Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Tea Tuesday: Baking with Tea

Hello to you lovely people who take time to read this!

Up until recently, I had only been consuming my tea as a drink. In the mornings, I go for a cup of PG Tips for the caffeine hit, and I also drink it whenever I'm feeling a bit homesick or need to get work done. The rest of the day, I'll go for a cup of anything that takes my fancy, whether it's one of my Bluebird Tea Co. teas or my personal favourite at the moment: Twinings Salted Caramel green tea.

But then I started about thinking about how else tea could fit into my life, and started researching how to incorporate different teas into different bakes. I love to bake with my boyfriend back at home, and I do occasionally bake here in Germany - usually in the form of procrastibaking, though. Eventually, I stumbled upon Nigella Lawson's recipe for chai muffins and thought I'd give it a go. It seemed pretty easy and didn't call for any outrageous ingredients. Below you can see the result:


I can confirm, they are yummy. I eat a couple for breakfast on the go if I have an early lecture, but they also make a great snack in the middle of the day. They are very moist and fluffy, and are packed with flavour and texture. Overall, an excellent first baking with tea experience!

Recipe


  • 225ml/8fl oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Chai teabags
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 400g/14oz white spelt flour
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 150g/5½oz soft light brown sugar
  • 75g/2½oz natural skin-on almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 150ml/5fl oz sunflower oil
    1. Warm the almond milk with the contents of the 2 teabags (I just rip them open over the pan) and cinnamon – stirring to mix – and leave to cool.
    2. While the milk’s cooling, preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
    3. In a large bowl, measure out the flour, baking powder, sugar and all but 2 tablespoons of the chopped almonds, and combine well.
    4. When the milk has cooled, add the eggs and oil, then whisk well.
    5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon. Don’t be too efficient about this: a slightly lumpy batter makes for lighter muffins. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases (it will fill them well), then sprinkle equally with the remaining almonds and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and the muffins are slightly risen and pleasingly golden-brown on top.
    6. Remove to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes before devouring.

    Tips
    • If you like a strong chai flavour, steep the chai in the milk for a while before warming it up
    • Nigella says in the recipe that the batter will fill the muffin cases well, and she is right - the first time I made these I didn't fill the cases up and ended up with tiny undersized muffins, so use the batter only for 12 muffins, and don't worry if the batter actually fills the cases completely
    • Watch the oven! Nigella suggests baking these for 20 mins but my oven is apparently super hot and they only needed 10 mins before they were ready. As with all baking, know your oven and keep and eye on your bakes.
    • Try exchanging the almonds for sultanas. I love anything with cinnamon and sultanas in, so for my first batch I replaced the almonds with sultanas and I definitely preferred that to the chunks of almonds in this batch, although the batch with the almonds turned out to be a better muffin batter. Sultanas are great in this recipe because when they cook they become really big and juicy and perfect. 10/10 would recommend.

    I'd really like to experiment with baking with tea some more. I've heard Earl Grey makes an excellent addition to tea loaves and lemon cakes because of it's strong flavour which doesn't get lost in bakes too easily. If you bake with tea, I'd love to hear your experiences in the comment section below! What are your favourite recipes?

    Don't forget to catch up on last week's reading antics in my latest Weekly Wrap Up!
    Love to you all, and have a fantastic week!
    Zoe