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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

What’s better than a mug of steaming hot chocolate to warm up a rainy winter day? This wonderfully creamy chocolat chaud from my all-time favorite blog by David Lebovitz, gets its luxurious richness from lots of top-quality chocolate; I used Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa which has a subtle aroma of roasted coffee and Natural Bourbon vanilla beans. The beverage is best served in tiny espresso cups rather than regular coffee mugs with a large basin of freshly whipped cream on the side to overcome any possible chocolate overdose.

PARISIAN HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) whole milk

65 g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon light brown sugar, optional

Method:

  • Heat milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Whisk in chocolate, stirring until melted and steaming hot.
  • Cook mixture at a very low boil for about 3 minutes whisking constantly. Keep an eye on the mixture.

  • It may boil up a bit during the first moments. Add brown sugar and serve warm in small coffee cups.
  • It improves if made ahead and allowed to sit for few hours. Rewarm before serving. Makes 2 servings.

If you have a penchant for white chocolate, you might like to try this recipe from Will Cook For Friends spiked with a dash of cardamom and fresh orange zest. As usual, I stuck to Lindt with its Excellence White Chocolate bar, infused with Madagascan vanilla, which melts readily into a smooth and deliciously rich chocolate drink.

SPICED WHITE HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients:

60g good quality white chocolate, roughly chopped

1 cup (250 ml) whole milk

2 green cardamom pods, crushed

1 inch strip of orange zest

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg

Fresh whipped cream, for serving

Method:

  • Place a small pot on the stove over medium-low heat, and add the milk, crushed cardamom, and orange zest.
  • Heat until the milk begins to steam, and small bubbles appear around the edges of the pot, stirring frequently.

  • As soon as bubbles appear, remove from heat. Do not let mixture boil. Place chocolate in heatproof bowl.
  • Place a strainer over the bowl with chocolate, and pour milk through to remove cardamom and orange.

  • Add vanilla extract and sit for 20-30 seconds to allow chocolate to begin melting. Whisk till smooth.
  • Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg. Top with freshly whipped cream.  Makes 2 servings.

Hot Chocolate for Cold Days!

Elaichi chai is the craze at the moment, at least in our hospital mess. No night shift can ever be over without at least one dose of this comfortingly aromatic hot beverage expertly brewed by my interns who also happen to be very good self-taught cooks. It has become something of a ritual for us to gather around the mess table for a cup of freshly brewed elaichi chai before going back to casualty to deal with patients having the usual late-night complaints. I think it is what  keeps me going through the dreary 31hour shifts when duty compels me to overlook food and sleep. In an attempt to recreate JNH mess elaichi chai at home, I went ahead and made a gourmet version by adding whole vanilla beans and oodles of condensed milk to my regular Bois Cheri loose black tea. First come, first served!

ELAICHI CHAI

Method:

1/3 cup full fat milk powder

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons black tea leaves

2 green cardamom pods

1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 tablespoons condensed milk

Method:

  • Combine milk powder and water in a saucepan till dissolved. Warm over low heat until it bubbles.
  • Crush cardamom, add the seeds and the vanilla pod to the boiling milk. Add sugar and stir it well.
  • Reduce heat and leave the milk to simmer for a about a minute until the mixture thickens slightly.

  • Add tea leaves and allow to infuse for 2-3 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble once again.
  • Remove from heat, strain the mixture using a fine mesh sieve into a large teapot or another pan.
  • Condensed milk may be added to elaichi chai for extra sweetness. Serve hot. Makes one serving.

Hot Elaichi Chai

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