Darjeeling Hot Cocoa

Hot cocoa has so many wonderful memories and feelings attached to it. The most prominent one of course is winter time activities! I remember ever sledding adventure included going sledding for hours and coming back to the house soaked to the bone and freezing cold. My sweet mom would always have hot cocoa and marshmallows ready for us when we got back! 

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I've always been a fan of LOTS of tiny marshmallows vs. one or two large marshmallows. I did try a few times though to see if this hot cocoa scene from The Simpsons would actually happen LOL. 

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Hot cocoa has always been one of those things that never gets old. I've tried it so many different ways, but I've never tried it with tea! Tea and chocolate is a delicious combination so I knew it could only turn out well!

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I simply brewed some Yatra Tea Co darjeeling tea and that came in my sips by box and added it to my hot cocoa pot. I've always loved making it from scratch because the flavor was always better. 

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I added some spices to my mixture to jazz it up but they aren't necessary. The cinnamon is a must but not the nutmeg or cayenne! I added a bunch of marshmallows to mine but this mixture is good on it's own too!

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Remember that caramel sauce I made? It's the gift that keeps on giving because I added it to the top of these marshmallows....mmmm! I like that the darjeeling tea makes the hot cocoa have an even richer taste. 

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When it comes to cocoa powder, use a good quality one so that the flavor comes through well. I used 1/2 cocoa in my first batch and it was REALLY chocolatey. I would suggest using a little less if you want it to not be as strong OR you can add additional milk or tea!

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Puer Pusheen Pancake

I'm not very good at hiding my pusheen obsession! I love this cute little cat so you're probably not surprised that I'm subscribed to the pusheen box :D The fall box had this cute little pan in it so I decided to create a pancake recipe!

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I got some "grandpa's puer" from White2tea in my sipsby box this month. I've recently gotten really into puer and most of them have a really rich flavor which is great for recipes! This tea is named after "grandpa style" which apparently means not really paying much mind to brewing times. A more relaxed way of drinking tea. I can totally relate to grandpa style especially because when it comes to certain teas I like to judge them by color or aroma. 

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This is a great recipe for a small batch of pancakes. The pusheen pan is pretty small so It made many pancakes but if you use a regular pan, the batter would probably make 1-3 pancakes!

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You could optionally swap out the milk and use 3/4 cup of tea in the recipe but I think that without any milk the pancakes wont be as fluffy! 

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It was actually difficult to get a perfect mold of the pusheen pan but I did my best! I found it helpful to wipe out the pan after each pancake! 

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Look how cute this pancake is! 

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Topped with maple syrup, these tea infused pancakes are delicious! 

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These turned out nice and fluffy too! I also added in some cinnamon into the batter to give them an incredible aroma! 

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Yaupon Caramel

My lovely friends at Wight Tea Co. sent me their delicious new fall blend! Are you over pumpkin or just think it's kinda basic? Well, this is the perfect anti pumpkin drink! The rich flavor of yaupon, cinnamon and walnuts make this an incredible fall drink!

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This blend smells amazing and it took me a while to figure out what to add to them to make this drink. I started thinking about classic fall flavors like pumpkin, apple and then I remembered caramel apples are huge! I've always wanted to make caramel but admittedly had several failures!

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I searched for a recipe to use that was more like a sauce than hard caramel that would be easy to line the glass with! Check out this video that I used as a guide to make my caramel!

Easy Caramel Sauce

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The caramel is a great addition to the flavor of the tea and gives it a sweet taste! 

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I whipped up some heavy whipping cream with no sugar for the topping which makes this a spectacular sight and a great party favor!

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Pomegranate Tea Cocktail

Pom Tea!

I have so many fond memories of pomegranates. Growing up, they were always in our household. Although the pomegranate has only recently gained popularity in the United States, it is a central food in Iranian culture. The Pomegranate originates in the are of modern day Iran to northern India. 

The pomegranate has significant meaning in many cultures and to Iranians, it's a symbol of fertility and sometimes immortality due to it's health benefits. Pomegranate is used to make fruit leather, stews, stain fabrics and cloths etc. Pomegranate was one of my favorite things to eat growing up, despite always staining whatever clothes I was wearing. My sister and I always joke that there is no greater way of showing love than a parent who shucks a pomegranate for you. 

So yea, I kind of have a love affair with pomegranate and have wanted to use it in a recipe! I recently got some pomegranates in my CSA and started brainstorming on how to use them.

When I got my Sipsby box I had this fascinating tea blend by Leaf & Twig. Lavender and Mint. Let me tell you something about these two flavors, I love in all things except tea. Don't get me wrong I can enjoy tea with these flavors but they aren't my favorite. I love lavender bath products and I love mint ice cream but these aren't my first choices in tea so when it was time to come up with a recipe I was truly stumped. 

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This tea have lavender, peppermint, honeyroo and chamomile flower in it. I thought forever and ever about what to make and what flavors to use. When I can't come up with something I take a chance and do an experiment. I had a pomegranate and figured that the sweet & tart taste could provide a bit of oomph to this herbal blend. 

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I started thinking that a cocktail might be the answer but didn't want to taint these delicate flavors with alcohol. The tea blend is so pretty that I set out to create a fun, non-alcoholic tea cocktail to make when you're feeling fancy AND want to have a nice cup of healthy goodness. 

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The bigger your pomegranate the better (in general) and for this recipe. I used one of those hand held lemon reamers to get as much juice as I could from the pomegranate. Make sure to take off a few seeds for garnish before juicing. I added the juice to some fancy glasses as the base. 

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I strained the brewed tea and let it cool before adding it to these glasses so that the liquids could interact without changing each other too much. Mix up the tea and pomegranate juice and let settle before adding garnish. 

I was discouraged at first when the pomegranate seeds sank to the bottom of the glass. I've seen so many drinks that have the seeds as a garnish and they are floating so what the heck! I took a spoon and brought the seeds to the top and somehow they stayed! If your seeds sink, make sure to bring them to the top and they will stay on top or if you use ice it will be easier for them to float as well.  

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I set out to make a fun fancy drink and all I could think about this drink was MEH. Red on red. Seemed pretty lame. It was pretty in it's own way but needed something extra, some more color. I reached back into the tea tin and pulled out a bunch of these chamomile buds and placed them gently on top and BAM ! Cocktail transformation! The colors are so pretty and this drink looks like some expert mixologist made it, but in reality you are the expert mixologist! 

The pomegranate adds a nice sweet and tangy flavor to the min and lavender that is actually quite good! Enjoy! 

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Blood Orange Smoothie Madeleines

New and improved! 

A while ago I saw a recipe for madeleines from one of my favorite food bloggers, A cozy Kitchen. I worked from this recipe to create madeleines that were tea infused but they were a bit of a mess, especially since I didn't have the proper pan!

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I received some blood orange smoothie tea from The Tea Spot in my recent Sipsby box and knew that was the best tea to use! This blend has red rooibos tea, orange peel, hibiscus, rosehips, safflowers, rose petals, natural orange & vanilla flavors. 

In A Cozy Kitchen's recipe she uses "browned butter" which you can read a bit more about in her post. Instead, I used the normal infusing method of melting the butter and throwing the tea in here. You want to add the melted butter to your batter before it congeals!

One of the tweaks I made was to add the zest of lemon to the recipe as well. I think lemon paired well with the other ingredients like rosehip and hibiscous. 

You do want to let the batter cool slightly before putting it into a piping bag! If you use a bag that's fine but you can also just use a ziploc bag with the tip cut off. This makes it easier to fill the molds on the pan. One lesson I learned: even if you have a non stick pan, use either butter or flour or both on the pan before putting the batter in. 

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My pan was non stick but it was a bit difficult to get the madeleines out without breaking them! 

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I was really excited about how they turned out! Nice and plump! Remember to touch the madeleines to see if they spring back a bit. You do want them to get a bit golden but not too much so you don't burn the bottoms! 

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It's my personal opionion that these taste best warm!

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Glaze is totally optional but I wanted to try it and it helped cover up some patches from some of the madeleines I butchered :) I made an orange glaze by simply mixing fresh orange juice and confectioner's sugar! 

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OMG. SO. GOOD. If you don't like orange, stay awayyyy! My mom actually called me to tell me how good these were. 

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100% will be making again! 

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Charlie Grey Shortbread Sandwiches

One of my favorite parts of starting Tea Thoughts is all the other amazing small business owners that I've encountered on my journey. Most of these people I've met through instagram, and have formed bonds with. My IG tribe. These are inspirational women who like me, were not satisfied and have gone out on their own to start a business and pursue their passions. Kristen from Tea For Three is a one woman show creating organic tea blends in the big apple! 

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I recently purchased her Charlie Grey blend of black tea and bergamot essence, my fav combo! I decided to create some shortbread with this tea and make it more savory than sweet. I have a whoopie pie pan and thought it would be fun to use that to make sandwiches! 

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If you don't have this pan, you can always use a round cookie cutter to get the same effect. The other way you can get this effect is by refrigerating your dough in a log shape and cutting off thin pieces. I don't include refrigeration in my recipe because I like it better when the cookies are a but crumbly but if a cookie that stays together better I highly suggest refrigerating the log for 20-30 minutes. 

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The downside to baking them the way I did without refrigeration is that they are more fragile but I enjoy the crumbly nature of them. You can see in the photo below the spices in the recipe are present in the cookie. The nutmeg and clove give the cookies a more savory flavor, as opposed to a sweet cookie!

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I used two types of toppings for my sandwiches to see which went best with the flavor of the shortbread. I tried a jam and also a turkey and cheese combo. 

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I thought that the savory taste of the sandwiches would mean that the turkey and cheese was better suited but I actually enjoyed the jam better on these! 

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As sandwiches these are a bit messy once you bite into them but I enjoy a softer cookie to a tougher cookie!

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Now, if you try these and decide you like them but want a sweeter version, the transition is easy enough! You could simply add more honey into the batter. I would also suggest substituting the cloves and nutmeg for something a bit sweeter like cinnamon. 

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The charlie grey blend is versatile enough to go well with sweet or savory! 

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Orange Chai Bourbon

I'm back with another Owl's Brew Raddler drink recipe! This one has a little bit of a kick! The raddler used in this recipe is a seasonal one called Short and Stout. The stout is blended with Chai spices, coconut and pineapple. YUM! I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned my beer preferences before but I'm a stout lover, and a chai lover so this flavor was made for me!

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You're probably like UGH she is using Bourbon again?! Let me tell you why though! Besides being a total unabashed bourbon lover, it goes well with so many flavors! The spiciness of chai specifically goes well with bourbon in my experience. 

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This is a super simple recipe but has an important step that I think unlocks all sorts of flavors. To start the drink off you want to add the orange slice FIRST then pour the bourbon over the orange. When you let these two sit for a few minutes they are getting the chance to know each other better and mixing their flavors up :)

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HERE'S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART! Take a spoon, muddler or whatever you can find and mash that orange and bourbon together!!! Not only are you mixing the flavors but the pulp gives the drink an extra punch and more texture. 

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An orange garnish is perfect for any orange lover who wants to squeeze a little extra juice in their drink. 

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All these flavors go really well together and the bourbon gives it a kick! When Mr. Tea Thoughts tried it he said, " It tastes like fall in a cup!" Enjoy your orange chai bourbon fall in a cup! 

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Yaupon Soaked Chickpea Hummus

The other day on my facebook, took recipe suggestions. One of the suggestions I received was hummus, but something more exciting than chickpeas and tahini. I started looking up hummus recipes to see how I could incorporate tea into a recipe. After lots of thinking I decided that although it wasn't my normal method of infusion, the only way I could incorporate tea into the hummus recipe was to soak the chickpeas! 

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I received a Dark Roast Yaupon tea from Lost Pines Yaupon in my sipsby box and originally I wanted to make something sweet with it because the notes suggest this tea would be good with honey! After thinking over the types of recipes I've made recently I noticed that I hadn't made a "food" recipe recently. I decided the dark roast Yaupon would definitely give the chickpeas a roasted flavor that would go well with the other spices in the hummus!

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When I was deciding on my recipe I definitely tried to take into account ways that could spice up a normal hummus recipe. I rummaged through my fridge as I usually do when I make recipes and decided to add these ingredients to make this hummus a little different.  

  • Shredded carrot
  • LOTS of fresh garlic
  • Lime 
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I recently received some carrots through our CSA that had this wonderfully subtle sweet flavor and thought that they could give the hummus and tahini some depth in flavor. I've definitely had hummus with garlic which I love so I also decided to load up on that. Finally, lime came into the picture because I had limes and love the idea of the hummus being strong, a little sweet and a little tangy!  

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A note on olive oil in the recipe, go with your gut! I start you off with 1/4 cup olive oil but I guarantee you that isn't enough. While blending the ingredients together I had to constantly add olive oil to get my desired consistency. After a while it was hard to calculate how much I've used so I suggest using the method I did. Start with the 1/4 cup then add little by little until the hummus and smooth and to your liking. You will also need extra for the top when serving. 

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Salt and pepper as always should be used to your own taste. I think you can use as much paprika as you'd like too. I wouldn't use more than 1 or 2 tablespoons especially because you should have some for the top when serving, as seen in most of my photos. I really enjoyed making this hummus and the cost of the ingredients was low. It's a great choice for a party appetizer! 

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Apple Cider Blondie

Owl Cider

I'm back with another Owl's Brew recipe! I loved the apple cider recipe I made last time and decided that it would taste delicious with The Blondie ! 

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You can check out my Apple cider recipe here. I made a few changes to it to suit my needs. First, I didn't add any green tea, I used 2 very large apples so that I could yield a smaller batch and I didn't put ginger in with the cloves and cinnamon! Instead of fresh ginger in the apple cider, I used a ginger liqueur in the cocktail! 

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All of the flavors are absolutely delicious together! The ginger liqueur gives an extra punch to the raddler and the apple cider. The added cinnamon stick for garnish actually adds a lot to the taste as well!

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I don't have a lot of measurements on this recipe and here is why: do it to your taste! I would only advise against using too much of the liqueur because then it might turn out too sweet! I also used smaller glasses but porportions can be changed when using a larger glass!

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I made the ginger liqueur the least amount in the drink, then the apple cider, and most of the drink was the actual raddler because it has such a wonderful taste!

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Don't forget to mix everything up! 

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One last note, in my apple cider recipe I talk about how the apple cider tastes best hot. For this recipe I think it's best to cool the apple cider all the way before adding it to the drink. Enjoy! 

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Green Tea Apple Cider

Apple Cider Tea. 

So you can probably tell from my last recipe (matcha pumpkin pie) that fall is in full swing in my kitchen!

One thing that I've always wanted to make is apple cider. I love apple cider but often times, store bought brands are WAY too sweet for my taste and don't taste much like apple. I started to do some research to see the process of how to make my own. 

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I was pleasantly surprised to find out that making apple cider is very simple and it requires apples, water and spices. I looked at a bunch of recipes and decided to change up the traditional spices a little bit. I added in ginger and green tea!

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The Kukicha twig tea is known to be calming and nutty so I thought it would be the perfect addition to the cider!

You may use whatever apples you want for the cider but I used McIntosh because they are my fav! 

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Not only is this recipe very simple to make but while the apples and spices are boiling, a wonderful aroma fills your entire home! 

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A few tips: 

  • I strained my apple cider through a mesh strainer but there were bits of apple that came through. Personally, I liked it this way so I left it. I would suggest doing several round of straining if you want minimal apple left. You could also put the apple that gets caught in the strainer in some cheese cloth and squeeze out any juice to make sure you are getting the most of your apple cider!
  • Don't put the tea in until you're almost done with the cooling process like mentioned in the recipe. You don't want to tea to over brew and give the apple cider a bitter taste. 
  • Honey or sugar is optional here and based on your own personal taste. I put one tablespoon of honey for the entire pot and thought it was sweet enough, I didn't want to cover the taste of apples!
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This cider is such a wonderful treat plain or if you're having a party it can easily be spiked! I really liked the effect of the ginger on the cider as well as the green tea. I wouldn't suggest not putting cloves or cinnamon because it's such a staple in the apple cider taste but I do encourage you to add some spices to experiement ! 

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What apples would you choose for your cider?