Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious!
I was really excited for August’s challenge because I love learning about foods from other cultures and introducing new techniques and flavors into my baking. I planned on making all 3 of the items in this challenge, but never got around to the Masala cookies. The Bolinhas de Coco cookies and Mawa cake turned out to be particularly challenging for me because I had a difficult time locating all of the ingredients so I cut some corners and did not achieve the results that I was shooting for. I was delighted to find that Trader Joe’s now carries Ghee (clarified butter) for the cookies. On the other hand, I was never able to find the semolina for the Bohlinhas de Coco cookies. I replaced it with a blend of flours resulting in a texture that was way off from the one that Aparna described. I also didn’t use fresh coconut so I’m sure they suffered from that as well. The flavor of the cardamom and coconut combination was delicious, but I was really disappointed that I was not able to get a crispy outside and soft inside. As you can see in the photo below, my cookies looked nothing like Aparnas.
I had a similar experience with the Mawa Cake. The cardamom flavor was delicious, but I found the texture to be a bit dry. However, I loved it dipped in almond milk or coffee because it soaked up liquid really well. It’s possible that I overcooked it, even though I baked it 20 minutes less than the instructions read. I was also not sure that my mawa was exactly right. The color of mine was much lighter than in Aparna’s photos. I would probably not make this again because it was so time consuming to make the mawa, but I would love to add cardamom to a moist pound or coffee cake to achieve that spicy Indian flavor.
I encourage you to click on the links above to Aparna’s blog for detailed recipes of these Indian sweets. I’m happy that I was able to participate in this challenge and want to thank Aparna for coming up with recipes that most of us have never tried. I am definitely inspired to experiment with more Indian dishes and hopefully have more success in the future.