Thursday, February 08, 2007

frugal hot drinks?

While I love Starbucks Chai Latte Tea (especially with whipped cream), I can't justify spending over $4 for a cup. The mix at the local store is almost as expensive at $5 for a small can and the commissary sells a big tin for the same price. So I became interested in trying Kim's recipe for homemade chai latte mix.
After buying the ingredients at the grocery over the weekend I mixed up a batch in a large ziplock baggie. Then I taste-tested it against the commercial version. Pretty close, but I think if I add some ground anise seed it will be a bit closer. I haven't figured out the price per cup difference, but one ingredient puts a dent in the wallet- cardamom. A small bottle was $10! Never having heard of this spice, I looked it up on Wikipedia:
Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. It is a common ingredient in Indian cooking, and is often used in baking in Scandinavia [citation needed]. One of the most expensive spices by weight, little is needed to impart the flavour. Cardamom is best stored in pod form, because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they quickly lose their flavour. However, high-quality ground cardamom is often more readily (and cheaply) available, and is an acceptable substitute.
(3 days later)
I did find anise seed, but it wasn't ground so I tried to grind it myself. Didn't work. After a few days of taste-testing, I find there is too many bits in the bottom of the cup to make it enjoyable to drink past 3/4 of the cup. So, unfortunately for my wallet, I think I will go back to the store mix. What will I do with the cardamom? I wouldn't want to waste it-supposedly it is good in apple pie and blueberry muffins, two of my favorites. I think I'll mix some muffins up for breakfast this morning and add a dash of my newest spice.

3 comments:

Catholic Mom said...

When Starbucks makes their chai tea latte they use a Tazo tea concentrate, add the steamed milk, and there you have it. The tazo concentrate is rather expensive. However, I found the Oregon chai tea concentrate to be much more reasonable and actually tastes very good. Mix 1/2 concentrate 1/2 milk, pop it in the microwave and you are good to go. I was surprised to see how much the price on this concentrate varies from store to store. Whole Foods has the best price here in the Fairfax area.

As far as the cardoman goes. I use it every time I make a sweet potato casserole to go with a turkey dinner, so about once or twice a year. The recipe is from the big Doubleday cookbook. Let me know if you would like me to send you the recipe.

Michelle said...

I have several recipes that use small amounts of cardamom. I found myself not trying recipes that sounded good because I lacked that one ingredient. Here's one for Crinkled Molasses Cookies. Yum yum.

scmom said...

You can add cardamom to a sweet bread dough for a yummy breakfast bread. I would check allrecipes.com and do an ingredient search. Just type in cardamom for your ingredient and you'll have lots of recipes to try.

If you have a Trader Joe's near you they have a good Chai mix. Not sure of the price though.

If you have a coffee grinder you can clean it out real well and grind your anise seeds in there.

Barbara (basbabbington at Ora)