KAJU BARFI/KAJU APPLE- Happy Diwali!!!!
My tryst with the Indian sweets continues. After anjeer and pista barfis for Dussehra, I had to graduate to something more popular- the kaju barfis,for Diwali. I call it graduation, as many a times we imagine few goodies fit to be store brought only, and do not stand a chance of becoming home made sweets. It was a pleasant surprise when they came out equally good if not better, when I tried making them at home. I was addicted so much to making them as people become to eating them, that I ended up making kaju sweets of every possible shape and colour with almost 1 kg kajus in
several few small batches!! At times ending up with sloppy sticky dough and resultant unshapely barfis, to be quickly rolled back into balls and distributed for taste testing. If you are not as over enthusiastic as me, you can easily nail it in your first or at the maximum second attempt. Even if the shapes don’t please you, its taste will more than compensate for all your efforts. So this Diwali, surprise your family and friends with a home made kaju barfi platter, including all shapes, colours and designs as you can!!
Ingredients: (yields 30 kaju apples)
- Cashew nuts (kaju)- 2 ½ cups ( I used the ‘halved’ variety of cashew, you can also use whole ones)
- Sugar – 1 cup
- Water- ½ cup
- Milk- 2 to 3 teaspoons
- Cardamom powder- ½ teaspoon
- Ghee – 1 tablespoon
Note: Start with 1 cup cashews if you do not want to try with larger quantity. since it takes less than 20 minutes of cooking time, you can do another bigger batch the second time. For any quantity of cashews, the ratio of cashew:sugar is 2:1 . For syrup, sugar:water is 2:1. After my inital attempts, I tried experimenting with slightly less sugar, and this recipe worked well for me.
- To start with use cashews which are not very soft, the cashews should break with a ‘snap’. If the kajus are on the softer side, dry roast them for few minutes without changing their colour. Let them cool down and proceed with the recipe.
- Grind cashews in a mixer, scraping sides and bottom of the jar intermittently. Do not over grind, as the nuts start releasing oil and the mixture becomes oily and sticky . Stop grinding at dry coarse powder stage.
- Keep a non stick surface/ plate greased with ghee ready before preparing syrup.
- In a non stick pan, heat water and sugar, stir till the sugar dissolves completely. Make sugar syrup with it by heating on low flame and stirring intermittently. The syrup should reach ‘one string’ consistency, that is, the syrup should form one string when pressed and released between index finger and thumb.
- Once the sugar syrup reaches one string consistency, you can add flavourings and colour of choice. For making kaju apple, I added cardamom powder and few strands of saffron soaked in warm milk.
- For making the flower shaped barfis, I added pink wilton gel colour . Again the amount of colour depends on the shade you want – deeper or lighter. Using a tooth pick , taking a little smear of colour at a time deepen the colour of the syrup accordingly. If using powder colour, mix it with few drops of milk and proceed .
- Once the colour and flavourings are added, add the cashew powder, stir continuously on low flame, scraping the walls of the vessel. Depending on the quantity it may take 8-10 minutes for the mixture to bind and form a loose dough which will start leaving the sides of the pan.
- You can also check by spooning a little amount, cool it and test it by checking if it forms a non sticky ball. If it does, you are good to go, if its too sticky, heat for few more minutes.
- At this stage, transfer the cashew dough to the greased plate or non sticky surface.
- Allow it to cool for some time. After around ten minutes, when the dough is still warm, start kneading it with greased hands.The dough should be smooth without cracks. If its on the drier side you can add 1-2 teaspoons of milk, half teaspoon at a time,checking the consistency while kneading. If making kaju apples, you need not knead the whole dough, just pinch off a marble sized dough, using greased hands roll it between palms and make a round smooth ball.
- To give apple shape, after making round smooth balls, slightly give it an elongated shape, compress the oval shape between fingers to create mild depression at two ends. Pierce a clove into one end.
- If making any other fruit, you can either use a mould or you can shape accordingly.
- Once all the apples are ready, take liquid gel colour, dilute with few drops of milk. Using a flattened brush give vetical stokes to shade the apple red.
- You can also use powder colour by mixing it with few drops of
- Pack the coloured apples in attractive gift boxes .
- To make them barfi (fudge)shape, using a rolling pin, flatten the dough uniformly between two non stick sheets, or parchment paper, cut into desired sizes and shapes.
- Any shaping step should be done when the dough is hot enough for you to handle. I did the initial shaping when the dough was hot, then as the balls cooled down slightly and were warm, I came back to them and gave them the final shape.
- At any point if the dough seems to be dry, add few drops to 1 teaspoon of milk. Do not over do, as the mixture will be too slippery and will not hold its shape. You can also heat the mixture for few minutes if it hardens.
Wishing all my readers a very happy and safe Diwali!!!