Daytime temperatures have reached (scarily) into the upper 70s and lower 80s here, turning my cooking thoughts to cool salads, quick sandwiches and juices – ways to avoid turning on the oven. (If this is March, what will July be like??) Yet, even in deepest summer, I like to have a hot drink in the late afternoon – for the ritual and for taking a few relaxed minutes to sit and sip.
This drink was inspired by the Maple Pumpkin Latte I made not too long ago. I decided to try making one of my favorite hot beverages in my trusty little crock-pot: chai. All of the ingredients went in and in a couple of hours on Warm (my slow cooker runs hot), afternoon tea was ready. Here’s how I did it:
Earl of Chai Tea
2 cups water
1 cup soy milk
1 Earl Gray teabag (string cut off)
2 black tea bags (strings cut off)
1 star anise
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
6-8 whole cloves
6 or so cardamom pods, smashed a bit
couple of packets of Truvia (crystallized stevia) or your favorite sweetener
Put everything into the slow cooker, set it to low (or warm) and forget about it for a few hours. When ready to serve, remove the tea bags, and either scoop out the peppercorns and seeds with a strainer spoon, or pour the chai through a strainer over a big measuring cup.