Pin it, bookmark it, share it on my timeline or ‘favourite it’ – that’s how I’m used to saving recipes and clippings online. I don’t mean to sound archaic, but that’s such a far cry from the very first time my ‘Amma’ made me jot down a recipe in a diary that Papa had designated as one I was allowed to scribble in. On a totally related / unrelated note, my handwriting continues to look pretty much the same as the scribbles in said diary. To meander back from this slight digression, last year, my Mum brought me a little treasure of recipes from my grand-aunt’s collection… and that’s when the stark difference hit me… Her bulky diary of hand-written recipes, notes from trials and failures and newspaper clippings that progressed from black white to colour.
From choux pastry to tips on making the perfect sambhar, some recipes appear to have been written in a hurry, others are neater, as though to indicate a more leisurely pace while writing. I do read my share of recipes in newspapers, but storing clippings… wow, I think I gave that up since the onset of e-papers! My mantra- read the paper, save the recipe online! That’s exactly how I’d saved this recipe that had originally appeared in Pamela Timms’ fortnightly column in ‘Mint’. Her recipes are meticulously explained and always take into account Indian ingredients. These cupcakes with peanut ‘chikki’ frosting, a sort-of praline made from jaggery and peanuts, sounded adorably Indian-ish for me to try immediately!
I did make a few changes to the recipe, predominantly the frosting, which has more cream cheese than butter and a slight scaling down of the icing sugar. Cream cheese makes for a smoother textured frosting, one that I feel makes for the perfect contrast when the ‘chikki’ bits are folded in. But like any baker would know, making frosting in the Indian heat comes with its own challenges. I find that using the cream cheese at a cold temperature, just out of the refrigerator, mixed with butter that’s only slightly at room temperature and beaten with icing sugar in one go, works well to keep the frosting from curdling or melting in our weather.
So there you go, my way of chronicling my kitchen adventures, clipping recipes and noting changes isn’t too bad either!
Adapted from Piece of Cake, Mint