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Arvinda's Fruity Christmas Chai Cookies

Arvinda’s Fruity Christmas Chai Cookies

One fun way to use Arvinda’s Christmas Chai Masala is in your holiday cookies.

Add some spice to your cookie plate!

Add some spice to your cookie plate!

Try these cute little fruity Christmas cookies that will add some spice and flair to your holiday table.

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Arvinda's Citrus Chai Spice Sugar Cookies.

Of all my holiday baking recipes that I make annually, this recipe is my favourite. The citrus notes pair amazing with Arvinda’s Chai Masala–which is the perfect holiday spice blend!

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Did I hear the weather forecast correctly?! This Thanksgiving weekend brings us summer-like temperatures which has me jumping for joy. We can always rely on October for giving us a nice heat blast known as an Indian summer of unseasonably above normal temperatures. I don’t think anyone is complaining after our taste of fall the last couple of weeks!

One of my favourite recipes from summer has lasted well into the fall season! High Protein High Fibre Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Arvinda

All this talk about heat and humidity has me reminiscing about my summer, which seems way long gone by now. Although this summer I didn’t get the chance to travel, do anything extraordinary wild or crazy or take an over-the-top adventure, it was a summer of simple pleasures of enjoying all the beauties of the season. Plain, simple and beautiful. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Like…A daily walk to the pond. Backyard reading with a background soundtrack of chirping birds. Midnight walks in the muggy, sticky heat. An outdoor concert by the water (there were a few of those!). Market fresh vegetables. An outdoor festival. A rainy pool party. Al fresco dining. A hot summer breeze. A great summer tune. Sweat pouring down my face. That was my summer.

That’s not to say fall doesn’t bring us same and equal simple pleasures—there are plenty of those to enjoy as we experience a change in the air, as the leaves do their colour rotations and as we transition into our more cosier attire. There are especially many fall traditions to enjoy and savour with the festive Thanksgiving weekend as well.

But for now, in this moment I’m remembering three months back and enjoying our Indian summer!

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Arvinda's Chai Spice Ladoos (Snowballs)

Here’s a recipe for my Holiday Chai Spice Ladoos (snowballs) featured in last week’s Toronto Star as part of the article, “How to Create a Signature Party” featuring ‘foodie’ Torontonians and their cool holiday traditions.

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On the first of December, we hosted Arvinda’s Merry Masala Cookie Exchange at Nella Cucina featuring holiday goodies infused with Arvinda’s artisanal spice blends. In attendance was Suresh and Jenny of Spotlight Toronto, who are also a part of Toronto’s FoodieMeet @foodiemeet, an online community of VERY passionate Toronto ‘foodies’.

The FoodieMeet Bake-Off is on

A couple of emails later, I was invited as a baker to participate in the FoodieMeet’s Bake-Off in support of The Stop Community Centre on December 13. I read the details and thought the invite should have read, “please bring your sweet tooth”. This was going to be ‘sweet tooth’ heaven, plus a good party at Samovar Room (a great place by the way, reminiscent of Russian bar Pravda). An invite not to be turned down!

Amongst the professional and amateur bakers, judges and FoodieMeet attendees, I was most impressed with the hyper-creative, heightened taste buds and sophisticated palettes all under one roof. Everyone there really loves food, which I found very inspiring.

Bakers were to be guided by the theme, “Escape Toronto”. I went with our Arvinda’s Merry Masala Cookie Exchange’s Curry Mango Snow Crescents. Give passionate foodies an “Escape Toronto” theme, and you’re left with an array of heavenly sweets including–Coconut Cupcakes with Kafir Lime Icing; Tandoori Shortbread Tarts with Passionfruit Curd; Chinese Almond-Cookie Cupcakes with a Wonton Wrapper Snowflakes; Sticky Date Cake with Beer-Caramel Sauce with Pomegranate Compote; Sri Lankan Jamaican Patties (savoury); Mayan Spice Mousse Macarons…I could go on.

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Do you love Chai but want it without the caffeine? Try making Chai with a rooibos tea (it’s really a tisane, not a tea). Milder than a black tea and having no bitterness, rooibos makes the perfect caffeine-free Chai — when boiled together, the spices can really be appreciated.

With the added health benefit of a dose of antioxidants, Rooibos Chai can be enjoyed at all times of the day and is suitable for both children and pregnant women (check with your doctor to be sure). Light and aromatic, it pairs nicely with a chocolatey decadent dessert.

Arvinda’s Maple Rooibos Chai Latte

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I started assisting my mother with her Indian cooking classes through her cooking school Arvinda’s about 16 years. At the time, I was timid about Indian cooking and intently watched and listened to my mother talk about all the delicious Indian foods I ate growing up. I delectably devoured my mother’s meals but never knew how these delicious dishes really came together. This was the start of the Indian culinary transmission of knowledge, from mother-to-daughter in a formalized cooking class setting. Lucky for me!

Baking however was my first love and baking is where I felt right at ‘home’ in the kitchen. Since the age of five, my mother and I would have a ‘marathon’ holiday baking sessions baking up dozens of varieties of holiday goodies year-after-year. Since then, my favourite pastime was baking anything sweet of course to satisfy my incredible sweet tooth! My love for anything sweet led me to more baking experiments in the kitchen. For my Grade 6 Science Fair, the only project that kept me motivated about the science was baking, so I pitched the idea to my science teacher who said “Cake Baking” as a science project was never done before. The result was 2nd prize (who would have known?) and a pile of cakes to be eaten by me!

With the holidays fast approaching, I’m left thinking about what cookies and other sweet delights I’ll bake with my mother for the 2009 season. This year, a couple friends suggested we teach some of our most-loved masala-infused holiday goodies in a hands-on cookie exchange. What a great idea! In this class we’ll show you some of our treasured holiday favourites including:
– Crunchy Pistachio Cranberry Chocolate Chai Biscotti (the ideal dipping cookie served with your favourite hot beverage OR a warming cup of Masala Chai tea which will be served)
– Holiday Chai Spice Ladoos (Snowballs) – healthy, nutrient-packed and delicious! (see photo)
– Festive Garam Masala Gingerbread Squares
– Citrus Chai Spice Sugar Cookies
– Mango Curry Snow Crescents

Everyone will leave with a selection of each of the above cookies handily boxed for you to freeze or enjoy right away, a recipe booklet containing the evening’s offerings (including the hot beverages) and one tin of Arvinda’s Artisinal Spice Blends , either Arvinda’s Chai Masala or Garam Masala.

Details: Class fee per person is $60 (includes pre-class savoury snacks, beverages, recipe booklet, take home cookies, your gift of an Arvinda’s Artisanal Spice tin and a no-fuss holiday season!) To book your spot, go to: Nella Cucina for mor info or call: 416.922.9055.

We hope you can join us – we would love to share our holiday traditions with you!

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