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gluten free

Indulgent Hot Chocolate Mix “Blustery cold days should be spend propped up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a pile of comic books.”
Bill Watterson

Hot Chocolate Mix. This mix took a long time coming. I’ve been thinking of making it forever yet for some reason winter never really ‘arrived’, if you know what I mean. Until mid January this year, we’ve had an alarmingly mild winter. It saw the mustard fields flower before time, and other such signs that could spell disaster for winter crops and the months ahead. Then thankfully a cold spell arrived just in the nick of time. Shudder to think what might have been had we not seen these last few weeks of the below 7C temperatures.Hot Chocolate Mix And that prompted me into action. The kid that loves a good hot chocolate, yet labels on hot chocolate mixes alarm me. The fine print reads a lot of stuff which shouldn’t really be in a comfort drink, leave alone in the body. It also seems oxymoron to buy something which is possibly the easiest and quickest to create at home. Hot Chocolate Mix Good quality ingredients will give you the best hot chocolate mix ever. All you need is a sturdy food processor which is probably part of every kitchen today. My thermomix whirs into action for things like this. Till today, it’s been my best kitchen buy ever. Sturdy, dependable and fun to use. Of course this mix can be made in any dry grinder too. Hot Chocolate Mix If you want to do it by hand, do try and grate the chocolate as small as possible to allow quick dissolving. Else by the time you stir in the hot water, the drink might well become cold chocolate. Not a bad idea for cooler days when they come!!

Recipe: Indulgent Hot Chocolate Mix
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Summary: Indulgent delicious Hot Chocolate Mix. Ready in minutes, this is great comfort food to have on hand in winter. It  seems oxymoron to buy something which is possibly the easiest and quickest to create at home. Good quality ingredients will give you the best hot chocolate mix ever. All you need is a sturdy food processor.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 200g milk powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped

Method:

  1. Place chocolate and brown sugar in bowl of food processor and process until powdered.
  2. Add cocoa powder, milk powder and insides of scraped vanilla bean. Process again for a minute or so until well blended.
  3. Transfer to a clear airtight jar.
  4. Use approximately 4 heaped teaspoonfuls for a mug of hot chocolate. Place mix in mug and top with boiling hot water. Stir until smooth. Top with cream or marshmallows as desired.

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Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan Wines“Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”
C. JoyBell C

Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau … because when a smooth, indulgent dessert wine arrives, you have to do something special with it. These were thoughts that ran through my head when the well packaged bottles of Bellissima and Rosa Rossa arrived from Big Banyan.With Christmas around the corner, my flavours and colours were pretty much sorted out. I knew what I wanted to bake. Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan WinesIt was going to be a flourless fallen gateau, it was definitely going to have dessert wine, and the top would have strawberries. Well it all kind of fell into place. I had bought a ton of strawberries a few days ago and planned to make a preserve. Then along came dessert wine. Why not a strawberry wine jam? With winter here, spices are part and parcel of almost everything I do, so I settled for a spicy Strawberry Wine Jam. Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen GateauIt came out deliciously wicked. It’s great on toast and in lindzer cookies, fabulous to make dark chooclate truffles with, and makes for a much appreciated holiday gift as well. Strawberry jam is the easiest to make. You basically just cook it down to a nice chunky consistency, discard the whole spices, and bottle the jam. Dollop it over waffles, ice cream, onto parfaits, over breakfast oats … you will love it!

Spiced Strawberry Wine Jam Jam done. That was so easy. Strawberry Wine Jam Big Banyan WinesWhen the jar of wine jam says time for cake, it’s time to bake!! This is one of the simplest gateaus you can bake. Don’t get misled by the long list of ingredients. It comes together really fast and is a fuss free, chocolaty, fudgy gluten free cake. The ingredients should all be good quality because that’s what makes the cake special. Dessert wine and spiced strawberry wine jam added oodles of oomph to it. Subtle undertones of sweet strawberry and a hint of wine make this special. It’s called a fallen gateau because it rises quite normally while baking, then collapses most dramatically.

Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan WinesI love the crater the so called collapse causes because that becomes ‘ground‘ for filling. An ugly duckling, rustic cake, moorish to boot, gets a snazzy dressing up. Christmas is here so it’s red, white and green. Chocolate pairs really beautifully with wine and fruit, so this was going to be a winning combination. The almond cream added further indulgence. Then came the ruby red, bursting with flavour, spicy strawberry wine jam topping that was literally the icing on the cake.

Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan WinesDid I forget to mention the chewy meringue top studded with pistachios? Yes, you can taste that as well as you savour every rich bite of this chocolaty wine goodness. It might seem tempting to skip the step, but I urge you not to. It’s small things like this that add to the final delight. We loved every little detail of this cake so much, I am going to bake it again soon. This is my new favourite cake that was created all thanks to some fabulous wine from Big Banyan.Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen GateauI have to give the wine full marks. I’d heard the buzz about the wine here and there, and it more than lived up to my our expectations. I might not be a connoisseur, but yes, can tell a good wine. The dessert wine glowed a beautiful gold, while the Rosé  blushed a beautiful cherry pink. I am quite partial to sweet dessert wines. The Bellissima was my first love with sensual smooth hints of apricot, pears, walnuts and raisins; so exotic in my opinion. Like liquid gold.Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan WinesThe Rosé got the better halves vote. With the acidity just right, whiffs of freshness and smooth flavour, this wine was good! I couldn’t stop clicking the wine. It added great festive cheer to my food and frame. As I have learnt, if the ingredients are good, you love the process, and then turn out amazing goodness. This is just what happened.Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan Wines

Do serve some wine with the Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau. It completes the experience!

Recipe: Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau
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A deeply indulgent, satisfying flourless {read glutenfree} dark chocolate cake that celebrates the best of the holiday season. Sweetened with dessert wine and strawberry wine jam, festival baking doesn’t get better than this Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau with a strawberry wine jam topping. A cake for Christmas! Serves 8-10

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes {plus cooling time}
Ingredients:

  • Strawberry Wine Jam
  • 400g strawberries, diced
  • 100ml Big Banyan Dessert Wine
  • 75-100g brown sugar
    Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4-5 cloves
  • Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau
  • 250g dark couverture chocolate
  • 100ml Dessert wine
  • 35g strawberry wine jam
  • 3egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 175g brown sugar {100+75g divided}
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g almond meal
  • 25g pistachios, blanched, peeled
  • Strawberry Wine Jam Topping
  • 100g cream, chilled
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 3-4 drops almond extract
  • 100gm strawberries, quartered
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 2 tsp strawberry wine jam

Method:

  1. Strawberry Wine Jam
  2. Place all ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pan, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the strawberries are soft and the consistency is a little thick and jam like. {It will thicken a little more as it cools}
  3. Cool, discard the whole spices and transfer to a jar.
  4. Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau
  5. Preheat oven to 180C. Line the base and sides of a tall 7″ round spring form baking tin with parchment paper.
  6. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 1 minute on high, until the chocolate has almost melted {else melt over a double boiler} Stir until smooth, and then stir in the dessert wine and strawberry jam.
  7. Beat egg whites with 75g brown sugar and cream of tartar to stiff peaks.
  8. Place egg yolks with remaining 100g brown sugar and vanilla extract and whisk to mix. Whisk n the melted chocolate-berry mix. Fold in the almond meal.
  9. Reserve 1/2 cup of the beaten egg whites for topping if desired.
  10. Add 2-3 tbsp of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture and fold in gently. Add the remaining beaten egg whites in two lots, gently folding into the batter so that the air is not released.
  11. With an offset spatula, spread the reserved beaten egg white mixture over the top of the cake. Sprinkle over the pistachios.
  12. Bake at 180C for approximately an hour, until done. The cake will fall as it cools.
  13. Cool in tin until cooled completely, then gently peel off parchment and transfer to serving platter. {I cooled it in the fridge overnight as I find the flavours mature really well. Take out of fridge half an hour before serving}
  14. Top with whipped almond cream, and strawberry wine jam topping {Recipe follows}
  15. Almond whipped cream
  16. Whip the cream with icing sugar and almond extract until medium peaks form. Fill the fallen gateau cavity with it.
  17. Strawberry Wine Jam Topping
  18. Place quartered strawberries in a heavy bottom pan with brown sugar. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the strawberries just begin to soften. Add the wine jam and stir well until the topping is nice and glossy, a minute. Cool and chill. {Can be made a day ahead}
  19. Note: Is a great on parfaits, ice cream, fresh waffles etc too

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Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake 1000“When you celebrate, there is sure to be cake.”
Florence Ditlow

Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake … it was a cake that was meant to be a Swiss roll. As it often happens, there was a last minute change as it popped out. Wasn’t sure if it was malleable enough to roll, the dessert rings caught my glad eye. Before I knew it, I was stamping out circles to create the sweetest mini layered cake I have ever made!Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered CakeSo if your skills at baking are minimal, if you are scared the sponge might crack up and laugh at you, if you are a sucker for punishment like me and insist that cakes must be dark chocolate and flourless, here’s the perfect answer. STAMP IT OUT! Being experimental at times can throw up the most amazing of options.

Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake Whoever said that dark chocolate is the only therapy you need, is a 100% spot on! This is the prefect little sweet treat, big enough for 3-4 servings, small enough to control temptation. Blink and it’s gone; but oh my, leaves you satiated with quite a happy feeling in the tummy.

Step by step Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake I also did a festive version of the cake, Chocolate Sparkler Cake {GF} for this months Diwali issue of Femina, with DIY steps and all. This version had rose petals and pistachios and was  great fun to put together. Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake for Diwali

Recipe: Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake
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Summary: Deep, intense, chocolaty and sinful, this Flourless GF Mini Dark Chocolate Layered Cake makes for a creative and fun holiday bake.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • 130g dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp orange juice or water
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Mousse filling and frosting
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 200ml cream
  • 15g raw sugar {boora} or icing sugar
  • Garnish
  • Fresh mint leaves, seasonal fruit, cocoa powder

Method:

  1. Flourless Cake
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  3. Melt the chocolate with orange juice {or water} either over a double boiler, or in the microwave. Stir until smooth. Leave to cool.With an electric hand beater, beat the egg whites and 1 tbsp brown sugar in a large clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Reserve.
  4. Place egg yolks and remaining sugar with vanilla into a big bowl. With the same beaters, beat yolks until tripled and mousse like, 5-7 minutes.
  5. Drizzle in the melted chocolate and gently fold in, and then add 2 tbsp of beaten whites. Fold gently so that the beaten air is not released.
  6. Gently fold in 1/3rd of the egg whites, then another third, then the remaining whites.
  7. Turn batter into prepared pan. Bake at 180C for 18-20 minutes, until firm to touch.
  8. Take out of oven. Sift over 1 tbsp cocoa thick, and then swiftly yet gently turn the warm cake onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off lower parchment gently, and sift more cocoa over it.
  9. Allow to cool, and then cut into shapes. 3 X 4.5″ circles and 3 X 3″ circles. {use a cookie cutter, doughnut cutter, katori etc}
  10. Mousse filling and frosting
  11. This can be made first so that it chills while the cake is being made.
  12. Melt chocolate with 50g cream over a double boiler or in the microwave. Whisk until smooth. Cool completely.
  13. Whip remaining cream with icing sugar. Fold into chocolate mix gently. Leave to chill in the fridge. The mousse should be quite firm, yet spreadable.
  14. Assemble
  15. Place one 4.5″ circle in base of tin top with 1/2 layer of mousse filling, top with next layer, mousse filling, then third layer. Repeat for smaller circles.
  16. Place bigger stacked layer on serving platter and gently remove the ring mold using a sharp knife to free the sides. Use 2/3rd of the remaining mouse to frost the cake, and then top it gently with the smaller cake stack. Frost the smaller cake with remaining mousse and leave to chill for 30minutes.
  17. Chocolate Lace Collar
  18. Cut out parchment paper borders to fit around the base cake. Place the melted chocolate in a ziploc bag and snip off a corner. Doodle designs over the border and place flat in the fridge for 5 minutes until just set but malleable. When just about to set, place snugly around the cake, pressing into place ever so gently.
  19. Leave the cake in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes for the chocolate to harden, and then gently peel off the parchment.
  20. Sift the cake with a little cocoa powder. Garnish with sliced strawberries and fresh mint leaves.
  21. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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