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Cheers to Chai

June 23, 2011

Chai is a wonderful cup of enjoyment and a delicious accompaniment to a morning muffin or scone. Sweet, spicy, warm, and frothy, yumm! We enjoy it during morning quiet times or to take on a morning walk. My family loves chai, and the morning wouldn’t be the same without it. Or serve with non-dairy milk over ice for an afternoon treat! Making your own chai concentrate is simple and much more economical and healthy than purchasing ready-made concentrates or picking one up at a local coffee shop (paying $4 for a one non-dairy chai is crazy!). We always double this recipe for more chai goodness. The smell of the tea and spices simmering together will fill your home with a beautiful aroma reminiscent of the holidays! This recipe is sure to please! Enjoy!

Tips: World Market sells quality spices at a low price. Store fresh ginger in a freezer-safe container or bag in the freezer for 3-6 months. Slice or grate off the needed amount and return the rest to the freezer.

Recipe for Chai Concentrate:
3½ cups water
½ cup agave nectar (or honey, but then it would not be vegan)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 star anise
¼ tsp anise seeds
8 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
8 whole cloves
1 tsp peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced, skin on is ok
4 bags tea (orange pekoe, darjeeling, or roobios which is naturally caffeine-free)

Directions:
In a medium saucepan combine all ingredients except the tea. Bring to a boil and allow to strongly simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Add the teabags, cover the pan again, and steep for 20 minutes more.
Strain the concentrate into a sealable container (a quart size canning jar with a lid works well). Keep in refrigerator for about 1 week.

Directions for a chai latte:
Hot Chai: combine 1 cup soy, rice, or hemp milk to ½ cup concentrate and heat in a saucepan. Use a frother to whip up the milk and serve. Iced Chai: add 1 cup milk with ½ cup concentrate and serve over ice.

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