Tag Archives: Rooibos

Rooibos Chai

Nothing like a spicy, warm, and smooth mug of tea to start the day–especially when you are on vacation.

While searching for recipes that I thought looked good, I read a blog post about how saying “chai tea” is redundant and incorrect, so I’m trying to say it right–but it goes against years of Starbucks training.

So what to call this?  I really wanted to say rooibos chai tea, but I know that’s not right!  Chai rooibos?  Rooibos chai? Chai tea rooibos?  Masala (the blend of spices I used) rooibos chai?  Chai masala rooibos?

I’m just gonna stick with the simple version:

Rooibos Chai (serves 2)

  • 1 heaping t rooibos tea
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 whole peppercorns
  • 6 fennel seeds
  • milk and sugar to taste

Most importantly–you must toast the spices!  I used the toaster oven at 350 and toasted for 4-5 minutes, until they were touched with golden color and smelled amazing.

Next, crush ’em up with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder–but don’t go too small.  You just need to release the flavor, not grind them to a fine powder that can fit through a tea sieve.

Make the rooibos tea–I used a Bodum, which was perfect for straining the spices later.  You can make the tea (just boil the water and add the tea) while the spices are toasting and let it steep.  The awesome thing about rooibos tea is that you can let it steep all day long and it will never get bitter, just nice and strong.

Now we don’t have to go all day, but a good 15-20 minutes would be nice.

Once the spices are crushed, toss them in with the rooibos tea and let it continue to steep–like I said before, 15-20 minutes is good, but feel free to go longer.  I did about 20 minutes and it had a nice assertive flavor that was still so smooth.  Warm up some milk (I used about 1/6 C) and add the tea (and sugar if you want).

Breathe in deeply.

Melt.

Swoon.

I love this tea.  I want to make it every day. 

You can mix up a big batch of the spices, toasted and crushed, to have on hand and use when you get a craving.  Which, after you try this tea, will probably be often.  You can also get creative–use the spices I used, or take some out, or add more–for instance, adding a few more peppercorns will make a more intense and spicy tea.

It’s worth the prep.

For breakfast everyday I’ve been eating some variation of a greek yogurt parfait: plain greek yogurt, fruit (bananas or clementines), Ancient Harvest cereal, and raisins.  Mason jar=perfect height for a filling breakfast that’s fun to eat, too.

I’m going to go out for a quick run, then it’s time for a late lunch and board game playing with Mom, Fritz, and Jordi.

Sorry you can’t be here for this, Dad.

I know how you love board games.

(Not).

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Rooibos Tea Cookies

Hello my friends!  Today was a perfect, sleepy, peaceful, beautiful snow day!

We knew there was a big storm a-comin’, but the dental school made me so happy by pre-emptively canceling classes and clinic the night before, so Fritz was prepared to sleep in.  It was great timing because I am driving the very long trek to my parents’ house tomorrow with my good friend Jen, and the snow stopped in the afternoon–enough time for the plows to go out and do their thang.  But today…ahh.  Today I got to read (I finished The Help in less than 24 hours), bake (two different things!), get ready for my trip and soon Fritz and I will finish the sixth season of LOST.  Now that is a good day.

Even Henry got into the spirit, finishing up a few novels while I baked and Fritz shoveled:

And of course, it isn’t a snow day without hot chocolate.  Erin and Bruce introduced us to this delicious Mexican chocolate–and my life has never been the same:

Now for the baking.  I made some Earl Grey cookies the year I graduated high school (isn’t it amazing that I remember that year so vividly?), and for some strange reason I woke up this morning craving them.  I googled the recipe and found the exact same one from Real Simple that I used way, waay back then.

However, I wanted to mix things up a bit.  And since my favorite South African will be here all alone for a long weekend, I thought I’d give him something to remember me by.  So instead of Earl Grey, I used…

Rooibos!  And they turned out A-mazing.

Rooibos Tea Cookies (adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 T rooibos tea (ground–I used tea from four tea bags)
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C butter (I only had 1/2 C butter so I had to add 1/2 Smart Balance since we were snowed in–but otherwise I would have used all real butter.  Sorry Dad!)

I set up the table to take pictures of the ingredients, but I got too excited and forgot to take a picture before I started tossing ingredients in the mixer.  Whoops!

The recipe says to process the tea further, but I like the bits of tea leaves so I decided to leave ’em as is.  Put all the dry ingredients into your mixer and blend.  Add the vanilla and butter and mix on medium until fully combined (the dough should form one ball).  Divide the dough in half and place each half on plastic wrap, roll into a log, and wrap tightly.  Put in the refrigerator to chill for at least half an hour (I popped mine into the freezer for the last ten minutes so they’d hold their shape even better during cutting).

Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking racks with parchment paper and set aside.  When the dough has chilled, take one roll at a time, remove from plastic, and cut into pieces, at 1/3″ intervals.  Line on a cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies until they are just starting to brown at the edges, about 10-12 minutes on the middle rack.  Remove and let cool on the sheets for another five minutes before cooling fully on a cooling rack.

If you eat one straight out of the oven (which, admit it, you will), it will be soft and chewy, but once it cools they are light and crispy.  I’m normally heartily in the chewy-cookie camp, but man, these are good.  And perfect for dunking into milk, coffee, or (duh) tea.

So good.

I want another one right now.

Fritz made me promise to leave all of them here when I leave tomorrow, but I may have to make another batch just for my family to enjoy. 

So buttery!

So golden!

Go.  Go and make these right this second.  And feel free to use another kind of tea–I was thinking chamomile might be my next try for a sleepytime cookie.

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Filed under Desserts