The perfect winter drink, there is absolutely nothing more comforting than curling up in bed as soon as the temperature drops with a cup if fresh hot chocolate topped with dollops of whipped cream. Whether you like it sweet or boozy, chocolate-y or ASAP, we’ve got you covered. Go on, up your hot chocolate game this winter.
Ingredients Of Hot Chocolate
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1 Cup Chocolate
- 2-3 Tbsp Cocoa powder
- 1/2 Cup Powdered sugar
- Optional Cinnamon
- Optional Vanilla
How to Make Hot Chocolate
2.Now put cinnamon stick, vanilla stick and powdered sugar along with cocoa powder.
3.Stir well to mix thoroughly and pour hot in a cup.
4.Serve hot with heavy topping of whipped cream and chocolate powder garnishing
7 Awesome Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
1. Protection from Disease-Causing Free Radicals
One of my favorite benefits of dark chocolate is its free radical fightingability. Free radicals are unbalanced compounds created by cellular processes in the body, especially those that fight against environmental toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis. Antioxidants are the compounds that are believed to neutralize free radicals and protect the body from their damage.
Antioxidants include vitamins, minerals andphytochemicals — helpful plant compounds. One of dark chocolate’s most impressive attributes is its high antioxidant content, which is why it made my list of top 10 high-antioxidant foods.
Two groups of antioxidants prevalent in dark chocolate are flavonoids and polyphenols. Dark chocolate’s cocoa has actually been shown to have the highest content of polyphenols and flavonoids, even greater than wine and tea. So the higher the cacao/cocoa percentage of your next dark chocolate bar, the more awesome antioxidants you’ll consume.
2. Potential Cancer Prevention
It may be hard to believe, but that tasty dark chocolate you eat and love may also help you ward off cancer. That’s right — one of the benefits of dark chocolate is its potential as a cancer-fighting food.
According to the American Cancer Institute:
“Given chocolate’s rich supply of flavonoids, researchers have also investigated whether it may play a role in cancer prevention. The studies in cancer prevention are still emerging. A recent review of studies on the cancer protective properties of cocoa concluded that the evidence is limited but suggestive. More rigorous studies should be conducted on chocolates’ cancer protective role, concluded the author, because it provides ‘strong antioxidant effects in combination with a pleasurable eating experience.'”
3. Improved Heart Health
Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate. According to Cleveland Clinic, research has shown that flavanols have a very positive effect on heart health by helping lower blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart as well as the brain. Dark chocolates flavanols can also help make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, which reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke.
A study published inInternational Journal of Cardiology had subjects either consume a daily dose of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate or non-flavonoid white chocolate for two weeks. The results showed that flavonoid-rich dark chocolate intake significantly improved heart circulation in healthy adults. On the other hand, white chocolate with zero flavonoids to brag about had no positive health effects on the subjects.
Another study published in 2015 titled followed the health of over 20,000 people for 11 years. The study concluded that “cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events” and that “there does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk.” Among subjects who consumed the most chocolate, 12 percent developed or died of cardiovascular disease during the study compared to 17.4 percent of those who didn’t eat chocolate. This doesn’t give anyone license to eat a chocolate bar each day, but it’s impressive that this large and lengthy study does appear to show a positive connection between chocolate consumption and heart health.
4. Good for Overall Cholesterol Profile
The cocoa butterfound in dark chocolate contains equal amounts of oleic acid(a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil), stearic and palmitic acids. It’s true that stearic and palmitic acids are forms of saturated fat, but research shows that stearic acidappears to have a neutral effect on cholesterol, which means it doesn’t raise it or lower it. The palmitic acid in dark chocolate can increase cholesterol levels, but thankfully it only makes up about a small portion of the fat in dark chocolate — plus dark chocolate has a lot of great plant nutrients that make up for palmitic acid.
A 2009 study published inSouthern Medical Journal looked at the effects of dark chocolate on 28 healthy voluntary subjects. The researchers found that just one week of dark chocolate consumption improved lipid profiles and decreased platelet reactivity for both men and women while reducing inflammation only in women.
Studies have also shown that:
- Dark chocolate’s cocoa polyphenols may be involved in cholesterol control.
- Three-week consumption of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate increased HDL (good) cholesterol.
- 15-day consumption of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate resulted in total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol decreases of 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.
- Seven-day consumption of regular dark chocolate resulted in a 6 percent decrease of LDL cholesterol and a 9 percent increase of HDL cholesterol.
5. Better Cognitive Function
Dark chocolate makes my list of 15 brain foods to boost focus and memoryfor good reason. Previous research showed that “acute as well as chronic ingestion of flavanol-rich cocoa is associated with increased blood flow to cerebral gray matter and it has been suggested that cocoa flavanols might be beneficial in conditions with reduced cerebral blood flow, including dementia and stroke.”
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrated flavonoid-rich dark chocolate’s ability to improve cognitive ability, specifically in the elderly. This cross-sectional study of over 2,000 participants ages 70 to 74 years old looked at the relationship between the intake of chocolate, wine and tea (all rich in flavonoids) and cognitive performance. The study concludes that “intake of flavonoid-rich food, including chocolate, wine, and tea, is associated with better performance across several cognitive abilities and that the associations are dose dependent.” The researchers suggest that further studies should take into account other bioactive dietary substances in chocolate, wine and tea to ensure that it’s their flavonoid content that helps the brain so much.
6. Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Aid
As I’m writing this article, there are already 75 scientific articleslooking at dark chocolate and blood pressure. A study published in 2015 compared type 2 diabetics’ consumption of white chocolate versus high-cocoa, polyphenol-rich dark chocolate. The subjects consumed 25 grams (a little under one ounce) of dark or white chocolate for eight weeks. The researchers found that not only did dark chocolate lower the blood pressureof the hypertensive diabetics, but it also decreased fasting blood sugar.
Of course, if you’re a diabetic, the higher the cocoa content, which also means the lower the sugar content, the better. It’s also key to note that this was a very small amount of dark chocolate per day at 0.88 ounces.
7. Antioxidant-Rich Superfood
In a study conducted by the Hershey Co. and published inChemistry Central Journal, the total flavanol and polyphenol content as well as antioxidant activity content of dark chocolate and cocoa powder were compared to super fruits like acai, cranberry, blueberry and pomegranate. The dark chocolates, cocoa powders and cocoa beverage in the study all contained natural or non-alkalized cocoa. This is important to note since the alkalinization of cocoa has been shown to destroy healthy polyphenolic compounds.
So what did the study show? The researchers found that the flavanol content of cocoa powder (30.1 milligrams per gram) was significantly greater than all of the other super fruit powders. It was also revealed that dark chocolate’s antioxidant capacity was higher than all of the super fruit juices except pomegranate. The total polyphenol content per serving was also highest for dark chocolate (about 1,000 milligrams per serving), which was significantly higher than all of the fruit juices except pomegranate juice.
This holiday season, bring Scotch to the punch-bowl party with these nine star ingredients!
Why this recipe works:
This punch can be pre-mixed one day ahead for easy party prep day of.
Chai tea provides tons of flavor without the hassle of having to buy and blend loose spices.
Notes: If you can't find Lustau East India Solera Sherry, which is a blend of Oloroso and PX sherries, substitute another high quality Cream Sherry. To make an ice block, fill a Tupperware container 3/4 full with water, adding rinsed cranberries if desired. Freeze overnight. To remove, let sit 10 minutes at room temperature, then twist to remove, or run under hot water for 5 seconds.
When I'm creating and testing cocktails, there's a lot of soul-searching involved. I try to gauge the success of a new drink (after my own evaluation) by offering it to an imaginary taster, a grumpy old man. He's my idea of the worst critic, the most vocal critic. The person who's going to hate on everything I do, before he's even tried it. It's my job to surprise him, and turn him around.
But in the end, my gruff old man is just an imaginary critic, so it was quite something else when I was recently invited to a Twelve Days of Christmas theme party, and was assigned to prepare a new holiday punch called 'Nine Ladies Dancing" for thirty people. As you can imagine, the pressure to perform rose significantly. Thirty people! Thirty palates! Potentially, thirty gruff old men and women!
Phoning in a retread of a tried-and-true crowd-pleaser wouldn't work. I needed a new, nine-ingredient punch to fit the name (and perhaps get the ladies dancing!).
I decided to go for a Scotch-based punch. No, I wasn't emptying out my wallet in the hopes of impressing: blended Scotch can actually be a very good buy. I chose rich and flavorful Monkey Shoulder, which offers a strong punch of malt, smoke, and baking spice flavors. Just right for a wintery punch.
To balance out all the alcohol, I added tea to lengthen the drink and give a pop of flavor. I whipped up a batch of chai only slightly below full strength. I used already-blended tea bags, but you can also make your own custom chai blend if you're feeling DIY about it. The tea adds a wonderful assortment of appropriate flavors: cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamom and black pepper all work beautifully with the whisky.
The other key ingredients (er, "dancers") in this punch provide the necessary flourishes to make the mixture taste fantastic: Sherry for a little sweet nuttiness; Angostura for bitterness but also extra spice; and vanilla-laced cinnamon sugar syrup for a slightly floral and woodsy sweetness. Nine ingredients may sound like a lot to check off on your list, but every member of the troupe contributes significantly.
I was rather nervous to offer this punch to thirty people—many of them strangers—on its opening night. And rightly so, perhaps, as one gentleman literally wrinkled his nose when I told him: it's a Scotch punch. But I'm happy to report that that same gentleman approached me a short while later. He said he loved it. So much. And asked where he could get the recipe.
For the Vanilla Cinnamon Syrup:
4 (3- or 4-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
For the Chai Tea:
2 cups boiling water
3 chai tea bags
For the Punch:
1 (750 ml) bottle blended Scotch, such as Monkey Shoulder
2 1/4 cups Lustau East India Solera Sherry (see note above)
3/4 cup fresh juice from about 6 lemons
1 1/2 cups Vanilla Cinnamon Syrup
2 cups Chai Tea
1/8 cup Angostura bitters
6 orange wheels, star anise, ice block (see note above), for garnish
- For the Vanilla Cinnamon Syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean seeds and pod, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Strain. The syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- For the Chai Tea: Combine boiling water and tea in a heatproof container. Let steep for 4 minutes. Discard tea bags and let tea cool to room temperature before adding to punch.
- For the Punch: In a punch bowl or large container, combine Scotch, sherry, lemon juice, syrup, tea, and bitters. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for 5 hours or up to overnight. When ready to serve, add an ice block and garnish as desired.
1. Matar ke Kabab
Matar ke kabab is a perfect starter for a vegetarian meal which can be eaten with a variety of chutneys adding to the taste. The combination of these healthy vegetables and exotic flavors of spinach, peas and winter expert ginger, makes a mouth-watering veg dish, which will make a non-veg fan also to love it.
2. Wholegrain (Atta) Pizza
Beautifully decorated colorful veggies with a delightful topping of tomato sauce and cheese on a flat bread, pizza is favorite for many of us. But all the diet conscious people keep a distance from it as the main ingredient in it is all-purpose flour (maida) which may make it a very heavy meal, not to mention other side effects of eating ‘maida’ on a regular basis. We’ve got a Wholegrain Atta recipe here which is easy to make, now enjoy delicious slices of home made pizza without worrying about anything.
Wholegrain (Atta) Pizza is best for diet conscious people. Photo Credit: Istock
3. Kashmiri Paneer
One of the most loved curries and a an important component of any vegetarian spread is a paneer gravy dish. Whether it is guests or your children everybody wants paneer on important occasions. If you are bored already of the usual matar paneer and palak paneer, then try this paneer dish straight from the hills of Kashmir.
Kashmiri Paneer with a touch of Kashmir. Photo Credit: Istock
4. Chilli Gobi
Indo-chinese dishes are always a hit, be it for a party or a weekend meal at home. This spicy gobi (cauliflower) recipe is easy to prepare and needs nothing more than your daily masalas. Your star dish for tonight can be ready in just about 30 minutes.
Chilli Gobi is an Indo-Chinese recipe.. Photo Credit: Istock
5. Pesarattu (green gram dosa)
This recipe is a stunning idea for your breakfast table, bringing with it a South Indian touch with a different flavor. It needs two extra ingredients, mong daal (green gram) and dhania (coriander leaves), and gives the dosa a delightful taste. Try it this Sunday?
Pesarattu (green gram dosa), a south Indian touch with different flavor. Photo Credit: Istock
6. Bell Pepper Stuffed With Barley
Bell peppers are commonly found in all vegetable stalls during the winter months. Barley is a wonderful millet and is known for its many health benefits. This recipe combines the two for a stunning result which is quick and healthy. You can even use capsicum instead of bell peppers in this recipe.
Bell Pepper Stuffed With Barley, a quick and healthy recipe. Photo Credit: Istock
7. Mushroom Masala Toast
Having a toast in the morning with a glass of fresh juice is a common practice in many parts of the world. But why have a plain toast, when you can add taste to your toast with mushroom! Mushroom toast would be a perfect Sunday morning special for your kids and family.
Mushroom Masala Toast is a perfect Sunday morning special. Photo Credit: Istock
8. Kashmiri Khatte Baigan
If your kids, like many others, don’t like the taste of baigan (eggplant/brinjal) then you should probably give this recipe a try. Make it with a little less chilli if you like, the but the khatta-chatpata taste is likely to be a hit with everyone at home, including the little ones. Cardamom, cinnamon, onions, tomato, and coriander powder are some of the ingredients that play a major role making this delightful dish.
Kashmiri Khatte Baigan is a must try. Photo Credit: Istock
9. Hing aur Dhaniya ke Chatpate Aloo
A tasty aloo dish never fails to impress. Its easy and simple to make, and equally tasty so your guests will keep wanting more. A common among Punjabi dish, this dish is a hit anytime of the year.
Hing aur Dhaniya ke Chatpate Aloonever fails to impress. Photo Credit: Istock
10. Masala Chana
Say bye-bye to chips, biscuits, pies and other unhealthy snacks and say hello to healthy snacking with this lip-smacking dish. Chana with a little tadka and some spices is a perfect snack for the evenings.
Masala Chana is a healthy snack. Photo Credit: Istock
So these are some delicious recipes for you to try, now go and start preparing one of them for your next meal. We know its tough to decide what to make and what to drop as they all seem super tasty and easy. Happy Cooking!