Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside + Masala (Chai) Spices for Tea

It is cool and dreary here today in Manhattan, Kansas Рthe kind of day that makes a person want to stay inside and curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.  So, I made some Masala Spice Tea. Hmm, wonderful!

ChaiSpiceTea

Masala (Chai) Spice Blend

7 T. granulated sugar

2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon

2 t. ground ginger

2 t. ground cardamom

2 t. ground cloves

1/2 t. ground allspice

1/2 t. ground nutmeg

1/2 t. ground black pepper, optional*

Combine sugar and spices in a 3/4-cup glass jar. Close the lid and shake the jar until ingredients are well blended. Store at cool room temperature.

Suggested Uses: sprinkle on top of buttered toast, or on top of muffins or coffee cakes before baking; use instead of sugar in Chantilly Cream, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or hot cider.

* The black pepper yields a hot flavor that works well in coffee, tea and hot cocoa; but I omit it for use in baked goods, hot cider and Chantilly Cream. If you are not used to hot flavor in your beverages, the pepper might become an acquired taste.

To make Masala (Chai) Spice Tea

2 c. water

2 T. + 2 t. Masala (Chai) Spice Blend

2 T. + 2 t. Assam or Darjeeling black tea, Jasmine green tea, or Honeybush herbal tea

2 c. milk, almond milk, or soy milk

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add spice blend and tea leaves. (It your tea is bagged, leave it in the bags because the crushed tea is more difficult to strain.) Stir in milk, almond milk, or soy milk. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Strain tea into a warmed pot and then strain again into warmed tea cups. Enjoy!

More on this week’s photo challenge

Just Out of the Oven: Chai Spice Snickerdoodles

Soft and sugary, but spicy too, Chai Spice Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. I just baked this batch for our guests.

Chai Spice Snickerdoodles*

2 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. ground ginger

1/8 t. ground cardamom

1/8 t. ground nutmeg

3/4 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 1/3 granulated white sugar

2 lg. eggs

1 t. almond extract

3 T. spiced sugar (2 T. + 1 t. granulated white sugar blended with 1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon, 1/4 t. ground ginger, 1/8 t. ground cardamom, and 1/8 t. ground nutmeg)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then beat in extract. Scrape down sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients just until well combined. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Remove dough from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Scoop by rounded tablespoonfuls. Roll dough between palms to form balls and then roll the balls in the spiced sugar mixture. Place 3 inches apart on baking sheets.

6. Bake for approximately 12 to 14 minutes or until just set and slightly golden. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool. Enjoy!

* Recipe from my second cookbook, Confectionately Yours: A Collection of Cookies, Candies & Yummy Confections.