Perfect for Afternoon Tea

Are you surprised? Yes I did bake these scones in the airfryer for 8 minutes and they are totally satisfying and yum. You may adjust your time depending on the thickness of your scones. Did you ever think such simple things in life can give us so much joy. Well I was in heaven eating these Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones.

I missed my scones, it’s the one thing I make often because not only is it quick but there’s something comforting about having scones with tea. I couldn’t bake for a while now because my oven decided to give up on me. So today I thought why not make some scones in my airfryer and it turned out perfect. You can of course bake yours in the oven for a little extra time, about 10-15 minutes.

I’m sure most of us assume baking scones is the easiest thing to do, well at least I did. Until one day when I overworked my dough and had chewy, horrid scones. I have since learnt the secret to making beautiful, light scones is in how you handle the scone dough and of course using cold butter. These Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones are so quick and easy to make and if they are a little rustic looking then you know you’ve done a good job.

Unfortunately scones are not the most forgiving, you work the dough a little more than you should and you will have disastrous scones. I have seen chefs use ice-cold butter, straight from the freezer, grated into the flour. To be totally honest I don’t think I have the patience to grate frozen butter. For this Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones I remove my butter from the refrigerator when I’m ready to use it. I then add my flour into the food processor, pop my butter in and give it a quick pulse. This works perfectly for me.

You can also add your buttermilk and egg to the mixture in the food processor. If you give it a pulse just a few times it brings the dough together without overworking it. Thereafter you remove the dough and place it on a flat surface lightly dusted with flour. Just use your hands to press it down to about 2cm thickness.

When cutting the dough press the cutter into the dough but do not twist, press and lift. This technique will then create those rich, buttery layers in your scone.

Looking for more sweet treats then another easy recipe to try is my Shortbread

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/shortbread/

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Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones
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Instructions
  1. Preheat your airfryer for a minute
  2. Add flour and butter to a food processor and give it about 3 to 4 pulses until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  3. Add sugar and pulse one more time
  4. Add the egg and buttermilk and pulse about 3 times until the dough comes together
  5. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and bring it all together. Flatten the dough with your palms, about 2cm thickness and cut into circles.
  6. Do not twist the cutter when cutting the dough, simply press and lift. This is what creates the beautiful layers in your scones
  7. Brush the top of the scones with eggwash (egg mixed with a few drops of water) or some extra buttermilk and bake in the airfryer at 180 degrees for 8 minutes or in the oven at 180 deg celcius for 10-15 minutes
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Refreshing Indian drink with Cardamom and Saffron

There’s nothing more refreshing than a cold drink in summer and this Simple Mango Lassi Recipe is the perfect summer drink. I love mango and I love yogurt so these 2 ingredients make a killer combination, with just a hint of cardamom and saffron.

I first drank a mango lassi at an Indian restaurant, it was super-delicious and I was hooked. So whenever I have extra mango in my kitchen I try and use them for this Simple Mango Lassi Recipe. We don’t often have mangoes lying around because my kids love mangoes and they get eaten up quite quickly. It is summer so we have mangoes in abundance, I think I’m going to have to freeze some before they are out of season again.

I’m really lazy about eating fruit so I prefer to add them to my drinks, it’s why I love smoothies so much too. This mango lassi makes a great breakfast smoothie or works great as a cooling accompaniment to spicy meals.

Making a mango lassi is super easy, all you need is mango and yogurt, You can then add cardamom, saffron and I’ve seen recipes with pistachios, nutmeg, cinnamon. I don’t think I want to add too many flavours to mine. For me it’s just perfect with these simple ingredients.

Mango Lassi has a thick consistency so it’s why I add loads of ice when blending mine. I want it to be drinkable, I suppose you can also add milk to thin it out. I prefer not to add sugar to my drink, I think the mango is already sweet enough so I just a add a little honey. You can add more honey if you prefer it sweeter.

Ripe, sweet mangoes work best for this drink, just ensure you don’t use those stringy mangoes. If you don’t have fresh mangoes you can use frozen ones. I don’t often see frozen mangoes in our stores, they always mixed up with some other fruit so I stick to fresh mangoes.

If you are hooked on mangoes like I am, you will love this refreshing Simple Mango Lassi Recipe.

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Simple Mango Lassi Recipe
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Instructions
  1. Add the mango, yogurt, cardamom and honey together with the ice-cubes to a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Pour into serving glasses and garnish with saffron
  3. You can refrigerate until you ready to serve
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I first discovered this delicious dessert called Eton Mess when I watched a cooking show on TV. It looked so delectable and yet so easy I had to give it a try. It has since become a firm favourite in our home. It is a British dessert which was apparently served at Eton College’s prize-giving picnic, so glad I stumbled upon this recipe.

Eton Mess, to me, is almost a comforting dessert, everything literally gets dumped into one bowl and yet turns out heavenly. Its all mixed together and becomes one big delicious mess. Just the way I like it. If you want to show off your “cheffy” side you can layer the three ingredients. I haven’t yet found another dessert this simple and delicious. This one has just 3 ingredients, strawberries, cream and meringues. Making my own meringues is a mission so I settle for store bought ones. I actually found some pink ones made with strawberry juice this time.

When I am in the mood to get all fancy I use different fruit or make a berry coulis to drizzle over my Eton Mess. But I actually prefer it this way, no fancy frills. You can also use any berry, mango or even passion fruit. I have also seen recipes with some pistachios sprinkled over for that extra crunch.

Due to the simplicity of this dessert you can make it any day of the week. If you are making it for guests you can prep the ingredients in advance and put all together when serving. I love the different textures in this dessert, the airy, melt-in-your mouth texture of the meringues, the richness of the cream and the little crunch from the strawberries.

I did not add any sugar to my dessert. The meringues are sweet enough and I prefer not to add sugar. However, you can add some castor sugar when whipping your cream if you prefer a sweeter version.

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Easy Eton Mess Dessert
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Instructions
  1. Whip the fresh cream until soft peaks form. Be careful not to overmix
  2. Chop up the strawberries.
  3. Break the meringues into pieces, you can keep some whole to decorate if your prefer.
  4. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and gently fold them. Serve immediately. You can decorate them with more strawberries and meringue.
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Crunchies, this is definitely a South African favourite which you have to try. These crunchies are so delicious, crunchy on the outside, a little chewy on the inside. Did I mention also quick and easy to make?  To be honest I found this recipe on the internet a while back. I never thought I would ever have the courage to start my own blog and share it, so I never recorded the source of the recipe. However, I think it’s such a delicious recipe and it’s why I want to share it. I have baked it a few times and it’s always been a hit with everyone that’s tried it.

You probably won’t believe me but I promise, I don’t eat the sweet stuff I bake.  I love stocking little treats in my cupboard because I do work from home. It gives me great pleasure to offer my client’s a special home-baked treat with their coffee.

My kids also don’t eat too much of the stuff I bake, they are tempted when it’s just out the oven but that is as far as their temptation goes. Am I feeling guilty that I’m sharing too many sweet treats of late??

These Crunchies also makes the perfect snack but are also great as Christmas gifts. You can pack them in little boxes or jars with a cute ribbon and you have a gift made with love. I cannot believe it’s that time of year again.  Time to shop for presents and swing into holiday mode soon. We don’t celebrate Christmas but it is a time we get to see more of our family. It’s only during the holidays that we get to spend time with our dear parents, whom we don’t get to see very often.

I’m so looking forward to our break. We also get away from fast-paced Johannesburg, it’s funny how everyone in Johannesburg is always stressed and never have time. The people in Durban are the opposite, they are so much more relaxed, laid back and friendly and you can still visit people without making an appointment a month ahead.

On that note let me share this delicious South African Crunchies recipe with you. Please do try it and if you do, kindly drop me a note to let me know if you think it’s as delicious as I think it is. I love hearing from you and you are welcome to mail me with any comments or questions.

 


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South African Crunchies

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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Cut the butter into little cubes and melt it together with the golden syrup, in a microwave for about a minute is perfectly ok.

  2. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the melted butter and allow it to stand until the mixture starts frothing

  3. Add all the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix it all together

  4. Press the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet at bake at 160 degrees celcius for about 20 minutes or until cooked and golden brown. Cut into squares whilst still warm


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When life gives you lemons, make Lemon Meringue Tart. This is a beautiful lemon dessert to make if you want to wow your guests.

I absolutely love lemon desserts and this Lemon Meringue Tart is perfect, it’s sweet with just the right amount of tartness..  Most lemon meringue tarts require condensed milk as but I’ve used Mascarpone Cheese which makes it even more yum.

The first time I tried making a Lemon Meringue Tart I was really nervous as I thought it was a real complicated dessert to make.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but I was pretty amazed with the results. It was easy to make and really not as daunting as I thought it would be. My family also loved it but they are going to love this one even more.

Today I got a little carried away and I initially considered making little mini tarts. However, once I realised the amount of time it would take, compared to making one large tart, I quickly changed my mind. Time is precious when you have kids,  I’m constantly looking for easy ways to do stuff.  To save myself from the challenging task of pastry making I chose to use Tennis Biscuits for my base. It still tastes delicious and you eliminate the stress too.

Tennis Biscuits is my go to tart base and I always keep a packet in my  pantry for emergencies.  It is a lifesaver when you need a base in a hurry. Well  I guess if  you really want to impress your guests then you can put in the extra effort to make a base from scratch.

Lemon Meringue tart looks gorgeous with a big, fluffy meringue on to. However I used only 4 egg whites, I didn’t get a whole heap of meringue but it was enough to make my tart delicious.  If you prefer more meringue you may increase the amount of egg whites.

 

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Lemon Meringue Tart
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150 deg celcius.
  2. Place biscuits and melted butter into a food processor and pulse until it resembles find crumbs.
  3. Press the mixture into a 28cm pie dish, use the back of a measuring cup to flatten it. Chill in the refrigerator
  4. In a large bowl beat the eggs and the half cup castor sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice, a little at a time and then add Mascarpone, little at a time until the mixture is smooth and creamy, ensuring there are no lumps
  5. Pour the mixture into the biscuit base and bake at 150 deg celcius for about 40 minutes or until cooked. Reduce the oven temperature to 140 deg celcius once the filling is cooked
  6. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites, once it forms soft peaks start adding the 5 tablespoon castor sugar, a little at a time until stiff peaks are formed. It will be smooth and glossy
  7. Pipe or spread the meringue over the cooked filling and bake in the oven at 140 deg celcius for about 20 minutes or until meringue is slightly brown. Best eaten the same day or you can bake the filling and top up with the meringue when serving, if you not serving it the same day
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I am so chuffed with myself as I tried making these Rose Flavoured Macarons for the very first time and they turned out perfect. Whenever I heard the word Macaron I was terrified to even try it, almost every blog I read you hear about people having to try it a “million” times before they perfect it or how difficult it is to make it. It’s no wonder I doubted I could ever make Macarons, I thought that was something I should leave to the professionals.

Well let me tell you even home cooks can do it, I followed a recipe from this website https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-macaron-recipe-435221, and I couldn’t have followed a more perfect recipe.  The instructions were simple and just reading it already convinced me it was going to be a breeze. I halved the recipe, although I was convinced it would turn out well I wasn’t so sure about how my ancient oven would work. But my old faithful didn’t disappoint me, it helped me produce perfect macarons. I think I may have baked the Macarons a few seconds too long but apart from the colour being slightly brown everything else was perfect. My kids love Macarons and I normally spend a fortune buying them, now I can make my own and I’m determined to try every flavour I can, provided I have loads of time to spare.

I also read a few tips before making my Rose Macarons because I really wanted to get this right. I found this very informative article and I’m sure it will help you too in your quest for making the perfect macaron http://misohungrynow.blogspot.com/2011/01/troubleshooting-macaron.html

I didn’t have a Macaron mat as recommended, this helps in getting them all the same size, so I just created my own little template on parchment paper. I also added a 1/4 teaspoon rose essence to my mixture and a few drops to my icing with a little bit of rose syrup. You can taste to see how much you require, rose essence is concentrated so be careful not to add too much. It is also imperative that you allow your Macarons to rest for 20 minutes, it will become smooth and shiny, this allows the outer surface to harden when baked,, the air from the batter escapes from the bottom edge instead of the top and will create “feet”. Do not over mix your batter. Your egg whites must also be glossy when whipped. If you follow the recipe correctly I don’t think you will encounter many problems, correct measurements is key to making amazing Macarons.

 

 

 

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  1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees celcius. It is recommended not to use the fan in your oven if possible. Macarons need a lowish temperature to cook properly
  2. Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds into a large bowl. Discard any lumps
  3. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks are formed. Add castor sugar a little at a time and whisk until the whites are thick and glossy, you can add your rose essence at this stage. You can also add a few drops of rose syrup or some gel colouring to get pink macarons
  4. Gently stir in the icing sugar and almond mix. The mixture will become quite loose but don't stress, it's the way it should be
  5. Use a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle, fill it up with the macaron mixture
  6. Place your paper template or silicone mat onto a baking sheet. Pipe little blobs onto the sheet, the mixture will spread out so keep it small
  7. Gently tap the baking sheet a few times on a flat surface to help the macaron mixture settle and break any air bubbles. Leave to dry for 20 minutes, It will become smooth and shiny
  8. Bake the macarons for 7 to 8 minutes, open the oven door to release the steam and bake for a further 7-8 minutes. It will be cooked when firm and slightly risen
  9. Slide the mat or paper onto a cooling rack and leave to cool. Do not remove until they are cold or they will break
  10. For the filling, beat the butter until it is fluffy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add your rose flavouring and mix well
  11. Place half a teaspoon of filling on the flat side of one macaron and sandwich together, twist a little to create a bond
  12. Its best refrigerated 24 hours, this step will make it chewy and delicious
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Super Moist Chocolate cake, yes you heard right, this chocolate cake beats any other I’ve ever eaten.  It is super moist, delicious and decadent, it’s the only chocolate cake you ever need. Remember my post on How to use Buttermilk this is a perfect example of how buttermilk gives your cake that melt-in-your-mouth texture. My sister got this recipe from a friend many years ago, I think it was quite a mission getting it so I hope I’m not getting into trouble sharing it…some people are quite secretive about their recipes.  However, I did tweak the recipe a little.

My family absolutely loves this cake and I have been often asked for the recipe. My cousin has requested I post this recipe as she wants to become a pro in the kitchen. I promise everyone that eats this cake will be asking you for the recipe too, it’s that delicious but you can keep it a secret if you wish. The original recipe have a few steps to making the cake but like try to keep most of my recipes simple this Super Moist Chocolate Cake recipe was made simple too. I cut out all the tedious steps and mixed everything in one bowl, with absolutely no fuss and it’s flop proof, I certainly haven’t had a single flop with this recipe. However, it is super moist so you do require more than just a greased pan, your pan must be lined with parchment paper as it will end up a mess when trying to remove it from the pan. I prefer to bake mine in a glass ovenproof dish, I normally slice them in the dish and gently remove each slice, if you refrigerate it before cutting it up that works great. They are perfect as cupcakes too.

If you ever wondered why some chocolate cakes are so much darker in colour, it’s because Dutch cocoa has been used, if you read my article on Natural Cocoa vs Dutch Cocoa you will learn the difference. This cake is rich enough on it’s own but sometimes I like adding a dollop of fresh cream on the side just to balance the richness, I don’t think it needs any icing but feel free to decorate them with buttercream icing should you wish. This cake is delicious as a tea-time treat or you can serve it as dessert, all the same it will be loved by all.

Super Moist Chocolate Cake
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    Super Moist Chocolate Cake
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      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 180 deg Celsius. In a large bowl, melt the 125g butter, add the hot water, oil and cocoa and mix well with a whisk
      2. Sift in the flour and add the sugar. Mix the half cup buttermilk with the 2 eggs and add to the mixture. Mix it well ensuring there are no lumps
      3. Pour mixture into a glass ovenproof dish, I used a 300mm x 220mm dish, lined with parchment paper or a baking pan and bake at 180 degrees celcius for 20-25 minutes
      4. In the meantime mix the 70gram melted butter with the 3 tablespoon buttermilk,1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoon cocoa and the icing sugar. Use a whisk and mix into a smooth, velvety liquid.
      5. Whilst cake is still warm prick a few wholes into the cake and pour the liquid icing over the cake. Place cake in the fridge for at least 45 minutes to cool down before cutting into squares.
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      Almond Biscuits reminds me of the Greek Biscuits, Kourabiedes, these are not quite the same but they will do for now. I have tasted many amazing almond biscuits but this Almond Biscuit is simple, my middle name is simple. My kitchen smelled so amazing, these past few days, with all the aroma of freshly baked biscuits and sweetmeats, smelled like a bakery.  The smell of baked goods is so comforting in a home, I love it.

      I know almonds are really expensive but it’s ok to indulge in some Almond Biscuits occasionally. This recipe doesn’t need a whole lot of almonds, I just used half a cup of crushed almonds and the biscuits were still totally amazing. If you love almonds then this biscuit is sure to satisfy your taste buds. A friend did give me the recipe for the Greek version and I will try that soon, those biscuits require brandy and eggs so it’s why I didn’t use it for my Diwali baking. Baking biscuits is time-consuming and you’ve got to exercise patience when making them. I don’t have loads of patience but this is one time when I do try to relax and enjoy the process of baking and creating beautiful sweet treats. If you not comfortable with decorating then stick to simple decorating techniques, it will save you loads of stress. I know we all want to impress with our baking skills but simple things can also look pretty, as long as everything looks neat an edible you are good to go. You don’t want to spend hours trying to decorate if you not good at it and then it all turns into a sloppy mess, we eat with our eyes so if you have simple but attractive looking treats it will be eaten.  Everybody wasn’t born to decorate like a pro, I know I wasn’t.  So let’s keep things simple and stress-free.

      These almond biscuits are simply rolled into balls, baked, cooled and dipped into castor sugar and they still look amazing.

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      Almond Biscuits
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      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Cream the butter and sugar using a food processor.
      2. Add the almonds and flour and mix until it forms a firm dough, not crumbly. You many not need all the flour so add a little at a time
      3. Divide dough into 24 balls and refrigerate for 5 minutes
      4. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 160 degrees celcius for about 20 minutes or until cooked. I usually tell my cookies are done when I can smell them. They will still be slightly soft when removed from the oven but it will harden when cold.
      5. Once biscuits are cool roll them in some castor sugar
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      These Chocolate Coconut Biscuits are light and crisp with the added decadence of rich chocolate, I absolutely love them. This is not my recipe, my mum-in-law has a dear friend that makes these amazing biscuits and she kindly gave me her recipe. She makes the best biscuits and she decorates all her biscuits beautifully, my decorating skills needs some working on but for now they pretty and edible and I guess that’s all that matters.

      As you know I share a lot that I learnt from my mum-in-law and I mention her in my posts. I hear a lot of woman complaining about relationships with their in-laws, I must say that I am blessed as I share a very amicable relationship with mine. It’s all about mutual respect, I guess any relationship is a two-way street, it takes work from both parties. Life is too short to have enemies so I try to work on relationships with my family but sometimes you know when the other side just doesn’t need you or want you in their lives so you step away.  It makes me sad that even families today have their priorities mixed up, some of us would rather make money than spend time with loved ones or they would rather be alone because being with family is an inconvenience. I miss the family unity we had growing up, the older generation did a good job of keeping families together, unfortunately I can’t say the same for my generation. It’s sad but life goes on, if you have parents and immediate family that loves you, I suppose it’s all you need and I’m thankful I have a family.  Well I must say the Diwali baking has been a great stress reliever and therapeutic, for a while I had no time to think but just work. I told you keeping busy keeps you sane and I am so sane right now.  Gosh, I do love talking.

      Back to these Chocolate Coconut Biscuits, I used some medium desiccated coconut for these, they seem to make the biscuits a little light and airy. Like with any biscuit do not add all the flour at once, temperature and weather does affect the amount of flour you may need. I cut them into rounds and gently scraped the top of each one with a fork. When cool you can stick them together with some of your favourite good quality chocolate.

       

       

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      Chocolate Coconut Biscuits
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      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Using a food processor cream the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the cocoa and and mix well
      2. Add the coconut and four . Mix together until a firm dough is formed, dough shouldn't be crumbly.
      3. Roll out, about 3mm thickness, and cut into small circles, scrape the top with a fork. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes
      4. Once biscuits are cool sandwich together with chocolate
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      Gulab Jamun is a popular Indian sweetmeat, it’s sweet and deep-fried so I guess you should save the recipe for special occasions.  The Gulab Jamuns we make in South Africa are slightly different to the ones made in India, ours is not soaked in syrup, it’s dipped in for a few seconds and removed. The traditional Indian Gulab Jamun also uses powdered milk but in South Africa I haven’t seen many recipes with this ingredient, I’ve added some in my recipe but it’s totally optional. I roll them into coconut after dipping them in the syrup but that’s a matter of personal preference, I simply love anything with coconut, I am a coconut fan…you can tell I’m Indian.

      Indian sweetmeats are delicious but I feel that some of them are way too sweet, it’s something I cannot get used to. You will find that I reduce my sugar content in almost all my recipes, the sweetmeat can still taste delicious without being overly sweet. I also haven’t had any disastrous recipes due to the low sugar content, my recipes have worked well so far.

      Gulab Jamun is a pretty easy sweetmeat to make, in fact for me it’s one of the easiest and I enjoy making them, it’s almost therapeutic. Some may find it difficult to get the shape perfect but it’s very simple, you roll a piece of dough into a ball and then just roll it in the palms of your hand and you will get that perfect oval finger shape. If your dough is too dry it will also be difficult to shape the Gulab Jamun and it will crack when frying them so ensure your dough is soft but not sticky. Your oil needs to be on medium heat as the Gulab Jamun needs to cook well on the inside, if it browns too soon it will not be cooked on the inside. For the sugar syrup, I usually reduce mine until it’s slight sticky and syrupy, I keep the syrup warm on the lowest setting, this prevents the syrup from crystallizing. You can also make the Gulab Jamun whatever size your prefer but smaller is better.

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      Gulab Jamun
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      Instructions
      1. For the syrup, add the sugar, water, elachie and rose essence to a saucepan and bring to the boil until it's slightly sticky and syrupy. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and keep syrup warm
      2. In a large dish, add the condensed milk, melted ghee, milk, nutmeg and elachie. Mix it well. Add a little flour at a time until you form a soft dough, not sticky and not to dry, you must be able to roll it into shape easily.
      3. Heat oil on medium heat
      4. Divide dough into little balls and then roll in the palm of your hands to form an oval finger shape
      5. Fry the Gulab Jamuns in the oil, use a slotted spoon to drain all the oil before removing. Dip in the syrup for a few seconds and roll into the coconut
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