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12 Days of Christmas

Ankita Vaidya
Written by Ankita Vaidya
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Tis’ the season to be jolly Fa-la-la-la-la La-la-la-la! Yes, some call it the ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ while some sing praises of the Holy Child and Mother. Some sing Feliz Navidad while some greet with Happy Hannukah!

And then there are people like us, who are all about treats! Chocolates, cookies, hot drinks, cakes, and more chocolates. Yes, it’s THAT time of the year but very important to keep a close check on the amounts of sugar we inhale. While most of the packaged goods are loaded with processed, refined sugars and preservatives, homemade goods are definitely safer. Similarly, the drinks from chain coffee shops are packed with natural-like and artificial flavouring agents, substitutes for dairy, processed sugar and artificial colours. Solution?- We brew our own drinks at home and make them equally fancy!

So why not celebrate Me-Time as Bake-Me-Time? Favourite carols on- check, cute Christmas apron- check, recipes printed- check, kids and husband off to the movies- check, grab a drink- check and here you are, all set to have a lovely little bake day for yourself! So what are we making today? Christmas coffee with Christmas nankhatai and Candy Cane hot chocolate! Can’t get more Christmasy than this. Let’s run to the kitchen and make sure we got our ingredients right!

1] Christmas Coffee:

So let’s assume we do not have a fancy coffee machine. We like to be low-maintenance like that!

Serves 3-4 cups

Ingredients:

4 ½ tbsp Fresh Ground Coffee Beans (Use your choice of roast- light, medium, dark Or your choice of coffee beans- Arabica or Robusta OR place of origin- Columbia, Africa, even Coorg KA produces excellent coffee)

4 cups water

1 cinnamon stick

2 pods green cardamom, crushed

3 cloves

1 ounce Kahlua or Tia Maria

1 ounce Baileys Irish Cream

Cane Sugar as per paste

1 cup whipping cream

1 tbsp cane sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 ounce Brandy or Cognac

Method:

  1. Beat the whipping cream using an electric mixer to soft peak. Add sugar and brandy. Continue whipping till stiff peak. Cover it and refrigerate for at least 15 min before using.
  2. Heat water in a pot. Add the whole spices and ground coffee. Brew this mixture for 10 min on medium heat. Then using a coffee filter and a strainer, strain the coffee out.
  3. Depending on how strong you like your coffee, measure out in a coffee cup. Usually half a cup of this brewed coffee is more than sufficient. For those who like it sweeter, go for lesser coffee. Add the alcohol, sugar and top it off with whipped cream.
  4. You may garnish this drink with instant coffee powder or cocoa powder or chocolate sauce/ sprinkles etc.

P.S: This recipe uses 1.5 tbsp ground coffee per serving. If you or your guests like it stronger or lighter, please use coffee beans accordingly.

 

2] Christmas Nankhatai:     

Makes 16-18 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour or maida
¾ cup besan or chickpea flour
¼ cup sooji or semolina
½  cup +2-3 tablespoons ghee
¾  cup confectioners sugar or powdered sugar
½  tsp cardamom powder
⅛  tsp cinnamon powder
⅛ tsp cloves powder
chopped pistachios, to garnish
chopped almonds, to garnish
1 tablespoon milk
Salt

Method:

1. Mix ghee and sugar using an electric mixer so form a fluffy mixture.
2. Mix all the flours, semolina and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the ghee/ sugar mix. Fold in gently.
3. Add chopped nuts and milk to make a dough. Do not over mix.
4. Cover it and refrigerate for 30 min.
5. Preheat your oven to 375 degF. Form laddu shaped balls of the cookie- dough and lay them on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Flatten them slightly with your thumb. Add more chopped nuts as a garnish at this point, if you like.
6. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Make sure the bottoms of the cookies is not turning dark.
7. Sprinkle with some salt when them JUST come out of the oven.

 

3] Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

4 cups whole milk
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate
2 tbsp crushed peppermint candy (any brand, plain)

½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean
1 tbsp sugar

Method:

1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler/ ban marie.
2. Bring the milk to a gentle boil.
3. Mix the milk and chocolate. Make sure it’s all blended in properly
4. Add the crushed peppermint candy. Stir well.
5. Whip the cream suing an electric mixer to soft peak. Add vanilla and sugar and continue whipping to stiff peak.
6. Add a generous dollop of this whipped cream on your hot chocolate.
7. Garnish with cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce or crushed peppermint candy.

So, there you go! Some delicious snacks to get you in the mood for Christmas! Do try them out and let us know what you think. As always, we love to hear back from you, and do not forget to use the hashtags #femmefiesta and #metime when you post the pics. Love you all!

 

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About the author

Ankita Vaidya

Ankita Vaidya

A computer engineer on paper, chef by profession! Being born in a gastronomically enthu household was sheer luck and definitely some good karma. I left India at the age of 22 with 3 suitcases full of parents’ love, passion and determination to chase my dreams.

A connoisseur of Indian cuisine, I enjoy sharing my love for traditional Indian cooking wherever I go. Nurtured with extreme affection, this ‘lil princess’ is all set to touch millions of hearts with her holistic zeal for food and cooking.

I believe life is like a box of spices- though some moments may seem overwhelming, a thoughtful use and correct application will definitely give you extraordinary results. Feel free to share food related anything with me ‘cause I am a student for life!

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