Vanilla Chai Latte
Chai tea features a fragrant blend of brewed black tea and warm spiced milk. Here, the tea bags are steeped directly in the warm milk, rather than water, for a rich and satisfying treat. If preferred, you can also brew the tea first in one cup hot water and stir it into two cups of the warm, spiced milk before serving.
Although whole milk is used here, you can use your choice of milk, a combination of milk and heavy cream, or plant-based alternatives such as coconut or almond milk. However, be advised the plant-based alternatives will impact the final taste.
Note: Some chai latte recipes recommend ground spices rather than the cracked whole spices as described here. Although ground spices are a bit easier to use, they can leave an unpleasant gritty residue behind even after straining.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yields: 2 12-oz. servings (as shown) or 4 6-oz. servings
3 c. whole milk
2 T. cardamom pods
1 T. whole allspice
1 T. whole cloves
5-6 whole star anise
3-4 2” cinnamon sticks
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 t. real vanilla extract
2-3 T. honey (adjust to suit personal preference)
3 black tea bags, preferably organic
Optional Garnish: Ground cinnamon and/or whole star anise
Pour milk into a large skillet set over slightly less than medium heat.
Tip: Set temperature between medium and medium-low. The milk should get very warm, but not scald.
Place the cardamom pods, allspice, and cloves in a plastic bag and place on a cutting board. Gently pound on the spices with a meat mallet or rolling pin just until they crack. (They should remain mostly whole, but opened up a bit).
Add the cracked spices, star anise, cinnamon sticks, ginger, vanilla extract, and honey to the skillet and stir to combine. Simmer until the milk is very warm and fragrant, approximately 5-6 minutes, then add the tea bags to brew for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and discard the tea bags, squeezing first to release as much flavor as possible. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, reserving the liquid. Discard the solids and divide two-thirds of the remaining liquid between individual serving mugs and set aside.
Pour the remaining mixture into a blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes, or until a nice foam develops.
Tip: Make sure the blender cap is properly vented to prevent the hot liquid from exploding.
Divide the liquid from the blender among the serving mugs and top off each with a big spoonful of foam. Sprinkle with some ground cinnamon and garnish with a star anise, if desired, and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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