Baked Chai Apples (use as a topping, or for straight-up snacking!)

Friday, December 14th, 2012

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If you thought that I’d have become sick of baked apples by now, that makes two of us! But I found myself with eight juicy red apples on my hands after concluding this year’s Carl Sagan-inspired fsmas holiday card photo shoot

(To wit:

 

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Kaylee!)

and decided to make some baked apples to use as a topping on bran flakes. I’m not real big on putting milk on my cereal – nondairy or otherwise – probably because I never did so growing up, owing in part to my galactosemia. (The only nondairy option I can remember from my childhood is rice milk, and thanks but no. I might as well put tap water on my cereal! I still love you though rice milk fans. No hate!)

Admittedly, many cereals – especially my go-to bran flakes – can be pretty dry, but save for the heartiest of cereals, putting liquid on ’em just results in the opposite problem: a nasty, soggy mess. Baked apples, it just so happens, provide the perfect workaround: they add a little needed moisture without grossing out your cereal!

In chai flavor because Christmas! I almost went with pumpkin pie spice, but changed my mind at the last minute. Next time maybe?

 

Baked Chai Apples, Redux *

Ingredients

10 medium-sized apples (or 8 large ones), peeled and diced into bite-sized piecesVar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a 9″ x 13″ glass baking pan, combine the apples and spices; mix well, until all the apple slices are evenly coated.

2. Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes, or until the apples are tender (or not!) to your liking. Serve over your favorite cereal, topped with granola, mixed in with your morning oatmeal, or atop a bowl of ice cream. Store in an airtight container and use within a week.

Optional: For heartier servings, slice the apples instead of dicing them. Bake at 400F for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the apples are baked to your liking.

 

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* I totally forgot that I made a similar dish last year. Doh!

Christmas, squared. Also: shaken and stirred.

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

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So what you’re looking at here is a Chai Nog Milkshake: two scoops of homemade chai ice cream plopped in a glass of chilled So Delicious coconut milk Nog and stirred ever so gently. Truthfully, this was a leap of faith – I wasn’t quite sure how it’d taste, since the nog is thick and rich enough on its own – but it just so happens that it’s (wait for it) un-freaking-believable. So good! Like someone liquefied Christmas and put in a tumbler. Or on tumblr, which I shall do shortly.

In other news, did y’all know that Silk isn’t making the Pumpkin Spice flavor this year? It’s true! We tried to special order a case from our local natural foods co-op and, after a week of waiting, were told that NO ONE’S getting Pumpkin Spice this year. What is this fuckery! What am I supposed to put on my cereal? In my tea? This is a tragedy of epic proportions.

Word on the street is that So Delicious also makes a Pumpkin Spice flavor, but as of yesterday it’s unavailable. At least that’s what Green Acres’s distributor says (sob).

Ugh, why won’t anyone just shut up and take my money!?!

It’s just not x-mas without Pumpkin Spice!

Chai Spice Ice Cream

Monday, November 26th, 2012

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One of my favorite things about the cold winter months? Hot tea, of course!

Actually, warm beverages are one of just a few winter weather perks I can think of; the only other upside that comes to mind is the possibility of snow days – which is kind of moot for me, since I’m no longer a student and, in point o’ facts, work from home. But whatever, I’m not here to complain. Not when I have a steaming mug of tea in front of me and a pair of ginormous, cozy thermal socks (not wool! acrylic and rubber!) to warm my feetsies, nosiree!

But what’s this got to do with ice cream?, you ask. Aside from the obvious green tea, chai is the tea I heart the best. Unfortunately, my favorite blend can be hard to find locally, and so it was that I found myself running short on chai teabags pretty early this season. So decided to take a pint of quickly expiring soy creamer and make the next best thing: chai ice cream!

According to the Wiki, chai tea traditionally incorporates four components: a black tea base; sweetener; milk, usually whole; and “warm” spices, including ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and/or allspice. Though this recipe doesn’t include black tea, you could easily add some in: for example, by pre-heating the soy milk and steeping a bag of plain black tea (they make those, right?) in it prior to starting the recipe.

Other than the tea: Sugar, check! Soy creamer, check! Spices, check! I prefer a chai mix of cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, so that’s what I used – but for the ginger fans in the house, I included that spice in the ingredients list too. Start with 1/2 a teaspoon of ground ginger and work your way up from there. Just remember that the flavors will intensify after freezing, so don’t be too generous with the spices!

By the by, if by chance you’re thinking to yourself that ice cream isn’t exactly your idea of a wintery dessert, I’ve got five words for you: Apple Pie. A LA MODE. Apple pie and chai ice cream, I’m swooning just thinking about it.

 

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Chai Spice Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 cup soy milk, divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 cups soy creamer
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ginger (optional)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. In a small bowl or mug, combine 1/4 cup of the soy milk with the arrowroot powder. Whisk briskly and set aside.

2. In a saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cup of soy milk with the soy creamer, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Bring to a slow boil on medium-high heat. Whisk well and often.

3. Once the mix begins to boil, remove from heat immediately. Add the arrowroot “slurry” and mix well. This will cause the batter to thicken noticeably. Add the vanilla extract and mix again. Sample the batter and add any extra spices to taste (but keep in mind that the flavors will be a bit stronger once the batter is frozen). Chill in the fridge for four to six hours or more. (Usually I prefer to let the batter chill overnight.)

4. When you’re ready to make the ice cream, process according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy immediately as soft serve or chill in the freezer for a few hours for a firmer dessert.

"Candied" Chai Pears

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Last week, I shared a recipe for Herbal Tofu with Apples and Pears, a yummy dish for dogs and people. This week, I decided to try out a slightly different version, sans tofu and with loads of caffeine-laden tea. The result? “Candied” Chai Pears. (“Candied” in scare quotes because they’re candy-esque, not really “candied.”)

“Candied” Chai Pears

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(More below the fold…)