A quick holiday treat: HOLIDAY CHAI SPICE LADOOS (SNOWBALLS)

Years ago, my Holiday Chai Spice Ladoos (snowballs) recipe was featured in the article, “How to Create a Signature Party” in the Toronto Star.

This recipe is easy as it requires no baking, so it's a quick sweet treat to make! These will look beautiful on any Christmas cookie plate as they look like 'snowballs' thanks to the coconut.

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HOLIDAY CHAI SPICE LADOOS (SNOWBALLS)

Method of Preparation:

1) In small bowl, soak raisins in rum at least 15 minutes. Drained just before using.

2) In medium bowl, add peanut butter; stir well. If consistency is stiff, warm slightly in microwave. Mix in 3/4 cup coconut, cranberries, almonds, peel, honey, ginger, ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA and raisins. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

3) Using heaping teaspoons, roll into balls.

4) Place remaining 1/2 cup coconut in shallow bowl. Roll balls in coconut, shaking off excess. Store in sealed container in refrigerator.

Makes about 45 pieces.

Ingredients:
1/4 CUP raisins (such as Thompson or sultana)
2 TBSP. rum
3/4 CUP crunchy peanut butter
3/4 CUP dried, unsweetened coconut + 1/2 CUP for dusting
1/2 CUP dried cranberries
1/2 CUP raw, unblanched almonds, chopped
1/4 CUP mixed peel
1/4 CUP honey
1 TBSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
 

Chai Spiced Cupcakes with Shrikhand Icing

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The last time there was a Royal Wedding, I decided to celebrate with a dessert beautiful, decadent that was 'fit for a king' which would be my Chai Spiced Cupcakes with Shrikhand Icing.

Shrikhand is one of the most divine Indian desserts, of a sweetened thick pressed yogurt that is scented with cardamom, saffron and nutmeg, topped with almonds and pistachios. Absolutely divine and it makes an excellent icing topping for a regal cupcake! With another Royal Wedding announced, there will be another chance to create another decadent sweet very soon.


REGAL CHAI SPICED CUPCAKES with CREAMY CHAI SHRIKHAND ICING

Method of Preparation:

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin baking pan with liners.

2)In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar. Add egg and mix. Mix in vanilla. Set aside.

3) Sift all dry ingredients together. Mix in half dry ingredients with creamed butter mixture. Add milk and mix well. Sift in remaining half of dry ingredients.

4) Spoon batter into cupcake liners. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until cupcakes are golden and cooked all the way through. Makes 12 cupcakes.

5) Icing: Lay a cheesecloth in a colander, add yogurt and place in sink. Allow 5-6 hours (or overnight) to drain excess water from the yogurt.

6) Scoop yogurt “cheese” into a bowl. Mix in sugar, saffron, pistachios, almonds and ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA. Mix well and spoon onto cupcakes as frosting.

Ingredients:

Cupcake:
1/3 CUP butter, softened
¾ CUP lightly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 TSP. vanilla extract
½ CUP milk
1 CUP unbleached flour
2 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
½ TSP. baking powder
½ TSP. baking soda
12 cupcake liners

Shirkhand Icing:
1 tub Balkan-style plain yogurt (750g container)
½ CUP granulated sugar
1 TSP. ground raw pistachio
1 TBSP. coarsely ground almonds
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
pinch of saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp. of milk
 

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Chai Spiced Coconut Peanut Burfi

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Burfi is an Indian sweet (mithai) that can be quite rich made with ghee and sugar. This is a healthier version of burfi if you're looking to sub out all the fat.

Anytime you need a quick ‘pick-me-up’ or have a sweet craving, reach for these which you’ll find are quite satisfying. I’ve been known to keep a stash of these in my purse for when I need some nourishment on the go! 


CHAI SPICED COCONUT PEANUT BURFI (HEALTHY VERSION)

Method of Preparation:

1) Line a pie plate with parchment paper.

2) In a bowl, combine ingredients. Press firmly into pie plate. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. Cut into diamonds or squares.

Ingredients:
1 CUP organic peanut butter
1 CUP dry unsweetened coconut
½ CUP raw peanuts, finely chopped
¼ CUP raw honey
¼ CUP dried cranberries
¼ CUP raisins
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA

Turmeric Til Ladoos: Sesame Seed Sweets

Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival celebrated in northern India to mark the beginning of the growing season and the joyous kite flying festival celebrated in the central India (which comes around in early-mid January). 

A typical sweet that is made on auspicious day is called Til Ladoo, 'til' meaning sesame seeds. I spike mine with a touch of turmeric for a beautiful golden hue. I tend to make these all year round because they are so easy to make. 


TURMERIC TIL LADOO: SESAME SEED SWEET

Method of Preparation:

1) Gently roast sesame seeds on a baking rack in the oven set at 200F for 10 minutes.

2) In a skillet, heat ghee and add in jaggery (or brown sugar) and stir to combine. Stir in ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA and turmeric. Fold in roasted sesame seeds and coconut.

3) Allow to slightly cool and roll into small balls

Ingredients: 
1 CUP raw sesame seeds
1/2 CUP unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 CUP jaggery (or brown sugar)
1 TBSP. ghee (or butter)
2 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
1/4 TSP. turmeric powder
 

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Pumpkin Ka Halwa

A common Indian sweet is Gajjar Ka Halwa ~ Grated Carrot Halwa with chai spices, raisins and cashews caramelized with sugar. This is the same recipe, but I just used pumpkin instead of carrot.

This sweet can be served in cup garnished with nuts or molded into an Indian sweet.

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PUMPKIN KA HALWA

Method of Preparation:

1) In a large skillet, melt ghee on medium-low heat. Add jaggery and dissolve into ghee.

2) Add shredded pumpkin. Place the lid on the skillet and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, until pumpkin is cooked.

3) Remove lid and further reduce until all liquid is absorbed. Fold in cashews and ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA. Serve warm in a decorative glass with a freshly grated nutmeg.

Ingredients:
4 CUPS pumpkin, shredded
2 TBSP. ghee or butter
¼ CUP jaggery or raw cane sugar
½ CUP cashew halves
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA
¼ TSP. nutmeg, to garnish