RSS Feed

Category Archives: chocolate

Valentine’s Day ~ Cake Pops

Posted on

So the first post of the year limps in just in time for Valentine’s Day! Lame, i know… but the festive season came and went. New year saw me nursing on oral re-hydrant on the rocks to recover from a stomach bug and I have been buried under by work. Not that I am complaining!

Cake Pops for Valentine's Day

Cake Pops for Valentine’s Day

Work has taken center stage at the Escapades household. In between all the endless hours spent on work, food has been cooked and eaten, festivals celebrated, friends met, and weekends come and gone! the only remotely exciting thing has been pet sitting Sage’s friend, a chocolate Dachshund called Snicker while his family was out of town. The two had the time of their lives and even terrorized pedestrians from inside the car by sticking their heads out and nuzzling unsuspecting folks!

Sage and Snicker

Sage and Snicker

If you like me are dog crazy, follow me on Instagram where I post a lot more pictures of the pooch.

Readers of this blog will know that I am not one for special occasions. The one time i planned a romantic candle lit dinner, K wanted the lights on and left all the vegetables uneaten on the plate!

Cake Pops for Valentine's Day

Cake Pops for Valentine’s Day

Here are some cake pops that I made a year ago. I actually would never have made them heart centered although I wanted badly to try cake pops, but I did a special post for Valentine’s for the newspaper that i write for. Cake Pops are easier to make than imagined. Crushed cake crumbs, cream, chocolate and playing with sprinkles! Whats not to love? I had none of the problems others report with making cake pops. Essentially, when the cake ball is swirled around in liquid chocolate, it has to be done gently. any rough handling will result in broken cake balls. If you are generally not gentle and in a hurry, you may destroy your cakes pops. Best attempted when you have a full 30 minutes at your disposal.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate, stay happy!

 Cake Pops (makes 12)

Cake – 200 grams (can use store bought, 6-7 slices homemade or 5-6 cupcakes)

Cream – 4 tablespoons (like Amul cream from the tetra pack)

Dark / Milk Chocolate – 150 grams

Colorful sprinkles or other decorations

12 bamboo skewers or lollipop sticks

  1. Crumble the cupcake/ cake in a blender till it becomes like fine bread crumbs, remove to a bowl.
  2. Add the cream to the cake crumbs and mix with your fingers till it looks moist. Be careful while adding the cream, adding too much may make the mixture useless. So add half the amount mentioned, check and adjust.
  3. Divide the mixture into 12 equal parts and roll between your palms like a laddu. Place on a plate and keep it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  4. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler for about 1-2 minutes. Keep a check if using the microwave as chocolate burns very quickly. Mix it well till it is shiny.
  5. Dip about ½ inch of the skewer/ stick into the melted chocolate and then poke it into the middle of the cake balls to insert. The stick should be halfway into the cake balls.
  6. Dip this into the melted chocolate and using a small spoon, pour the melted chocolate over the cake pops to coat completely. Do not swirl around or it will fall off. Shake gently to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Pour a few sprinkles or decorations over the cake pops till coated. This step should be done quickly else the chocolate will dry completely.
  7. Stick the skewer into a glass filled with uncooked rice/sugar till they dry. Serve. (Shelf life is 1 day un-refrigerated or 3 days under refrigeration)


For more Valentine Day Dessert Ideas check out these recipes:

Chocolate Cheese Cake

Chocolate Valentino Cake 

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting 

Chocolate Truffles

You could also give these non Chocolate recipes a shot. Just as pleasing!

Orange and Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla Custard with Pears poached in Orange Sauce

White Chocolate Pannacotta with Raspberry Sauce

Eggless Star Anise Icecream with Strawberry Compote


Baking ~ Boozy Ganache Filled Tarts (Eggless)

Ganache Filled Tarts

Ganache Filled Tarts

For someone who plays and works with chocolate, I post painfully few recipes here using chocolate… am about to remedy it. I first ate a jam tart was in college when my friend got some and I was so smitten. I thought her grandmother (who made them) was some angel with a magic wand. the same year, I spent good friday and easter with them in their home at Trivandrum and indeed her grandmother was an angel with a magic wand. For four days, all I did was gorge on amazing food and sleep like a hibernating bear…. I cannot forget her sweet face and impeccably kept home… more importantly, the warmth of her heart and the terrific relationship she had with her granddaughter, my friend D.

On that nostalgic note, each time I make tarts, I think of Ammachi… This batch was made almost a year ago and filled with Chocolate Ganache.

tart shells

tart shells

Ganache Filled Tarts

For the tart shell (Makes about 14-16 medium tart shells)

Maida – 1½ cup

Chilled butter – ½ cup (cut into small pieces)

Pinch of salt

Ice cold water – 1-2 teaspoons

With your fingers, mix the butter into the Maida till it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the iced water and gently knead into dough. Keep in the fridge for an hour. Make two portions of the dough, using a clean surface; gently roll out using very little dry flour. Make a large chapatti and cut out enough dough to line a tart shell. Press into it carefully and prick all over with a fork. Repeat till all the dough is used up. Preheat oven to 210 degrees C, fill the tart shells with beans or raw rice and bake for 12 minutes or till the edges are golden. Remove and cool completely.

tart shells

tart shells

Chocolate Ganache Filling:

Dark chocolate slab – 100 grams

Milk chocolate slab – 50 grams

Milk – ¼ cup

Whiskey or brandy – 1 teaspoon (optional)

In a bowl kept over boiling water, melt the chocolate and mix well. Add the milk and the alcohol (if using) and thoroughly mix. This is the ganache to be poured into the tart shells just before serving. If you want to store it, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge; gently reheat over a pan of hot water to use.

A Crowd Pleaser ~ Oreo Cookie Shake

Oreo Cookie Shake

Oreo Cookie Shake

As a child,  I loved Goldspot so much, that I braved the unpleasant burps after drinking it. Am not much of a drinker… I don’t crave hot or cold drinks although my morning cup of freshly filtered coffee is sacred. I savour it in the silence of the morning and it gives me the energy to go about my day. Tea in the evenings, and most of the times, I skip it. Sometimes, late at night, if K and I are still up and a bit hungry, we share a hot chocolate. yet, I try and experiment with drinks both hot and cold. some of them are here… like this orange scented spiced tea ~ very soothing. Or this Kairi ka panna which kept me sane through the summers.

I make this Oreo shake regularly. Am not too fond of the cookie, neither am i a big chocolate fan, however, K loves it. So does everyone who has tasted it. I posted this picture to my instagram feed and a few friends asked me for the recipe. There is not much by way of one… but here goes…

Oreo Cookie Shake (Serves 1)

5 Oreo Cookies (or any other rich biscuit like dark fantasy or bourbon)

1 scoop of vanilla icecrea

1 cup of chilled milk

4-5 cubes of ice

1/4 cup water

Reserve one cookie for the garnish, place everything else in the jar of a blender and whizz on high for 30-40 seconds. Pour into a tall glass, crumble the reserved cookie on top, serve immediately with a straw.

I cant believe I am still on the NaBloPoMo bandwagon! yay!

If you would like updates from me, follow my Facebook page. You can also find me on Twitter

Baking ~ Possibly the best Chocolate Cupcakes I’ve made

Posted on

Last year in August, I opened up my kitchen commercially…. taking orders for custom made cupcakes from family and friends and the word spread. Why am i talking about it here? for the longest time, i felt embarrassed to post it here….but it is an extension of what i love, and you my dear blog readers deserve to know…. also, cupcakes are all the rage currently, so i thought i would put the information out there for anyone who wanted to know about where to order custom made cupcakes in Hyderabad. Look no further. Send me an email at arundati(dot)rao(at)gmail(dot)com or leave a comment here and i will get back to you. You could also leave a message for me on my Facebook page.

Recently, I made a batch of chocolate cupcakes with my regular recipe but wasn’t happy with the texture of the cocoa powder only cupcakes. I tweaked the recipe a bit and added melted dark chocolate and a pat of butter to the same batter and the cupcakes turned out like magic! deep dark full of texture and very rich. the compliments I got for these cupcakes alone should keep me from seeking any other recipe out in the future!

here is the recipe

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar (I powdered it finely)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup coffee decoction  (or 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant coffee powder)

1 Tbsp white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract/ essence

6 Tbsp Vegetable oil

100 grams dark chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons of butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt until everything is mixed well.

In the large jar attachment of a food processor (or a large bowl if doing by hand) mix together the coffee, vinegar, vanilla extract, and oil.

Melt the chocolate and butter together (you can heat in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time till just melted, then stir to mix thoroughly)

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until they just come together. The mixture will be thin. Add the melted butter and chocolate into the batter.

Fill the cupcake liners with batter till about 2/3 full.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or till a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a rack.

Once cool, frost or eat/ serve as is.

I made 12 mini cupcakes, and 5 regular sized ones with this batter.

Multi city Shopping Guide for Baking Supplies and Chocolate Material

I receive atleast 2 dozen mails per week asking for various bits of information about where to buy material for chocolate making, not just in Hyderabad, but in Bangalore and Chennai too. Replying individually may not always be possible. I thought it would be helpful to write a single post on this for the benefit of my readers. Most of the vendors here are wholesale / bulk supplies. At the end of the post, I’ve included information of a few supermarkets/ departmental stores which stock a few items too.

Please note that these are just pointers. The best way to find something locally is to ask around. The internet is not yet full of information about hole in the wall places in india where supplies are available.

For Chocolate Making you will essentially need cooking chocolate slabs, Chocolate moulds, essence, colour, wrapping paper, etc. If you want to attempt fancy packing you will need gift boxes, fancy bags and pouches and other chocolate making paraphenelia. the places listed below have all of these.

A word about Chocolate Slabs: There are many varieties which  differ in price and obviously quality. My advise to you is to buy the best that you can afford. In India, there is usually no indication of percentage of cocoa which is clearly marked on imported chocolate. the basic dark, white and milk variants are available.

Most supermarkets and large and medium sized departmental stores are now stocking baking material and paraphernalia. A lot of facebook groups also have resource guides with pointers and information.

Wholesale and retail sales

Hyderabad & Secunderabad

Sri Venkateshwara Agencies, General Bazar
Directions: Get into the main market lane (after the MG statue) and walk past Taruni , CheapJack and Kalpana footwear. go past hardware stores to find Venkateshwara Agencies on your right. The contact person is Prem.

Chawla Essence Mart
3-2-101, Opposite Bommana Bros General Bazaar, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh 500003 – 040 27812061
Directions: entry is easier through RP Road, Enter at the dargah and walk about 200 metres into the lane. it is opposite Bommana Brothers cloth showroom, to the right of the road.

Adilaxmi Enterprises, Road 10 Banjara Hills, Call Rakesh for directions: 9246563608

Baker’s Kraft (speciality baking supplies store, stockist for Wilton products including fondant supplies)
Opp Neerus Emporium, Griffin Breads, Madhapur Phone number – 9949894130

Lohiya Agrotech also called Bakers Super Mart
7-1-215/f4, Shop No.6 & 6, Tirumala Towers, Dharam Karan Rd, Ameerpet, Hyderabad. Phone number 092 46 297889

Arife Lamoulde

next to Grillz Chicken, Madhapur near IOC petrol pump 9642433971

Baker’s Dezire

Ahuja Complex, Abids, 9246175508


VK’s La Chocolat
10-50-18/4/1, Ground Floor, Siripuram, Opp. HSBC Call Centre, Siripuram,  Visakhapatnam


General Foods and Additives

No.175/3, Opp SBI ATM, 1st Mn Rd, Seshadripuram, Bangalore – 560020

Contact person: Ramachandra Tk

(80)-23367878, 23367874, 23360517


Viveka Essence Mart

No 285/128, Wall TAX Road, Park Town, Chennai – 600003

(44)-25350771, 25354240

Directions: This is the lane adjacent to the Chennai Central Station, several of the parallel roads lead to this area sriwhich has an abundance of wholesale chocolate making and baking supply stores. Viveka is the one i go to when in chennai, but there are several others as well.

Retail sellers of chocolate slabs, choco chips, cake decoration material, icing guns and nozzles, baking tins, muffin cups (paper and silicone), tart pans, cookie cutters, icing sugar, food colours, essence etc.

Delhi / Gurgaon

INA market

Morning Stores in GK I

Le Marche in Vasant Vihar (or one of the big markets in South Delhi)

Needs in Gurgaon

Supermarkets and Departmental Stores


Q mart – 5th Floor, Uptown Banjara, Road No. 3, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad

Ratnadeep Super Market – Hitech city, Kondapur, Madinaguda, Gachibowli, Sri Nagar Colony and Vikrampuri

Hypercity – Inorbit MAll, Opp I labs, Hitech City

Auchan – Oasis Centre Begumpet, 3rd floor, #6-3-112, Begumpet, Phone: 040-44386233


Nilgiris – call to check since the smallers stores do not have the full range of supplies

Amma naana – Chamiers Road Nandanam


Nilgiris Supermarket  – Brigade Road (has practically everything needed for baking, cake decoration and chocolate making, they also have excellent cocoa powder under their own brand.  Makes good sense to stock up, the other myriad branches across the city don’t have as much stuff)

Auchan Supermarket – 3rd floor, Salarpuria Tech Point, Koramangala, Mantri Square Malleshwaram, Bannerghatta Road, Gopalan Signature Mall

Auchan has brances in Chennai, Coimbatore, Mangalore, Pune, Delhi, Gurgaon, Pune, Vijayawada and Ghaziabad. They are a well stocked supermarket and should have most of the basic pans, baking tools and ingredients needed for baking and chocolate making.

Online Resources

There are a lot of reliable websites that have good quality, often imported baking, pastry and chocolate supplies, tools and equipment. If you live in a city that does not have a store, these are good (tho usually more expensive) options. This is not an exhaustive list. Please leave a comment if you know of any other sources.





Tiramisu Recipe ~ Heaven on a Dessert Plate ~ Daring Baker’s Challenge

Posted on

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

When my friend Aparna told me she and Deeba were co hosting the DB challenge this month, I thought it would be a good time to shirk off the lethargy and get daring again. I went over to the forum to check out the challenge and almost had a heart attack that they’d chosen Tiramisu. I mean, yeah they are fabulous bakers and very daring and each of their creations seem better than the other…. but what the heck were they thinking when they decided on tiramisu? For one, mascarpone cheese is something i’d have to give my left arm to buy in Hyderabad, that too for a 100 gm tub and I wasn’t willing to think that the homemade route was good enough. And then there were almost 4 components that had to be made from scratch…. I am telling you, these two were baying for my blood….Tiramisu is something you order for dessert at a fine dining restaurant, not make from scratch….

I kept going back to the forum and took comfort in the fact that many of the DBers had issues and I kept telling myself it was too complicated to handle….A week before reveal date, I finally made the mascarpone because I was having a rough day and nothing like pottering in the kitchen to calm me down…I stuck it in the freezer cos I was still not convinced that I would do the whole thing.

2 days before reveal date, I said to myself…. ah!! Not enough time…. lets just forget about the whole thing…. and so many eggs!! No ways… by the end of the day however, I found myself coaxing my double boiler not to scramble the eggs and was frantically whisking away at the pastry cream and the zabaglione…..see I cant even pronounce it properly!

Its a good thing these components can be made ahead, cos if they asked to be made all together, there was no way in hell I would have done it. To be fair to the tiramisu recipe, each of the components, the zabaglione, the pastry cream and the mascarpone, took about 15 minutes individually to make. When I was done, I felt quite ridiculous I was making a mountain of a mole hill. My bane is the part which calls for whipping anything into stiff peaks…. both the whipped cream and the egg whites, had me at hello. With a bad shoulder, this isn’t the best activity to indulge in… But I did so, cos all I could think of was sinking into some of this heavenly dessert by this time!!

Read the rest of this entry

Sinfully Awesome – Double Chocolate Butterscotch Fudge Brownies Recipe

ok that’s a mouthful….and dont let the pictures deter you. This is by far the best brownie i have made/ eaten…and that’s saying a lot, Since the family favourite is this one……

I did a chocolate class on saturday…. had a blast and had some leftover melted milk chocolate that i needed to use up. Normally, most people are chocolate crazy…. in my house, its ghar ki murgi dal barabar… since its so easily available… there are hardly any takers… so i knew keeping the chocolate as is would be a waste….after lunch, i logged in to check my mails, and saw my namesake’s status – double chocolate almond butterscotch brownie…. i knew i had my calling….

i have this habit of keeping unused stuff till it cries and dies, my packet of butterscotch chips, went from chips to slab all because i’d left it unused for ages longer than i should. It was in the fridge, each time i opened to get milk or something else, i’d guiltily look away… now this was a brownie that promised to make up… so i got the recipe from her blog….and read it… then decided that i could remember it and needn’t write it down…

When i got to the kitchen all i remembered was 2 eggs and 1/2 cup melted butter…. i decided to use just one egg as i cant stand eggs in cakes/ bakes…. funny cos i love eggs otherwise!! lets just say that was the end of following a recipe… too much chocolate cant be bad for anyone right? so i made up my own… and boy oh boy… is it fabulous or what… weight watchers, just look at the picture and leave… cos there is serious sugar coming your way!!

Double Chocolate Butterscotch Fudge Brownies

1 cup chopped cooking chocolate ( i used milk, but feel free to use dark/ bitter)

1/2 cup melted butter or oil

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 egg

1/2 cup butter scotch chips

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/3 cup sugar (reduce if you dont want it too sweet)

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

in a heat proof bowl, melt the chocolate and the butter/ oil for 1 minute in the microwave oven. take it out, add the sugar, coffee powder and cocoa powder and stir with a wooden spoon till the sugar has melted and mixed in well. leave to cool for 5 mins. When the butter, chocolate mixture has cooled, beat in the egg. beat this well so that there are no traces of unbeaten egg. Add the butter scotch chips and mix well. slowly add the flour, 1-2 tablespoon at a time till it begins to look like a giant ball of fudge. grease and line a 9×9 inch square baking pan and pour in the mixture, smoothen the top with the back of a spook. Bake for 20-22 mins in an oven at 200 celcius. Check for doneness with a skewer. let it cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares, dust the tops with powdered sugar… serve with whipped cream or plain vanilla icecream, or enjoy on its own.

Verdict: this is a very gooey in the centre, chewy on the top sweet brownie. the butterscotch chips add an extra crunch. you can reduce the amount of sugar if you dont have a very sweet tooth!

%d bloggers like this: