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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chocolate Kaju Katli: my twist on an Indian Dessert

I had my first piece of kaju katli a few weeks ago when a friend I traded some cookie dough for kaju katli, an Indian dessert.  At first, it looked a little like silver cigars, but I assure you that they are quite delicious.  The kaju katli recipe I'm posting here is a traditional cashew paste flavored with cardamom and rose essence covered in chocolate.  This recipe is adapted from Show Me the CurryThey make it in a very traditional fashion, and they also have a fun video to go along with the recipe.  The basic recipe is the same, but I've changed up some of the methods. 

Makes about 16-24 pieces.

bullet1.5 cups of powdered cashews
bullet1 cup powdered sugar
bullet1/2 cup non-fat dry milk (instant milk)
bullet1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
bullet2 drops rose essence or 1/2 teaspoon rose water
bullet2 tablespoons warm water
bullet1.5 cups of dark chocolate, chopped, chips, or discs
bulletSprinkles, edible gold glitter, or sanding sugar (available at candy/cake stores, hobby stores, and some grocery stores)
bulletDouble broiler
bulletTwo metal bowls
bulletOil (to oil your hands)
bulletParchment or Wax Paper
bulletPowder roasted unsalted cashews in a grinder.  I used a coffee grinder to grind small batches.  If you use a food processor, you'll have cashew paste that just won't work. 
bulletBe very careful with the rose essence. It is easy to overpower the candy.
bulletRose essence and rose water can be purchased at Indian Grocery stores.  I've also seen rose water at some H-E-B's and at Whole Foods.  

In a large metal bowl over a double broiler, combine the cashew powder, dry milk, and powdered sugar.  Allow the mixture to warm thoroughly and mix around the bowl to warm it.  Warming of the mixture helps the oils of the cashews release which is critical for getting a dough to form.  Once the mixture is warm, add the rose essence and warm water.  Add the warm water slowly, mixing it in with the spatula.  Keep mixing until the mixture starts to come together.  Once a dough starts to form, oil your hand or hands and knead the dough.  I usually knead with my right hand and use the left hand to hold the bowl.  Once the dough has about the consistency of play dough, you can start forming it into the desired shape.  I used a spherical 1 tablespoon measuring spoon to shape my cashew dough.  I packed the spoon tightly with the dough, then I pushed it out gently to not ruin the shape.  It made little dome shapes.  You can try to shape the dough by hand, but it will not typically hold well.  If the mixture cools, it may become crumbly.  Warm over a double broiler to shape.  It makes 16-24 pieces depending on how big you make each piece.  Bigger pieces will yield fewer pieces.

In another metal bowl over the double broiler, melt the dark chocolate.  Once completely melted, add the shaped kaju katli pieces.  Gently (very, very gently) use a fork to rotate it around in the chocolate or spoon chocolate over it to coat completely.  Remove from the chocolate using two forks to lift it out.  Carefully place each piece on wax or parchment paper.  Decorate with sprinkles, edible gold glitter or colored sanding sugar.  Sanding sugar and edible silver glitter didn't show up well on the chocolate.  The edible gold glitter stood out from the chocolate the best, but it is really up to your preference.  Allow the chocolate to set, and then serve.  For long term storage, store in the refrigerator covered.  Enjoy!

Silver wrapped kaju katli.

Don't use a food processor. Use a grinder to powder the cashews.

My first batch, with gold sanding sugar sans chocolate.

Shaped kaju katli.

Dipping into chocolate.

Covered in chocolate.

On goes the edible gold glitter.

Finished chocolate covered kaju katli.

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