Made with almond milk and dark Lindt chocolate, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, this hot chocolate from Sweet and Savory by Shinee is a indulgent warm drink you will be making again and again this winter as you pull on your favorite pair of patterned socks and reach for that faded patchwork quilt to keep you cozy all night.

SPICED ALMOND HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoons ground cardamom

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

85g semi-sweet chocolate

Pinch of kitchen/ kosher salt

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon caster sugar

Method:

  • In a medium pot, simmer milk with spices over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the chocolate until it is melted. Remove from heat and add a small pinch of salt.

  • While the milk is simmering, whip the heavy cream with sugar using an electric mixer.

  • Whip cream until hard peaks form and set it aside in the refrigerator until serving time.

  • Pour the hot chocolate into a large mug. Top with dollops of prepared whipped cream.

  • Decorate with slivered almonds or chocolate curls or cinnamon and serve immediately.

Spiced Almond Hot Chocolate

A popular treat from North India, the besan laddoo is traditionally served as prasad, an offering made to God or to mark festive occasions like birthdays and weddings. Unlike other laddoos which involve painstaking methods of preparation, the technique of making besan laddoos comes as straight forward and relatively foolproof such that you will get it right on your very first attempt. The only catch is to get your besan/chickpea flour perfectly roasted over a low flame until it loses its raw smell and texture without letting it burn.

The rich, characteristic taste of the besan laddoo depends on this crucial step, so roll up your sleeves and make sure that you keep stirring the hot besan until it turns golden and fragrant. Usually a generous amount of clarified butter is required to get that distinctive melt-in-the-mouth texture, so do not skimp on the desi ghee if you can help. The khoya helps to bind the mixture well and make it less crumbly though it does reduce their shelf life a bit. Make this easy yet flavorsome laddoo for your brothers on Raksha Bandhan and share the love!

BESAN LADDOO

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups besan

1/4 cup semolina

1/2 cup ghee, melted

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup khoya or mawa

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

1/4 cup cashew nuts

Method:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the cashew nuts and sauté on low medium flame.
  • When they turn golden brown, remove from the pan from heat and place cashew nuts in a bowl to cool.

  • Add almonds to ghee, sauté on low flame for 3 minutes. Remove from pan and place with cashew nuts.
  • In the same pan, add remaining ghee and allow to melt and turn warm, not hot. Slowly, add the besan.

  • Roast on low flame till besan turns color and gives lovely aroma after at least 30-35 minutes of cooking.
  • Turn off heat and remove roasted besan to a wide plate and allow it to cool. It can be slightly lukewarm.

  • Melt 1 tablespoon ghee and roast semolina on low flame for 7-8 minutes and add it to the roasted besan.
  • Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon of ghee to the same pan and sauté the grated khoya for some 2-3 minutes.

  • Turn off flame and remove it from pan. Grind the roasted cashew nuts and almonds to a coarse powder.
  • Add the nuts to roasted besan. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. Finally add cardamom powder.

  • Mix gently to combine and shape this mixture into small, lemon sized even balls. Leave to set on a plate.
  • Place cashew nut on top as garnish. Laddoos have a shelf life of 2 weeks at room temperature. Makes 12.

Besan Laddoos

These deliciously lemony bars, from The Girl Who Loves To Eat, are something you really have to make yourself to believe that they are so ridiculously good. While I scaled down the recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth, I think you should totally go for the full recipe as you will probably be going back for seconds or thirds or till it’s all over, save for the crumbs! Other than a simple sugar glaze, these lemon “blondies” as I call them, do not require any add-ons and will easily find their way into packed lunch boxes and picnic baskets as a popular request among children and adults alike.

LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE BARS

Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter

100g white caster sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

100g all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

Zest of 1 medium lemon

Juice of 2 medium lemons

100g confectioners sugar, sifted

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Cream together butter and sugar.

  • Beat until it turns light and fluffy. Add eggs and keep beating for 1-2 minutes. Add flour and vanilla.

  • Add the baking powder, then add the zest and juice of one lemon. Fold them into the batter carefully.

  • Spread evenly onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes till a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

  • Prepare drizzle by mixing the juice of 1 lemon with 1 cup of water. Let cake cool for about 5 minutes.

  • Poke it with a wooden skewer all over and then carefully spoon the lemon drizzle all over warm cake.

  • When cake is cooled, make glaze by mixing the confectioners sugar with the remaining lemon juice.

  • Spread onto cake and cut into bars while glaze is still wet. Leave to stand till glaze sets. Makes 8 bars.

Lemon Cake Bars

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