Spicing It Up

It’s summer and it has been hot. Tempers have been running quick and red. Energy has been flagging. Yet, the rigors of summer… the camps, the play dates, the swimming and tennis and horseback riding… must go on. One day at a time, we march through summer, prey to the heat, at the whim of the schedule and our own diminished interests. The garden needs tending, the chicks must be checked multiple times a day, towels need washing, and what the heck, let’s camp out in the backyard tonight. Pop the tent.

Batter speckled with tea… interesting!

And we’re only 1 ½ weeks into it.

Bearing all this in mind, I couldn’t face making a “normal” dinner tonight. Often, when at my wits’ end, I opt for “breakfast for dinner”… a delightful break from the usual rigors of cooking, a quick way to get food on the table, and a sure way to get the kids to eat their dinner. Tonight, just to change things up, I decided to spice it up, too! The results have been nothing short of miraculous. As I type, Clara is reading and singing to Joseph; they are snuggled up on Joseph’s bed together completely forgetting the continual fighting of the other 12 hours of the day. I am chalking it up to chai tea pancakes and I’m loving it!

Chai Tea Pancakes
(adapted from Tracy Stern’s book Tea Party)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder (I used 1 ½ tbsp.)
½ tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk (I used 1 ¾ cups vanilla flavored coconut milk)
3 large eggs, separated
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract (I used 1 tsp. vanilla and ½ tsp. almond extract)
2 tbsp. ground chai tea (I used Compassion Tea Cochin Masala Chai)

Pancakes topped with whipped cream, maple syrup, and granola… looking good!

Whisk together the flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and almond (if you use it) and whisk until smooth and thick.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. sugar to the egg whites and beat until stiff. Fold into the batter and fold in the ground tea. Cook on a griddle until golden brown in each side. Serve with maple syrup, yogurt or whipped cream, and granola. Makes about 1 dozen pancakes.

Ready for consumption. Yummy happiness awaits!

These pancakes are thick and fluffy, moist and spicy, sweet and pleasantly unusual. They would make a great brunch dish if entertaining. Add some fresh fruit and candied almonds, a cup of chai tea softened with milk and honey, and viola! Delicious!

Fresh from the pool, the kiddos dig in. Joseph cleaned his plate in record time.

Clara’s eyebrows go up in surprised delight as she tries her pancakes.

Tea and Honey Crisps

What a decadent morning Memorial Day morning was! I got to leaf through a cookbook… uninterrupted… in complete quiet… for thirty minutes! That is one of my favorite things to do and my perusal turned out to be full of treasure. Here’s a recipe I’d love to share with you for a delightful little cookie you can make with ingredients you most likely have in your cupboards… including some Compassion Tea!

Tea and Honey Crisps
From: Gourmet Today
Makes about 6 dozen cookies

1 stick (8 tbls) unsalted, softened butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup mild honey
2 ¼ teaspoons Earl Grey tea leaves (make sure to finely crush your loose tea leaves before measuring!)
2 large egg whites
1 cup all-purpose flour

(To make a homemade stencil, draw desired shape of cookie in center of a Styrofoam plate. Cut out shape, discard, and trim away enough of plate so you have a 1-inch border around the stencil. Make more stencils if you desire.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with non-stick liner, like Silpat or parchment paper.

Try to use local honey to help with those allergy issues!

Be sure to crush your loose tea leaves before measuring!

Tea and Honey Crisps go great with the first cup of morning goodness!

Tea and Honey Crisps compliment iced Earl Grey tea… a delicious way to perk up the afternoon.

Beat together butter, confectioners’ sugar, honey, and tea leaves in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour until just combined.

Place stencil on liner and spread batter evenly in stencil with spatula. You want the cookies to be crisp so keep the batter thinly spread. Lift stencil carefully and make more cookies in the same way, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

Bake cookies in batches until edges are deep golden brown, about 6 to 9 minutes. Cool for 1 minute before transferring with spatula to a rack to cool completely. (To curl cookies, drape over rolling pins or thick wooden dowels as soon as you remove them from oven and let cool.)

• The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for one week.

Enjoy with a steaming cup of tea in the morning or as a light afternoon snack to accompany your iced tea!

Winston wants one, too!

The kids think the crisps are delicious!

May we have another?