Chai is a perfect winter scent with a warming grounding blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and ginger. The warming spicy aroma of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg meld with the creamy richness of milk to create a delicious and soothing blend.
Chai is a phenomenally distinct yet versatile flavor and scent. Commonly founds mixed with black tea, chai originated in South Asia and can be traced back to India and China. While chai spices vary from region to region, traditional chai spices include cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves, fennel, ginger, and peppercorn.
If you’re interested in making your own chai drink, here is a simple and delicious recipe that combines black tea, milk, and spices.
2-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped 2 cinnamon sticks 2 teaspoons black peppercorns 10 whole cloves 6 cardamom pods 6 cups cold water 6 bags of black tea 2 cups of whole milk (or almond/soy milk)
Combine fresh ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom in a medium saucepan. While stirring, lightly crush the spices.
Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the saucepan, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, add tea bags and steep for 5 minutes.
Discard tea bags, add your milk of choice, and simmer over high heat for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, strain chai into a teapot, and serve hot.
Cinnamon as a summer spice may seem strange at first but the cozy fragrance and flavor of cinnamon that usually invokes the wintertime, is the perfect addition to all sorts of summer recipes (and showers). Factoid: Cinnamon actually comes from tropical climates in India and Southeast Asia. It pairs beautifully with warm sun, al fresco desserts and summer cocktails. How would we make it through the season with a cold glass of horchata now and then? And what would our summertime favorite, peach pie be like without a sweet and spicy touch of cinnamon?
The Real Deal
Cinnamon comes in either of two varieties: Ceylon and Cassia. Each comes from the same genus– but separate species–of evergreen tree. While Ceylon is considered a truer/purer cinnamon by hard-core cinnamon fanatics, the cassia variety is more common and more popular in the United States, probably because of its intense flavor.
Ground vs Stick
The choice is up to you on this one, but I recommend having both on hand (though some swear by one or the other, you know how foodies get). I like to keep ground on hand for recipes that require measuring. I’m not a fan of extra steps when I’m whipping up food on a weeknight. It’s about a 1,000x quicker to measure out a teaspoon of ground cinnamon than grinding it yourself (though it’s not that hard).
The major benefit of stick over pre-ground is you know you’re getting some seriously fresh cinnamon in your recipe. Plus you’ll know your cinnamon contains cinnamon and nothing else. Sticks also last longer than you might realize. You can keep them for months or even years in a tightly sealed container, and if you drop one into a tea or an infusion—or place one on top of your coffee grounds before you brew (highly recommended)– you can remove it post brewing or steeping and use it again and again. Just rinse it with warm water and allow it to dry before re-storing. It’s the spice that keeps going and going and going.
Bonus: It’s Healthy Too
Cinnamon isn’t just comforting and delicious; it’s also beneficial. The spice contains anti-inflammatory properties and anti-oxidants and it’s been linked to healthier brain function and, according to some, a reduced risk of high cholesterol. Win, win!!
If you’re a cinnamon fan like I am, you’ve got to check out the tasty cinnamon infused recipe here and of course, it’s one of the main ingredients in E+B horchata inspired soap.
Almonds and almond butter have been all the rage for the last few years and I’m guilty of jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve spent tons of $$ on almond butter. But it was so damn good, especially in smoothies, and on bread and with bananas…clearly the list could go on. When I finally got my hands on a Blendtec blender, I started whipping up my own because it’s ridiculously easy and I can control exactly what goes into it (seriously love that blender more than almost anything, except my soda stream…). This recipe came about after trying some of the amazingly inventive butters from Big Spoon Roasters (who we also happen to do a limited edition soap colab with – sadly sold out but stay tuned). The flavors of this butter are great for fall (or anytime, really). Slater over toast, add to a smoothie or just eat straight from the jar. Enjoy!