chai latte

Make this just for the aroma…even if you never take the first drink of the chai latte.

 But…look what you will miss if you never taste!!!

  • Tazo Earl Grey tea
  • Market Spice Tea – Cinnamon Orange
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • vanilla bean
  • fresh ginger
  • cardamom fancy white pods
  • Indonesia cinnamon sticks (cassia) {saving the real cinnamon for Baklava!}
  • Chinese star anise
  • Ceylon whole cloves
  • black peppercorns
    • honey
    • water
    • raw sugar
    • whole milk

Individually, some of the spices may be on your ‘I don’t really like that’ list; however, combined they each contribute to the wonderful flavor of the whole.

simmering (this s m e l l s  so  good…)

20 minutes later and strained
The post-simmered spices maintain their beauty.

equal parts warm frothed milk and chai concentrate
dusted with ground cinnamon
oh…and, use that left over cinnamon stick!
D E L I C I O U S!

Chai Concentrate
(adapted from here)
Ingredients:
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 4 Earl Grey tea bags (black tea)
  • 4 cinnamon orange tea bags (or use total of 8 bags of black tea)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3″ section of raw ginger (I didn’t peel mine)
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 whole star anise pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (I didn’t use this; cinnamon orange tea is very orange)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • whole milk
Mixing:
  1. Bring water and sugar to boil, dissolving sugar
  2. Add tea bags, all spices, vanilla bean, and zest
  3. Simmer 20 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and strain into container 
  5. Stir in honey; allow to cool; store in refrigerator for a week
Chai Latte
  1. Heat whole milk to simmer
  2. Froth milk (I used my hand mixer)
  3. Add equal parts chai concentrate and frothed milk to your mug
  4. Dust top with cinnamon
  5. Stir with left over cinnamon stick
  6. Enjoy
cliche, but ‘good to the last drop’
Update:  Don’t!! throw the spices away after straining them from the liquid.  My spices have been sitting on the counter for a week; they add a whiff of fragrance to the fall air.
Update/Update:  My chai concentrate did get cloudy after a day; I have read that the cloudiness is due to oil extractions from quality tea leaves.  Adding boiling water will reduce the cloudiness.  Equal parts chai concentrate and boiling water yields an enjoyable spicy hot tea.

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bake a sweet potato

…and then bake it into these sweet potato – cardamon – ginger – orange muffins

The muffins are crunchy on the top, soft and fluffy in the middle, and offer your senses a pleasant journey.

Rather than filling all 12 muffin tin wells, I distributed all the batter into 9 of the wells.  Remember to butter the top surface of he muffin tin; the batter will rise and form ‘muffin tops.’

The recipe was adapted from here.

Sweet Potato – Candied Ginger – Cardamom – Orange Muffins

topping:
1 1/2 T orange zest
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 t. ground cardamom
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
4 T. butter
1/2 c. flour

Combine all topping ingredients in small bowl. Mix together with a fork, or your fingers.  Sit aside.

muffins:
Mix into one bowl-
1/3 c. chopped Penzey’s crystallized ginger
1/4 c. melted butter
1/3 c. molasses
1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 c. pureed baked sweet potato
2 eggs
1/2 c. full fat buttermilk

Into another bowl, mix the dry ingredients:
1 3/4 c. flour
2 T. ground flax
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cardamom

Combine the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients; stir gently just until mixed.  Divide batter evenly into 9 buttered muffin wells. Sprinkle topping over each of muffins.  Press gently to adhere topping to muffin batter.

Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned, approximately 25-30 minutes.
Cool in pan 10 minutes then remove to cooling rack.

crunchy muffin top

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cardamom takes these gingersnaps over the top

Another ‘Cookie Jar’ recipe-and this one (Spicy Dreams) is great!   The cardamom, in this cookie that I would call a gingersnap, takes the cookie to a new level.  There is a depth of flavor added that comes only from the addition of the cardamom.

Aren’t these cookies pretty.  Notice the ‘swirl-crack’ in the top of the cookie.

Yes, that’s sugar, and an ample amount.  I rolled the dough balls (made with a #50 scoop) in sugar prior to baking.  Years ago, my mother often baked gingersnaps especially for me; so, they hold a very special place in my heart.  These cookies are as good as hers…they help bring back fond memories of days long gone.
You can find this recipe in Joanne Fluke’s, “Key Lime Pie Murder,” page 226.