Friday, December 18, 2009

Tea infiltrates your holiday treats

It’s sad to watch snow struggle to be snow. It’s been doing that all day — trying to fall as snow, but barely eking out a crystal. Just rain, really. Still, I’m in uber-holiday cozy snuggle hibernate mode. (And it’s looking like we’ll have a white Christmas!) My partner reaches for hot chocolate in this mode. I’m reaching for tea. Believe it or not, there’s common ground here.

One of my favorite sites, Lifehacker, shared this suggestion: using teas to flavor hot chocolate. Like a little mint in your cocoa? Toss in a Celestial Seasonings bag o’ mint. Do you usually add a little vanilla extract? Try infusing a vanilla tea with the choc. These folks even tried “less obvious choices like Earl Grey.”

I’m also ready for egg nog, by gum. Bigelow has a nog-flavored tea (read: tea ‘n’ nutmeg); I find it a bit noxious, but a friend says it’s great infused with almond milk. A good chai, or the lip-smackin’ Singapore Breakfast, goes well with a goblet of egg nog, or perhaps some eggnog bread. Me, I’ve been known to whip up some egg nog scones. Delish …

The recipe: Mix 3 cups flour, ¼ cup sugar, 2 ts baking powder, 1 ts baking soda, ½ ts salt and a pinch of nutmeg in a large bowl. Cut in ¾ cup of chopped butter (got a pastry knife? or use two knives) till it looks and feels like cornmeal. Make a well and pour in a cup of eggnog. Stir with a fork till the dough pulls away from the bowl. Divide into two balls, pat ‘em with flour, flatten ‘em into thick discs and cut into wedges. The wedges go onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Before firing them, you can brush the tops with a couple tablespoons of milk, then sprinkle with sugar and/or cinnamon. Bake at 425 degrees for about 12 minutes, till they lightly brown on top. Eat and be jolly.

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