Treat Your Chill with Sugar-Free Chai

Fall is taking its sweet time to arrive but I refuse to let 80 degree October days keep me from enjoying autumn soups, teas, root veggies, and scarves.  Yesterday I made a hearty dish of wild rice, wilted greens, toasted pine nuts, and roasted wild mushrooms and enjoyed it for lunch with a steamy cup of sugar-free chai.

Sugar-Free Green Chai Tea

Makes:  Approx. 12 servings

Ingredients:

10 whole cardamon pods

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. fennel seeds

1/2 tsp. coriander seeds

1/2 tsp. whole black pepper

1/2 tsp. whole cloves

2″ piece fresh ginger, minced

1″ piece orange peel, chopped

10 cups water

3 Tbsp. rich loose leaf green tea such as Guayusa or Maté

2 Tbsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract

Preparation:

1.  In a spice grinder, combine cardamon, nutmeg, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, black pepper, and clove, and pulse 15 times or until seeds are broken down but not entirely turned to powder…you want to maintain some texture in the blend.

2.  Transfer spices to a mortar and pestle and mash with ginger and orange peel.

3.  Heat 4 quarts of water in a heavy stock pot.  Add spice blend, tea, and vanilla extract.  Bring to a low boil for five minutes, reduce to low, cover and simmer for one hour or longer.

4.  Let cool and then strain into a closeable glass container through a fine mesh sieve.

5.  When ready to drink your tasty chai, warm tea and vanilla almond milk separately.  Froth milk with a handheld device and pour over brewed tea.  Add a touch of honey if you desire and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.

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