Sunday, December 07, 2008

Holiday Herbal Series #7 - Chai and Sugarplums

The first is a chai blend that we printed in the nov/dec '06 issue of The Essential Herbal. That year our list question was about hostess gifts, and we got some awesome ideas!

Instant Chai
3/4 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c powdered honey (or an additional 1/4 c sugar)
1/2 c unsweetened iced tea mix
2 c nonfat dry milk
1/2 c non-dairy creamer
1 t powdered ginger
1 t powdered cinnamon
1/2 t powdered clove
1/2 t powdered cardamom
First, pour the vanilla extract in with the sugar and stir it around to break up the lumps and let it dry before mixing it in with the other ingredients. Mix all ingredients together in a blender or food processor and blend until you get a powdery texture, about one minute. This will make about 1 gallon of prepared chai. Lastly, if you don't want to use iced tea mix, you can mix all the other ingredients and suggest brewing regular tea and mix about 2 rounded T of mix to the brewed tea. Package in Chinese carryout boxes lined with plastic bags. Maybe tie on a few cinnamon sticks with a festive ribbon. Add instructions: For one cup at a time, use 2 to 3 rounded T to about 8 oz of water. Always mix with hot water to prevent clumps. Once mixed, you can pour over ice or just keep in the fridge for iced chai. Contributed by Maryanne Schwartz at Torchsong

The next craft is actually from the newspaper. Karen Hegre from Black Hills Herbs put it up this morning, and it came through the Associated Press:

SugarplumsStart to finish - 30 minutes makes 30 sugarplums.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup pistachios
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup dried figs
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons orange liqueur or rum or your substitution.
In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the sugar, cardamom and cinnamon. Mix well, then set aside. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until roughly chopped. Add the pistachios & pulse again until both nots are finely chopped. Transfer the nuts to a bowl & set aside. In the food processor, combine the dates, apricots & figs. Pulse briefly until roughly chopped. Add the raisins & cherries, then continue pulsing until the fruit is evenly chopped and begins to clump.Return the nuts to the processor & add the rum, liqueur, orsubstitute. Pulse until just mixed. If the mixture does not sticktogether, add additional rum or liqueur, or substitute. A teaspoon at a time, roll the mixture into balls, then roll eachball in sugar until well-coated.Sugarplums can be refrigerated in a sealed conainer for up to 1 month. If you layer the sugarplums, place a sheet of waxed paper between each layer.

My note: In looking around the internet, I found several interesting recipes and picked up this tip. If you want the sugarplums to look more old-timey, use turbinado sugar to roll them in. It has a light brown color.


Sarah said...

Ooh! Those sugarplums look yummy. And I think I have all of the ingredients! A great Sunday afternoon activity. Thanks, girlfriend!

Anonymous said...

You know I never really knew what sugar plums were. My husband is a big fan of chai thanks for the recipe!

Lisa Brawner said...

these are jsut all awesome !! thanks for sharing. I am gonna put a post on my blog to come visit here