. Cook for 5 minutes in the microwave. If the mix is not dry, then microwave a little longer. Once it is dry, take it out of the microwave and spread it onto a flat square plate and place silver foil on top. Finally, cut it into diamond shape.

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