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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

While you can make use of your good, old coffee machine to brew fresh granules for this sensational summer drink, I tried to adapt it for those who do not have or cannot be bothered with filtered coffee. For those purists who swear by the genuine stuff, go straight to the unaltered recipe on Epicurious.com. Those who are not so squeamish over instant coffee, grab your jar of regular Nescafe and start by making the coffee jelly which is the magic ingredient in this drink. I would suggest that you go for a stronger dose than you are used to as the freezing process will, to some extent, numb the intensity of the coffee flavour that comes through. Chill for a couple of hours, then stretch yourself under a beach umbrella and sip lazily through a bubble straw [ideally with a view on the beach] on a scorching summer day.

FROZEN ICED COFFEE + COFFEE JELLY

Ingredients:

For the Coffee Jelly

1 tablespoon agar agar

4 teaspoons instant coffee

2 tablespoons caster sugar

2 cups cold water

For the Whipped Cream

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frozen Iced Coffee

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1 1/2 cups cold whole milk

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

  • Dissolve agar agar in 3 tablespoons cool water in a small bowl. Let stand till bloomed, about 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile combine cold coffee and sugar in a large container. Gently stir agar agar mixture into coffee.

  • Do not stir too vigorously else air bubbles will appear. Chill the mixture until it is firm for about 2 hours.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed or whisk, whip cream in a large bowl till soft peaks form.

  • Add sugar and vanilla and whip to medium peaks. Chill whipped cream while preparing the iced coffee.
  • For the iced coffee, blend coffee, cocoa, milk, syrup, vanilla, and 3 cups ice into a blender until smooth.

  • To assemble, cut coffee jelly into 3/4″ cubes and fill serving glasses with 1/2 cup cubed coffee jelly each.
  • Spoon 3 tablespoons of whipped cream over each and spread it around to create a solid layer of cream.

  • Divide frozen iced coffee (about 1 cup each) among glasses and carefully pour on top of the cream layer.
  • Top glasses with more whipped cream and serve immediately with bubble tea straws. Makes 4 servings.

Frozen Iced Coffee

These must be the best madeleines I must have baked till date with a perfect light and airy texture and a gorgeous nutty hint of browned butter I had almost forgotten. The acquisition of a new madeleine pan for Christmas was purely accidental; I could not resist buying one after setting eyes on the matte black tray in Super U. To test my brand new bake ware, there was no more persuasive recipe than these Christmas-inspired cakes, flavored with gingerbread spices, from the Kitchy Kitchen. My first batch got hopelessly stuck to the ungreased pan though it ended up as a delicious crumb topping over vanilla flecked ice cream and crème Chantilly as my impromptu Christmas lunch dessert. The second try yielded far better results after I went a bit more cautious and coated the pan with a liberal amount of baking spray but I decided against dipping them in the molasses glaze, favoring a dusting of icing sugar for the final look.

GINGERBREAD MADELEINES

Ingredients:

9 tablespoons browned butter

2 large eggs, room temperature

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

1 large pinch kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoons ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking powder

For the Molasses Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon molasses

3 tablespoons whole milk

Method:

  • Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess.

  • Place in the fridge. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or with an electric hand mixer), whip the eggs.

  • Add sugar, salt, and vanilla and beat well for 5 minutes until the mixture turns pale and thickened.

  • Whisk together the flour, spices, and baking powder and carefully fold in flour with rubber spatula.

  • Drizzle browned butter into the batter, little at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate.

  • Fold until all the butter is incorporated. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Meanwhile make the glaze by mixing all ingredients until smooth.

  • Plop enough batter in the center of each mold to fill it by three quarter full but do not spread batter.

  • Bake for 9 to 10 minutes until cakes just feel set, they should bounce back when pressed with finger.

  • Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. Cool it to room temperature.

  • When they are cool enough to handle, dip each into glaze, turning over so that both sides are coated.

  • Scrape off any excess and rest them on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the glaze firms up.

If you have a liking for sweet spices, I have a feeling you might get seriously hitched to this lightly spiced milkshake from Delicious, which blends cinnamon and ginger into a refreshing ice-cold beverage they have rightly named as ‘gingerbread milkshake’. My biscuit crumbs unfortunately did not hold up well against the glass rims as I was far too impatient to wait for the decorative edge to set in the fridge before I could fill them up with thick, creamy shake full of festive flavors. As we hit the full blast of summer heat this December, this would be my drink of choice to slurp over on a lazy afternoon as I wrap gifts and hampers for others to discover under the Christmas tree.

GINGERBREAD MILKSHAKE

10 ginger thin biscuits

1/4 cup (90g) honey

4 scoops vanilla ice cream

1L (4 cups) whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons golden syrup

Cinnamon quills, to serve

Method:

  • Whiz the ginger biscuits to fine crumbs in food processor, then transfer the crumbs to a plate.
  • Place the honey on a separate plate. Dip the rim of 4 serving glasses in honey, then in crumbs.

  • Chill to firm up. Place remaining ingredients, except cinnamon quills, in a blender and blend.
  • Blend till smooth and pour into glasses. Decorate with cinnamon quills and serve immediately.

Gingerbread Milkshake

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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