WARNING: the next few weeks will be possible SPOILERS for family and friends.
In my last post I talked about why we have decided to go the DIY route when it comes to holiday gift giving. I also shared the edible gifts we made last year, mostly cookies. As promised, here is the first in this year’s series of DIY Holiday Food Gifts!
In creating gift items, I really wanted to focus on warming qualities this time of year, things that say “comfort & indulgence” but are still healthy. There is nothing more comforting that a nice steaming glass of spicy, flavorful chai tea and most people enjoy chai. The very smell of it warms you up. So when I came across a recipe for Chai Tea Spice Mix, I immediately put it on my list of potential gifts.
With dried citrus and crushed whole spices the mix looks as good as it smells, and so it was easy to make the decision to make it, although I did modify it. This recipe makes 36 servings, each serving is 2 TBS of the mix which would make an entire pot of Chai Tea, or can be divided in half to make two 2 cup servings. I packed the chai spice mix in 100% cotton muslin bags, so the bags can be used to make the tea and I made sure to include a recipe card for making a delicious pot of Chai Tea and also included a list of ingredients:
This bag contains 2 tablespoons of Chai Tea Spice Blend. To make Chai Tea you will need:
3/4 cup(s) water
1 1/2 tablespoon(s) black tea (or one tea bag)
1 tablespoon chai spice blend (contains: Darjeeling tea, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, allspice berries and dried clementine)
1 1/4 cup(s) milk or milk substitute
1 TBS of honey
To Make Chai Tea:
Boil ¾ cup of water and steep one bag of black tea or 1 TBS of black loose leaf tea with the spice mix (if you are using a regular tea bag, you will need something like a tea ball to steep the chai mix in at the same time). Then add 1 ¼ cup of milk and 1 TBS of sweetener, serves two 8 oz. cups of chai tea. Or you can add the entire contents of the bag (keep it in the bag for easy use) and steep with your favorite pot of black tea for a special holiday treat!
To Make Spice Mix:
5 clementines, sliced thin
1/2 cup cardamom pods, crushed with a mortar and pestle
12 cinnamon sticks, crushed with a mortar and pestle
2 TBS whole cloves
2 TBS black peppercorns with a mortar and pestle
2 TBS allspice berries with a mortar and pestle
1TBS coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle
1/4 cup whole star anise
1/2 cup loose Darjeeling tea
Dry the orange: Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the orange into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, turning occasionally, until dry — 2 to 3 hours.
Make spice mix: Combine the dried orange and the rest of the ingredients except the tea in a large bowl and toss to combine. Store the spice blend in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
*note: We have about 20 families or couples on our holiday list this year and all packages need to be shipped. So I tried to avoid anything in glass jars anything liquid, etc. I also tried to keep in mind things that would be lightweight and easy to ship. The cost for all of the food gifts including ingredients, decorating and packaging runs about $8-10 per package, which isn’t bad at all, especially when you see the quality and diversity of the packages. Some packages are even less, as for smaller families and couples, we are sending only a few of the items, instead of all.
* Be sure to click on the DIY Holiday Gift Series tag to see all the posts in this series!