Diwali meant new clothes, a bag of firecrackers peeking from the shelf in a closet, the sound of the sacred bell and chants during the morning and evening Pujas, and the explosion of cardamom, sugar, mawa, saffron, coconut, flour, and ghee kissed flavors in the long lineup of sweets in the kitchen.
But raising children who have roots in America often makes us come up with ways in which to marry cultures and flavors in our food, especially if there’s a celebration in the offing. Which is why, when we came upon an idea that called for preheating the oven and reaching out for bakeware this Diwali, we couldn’t resist. We lapped it up and employed it in a recipe that we knew would work best for our girls, in little pick-me-up portions. These soft and crumbly muffins come packed with the richness of mawa*, and when crowned with pretty slivers of almonds and blobs of comely, crinkly raisins, they make for elegant center pieces as well as gifts in your Diwali hamper to hand out to neighbors and friends.
Kaju-kishmish Mawa Muffins
- 1 1/3 Cups (160gm) all purpose flour
- 1½ Tsp baking powder
- ½ Tsp baking soda
- ¼ Tsp powdered cardamom seeds
- 1/8 Tsp powdered cloves
- 100gm khoya/mawa*
- 200gm (½ can) condensed milk
- 40gm unsalted/cooking butter, melted
- ½ cup (120ml) milk
- ¼ cup powdered sugar, optional**
- ¼ cup chopped roasted almonds or cashews
- ¼ cup raisins, washed and drained
- 1 Tbsp almond flakes and a few raisins for the top
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Line 12 cups of a muffin tray with paper liners. Set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and cloves. Set aside
- Microwave the mawa for about 30 seconds and then mash it thoroughly.
- In a medium bowl beat together the mawa, condensed milk, melted butter, milk and sugar (if using).
- Tip in the dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Stir in the nuts and raisins.
- Transfer the batter to the muffin cups, filling each about half-way. Top with the almond flakes.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into their centres comes out clean.
- Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Top with the raisins if desired.
* Mawa is the milk solids which result from cooking down whole milk and evaporating all the liquid in it. This can be found at most Indian grocery stores.
** These muffins are soft and very rich, and we have kept the sweetness on the lighter side to balance. Add the sugar if you like your muffins fairly sweet.