Apologies for the radio silence around here the last few weeks! It’s been a busy month, and I seem to have inadvertently taken a 2-week break from blogging. This week in particular was a whirlwind – we spent last weekend away on our first official food-writing assignment (I can’t wait to share details with you this winter!), and then we dove head first into a long, rainy week piled with work-work, school-work, and freelance-work. I’m getting on a flight to Ireland today, too, so I’m still a bit in heads-down mode, but with a clear break in sight. Trevor and I did manage to spend some solid time in the kitchen yesterday, so we have several exciting recipes to share over the next few weeks (lots of pumpkin and caramel and cheese) to prevent another accidental hiatus.
I’ve been taking an economics course after work this semester, and I’ve learned that sitting through a two hour lecture after a full day of work is a lot harder than sitting through a two hour lecture when it’s the only thing you have to do that day (college students, take note!). Since I can’t drink coffee after 2pm if I want to have a shot at a good night’s sleep, I’ve taken to picking up a chai latte and a few chocolate-covered graham crackers as an incentive for sitting through class. It’s been a while since I drank chai regularly, and I forgot how much I love it’s spicy sweetness. Although a regular chai is a treat in itself, I decided that mixing in a healthy dose of salted caramel and topping it off with whipped cream and, yep, more caramel, would make it a real indulgence, worthy of sharing here. I took the approach of making a light syrup from brewed black tea, fresh ginger, whole spices, and salted caramel, then mixing that syrup with steamed milk. The benefit of this method is that you can store any leftover chai syrup in the fridge for the next time you need a quick pick-me-up, then just mix it with a fresh batch of milk. Hopefully we don’t have another week of weather like last week any time soon, but if we do, I’ll be prepared to curl up at home with one or two of these.
Salted Caramel Chai Latte
- 4 bags black tea
- 3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and diced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 10 whole cloves
- 6 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 1 whole star anise
- 1/3 c. salted caramel, plus more for drizzling (I used this recipe but added 1 cup heavy cream instead of 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 c. white sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- whipped cream for serving
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Pour 1 1/4 cup of boiling water over tea bags in a heatproof bowl, then let tea steep for 10 minutes. Discard tea bags, squeezing out any extra liquid you can with a spoon.
- Add brewed tea, fresh ginger, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, star anise, salted caramel, and sugar to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then simmer on low for 10 minutes. Mixture should have the consistency of a very thin syrup. Let steep 5 minutes longer, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a jar, discarding solids.
- Heat milk until it is just barely bubbling over low heat or in a microwave, then use a milk frother to froth. Divide chai syrup between four glasses, then add 1/2 cup milk to each glass and stir to combine. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel, and serve immediately.