Tag Archives: Tea

Mint and Lemon Iced Green Tea

I actually made this a few days ago, when it was 95 degrees and humid outside (and inside).  Today it’s more like 60 degrees and cold, and raining, and I’m wrapped in a blanket drinking tea of the hot and English breakfast variety.  But because I know it’s going to rapidly return to the boiling point, I’m going to post this anyway.  We’ll be better off prepared for what’s coming.

This is an iced tea recipe I found online a few years ago and wrote down on a notepad.  That was pre-blog, when I was unaware that I would be posting my favorite recipes for the world to view, and I should probably be able to cite from whence they came.  So if this is your recipe, please tell me and I’ll gladly let everyone know!  I’m sure I’ve changed it a bit since I originally found it, so it may be unrecognizable by now, anyway.

Sorry.

Mint and Lemon Iced Green Tea (serves 6-8)

  • 6 bags of green tea
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 bunches of mint (10-12 good-sized leaves)
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 10-15 ice cubes

This is a pretty simple recipe, and I’ll warn you–I used to add sugar into the boiling water, but this year Fritz and I stopped adding sugar to our beverages.  It took a little getting used to, but now everything tastes just as good as it used to.  Amazing how sugar feels absolutely necessary until you just stop using it.  But if you want to, you still can.  I think the original recipe called for 1/3 C? Maybe even 1/2 C of sugar.

Anyway, heat up the two quarts of water until boiling, then add the tea bags and take it off the heat.  That’s important–don’t boil the tea bags, ’cause it won’t taste good.  Just let them steep in the hot water for eight minutes.

While the tea is steeping, slice the lemons in half.  I usually cut off a few thin slices to put in the pitcher, and juice the rest.  Rinse the mint leaves and tear them in half.  Toss them in the bottom of the pitcher, along with the ice.

Once the tea is ready, remove the tea bags and pour the green tea over the ice.

This is also important–let this tea rest for a while!  It’s really good the next day, when it’s icy cold and the mint and lemon flavor are really strong.  You should probably make this tea the day before you want to use it, but at least a few hours.  The mint is what makes this perfect for a hot summery day, so it’s worth the wait.

Enjoy with a barbeque, or day by the pool, or you can take it to class like I did so you can imagine you are at the beach.

This recipe is also easily doubleable, and it looks very pretty at a party with the mint and lemon in the pitcher.  You could also put a little sprig in each person’s glass.

And hey, you could spike it with a little spiced rum, too…if you wanted.  Just sayin’.

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Royal Honey(moon) Wheat Scones

I’m a little late for the royal wedding, I know.

I also didn’t watch it (but I kinda wish I did).  So when the urge struck me to bake, I decided to make some scones.  Honey-ey and wheat-ey ones.

And then I named them after the royal honeymoon.

Aside from their delightful taste, a nice thing about this recipe is that it only makes 6 hearty-sized scones.  A lot of times when I bake I suddenly realize I have 5,843 muffins or 635 cookies that are just begging me for some lovin’.  And really, I only was craving one or two cookies.  So if you want lots of scones, either halve the size of each scone or double the recipe (or both!).

Royal Honey(moon) Wheat Scones (adapted from In Great Taste by Evelyn Lauder)

  • 1 1/4 C whole-wheat flour (I used 1 C whole-wheat flour and 1/4 C buckwheat flour)
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/2 C water
  • 3 T honey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir “vigorously” (the recipe says so!) until combined.

As you can see from my “ingredient” picture, I started off making barley flour, but my grinder wasn’t feeling up to the job so I switched to buckwheat/whole-wheat to save myself some time and energy.

Let the dough rest for a few minutes, then pat out on a floured surface into a circle about an inch thick (I told you, these are hefty scones!).

Using a glass or biscuit cutter, cut into rounds.  Reroll the scraps, and cut again.  I had exactly enough dough for six big fat scones.

Place them on the parchment paper and stick ’em in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  Let them cool on a wire cooling rack.  If you have been cooking for years and somehow still don’t own a wire cooling rack, find some other adorable gadgets to cool the scones off on.

These were 4/$1 at a garage sale I went to a few years ago.  Score.

Enjoy these scones with a warm cuppa tea or coffee.  Or…just eat them plain!  They are faintly sweet with the honey and have a light nutty taste.  They are also surprisingly fluffy for something made with all whole-wheat flour (hello one whole tablespoon of baking powder).

Oh and…Got Milk? (Thanks for the mugs, Dad!)

And if you haven’t had enough Henry updates lately (because how can you have enough Henry updates?), here’s a nice montage of him lounging around in his ultimate favorite spot of all time–inside a cardboard box.

Any cardboard box.

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts

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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Banana Whole-Wheat Rusks (South African)

It’s amazing how much the weather affects my mood.  When I woke up this morning it was gray and rainy out.  I did my usual Friday morning thing (straightened up, made a giant breakfast, did the dishes, and sat down to read) and even though that routine usually fills me with a huge sense of peace and relaxation, I felt weirdly…melancholy.  An hour or two went by, and as the rain stopped and the sun came out I was back to my regular baking, errand running, procrastinating, happy self.  And it was 100% due to the sun.  It was gorgeous enough to open the windows while I baked–and that is probably my favorite thing ever.

It also might have had to do with the green-themed care package that arrived in the mail today stuffed with goodies from my parents.  Thin Mints really just have a happy way about them, and my mom told me she has a new problem called she can’t stop buying me cute and functional things for my kitchen.

Mom and Dad found this scarf for me in Chinatown last time they were in NYC for business

Now that is a problem that I can live with.

I’ve mentioned before that the hubs is South African, and he has begged me for rusks for a few weeks now.  Rusks are a hard, twice-baked bread that is like biscotti in that it is dipped in tea or coffee to soften before eating.  Usually rusks are a little less refined than biscotti, too–salty buttermilk or rough bran often flavor these amazing snacks.

I have become a huge fan of rusks in the last few years, and since Fritz has also been asking for banana bread (he gets excited when he spies a few spots on a banana), I decided to go out on a limb and combine the two!

Start off with banana bread:

Whole-Wheat Banana Bread (you could use any banana bread recipe you like, but I’d aim for a hearty, less sweet version like this one I adapted–you want to complement your tea, not overwhelm it)

  • 2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2 T ground flaxseed
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 C brown sugar (I used Indian maple sugar)
  • 1/2 C milk (I think these would be even better if you substituted buttermilk here)
  • 2 t vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350.  Start by combining the dry ingredients, then adding the wet ingredients and mixing until a smooth batter forms.  Like I’ve said before, I like to slice the bananas into the mixer and then let the beater mash them a bit–then there are some chunks of banana left for discovery.

Pour into a greased loaf pan–I topped it with a crushed granola bar for some extra texture, but that’s optional.  Bake on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  The top and edges will be a nice, dark brown because of the whole-wheat flour.  Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before you turn it out and slice it.

If you are just making banana bread, stop here.  Otherwise–turn the oven down to warm/200 degrees and get ready for rusks!

Banana Whole-Wheat Rusks

Slice the bread into thick slices, and divide each slice vertically into four pieces for thin, rectangular shapes.  Place the rusks on a dry baking sheet and dry out in the oven, rotating every hour or so to prevent them from burning.

It helps to keep the oven door propped open a bit to let the moisture escape.  The drying should take 3-6 hours for one loaf, depending on how hot your oven is and how thinly sliced the rusks are.  Once they are dry, cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.  Serve with tea or coffee.

Fritz nearly fainted with happiness when he discovered what was cookin’ in the oven all day.

Even Henry couldn’t wait for these rusks to finally be finished:

You’ll notice that Henry is seated on a scratching pad that he has decided is better suited as a throne–he sits on it all day long.  Gotta love that catnip.

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Filed under Breads, Snacks

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