Now that it's cooler out, it's time for chai and biscotti. Mmm.
My usual chai recipe is in a box at Spousal Unit's parent's, with all but a few of our books. I'm bummed about this because the recipe I usually use is perfect - I got it from Auntie, in New Mexico, who is Swedish by birth and Indian by marriage. So the recipe I've provided below is a mash-up of two recipes, one from All Recipes and one from Group Recipes.
Many of the recipes I ran across suggested using Ceylon tea. You can use English Breakfast, Darjeeling, or any of the darker black teas. The kind I use is pearlized (compressed into tiny balls). As far as the spices go, you can measure them all out, as in this recipe, or you can find a local shop that sells chai masala - a blend of all the spices you need in chai tea.
Some recipes suggest mixing the milk and water, boiling them together, and then adding the tea. I suggest waiting till the tea has been brewed to add milk. While milk doesn't stop the brewing process, it can change the nature of the brew because of enzymes and minerals in the milk (according to Chow).
The biscotti at the bottom of this post are a wonderful complement to the chai. Yes, there is a lot of vanilla in them; feel free to use less if it's not your thing.
Authentic Indian-Norwegian Rainy Day Chai
2 1/2 c. water
2 tea bags or 2 heaping teaspoons looseleaf black tea
4 teaspoons sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger1/4 tsp ground allspice (this adds the spicy zing)
1/4-1/2 c. milk
In a saucepan, bring the water to a gentle boil. Add sugar; stir occasionally until dissolved. Add tea and spices. Simmer the mixture for 3 to 5 minutes, until tea reaches desired color/consistency. Remove from heat; add milk to your preference. Strain into cups and serve. Makes 2 generous servings.
Tea Time Biscotti
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. plus 1 tbsp white flour
1 c. wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 almonds (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients except almonds. In a separate bowl, mix eggs and vanilla. Add to dry mixture, mixing with a fork as much as possible. Knead the last bit by hand (dough will be sticky). Grease a 9x12 cookie sheet. Pat dough into rectangular loaf about 3/4 inch thick on the cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven; slice loaf diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Lay segments flat on the baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Remove, flip segments and bake 10 more minutes. Enjoy with a cup of chai.