Chocolate and Almond Biscottis

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What is holidays and merry making without any chocolate? A quintessential ingredient while baking because chocolate makes things taste darn delicious. One of my all time favorite holiday pairing is Chocolate and Almonds and when you get both these in a biscotti, its pure bliss. The magic of chocolate and almond is such that it entices you with every bite. The crunchy toasted almonds and the chunks of dark chocolate is a perfect treat for this holiday winter!

This year has been phenomenal for me. Everyday was a new day with lots of learn and relearn. Professionally and personally I have grown and become more confident. Yes, every path has its own hurdles, I learnt how to embrace it, work on it and come out of it sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully. And every lesson learnt called for a celebration and these biscottis is a reminder to the awesome year that almost flew past my eyes. A great treat to munch during the day before your ring in the new year. Crunchy, chocolaty and something which shouldn’t be missed this year!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 15 – 16 biscottis)

  • 120 grams blanched almonds
  • 110 grams all purpose flour
  • 110 grams whole wheat flour + extra for dusting
  • 135 grams granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120 grams dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp orange zest (optional)
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C and line a baking try with parchment paper and keep aside. Spread the blanched almonds on the sheet and bake it for 10 – 12 minutes  until just fragnant.
  • One done remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Chop it roughly and keep aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Now in a bowl add the eggs and granulated white sugar and beat until thick and pale. This would take about 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat it for 30 – 40 seconds. To this add all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, orange zest and salt and beat it until just combined.
  • Now add roughly chopped chocolate chunks and almonds and fold in the mixture gently.
  • Transfer this dough to a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out in the shape of a log around 12 – 13 inches long and 4 – 4.5 inches wide. Bake this for 22 – 25 minutes.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and let it cool for 5 – 7 minutes. Take a sharp knife and cut the log into pieces which is 3/4 inch – 1 inch thick.
  • Preheat your oven to 170C for atleast 10 minutes. Keep each piece of half baked biscotti side by side on the baking tray and put it to bake on one side for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Flip the biscottis on the other side and allow it to bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and allow it cool completely. Once cooled bite into this magical biscottis.
  • You can store it in an airtight container for 10 – 12 days.

 

 

Double Chocolate Scones

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You don’t need a weekend to have a lavish breakfast loaded with baked goodies and you definitely don’t need a holiday to indulge guilt free. Everyday is another day to rejoice and enjoy everything that you eat (but yes, moderation is the key!). Off late I have been having a quest for sumptuous scones and what better than to bake chocolate scones on #WorldChocolateDay.

While I was baking these, a friend asked me what exactly is a scone. To which I replied, it is a quick bread or probably a quick cake or a quick biscuit. I guess you understood what I was hinting towards. It is a bit of everything which you can make in no time and its oh so good!

These scones are everything a perfect scone should be – tender, moist, fluffy, flaky and packed with white chocolate chips and dark chocolate chunks. It’s not perfect in shape like the ones you get in some cafe, but it’s slightly more rustic. A perfect tasty treat to enjoy your breakfast or your evening tea party!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 8 scones)

  • 240 grams flour + extra for dusting
  • 25 grams Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 grams granulated white sugar
  • 150 ml whole milk
  • 80 grams unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 large egg, room temperature and lightly beaten in separate bowls
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp orange zest (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • pinch of salt

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METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 160 C for atleast 15 minutes. Meanwhile line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • In a bowl whisk 1 egg lightly. Add milk and vanilla extract, whisk it and keep aside.
  • Take a bowl, add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and orange zest and whisk it slightly. Now add the cold cubed butter and using a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut the butter into the flour until crumbs are formed of the mixture.
  • Add the milk mixture into the flour mixture and fold in until the ingredients are just combined.
  • Add the chocolate chips and chocolate chunks and fold in until evenly distributed.
  • Lightly flour the kitchen top and transfer the scone dough and knead it a few times. Make sure not to over knead it. the dough should look slightly rustic.
  • Take a rolling pin and roll out the dough into a circle with 8-9 inch diameter.
  • Take a knife or cutter and cut the dough into 8 even sized triangles.
  • Transfer each triangle to the baking sheet. Brush it with a lightly beaten egg and bake the scone for 15 – 18 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done, transfer it to a wire rack and allow it to cool and you can serve it just as is or with whipped cream.

It’s Happy World Chocolate Day so time to bake and enjoy!

 

Chocolate Fudge Cookies

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What is the one thing that de-stresses you and lifts up your mood? For me its definitely baking! It gives me a sense of calmness. Yes, baking is my drug of happiness and nothing is more satisfying than baking and eating freshly baked chocolate cookies. I admit I love fancy desserts but deep down I often need my chocolate fudge cookies. Its called little pleasures of life.

These chocolate fudge cookies needs no introduction because they are pretty darn good.  Its so chocolaty and intense that you can’t stop in a single bite. I adore them since it gives me a sign of something good, something happy! The aroma of these cookies is so inviting. It’s every chocolate lovers dream come true cookie. Incredibly easy to make and extremely decadent.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 8 big cookies)

  • 20 grams all purpose flour
  • 115 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 15 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 90 grams caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

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METHOD:

  • Put a pot of water on medium heat to boil. Take roughly chopped dark chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan and place it on the pot of water.
  • Keep stirring the chocolate and butter mixture until its completely melted. Keep aside to cool down to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile mix baking powder, coffee powder, salt and all purpose flour in a bowl and keep aside.
  • Now take egg and sugar in another container and beat the two until the mixture is  pale yellow and slightly fluffy.
  • To this add the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract and beat just until well incorporated.
  • Add the flour mixture and fold gently until well incorporated.
  • Add the chopped almonds, white and dark chocolate chips and fold in until its evenly distributed.
  • Cling wrap the cookie dough and keep it in the refrigerator for atleast 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile preheat your oven to 160C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Take the cookie mixture out and using a ice cream scoop take 3/4th scoop of mixture and place it on the sheet.
  • Wet your hands and slightly flatten the cookie dough. Allow it to bake for 12 – 14 mixture or until the cookie is just done.
  • Take it out of the oven and let it cool for atleast 15 – 20 minutes before having a bite.

Enjoy!

No Bake Granola Bars

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Granola bars have become my absolute favorite snack. They satiate my sweet cravings in a healthy way. These happiness health food bars have solved my problem of binge eating to a great extent. Its a complete powerhouse to keep you going through the day.

Living in San Francisco, I ended up hiking a lot. Beautiful weather, picturesque vista points and great company. Some healthy and mess free snack was so important and this is when I resorted to granola bars from Trader Joes. They were delicious and my favorite. Moving back to India I started missing them especially during my snack time. So I decided to make my version of granola bars, mixing some ingredients that I love and that are easily available. Homemade bars are indeed so much more delicious.

With every minute being precious at morning, I fail to cook lavish breakfast for my family. Finally these granola bars have come handy. You can have it as your morning energy meal or your afternoon snack with a cup of coffee, its wholesome and super healthy. Keep tinkering with different ingredients you have at your home, the possibilities are going to be endless and the result – some marvelously yummy granola bars!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 6 – 8 bars)

  • 1/2 cup + 6 tbsp rolled oats (I used Quaker oats, toasted lightly)
  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tbsp dark choco chips
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD:

  • In a bowl mix peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract and keep aside.
  • In another bowl mix lightly toasted rolled oats, almonds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well.
  • Now add the wet and the dry ingredients together. The mixture might be very difficult to work with since it might be dry but mix it well.
  • Lastly when all the above ingredients are well incorporated, add the choco chips and mix well.
  • Line a baking dish/ tin with parchment paper with sufficient parchment paper on the sides so that we can life up the mixture later using the parchment paper.
  • Transfer the granola mixture to the baking dish and press it down firmly so that no gaps are left in the corner.
  • Allow it to set in the refrigerator for atleast 2 hours or until firm and it holds its shape.
  • Once set, lift the entire mixture using the extra parchment paper in the sides. Using a sharp knife cut it into bars of even size and enjoy!

NOTES:

  • Put the oats on a baking tray lined with baking paper and toast it for 7 – 8 minutes at 150C in a preheated oven.
  •  You can use white chocolate chips  instead of dark chocolate chips
  • You can use flax seeds instead of chia seeds.

Ginger Spiced Chocolate Muffins

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Waking up to a cup of perfectly brewed coffee and chocolate spiced muffin is something anyone would love. These days when the mornings are less sunny in Bangalore, such a beautiful start to the morning is needed to get the day going. Reading the newspaper, sipping coffee, eating the chocolate – ginger muffins and trading stories about what is about to happen at work today – its blissful!

Among the different flavors of muffins available in bakeries, ginger spiced chocolate muffins is not commonplace. The intensity from the ginger with the sweetness from the chocolate is delicious. These little morsels of yumminess is truly a treat to yourself. Have it with your breakfast, pack these in your lunch or share it with your friends during the evening snack time, this sugar and spice combination is quite enticing. So while I am heading back to the kitchen to prepare the next batch of these deliciously soothing muffins, take a look at the recipe and make a bake these in your kitchen too.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 16 mini muffins)

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds and walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 180C for atleast 10 minutes. Prepare your muffin tray by lining it with muffin liners or spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Take a bowl and add all purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar and mix it well.
  • In another bowl add vegetable oil, vanilla extract, water and white vinegar and whisk well.
  • Now add in the dried ingredient mixture prepared above and fold it until well incorporated.
  • Add the chopped nuts, chocolate chips and ginger and mix it. (do not over beat the batter)
  • Now pour the batter into your mini muffin tray and allow it to bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Once baked, allow it to cool a little before diving in!

Enjoy…

NOTES:

  • You can add ginger syrup in case you want more ginger flavor.
  • You can add crystallized ginger in the batter and garnish it with it too.

Hazelnut and Almond Toffee Bars

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After a bad day in the kitchen, all you need to redeem yourself is chocolate. It brings back oodles of confidence and satisfaction. This is when I tried making hazelnut and almond toffee bars. The very thought of having hazelnut in my dessert is inviting in itself.

I’ve been trying really hard to lose my post pregnancy weight and try keeping myself away from sugar and desserts. But when there is hazelnut in my dessert, I can’t hold back! Chocolate and hazelnut have an unwavering relationship. Combining them in bars makes it magical. These crunch toffee bites makes you want to dig into them again and again. They are completely irresistible. The crispy edges are the best bits, so make sure you don’t discard them. Snack on these mini bites or team it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, these bars are simply divine – worth every buttery chocolatey bite.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENT: (Makes 8 bars)

  • 60 gms unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 55 gms caster sugar
  • 65 gms all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 120 gms semi sweet chocolate chips (you can use semi sweet chocolate, roughly chopped)
  • 4 tbsp nutella
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut, coarsely crushed
  • 1/3 cup lightly roasted almonds, coarsely crushed

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 150C. Take a 6 inch square cake tin and line the bottom and sides with aluminium foil
  • Take unsalted butter and sugar in a bowl and beat it till its light and fluffy on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Now add the vanilla extract and beat for 20 seconds.
  • In a separate bowl  ix salt and all purpose flour. Put this mixture into the butter mixture and mix till the flour is combined well.
  • Take the flour mixture and even spread it on the cake tin and allow it to bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Combine nutella with the hazelnuts and set aside.
  • Now take the cake tin out of the oven and generously spread the chocolate chips on top of the baked shortbread mixture. Put the hazelnut mixture and put the cake tin into the oven for 1 -2 minutes.
  • Using a spoon spread the chocolate mixture evenly on the entire baked cookie mixture below.
  • Sprinkle the almonds on top of the chocolate-hazelnut spread and let it cool completely.
  • To allow it to cool quickly you can put in the fridge for 40 minutes. Once it is cooled, take it out of the cake tin along with the aluminium foil, using the edges of the foil.
  • Cut it into small squares, remove the foil and serve.