It has been a snowy, cold week here in DC and my boys have been spending a lot of time outside playing in the snow. Well, actually my older son has been and my younger son thinks he wants to be outside and then just stands there screaming because he’s cold and got snow in his gloves. Fun. Anyway, one of the best things about going out to play in the snow is coming back inside for a nice hot drink. The first few times we came back in we had some yummy hot chocolate from the mix I made over the holidays but by Wednesday we were ready for a change.
I’m a big fan of chai tea (I recently learned “chai” is the Hindi word for tea so calling it chai tea is really like calling it tea tea) from a coffee shop but I’m not really a fan of the prepackaged stuff you can buy at the grocery store, so I’ve been wanting to find an easy homemade recipe for some time. This one from Saveur is so easy and so delicious. Goodbye hot chocolate and hello chai.
Spiced Tea aka Masala Chai (slightly adapted from Saveur)
1/2 c evaporated milk (I used fat-free and it still tasted creamy and delicious)
5 tsp sugar
6 black tea bags
5 pods cardamom, crushed (I used about 1.5 tbsp whole cardamon seeds because it’s what I had on hand)
Bring milk, sugar, tea, cardamom and 4 cups of water to a boil in a 2-qt saucepan. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain and serve hot.
Are you still looking for ideas for Christmas gifts? I always love getting and giving homemade food items and this year I decided to gift my own homemade hot chocolate mix. I used a recipe I found by Alton Brown and made a few additions. I gave one batch a kick with a little cayenne, another batch a little spice with some cardamom, and to the final batch (for my kiddos) I added chopped up peppermint bark. Obviously I had to try each batch to ensure their quality and I can assure you, they are fabulous. Package them up in some cute jars and use these free printable labels (2 1/2″ circles) and you’ve got a quick and easy gift with stuff you probably already have in your pantry. Happy gifting!
Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix (slightly adapted from Alton Brown)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 pinch of cardamom, or more to taste
2 ounces peppermint bark, coarsely chopped
Combine the first five ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. Separate the powder into three different bowls. In one bowl add a pinch of cayenne, in another add a pinch of cardamom, and in the final bowl mix in the chopped peppermint bark. Can be stored in an airtight container indefinitely. When ready to serve fill a mug half full with the mixture and then add hot water. Stir until incorporated.