Pear and Chocolate cake and Autumn Friends

When we were growing up, (I often refer to I as we, because in those days, me and my best friend did a lot of collective thinking, which you can read now), we always believed that – People come in your life either for a reason, for a season or for a lifetime. We even sat down and classified the people in our lives in those three categories. Of course, some people who we thought were in for a lifetime, went out of season as the monsoon came to an end and some came in for really fucked up reasons, which we found later on. But back then we were very happy with our generalization. Albeit, very specific one.

I was sure mom and dad were in it for a lifetime and thankfully for us, we came from a generation, where they really do. Together in it. For a lifetime and beyond. Of course they had their fights and the really bad days, when you are asked to pick sides. “Who do you want to stay with if we go our separate ways?” Me and my brother would as-a-matter-of-fact say that we want to live in this house. So we will stay with whoever stays here. Materialistic? hell no. We knew in our hearts that this is just a conversation and it wont come to that. Ever. And so we played along, and rather than choosing sides, we chose something which cannot be asked to choose a side. That’s being animatedly inanimate.

But, then there was a fine line between reason and season. And many a times some people could be classified into both categories at the same time. Like a friend who openly proclaimed that relationships come with a shelf life. And perhaps she also wanted to look like the cool one amongst us dorks. So there was a season when she technically paraded as our dear friend, but it was as well for a reason. I knew in my heart that this one wouldn’t last a long time, and boy, I was right.

The same thing goes with the guys who came in life. It might be just a crush, a random date or even a boyfriend. I though everyone is in for a long haul, but I was fool-hardy. And näive. But also glad.

Mostly the reason and season ones left a dent in the heart, a crack in the brain or at the least shattered a well-believed belief. No but wait, that was the primary reason we came up with this theory. So that there wont be anymore heartaches and tear stings. So classifying folks from the beginning meant that we dint really give a shit about they stayed or left, and if they were there, then for no matter how long. Because they were already supposed to leave and any staying on was a bonus.

But these were also the ones who taught me the most. Or held my hand in a difficult situation and led me through. Like one dear colleague, who helped me a lot during the most intense career examination of my life, and then disappeared. Or was kicked out. No way to find out if he was playing the reason season game or if I was. So its a little tricky, my friend. In somebody else’s mind (I think they must be atleast a dozen) I am the leaver. The girl who was there for a nice little spring to get help to pick a few apples. And then gone.

I thought about all of this again now, because after a really long time I made a new friend. A girl, who thinks a lot like I do, and shares the same love for rebellious characters. Now once again, I think (hope) it is for a lifetime. Or at-least for some solid reason. Or may be a few seasons? Who knows. I will have to wait and find out.


Pear and Chocolate Cake

On a sweeter note, baked pears are beautiful. They are soft, warm and fuzzy. And put into an intensely chocolate cake held together by a simple tart at the base. It’s a flavor ride in each bite.

Pear chocolate cake

Recipe adapted from a non-descript book titled simply – ‘Food Lovers Chocolate Book’. That leads me to believe good things in life come without a band-baaja.

chocolate cake with base

Makes a 9 inch cake to feed 4-10 people. Depends on how much you eat. really.

What you will need:

For the base:

  • 60 gm butter, cold and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 140 gm all purpose flour
  • 50 gm castor sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

For the filling:

  • 3 ripe pears
  • 1 egg
  • 75 gm butter
  • 75 gm brown sugar
  • 20 gm ground almonds
  • 75 gm flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 25 gm dark cocoa powder
  • 50 ml milk

What to do :

  1. Combine all the base ingredients together, quickly knead into a dough, wrap in sarine wrap or a damp towel and refrigerate for atleast half an hour.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC. Grease and line a 9 inch springform pan for easy unmolding of the cake.
  3. Roll out the dough to a circle on a lightly floured surface and line the base of the prepared pan.
  4. For the filling, peel the pears, halve lengthways and remove the cores.
  5. Cream the butter and sugar together till pale. Beat in the egg.
  6. Stir in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and milk. Stir well till incorporated.
  7. Spread this on top of the dough in the springform pan. Arrange the pear halves on top, pressing them in so that they touch the base.
  8. Bake in the middle shelf for about 30 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  9. Take it out and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes before unmolding. let it cool completely before cutting.
  10. Drizzle with some powdered sugar. optional.
  11. Now take a spoon and dig in.

Slice of chocolate and pear

Notes :

  1. It is easy to overbake this cake, so be careful. It’s intensely dark color makes it difficult to gauge if it is baked through. So skewer method is important.
  2. Depending on your preference you can use 2 and 1/2 to 3 pears. I used 2 1/2, but you can squeeze in 3, i.e 6 halves.

 

 

Piastachio Chocolate chip cake and summer vacations

Today morning while watering the various plants dotting our balconies, I suddenly felt as if my grandfather was standing besides me. Instructing me to take note of the leaves and flowers. Judge the soil and decide the correct level of watering. I was transported back 20 years in time. To another summer when you could be in your shorts, sit in the mud and talk to plants all day long.

And then go up on the terrace, take a big slice of watermelon and hog it down. Staining your clothes pink and spitting the seeds all over. A time which seemed to go on, and day which seemed like one chunk of time. Not divided in morning, afternoon or evening. Because you could eat breakfast for lunch, take a shower in the afternoon and have an ice-cream whenever you wish. It was the summer vacation time. At my grandparents house with my cousins.

Every year, we would have such uninterrupted vacation for at least 15 days or even more. The hot blazing sun overhead did not matter, neither did the bruises on the knees. I was more acquainted with G.I.Joes and fighting techniques than Barbie dolls, because my cousin and his best friend were both guys. Who loved fighting. With each other, with the armored figurines or with me. He-man – The master of the Universe came into my life way earlier than dolls and dresses. I learnt to brat my way through, to get the maximum number of mangoes or to be the last one to take a shower.

I remember getting lots of candies then, which we would deposit with my grandpa in his big jar of candies. And every day we got to put our hand in the multi-colored candy jar and pick out the biggest candy. And then scare the world with our newly colored red green or blue tongues. The jar never ran out of candy, and our minds out of things to do. At the end of every exciting activity was a turn which led to another activity. So we would wake up and go out to pluck flowers for the daily pooja (a daily prayer ritual), then eat breakfast teemed up with a lot of fruits, make mud castles, go swimming, play with the dog, then a mandatory break for lunch, eat ice-cream(s), make origami animals, paint (sometimes books and sometimes walls), wait on the porch for my uncle and aunt to return from work and then go to the Appughar – local Disneyland, come back sweaty and itchy, take a shower, and then relax while listening to some historical stories and some fairy tales. And then dream. Dream of Shivaji Maharaj and dreams of being Rapunzel.

That was a time when there were no video games or Ipads. We played with Lego and doll houses and sand castles. We read from books which were made of paper and real pages which had to be turned to know what comes next. With our little hands and big thoughts, we were planting seeds of what would become of us. Those were the long uninterrupted days filled with possibilities. Of spotting a new bird or sucking the honey from a flower bud. Or just lying down and viewing the sun from our tin kaleidoscopes.

Rutvika


Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cake

This cake is as simple as childhood dreams. Nothing fancy, just some ground pistachios, ground almonds and chocolate chips which will melt in your mouth. I had seen this recipe in a magazine in Paris, inspired from a cake served in Rose Bakery, Pigalle. Try it, you will love the distinctive pistachio flavor.

close up of pistachio cake

What you will need:

  • 225 gm sugar
  • 200 gm butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100 gm toasted pistachios, finely ground and sieved
  • 100 gm toasted almonds, finely ground and sieved
  • 200 gm all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • 200 gm chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate

What to do:

  1. Butter and line a loaf pan or a 10 inch round cake pan. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together till creamy and light in color.
  3. Then add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating it before adding the next one.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract.
  5. In another bowl mix together pistachio powder, almond powder, flour and baking powder.
  6. Gently fold in the dry ingredients with the egg mixture till it all comes together. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes (for the bigger loaf) , or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Notes:

  1. The pistachio flavor is over-powering the almonds, but the almond powder keeps the cake wonderfully moist.
  2. Be careful to not let any pistachio shell get ground. It will be a nightmare to bite into a piece with the pointy shell in the cake. Hence i recommend sieving the pistachio powder.
  3. I used almonds with the skin to give it a slightly golden brown color. Feel free to use skin-less almonds if you prefer a greener color from the pistachios.
  4. You can use un-toasted nuts, but toasting releases the oils, and hence the flavors.

Pistach cake slice

Home-made Pizza and Baby un-blues

It is that period of the life again. When everyone around you is asking “When is the (……) thing happening?” Insert in the bracket –  getting married/ having kid/ having second kid/ blah blah and bhlah. And with a lot of my friends, cousins, their friends going down the path of having a baby, I am not spared.

From easy nonchalant remarks of my mom to the serious discussion which my granny had with me a few days back, everyone assures me how it is the “right” time. And then if I brush off their remarks, they put their feet down, gaze straight into my eyes and pointedly ask me – “Do you guys want kids or not?”. I meekly say a yes and prepare myself for the onslaught of the next set of reasonings which clearly establish that our generation thinks too much. Atleast about this issue if nothing else.

It is true that before I went to Paris to study a month long culinary course, I had thought that may be this is it. May be once I come back from Paris we will be ‘ready’ to have a baby. But something else happened. I suddenly realized that I have to do so many more things, before resigning assigning most part of my day to changing nappies and monitoring growth spurts to answering questions about why is the apple red and why do we have to go to school. Sure, I adore little ones (am blatantly biased more towards baby girls than boys) and love to play with them and fuss over them etc. But as long as it is somebody else’s responsibility at the end of the day. As long as I can hand over the baby to someone else once it starts crying, I love babies.

We are still from that generation where our parents had the first kid in the first year of marriage. Without much ado. In fact when I asked my mom-in-law how they had spent their first wedding anniversary, I was surprised to hear that it coincided with the naming ceremony of her newborn baby. Simple. That was how mostly lives went on.

But apparently not now. The responsibilities of the baby business sound much larger than the joys. The pressure of making a healthy baby, then there is pressure of giving it quality time, combined with the pressure of growing it up into a noble, smart, good, well-behaved, witty, sensitive, mannered, loving kid – looms over me like a cloud. How will I be able to do that when on most days I don’t qualify for any of those adjectives myself?! How would we spend lazy days eating instant noodles and lazing around reading on the couch when we have to feed the baby 10 times a day. How can we get sloshed out over a healthy dose of bhaang drink, hog on some home-made pizza and sleep like an ass for three hours in the afternoon when the kid will have to do a zillion other things in those three hours?! Or how can I do a marathon of baking and cooking and researching with my big cook books on weekends if there are play-dates and birthday parties to be attended with the kids?!

The purists again try to explain me that this will be the case even if you have a baby 5 years later. In fact you would be older then and all the running around the kid will be more exhausting. But who knows? I might get fitter and wiser by then. I just might. Or not.

Sincerely,

Rutvika Charegaonkar

P.S : All of this does not stop me from calculating my ovulation dates. Oh, silly confused me!


So after the bhaang induced session, we did make the Pizza. Chicken for the husband and vegetables for me. I have experimented with several Pizza doughs in the last couple of months, but some smelled yeasty, some were flat, and some were just blah. But this one is a beautiful elastic dough which bakes into a layered crust and browns to a lovely crispness at the bottom.

Homemade Pizza

I adapted (say copied) the recipe from Raks Kitchen, she is very popular with all the South Indian aunties around and I have tried a lot of her breakfast items, which work very well. The Pizza sauce is the one I have been using for ages, but essentially if I am not wrong, it originated from wikihow.

Home-made Pizza with chicken and vegetables

What you will need :

For the dough :

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp sugar

For the sauce and toppings:

  • 5-6 tomatoes, pureed and strained to remove skin
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp chopped basil
  • oregano, pepper, salt and sugar to taste
  • Shredded mozzarella or Pizza cheese
  • Small chunks of chicken marinated with a marinade of choice and cooked 80% in a pan
  • Onions, tomatoes, bell pepper and any other vegetable you fancy, cut into vertical strips

What to do :

  1. To make the pizza crust, mix flour, salt and yeast in a bowl.
  2. Take milk and water and sugar in a saucepan and heat it to lukewarm stage while dissolving the sugar.
  3. Add this milk and water mixture to the flour and stir it in with a spoon.
  4. Take it on the kitchen counter and knead into a smooth dough for 5 mins.
  5. Keep in a well-oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let the dough rise to its double size for about 1 and 1/2 hours.
  6. To make the sauce, simmer the tomatoes till slightly cooked, add the garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, salt and sugar and cook till it all comes together.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 230°C for 10 minutes.
  8. Then once the dough has risen, knead it again for a minute and divide into 4 balls of equal size. Keep the other dough balls covered while working with one.
  9. Roll the dough ball into a flat disk, making the sides like a rim. Transfer to a baking pan.
  10. Spread a thick layer of sauce on the disk, leave out the rim and then cover with a generous layer of cheese. Place the chicken and vegetable on top and spread another layer of shredded cheese. (You can cut down on the cheese to make it more healthy, but of-course it comes with the downside of not being cheesy enough).
  11. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes. The pizza should move freely on the pan, be browned at the bottom and cheese should be melted on top.
  12. Serve sizzling hot with coke. Wait, diet coke. Yes.

pizza with veggies

Notes :

  • I am not a big fan of the elastic Mozzarella hence I use processed cheddar. You can use a combination of whichever cheeses you like.
  • This dough is really easy to work with and it takes less than 10 mins to mix it, knead and then some time to rise. If planned even 2 hours in advance, it is fantastic quick meal.
  • The Pizza sauce is very versatile and can be used for sandwiches, lasagna or even as a dip.

Pizza sauce

Mushroom Turnovers and Oh yes, my trying-to-arrange marriage tales

I have known my husband for the last 12 years. But the first 9 years don’t really count. We took a class together in school, but that was it. We chose different paths, went to different colleges and he was then studying and working in the USA for six years, before he came back and we met.

And in those intervening years a lot happened. I dated a few guys, he must have dated some girls (although he doesn’t talk about it. yet.) , but yes, we were on different paths of life.

And then I cleared my CA exam, was 22 and deemed fit to get married by my parents and other folks around me. Or at least start looking for “suitable guys” so that something “clicks” sooner or later. My attempts at finding a suitable boyfriend to eventually get married to had failed miserably for several reasons. So, naturally my matrimonial ad was placed in some of the arranged marriage groups and related newsletters. I don’t know what it said, but clearly my mom had done a good job at marketing me well, because the whole ritual of meeting guys and their parents and that whole shit started soon enough.

For those of you who are uninitiated about the arranged marriage process in India, let me sum it up for you. Typically, the responsibility of finding a partner for the girl and the guy lies with the family. So as a community activity, people suggest befitting proposals and the families meet, the would-be bride and groom meet too, may be for an hour or so and that’s it. In more advanced cities, the girl and guy meet may be one or two times and boom, a perfect heavenly match is made. Or so they claim.

My mom, the super efficient woman that she is, started working on this project. She made lists, went through matrimonial websites, magazines and generally spread the word around that they are looking for their daughter. She even went ahead and made a fake facebook and orkut (which was very popular then) account and would re-search about the guys before she asked me to have a look at them. Oh man, it was like one organized military operation. And as a result, over a span of two years, my mom and dad evaluated about 200 proposals, spoke to at-least 80 of them and as a fitting climax, I met around 15 of those ‘boys’.

It was hilarious to say the least. I had very little belief in this system of finding a husband, and it just sounded bizarre that I would randomly go and stay with a guy who I have met twice, or say thrice. My savior in this whole situation was my brother, because we would laugh off the whole thing. That kept my sanity intact.

Nevertheless, I had some interesting interactions. Once we went to a guys house, and the whole living room was painted bright red, the chairs, upholstery, carpet, wall hanging, everything right upto the ceiling fan was bright red. Felt like a psychedelic cocaine-induced view of things. On another time, I met a guy alone, in a coffee shop, and in a weird “phoren” accent he started regaling his tales of how many women he had seduced and laid. Urgh. I fled.

We had also met the then Mumbai municipal commissioner’s son, who was as thin as a stick insect. We got to see the palatial home of that bureaucrat, but the guy rejected me for the reason that I had spectacles. He and his father were sent to jail later on when they were convicted in a housing scam. I thanked some celestial power for that most awesome rejection of my life.

One guy, a friend of my friend, was so overwhelmed and out-of-breath the whole time, that he spilled the coffee, accidentally touched my hand and relegated at the shock and finally walked out and forgot to pay the bill. When I politely told him that I don;t think us can work, he e-stalked me for a whole six months after which my friend had to step in and stop it.

I could go on with these tales, but I think it is sufficient for now. My poor mom was getting traumatized by the end of two years, and I was also on the verge of saying yes to a not-that-great-but-okayish guy, which is when my classmate and my future husband rescued me from all of this hoopla. And hence started our love story, our families met, and we got married. 🙂

And P.S: I have known some amazing people having an arranged marriage and it beautifully works for them. So I am not at all against this concept. Just FYI.

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Mushroom Turnovers or Stuffed Mushroom Pies

I got this recipe from a dog-eared book ‘ The Good-Housekeeping’. It’s a very old book I picked up at a flea market, and I don’t think it is in print anymore. But the recipes and illustrations there are excellent.

Mushroom turnovers

What you will need:

  • 120 gm cream cheese , I use Philadelphia
  • 50 gm butter
  • 75 gm all-purpose flour
  • 20 gm cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 100 gm button mushrooms, washed and chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • salt
  • Dried herbs like basil, oregano, thyme

What to do:

  1. To make the dough for the covering, take cream cheese, butter and flour in a bowl and mix well, with an electric beater or knead with hand. Once the dough comes together, (it will still be a sticky dough), place it in an oiled bowl and cover it with a plastic sarine wrap or a damp cloth and refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, make the mushroom filling. Melt butter in a skillet/pan. Saute the onions till they become translucent.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook them for a while till tender and till the water has evaporated away.
  4. Add salt, dried herbs and mix well.
  5. Blend flour and yoghurt together and add it to the mushrooms. Cook for a minute and then take it off heat. Let it cool.
  6. On a generously floured surface, take the dough, cut it into half and refrigerate one half. Roll the other half into a disk, while being careful to not let it stick to the counter-top or the rolling pin. Be very generous with the flouring.
  7. With a bowl or some other circular object, cut the dough disks into 4-5 inch circles.
  8. Carefully place the circles on a baking mat on a baking tray. Spoon in a tbsp of the mushroom mixture.
  9. Line the edges o the dough disk with the egg wash (or some melted butter) and lift it up from one side, align with the other side and press down to seal.
  10. Brush the tops with egg wash, so it gets a beautiful color while baking.
  11. Refrigerate the turnovers till it is just about time to serve and then bake in a pre-heated oven at 230°C for 12 minutes or so, till the turnovers are golden brown from the bottom.
  12. Repeat with the other dough disk and bake.
  13. Serve these buttery , flaky turnovers with some mint chutney or ketchup.

Turnovers in making

Notes :

  1. The original recipe used sour cream, but I easily replaced it with yoghurt.
  2. These turnovers are basically egg-less with some egg wash. You can replace the egg wash with butter and still get the same effect.
  3. The cream-cheese and butter dough is excellent and you can use any type of savory thick filling inside.
  4. These turnovers are best eaten on the same day. They become soggy the next day. But can be refrigerated for 2-3 days before baking and then baked just before serving.

Turnovers with coffee

Rutvika Charegaonkar

Eggless Maraschino Cherry cookies

Today, I am going to share a story with you. Story of a little girl I loved. Back then when I was little too.

I was a young girl of 14-15 and a new family had come to stay in an apartment below ours. The family of a mom, dad and their 3-year-old little kid Ananya. I don’t exactly remember the first time we met (like we don’t remember the first time we met more than half of the people in our life), but I remember that eventually within 2-3 months, she would come to our house daily, Or I would rather go and get her everyday in the evening and we would such have a great time. She was quite intelligent , and would tell me stories of things that had happened in the day. She would roll her Rrrs the way kids do when they learn to say it, and look for words that had an R. Her parents were adorable too, and her mom used to help me with my Maths problems. Both used to work full-time, but they always had time for Ananya. And her gimmicks. They looked like a perfect family.

This went on for 2 years. Then Ananya started staying with her mom’s parents, a couple of lanes down and she would rarely be seen in our building. On the rare occasions that we saw her mom, I realized that she was unwell. We later found out that she had some sort of cancer but that she was feeling better through chemotherapy. For a couple of months they even shifted back to their own home and I started meeting Ananya again. Her mom’s illness had definitely taken a toll on her, but the sparkle in her eyes was still intact.

Then in the summer of 2005, they had a birthday party for Ananya, and we saw that her mother was very sick. She had a brain tumor and one part of her was paralysed. I could see it in her eyes, that she knew that this was the last birthday of her daughter where she would be present. Soon after, she passed away leaving 5-year-old Ananya and her dad alone. And her parents with whom Ananya was staying later on.

Then it got weird. Ananya’s dad took her away, and began staying with close to his sister about 40 kms from Mumbai, denying permission for her grandparents or any of us to meet her. Her grandfather tried to go and meet her in her school, but her dad banned that too. Eventually we heard he got re-married, but I have not seen Ananya since that day after her mom passed away.

Her disappearance from our lives, left a hole. And a lot of unanswered questions. Our predicament is nowhere as painful as her grandparent’s but its sad nevertheless. I dearly miss her. He angelic face floats in my dreams several times.

Then about 4 years later, I started working with a local orphanage, 3 hours a week. Doing whatever is required in the orphanage and working with 2-3 year old kids. And one day, I came to know that Ananya’s grandfather was one of the trustees there. He had joined after retirement, at the time when Ananya’s mom passed away.

Different paths might have led us there, but I suddenly realized that underlying current was that both of us missed Ananya very much. In different ways and at different levels. There was an Ananya-shaped hole in our lives that we were striving to fill.

Its been about 10 years since then. The pain of not being able to meet her, know her as a person has diminished with time. But there are moments, when something reminds me of her, and I can still feel the dull ache in my heart.

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Eggless Maraschino Cherry Shortbread cookies:

Makes about 25-30 one inch cookies, or less if bigger

Cookies with hersheys kisses

What you will need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp maraschino cherry juice
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
  • granulated sugar, for sprinkling
  • Chocolate chips or Hershey’s chocolate kisses, unwrapped

What to do:

  1. In a big bowl, beat the butter until creamy and pale, for about 1 minute.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar and almond extract and continue beating till mixed. Add the cherry juice to the mixture.
  3. Add the flour in parts and continue whisking , scraping the sides of the bowl at intervals.
  4. Once the flour is fully incorporated and chopped cherries and whisk till mixed.
  5. It will be a robust, yet sticky dough. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet, 1 inch apart.
  6. Press the cookies lightly with your thumb in the centre.
  7. Sprinkle each of the cookies with granulated sugar.
  8. Bake the cookies in a pre-heated oven at 160°C for about 14-15 minutes till they are browned at the bottom. Do not overbake or they will start browning from the top.
  9. Once removed from the oven, immediately press some chocolate chips or the chocolate kiss on top and slightly press in.
  10. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool.

Maraschino cherrie cookies

Notes :

  1. These are shortbread cookies and hence have a softer texture rather than a crisp note.
  2. Fresh cherries or any other berries can also be used in place of maraschino cherries, just replace the 2tsp cherry juice with equal amount of sugar syrup.
  3. If using unsalted butter, add 1/8 tsp of salt along-with flour.

Rutvika Charegaonkar

Maraschino gift box

P.S : I wish I meet Ananya again. Someday. And give her a big hug.

If you would like to share a similar story of loved ones lost, please write to me in the comments section. Me and others reading the post, would definitely like to read. 🙂