Decorative Barfi – Flowers & Henna

With all the experiments in baking, some of the learned skills turned out to be transferable for Diwali sweets too!

If I haven’t said enough in my previous posts, I dislike fondant. I believe it tastes terrible despite being PURE SUGAR. The only redeeming quality is its modelling ability for making pretty flowers, cartoons, angry birds, Pokemon and so on on my cakes.

However, it does seem incredible that Indian sweets had so few decorative options out there – few fruit shapes or watermelons that are typical of the good sweet shops out there.

My indian barfi experiments started with a simple almond pista burfi. Like all kids in the 90s, I grew up listening to the merits of sticking to a Sanjeev Kapoor recipe from mom. I just substituted the cashew portions by almond flour.

An appreciative side note for almond flour – It is so easy to make! feels like flour and fairly healthy too! Going to try a cake next!

Almond Flour:  Take 1 kg of almonds. Boil them in water for around 10 mins. Once cooled remove the almonds and dry them on a kitchen cloth. (Pour away the remaining water). Once dry, the almonds are super easy to peel. Just pop out all the peels (this is fairly time consuming) and dry off the peeled almonds as well.

To ensure the peeled almonds are really dry, you can roast them on a pre-heated pan for around 3-5 mins. I popped mine into my air fryer for around 5 mins. Once completely dry, ground the almonds to get a fine almond flour!

Now the recipe for my burfis – slightly modified from here


  • Almond Flour – 2.5 cups
  • Pistachios  – 1.5 cups
  • Khoya/mawa – 1.5 cup*
  • Powdered sugar – 3/4 cup (can be more if you prefer a sweeter taste)
  • Green cardamom powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup paper boat aamras (optional)

*For my mawa, I made mine using milk power, following the burfi-mava recipe here. Also, I had reduced my sugar content since I used milk powder.

The following method was used to make 2 kinds of burfis – one with flower diyas and one with the henna design.

  • Coarsely grind the pistachios to a fine powder.
  • Cook the khoya in a non-stick pan, stirring continuously, for about ten minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • I mixed about 1/4 cup khoya to around 1/2 cups + 1/3 cups of sugar of  of the pistachio mixture so that it forms a thick paste. I then filled this into an icing bag (no tip) with a small piping hole at the end and kept it aside to cool
  • Now, we need to create khoya-almond-pista mixtures of 3 colors/flavors:
    • Part 1 – Plain Almond: To the remaining khoya – I added the almond flour and sugar, and knead to a smooth mixture
    • Part 2 – Green Pista: Divide the mixture into two equal parts. To one part add the remaining pistachios and cardamom powder.
    • Part 3: Mango Almond: From the plain almond mixture, I wanted to create a 3rd flavour. So I added around 1/4th some aamras from paper boat (had a can in my fridge) and a little yellow color.
  • Once I had all 3 colors ready – Yellow, plain and green, it was time to create the diyas

 Molding Diyas:

  1. Flower Diyas: I had gotten 3 concentric flower shaped cookie cutters earlier around which I was planning the whole design.img_20170226_223326
    The creation of these flowers despite the molds was slightly tricky and it took me a few tries to get it right. Just take care to not let your mixtures mix. It is ok if your mixture gets some extra kneads. It will make it more pliable. If you think the mixture is breaking off, add some cold milk or ghee (1 drop at a time).
    The method which worked the best for me was:

    1. Keep 3 molds in a concentric design like below and start with the smaller molds
    2. I first filled the pista mixture in the inner most mold.
    3. Keeping the small mold intact, I then fitted the plain almond in the 2nd mold and the mango burfi in the last mold
    4. Once all 3 mixes were in, pressing the outer most mold together, I gently removed the inner 2 molds one by one. After each mold, i manually adjusted some off burfi bits in the right circles using a toothpick.
    5. Finally, when the 3 molds were only held together by the outer most mold, I pressed it in on all sides so that the mixes adhere to each other and then gently removed the outermost mold.
    6. I wanted to create small flame shaped molds on 1/2 a toothpick with my yellow mango mixture and insert it right into the middle to create a lit ‘diya’. But can’t find the pictures now!
  2. Henna Burfi:
    1. From all remaining cutout portions from my flower diyas, I had enough left over of the plain almond and the mango almond portions to create another set of simple burfi.
    2. Ensuring I don’t mix my 2 flavours, I re-knead both mixtures separately and rolled them out into squares on individual plastic cling films. The squares can be quite thick since we are going to roll them over later.
    3. Taking care to ensure both the sizes are approximately same, I gently lifted my plain almond square to place face down on the mango almond mix. IMG_20161023_022159.jpg
    4. Once I had 2 flavors layered, I was time to pipe. Using the initially kept aside Pista-khoya mix, I piped them directly on my burfi and tried some free hand designs.
    5. Once done, I placed another plastic cling film on the layers and rolled very gently till the green piping was imbibed on my burfi.Final  effect below:

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