Toasted Hazelnut Chai
The tea shelf in my pantry is absurd. Dozens of teas from everywhere I go, stacked and falling over next to nearly as many varieties of honey on the other end of the shelf. I’ve been a bit obsessed with Lupicia teas for the past few years, ever since I discovered that they make teas that taste like roasted chestnuts and salty sakura mochi and sweet beans. But I’ve never found a commercial chai that tastes as good as the one I’m posting here now. Just a bit of toasting and pounding, and you have enough chai to last months, perfect rich spices to ease you into your day each morning.
My bees are doing well. It’s been a rough summer for them, and I had to replace the queen once, but the hive is now going strong. I’m pretty confident that they have good odds heading into winter, at least, and still have hope that they’ll manage to make some honey for me if we get a good nectar run this fall.
I finally got stung for the first time by my hive. Turned out that it’s much less of a big deal than it was back when I was a kid! And I totally deserved it – I was doing a hive inspection alone, and I squished more bees than usual when stacking the supers back up at the end. But that’s okay – I’ll still gladly go in wearing shorts and tanktops and a loose veil, and pet fuzzly walls of bees in the hive. Me and the ladies, we get along just fine.
2008: Black and White Cookies
2007: Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)
Toasted Hazelnut Chai
37g black tea leaves
50g toasted hazelnuts
12g rose petals
20g cinnamon sticks
15g cardamom pods
A couple vanilla beans (optional)
A mortar and pestle honestly is the best and easiest tool for the job, this time.
I toast hazelnuts on a baking sheet in the oven, 315 F for about ten minutes (or until they smell good to you). Let them cool for a couple minutes, then coarsely crush them and mix them in with the tea.
My rose petals come in the form of curled up rosebuds, so I crush them just a bit until the petals separate out and break up enough to be mixed in with the rest.
Crush the cinnamon sticks into shards small enough to fit into your tea strainer. (It ended up being about 5ish 3″ cinnamon sticks, for me.) Mix in with the rest.
When you crush the cardamom pods, get in there with your fingers and rub the seeds out of the pods – but pour the pods along with the seeds into the mix with the rest.
If you’re using vanilla beans, just snip them into little pieces with a pair of scissors and mix those in.
That’s it. Sniff it to see if you’re happy, and adjust the proportions to taste. Store in a sealed container. Use like you would any other fantastically delicious chai.