DIY: Tea Ice Cubes

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Dearies, I’m sure you’re reading the title of this post thinking we’re crazy. Iced tea in the wintertime? Well, it’s true! If you are a regular reader of the blog you’ll know I’ve recommended iced tea in the colder months before. It actually helps us think about summertime and sunny weather! Since it’s been particularly cold and grey these days, Kat has decided to throw a little iced tea party for her friends. It helps bring a little warm sunshine to our hearts.

A trick I’ve mentioned before is to add herbs and herbal teas to the ice cubes to make deliciously flavored iced teas. But another fun idea is to add steeped tea to the ice cubes too, which will make sure the teas you serve aren’t watered down. You could use the same tea you’re serving, or even use complimentary teas for added flavor!

One of my favorite combinations is to use a nice strong Assam tea as the iced tea base, and then add an ice cube made out of Earl Grey tea. The lovely bergamot flavor slowly melts into the iced tea and creates a lovely sipping sensation.

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To create the Earl Grey tea ice cubes, we like to make sure the tea flavor is good and strong. To do this, we use 2 teabags per 1 cup of water. Boil the water, add your teabags and steep for 10 minutes. Allow the tea to fully cool and then pour into the ice cube trays. Put in the freezer, and allow to fully freeze. Viola! Ice cubes ready for your iced teas whenever you need them!

Our favorite Earl Grey of the moment is Newman’s Own Organic Earl Grey. It is the perfect combination of smooth, slightly earthy black tea and tangy, citrusy bergamot. I’m quite the Earl Grey critic, I’ve had it all over the world, in all sorts of variations. And I must say, this is a very pleasing cup. Easy to prepare and quite delicious. Kat’s father loves a good strong cup of Earl Grey, and she keeps a box of this in the cupboard just for him. Can’t say that I blame him. It’s one of the world’s most popular teas for a good reason!

 

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Tippy’s Masala Chai Brownies

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Dearies I was perusing the calendar we keep in the kitchen and December 8th is going to be my new favorite national day. It involves one of my favorite flavors, and can be enjoyed with tea. It’s National Brownie Day! Oh I just love caky, chocolatey brownies. But I suppose I also love the fudgy, dense kind too. They go perfectly with tea, don’t they? I decided that instead of a brownie to pair with tea, I wanted to put tea right in the brownie!

It was tough to choose a tea to add to a brownie. I was close to doing Earl Grey, since I love how it pairs with chocolate. But then I decided to go a completely different route. I’ve recently been playing around with masala chai and chocolate, and realized this would make a fantastic brownie! A little sweet, a little spicy, and that smooth chocolate flavor to round everything out. Here’s my recipe!

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Tippy’s Masala Chai Brownies

½ cup butter (1 stick)

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ cup flour

¼ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon cloves

Heat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8” square baking pan with tin foil or parchment (make sure it overlaps a little to give you something to hold on to when you lift the brownies out of the pan) and grease the lining. In a small bowl sift the flour and spices together and set aside.

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In a small saucepan combine the butter and chocolate. Heat on low and stir until everything is just melted and combined. Pour this into a bowl (or use the same pot if it’s big enough) and stir in the sugar. Using a whisk beat in the eggs one at a time. Slowly stir in the flour and spices mixture until combined.

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Pour mixture into the lined pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until it’s just soft but not too firm in the middle. Cool in the pan on a wire rack (if possible. We sometimes just leave the pan to cool on the stovetop). Once cool, carefully lift the foil or parchment, and cut into squares. Enjoy!

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There you have it, Dearies! These brownies are on the fudgy side, which I think works very well with the chai spices. I think this would pair well with a nice robust Assam or bright Kenyan black tea.  Happy National Brownie Day!

Recipe: Tippy’s Chai Hot Chocolate!

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I’m so excited to share my new recipe with you! I’ve been thinking up ways to enjoy warming tea-infused drinks and when I saw Kat eating a chocolate cookie with her masala chai, it hit me! Why not make a chai hot chocolate? Imagine coming out from a chilly late fall or winter evening and curling up with a mug of something sweet, chocolatey and warming. Dearies, I must admit this is one of the most delicious recipes I’ve created. Kat and I had such fun testing it!

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Tippy’s Chai Infused Hot Cocoa

               2 cups whole milk

               ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

               2 tbps (or 2 tea bags) black tea

               8 cardamom pods

               1 cinnamon stick

               5 whole cloves

               5 peppercorns

               1 whole vanilla bean

               1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and smashed

               4 tbsp sugar

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Gently is the key word for this recipe. Since we’re dealing with milk, we don’t want to overheat and cause it to scald or boil over. Heat water and milk genly until slightly bubbly but not boiling. Reduce heat to low, whisk in the cocoa powder. Once incorporated, split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds and bean, the tea, spices, and ginger. Allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in the sugar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and strain into two mugs.

This treat is delicious all on its own but you could garnish with fresh whipped cream, or add in a cinnamon stick. Enjoy my loves! If you try this recipe please let me know what you think? I know you’re going to love it.

Tippy’s Apple Cinnamon Tea Bread

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I’m all about autumn flavors these days, and I just came up with this tasty and easy quick bread to pair with your favorite teas. It’s perfect as an afternoon treat or a delicious way to end a dinner party.

This is made in a loaf pan to make it super simple. There is a streusel topping of cinnamon and brown sugar that also makes a surprise appearance inside the bread!

This tea bread has spices that remind me of apple picking and pumpkin pie. It’s the perfect autumn snack!

Tippy’s Apple Cinnamon Teatime Quick bread

makes 1 loaf

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped (any will do, but granny smith are best)

 

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Preheat your oven to 350. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and set aside. In a small bowl mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together. This will be the topping and filling, so set it aside for later. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and ground ginger.

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In a mixer, cream the white sugar and butter until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add about a third of the flour mixture, then a bit of the milk, and alternate until everything is just combined and smooth. Try not to over mix. If it seems too sticky, add a little bit more milk.

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Add half of the batter to the loaf pan. Then cover with half the apples and half of the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture. Then pour in the rest of the batter and top with the remaining apples and then the cinnamon sugar mixture.

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Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan before transferring to a cooling rack.

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This tea bread is perfect for afternoon tea, dessert, or even breakfast. It compliments many different types of tea and has all of the wonderful warming fall spices. I hope you enjoy!

 

Tippy’s Green Tea Granita

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If you’re looking for a new way to refresh yourself in the late summer weather, look no further than an icy cool granita! This cooling treat is similar to a slushy, but with more crunchy texture. It’s super easy to make, and will instantly cool you down. It’s also very easy to customize using your favorite flavors. I’ve been experimenting, and decided that green tea, ginger, and lemon is my favorite combination so far. The only equipment you need is a sheet pan or shallow glass pan, and room to stash it in your freezer.

1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger

3 cups water

3 green tea bags

Simple syrup

1 lemon zested and juiced

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First, make a ginger-tea infusion. Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil, add the ginger. Boil the ginger for about 3 minutes and turn off the heat and let sit for 30 seconds. After this step, add in the teabags (this is because you should never use boiling water for green tea, it’s too hot and can make the brew bitter). Steep the ginger and tea together for 10-15 minutes.

Add in half the lemon juice and three tablespoons of simple syrup. Give it a taste, and add more of both as desired. You can make it as sweet or tangy as you like!

Once the flavor is to your liking, pour the mixture into your pan of choice. We like to use a small shallow glass pan, since it’s all we can fit in our freezer. It works just perfectly! Freeze the mixture for about 30 minutes or until it’s just starting to become solid. Then, fluff it with a fork.

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For the next 2 hours, check on the mixture every 30 minutes (it may need much more than that but keep checking since every freezer is a little bit different, fluffing and stirring to create broken ice crystals. It should be slushy with lots of crunchy ice crystals. That’s when it is perfect to serve and enjoy. If your mixture gets too hard, you can leave it in the fridge for a while, or even blitz it in the food processor for a few seconds. This recipe needs a little attention, but it’s super simple, and in no time you’ll have a perfect summer dessert. Kat recently made this recipe for friends with great success. They loved the crunchy green tea flavor! The zing of ginger and tart lemon makes this light and refreshing.

For this granita Kat used Harris green tea. It has a mild vegetal green tea flavor and is perfect to add to any recipe. Kat loves this tea because the green tea flavor is balanced and not overpowering. It’s not too vegetal and is super smooth. For a different spin on this dessert, Kat is actually thinking of making the granita with an herbal tea for her niece Camille. She’s visiting next week and it’ll be the perfect refreshing treat! One bite of this crunchy, frozen treat will instantly cool you down and you’ll imagine you’re in the crisp autumn weather. Dearies I hope you enjoy my favorite new icy treat!

DIY: Cucumber Green Tea Body Spray

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Dearies this sweaty weather seems endless, doesn’t it? Kat has taken her afternoons on the shady porch, with a glass of iced tea in hand, and a good book. It’s been so hot that even a shady spot isn’t the oasis it once was. I decided it was time to do something about it. I noticed that my kitchen friends that live near the sink always seem to be the most comfortable in the heat. I realized it’s because they’re always getting sprayed by the faucet. Then it dawned on me- a body spray! That’s what Kat needs. So off I went, trying to find just the right combination of ingredients.

Kat loves cucumber in the summer, she says it’s quite refreshing. So I decided to put that idea in the spray. I think green tea pairs well with the cucumber. Both flavors are quite aromatic, and refreshing. With just a little bit of prep, you can have a refreshing body spray to beat that summer heat.

Tippy’s refreshing green tea + cucumber body spray

2 cups water

2 teabags of green tea of choice

Half a large cucumber

2 tsp witch hazel

Spray bottle

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Steep the teabags in just-boiled water for 20 minutes or more. Allow to fully cool in the fridge.

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Peel the cucumber and cut into large chunks. Puree in a food processor

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Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, coffee filter, or cheesecloth until you get as much liquid out as possible. You can chuck the solids, or use it in a delicious cucumber yogurt sauce!

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Add the cucumber to the tea mixture and mix in the witch hazel. Fill a spray bottle and keep it in the fridge at all times. When you’re feeling hot, just give yourself a spritz!

Recipe: Matcha Lemonade

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The other day Kat came home and was telling me how much she enjoyed her lunch. The best part was her beverage- she had a ‘half n’ half, which is a half black iced tea, and half lemonade. It’s one of her favorite iced teas to drink. It got me thinking about how we could adapt this idea to other types of teas. We’d need a tea that could hold up to the strong lemon flavor but also be enhanced by some sweetness. Then it hit me- why not make it with matcha? Perfect!

I gave it a few tries,and learned a few things in the process. First, it’s important to whisk your matcha up with hot water first, don’t just add it to all of your liquids. This way it will be well combined, and not grainy. Also, make sure you incorporate the sugar when the matcha is still hot, to make sure it dissolves fully. This recipe is actually very simple! Do give it a try and let me know what you think.

Tippy’s Sweet & Tangy Matcha Lemonade

Makes about 3 servings

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup hot water

1 ½ tbsp. matcha

2 cups cold water

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar

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First make the matcha- whisk the matcha in 1 cup of hot (not boiling, about 165 degrees F) water. once it is combined, add to the lemon juice and stir in the sugar. It helps if the tea is warm so the sugar will dissolve more easily.

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Add 1/2 cup sugar, taste and see if it’s enough sweetness for you, you can always add more if necessary. Pour this into a serving pitcher and add the 2 cups cold water.

Mix until everything is combined to a beautiful green hue. Pour over a glass with lots of ice and garnish with lemon slices. You can add freshly sliced strawberries or mint to your lemonade. It’s such a delicious way to beat the summer heat!

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Dearies, I was just thinking you could probably pour this mixture into popsicle molds and have a delicious frozen treat! I’m sure there are more ways to get creative with iced matcha this summer. I’d love to hear your ideas!

Green Tea Vinaigrette For Summer Salads

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As the weather gets warmer, all Kat wants to make is huge salads. The other day she came back from the farmer’s market with bags bursting with delicious fresh veggies. She loves to cook with fresh vegetables but often just likes to make an enormous salad for dinner. Her favorite are filled with leafy greens like kale and arugula. She’ll include some hearty additions such as hardboiled eggs, sliced ham, baked tofu, and even steak. The finishing touch to her salads is always the dressing. Kat love making dressing from scratch.

I started wondering how I could help create a new dressing for her summer salads. It dawned on me that I could include tea! After much thought and experimentation, I’ve come up with delicious green tea vinaigrette to add to all your salads this summer. It’s light but extremely flavorful.

Tippy’s Green Tea Vinaigrette

2 Tablespoons lightly flavored oil, we like grapeseed

1 tablespoon Rice vinegar

1 Green tea bag steeped in 1/4 cup water for 5 minutes and cooled.

1-2 teaspoons honey (if desired)

2 teaspoons diced shallot (optional)

2 teaspoons lime

Salt and pepper to taste

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To create the dressing, combine the rice vinegar and tea. You can then whisk in the oil until it’s well combined. Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Sometimes when Kat and I are pressed for time or if the bowls are all in the dish washer, we combine all the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and shake away until everything is combined. That’s it! It’s super simple and delicious.

Kat always likes to start slowly when dressing her salad. She’ll use just a few teaspoons of dressing and mix everything gently. She’ll taste and see if more is needed. Especially in summer, it’s nice to have a salad that isn’t super soggy.

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You can even use this recipe as a template. Try out other types of tea, add a different vinegar, maybe a different sweetener. You could even try adding a little bit of Dijon mustard. Get creative and you’ll have salads that everyone will be sure to devour. The dressing could also be used on boiled potatoes as a spin on German potato salad.

I just love creating these recipes for all of you, it’s so much fun to cook with tea! Happy steeping and eating, my dear friends!

DIY recipe: Tippy’s Banana Earl Grey Tea Bread

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Dearies, you may have noticed that Kat and I have been getting more creative in the kitchen with tea recipes. I realized we haven’t done much baking with tea, and I set out to change all of that! Today I’m so thrilled to share our recipe for Earl grey banana bread. Kat has enjoyed earl grey in baked goods before, and has even had it in chocolate truffles. I thought adding it to moist and springy banana bread would be a surprising and delicious addition to the afternoon tea table. Or for breakfast, or really, any time of day!

Tippy’s Banana Earl-Grey Tea Bread

½ cup Water

3 bags of Earl Grey tea or 1 tbsp loose tea

¼ cup packed Dark Brown Sugar

pinch salt

tsp vanilla

¾ cup Sugar

½ cup Butter

1 cup 2% Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Eggs, beaten

2-1/4 cups all-purpose Flour

3 very ripe Bananas, mashed with a fork

Preheat the oven to 350*F.

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the tea. Allow the tea to steep for 5-10 minutes (you want a very strong tea). Add the sugars and butter and return the pan and heat on medium. Cook until the butter and sugars melt and combine. Once you have a thick, combined mixture, allow to cool to room temp.

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In a large bowl combine the yogurt and baking soda. Let stand for about 5 minutes, until the mixture looks a bit puffy. Stir in the cooled tea mixture and the eggs. Sift in flour and combine. Carefully fold in the mashed bananas.

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Pour batter into pan(s). We like to use mini loaf pans, so we fill them 1/3 way full. You’ll need room for the bread to rise. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours if you are making 2 large loaf pans. Less if you are using small pans like we are. Start checking around 30 minutes. Bake until a tester (we use a chopstick or knife) comes out clean. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to fully cool on a rack.

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I do hope you enjoy my Earl Grey Banana bread recipe! We make a few mini loaves at a time and store a few in the freezer. This way Kat always has a sweet treat to serve when company arrives. The combination of the citrusy early grey, rich banana, and lemon makes a delightful cake with an irresistible chewy texture. I noticed Kat sneaking a few slices throughout the day. I think you’ll agree that this cake is the perfect tea time accompaniment!

Picnic Tea Sparklers

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Dearies, it’s time to dust off that picnic basket! Since spring is finally here, Kat has been talking endlessly about all of the spring picnics she plans to have. She certainly gets excited about picnics. She wants to have a picnic every weekend! Just the thought of all that planning makes my saucer ache. But, being the good tea cup that I am, I agreed to help Kat find some interesting and unusual tea related recipes for her picnics. I thought I’d focus on one type of recipe in particular today, the tea sparkler.

A fizzy, refreshing, and delicious tea drink is such a fun idea for a picnic! Just make it ahead and put it in a bottle for transportation, or you can even make them right on the spot with just a few ingredients. It’ll definitely add a festive pop to your outdoor gathering!

For something brimming with spring and summer flavor, how about a strawberry and basil iced tea? I came up with this recipe after Kat brought home so many strawberries from the farmer’s market that she could barely fit them all in the fridge:

Tippy’s Strawberry Basil Iced Tea

6 cups brewed black tea such as Assam, Ceylon, or Nilgiri, cooled.

2 cups freshly sliced strawberries

Large handful of basil leaves, torn or roughly chopped, leaving smaller leaves intact

Honey to taste (about a tablespoon)

Small handful of mint leaves

3 cups sparkling water

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large pitcher and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Add in sparkling water. Pour over ice and top with mint leaves. Dearies, isn’t this a lovely twist on iced tea? Perfect for sitting in the grass under a leafy tree.

For a different flavorful fizz, use sparkling apple juice in your tea sparkler! I love that this recipe uses sparkling apple cider along with black tea, lemon and cinnamon. What a delightful combination!

For a boozy sparkle to your outdoor soiree, Kat likes to use the pomegranate champagne cocktail that I came up with for the holidays. You can find my recipe in my previous post here.  The cocktail uses HEB Pomegranate Green Tea, a deliciously festive flavor combination of vegetal green tea and fruity, crisp pomegranate. This tea also has hibiscus added to the blend, which gives a nice tart bite to the brew. It works nicely with the added champagne for a juicy, bubbly brew worthy of your special picnic.

Well, I’m certainly glad to have found these sparkling tea recipes to keep in our picnic arsenal! I won’t get quite as large of a saucer ache when I hear Kat planning how many picnics she wants to have this summer!