Rose Tea Cupcakes with Jasmine Tea Icing

Tea & Cupcakes

Rose Tea Cupcakes with Jasmine Frosting

Rose Tea Cupcakes are a unique treat for your tea loving Valentine. These cupcakes can be made in advance and keep well in the refrigerator for about 5 days, if they last that long. While this cupcake recipe uses The Rose Garden tea, it can be made with your favor tea. The trick is to infuse both the butter and milk before making the cupcakes, which we will outline below.

Rose Tea Cupcakes-Ingredients

2 tablespoons of The Rose Garden tea
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of whole milk
3/4 cup of white granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt (Omit at your own risk, your cupcakes may not be as fluffy as you would like without this)
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup of All purpose flour (keep around a couple of tablespoons of flour in case you need to add more to the batter)

Jasmine Green Tea Frosting-Ingredients

2 tablespoons of Jasmine Green Tea
1 stick of butter
1/3 cup of whole milk
4 oz (1/2 block) of cream cheese
3 cups of confectioners sugar

Making Tea Infused Butter

Butter & Tea

Prepping Tea Infused Butter

We have made tea infused butter before. For the cupcakes and icing, you will make 2 separate batches of infused butter. With each one you will need 1 stick of butter and 3 grams of tea (or a rounded tablespoon).

For the cupcake batter, melt one stick of butter with 1 rounded tablespoon of The Rose Garden Tea. This should be done on the cook top and not in the microwave. Put both the tea and butter into the pot. Once the butter melts completely, remove from the burner and allow the tea to steep for another 10 minutes. Strain off the tea and allow the butter to cool. Feel free to use a spoon to press on the tea to squeeze out the butter that it absorbed. Make sure the butter is solid before adding it to the recipe for the cupcake. It will return to a solid state much faster if you put it in the refrigerator. I found it is easier to make the butter a day or two before the cupcakes so I am not tempted to use the liquid butter.

Repeat the same steps as above for the butter for the Jasmine icing. Just use a rounded tablespoon of Jasmine Green tea instead of the The Rose Garden tea. This butter also needs to be solid, but at room temperature for the icing to work correctly.

Making Tea Infused Milk

Milk infused with rose tea.

Rose Infused Milk

Just like the butter, we are going to heat the amount of milk shown above with a rounded tablespoon of the associated tea on the stove top. Do not walk away from the milk as it is heating as you do not want it to come to a boil. You are looking for steam to rise and a few small bubbles along the edges of the milk and you should start to smell the tea. Feel free to stir and make sure the tea leaves don’t just float on the top. As soon as the steam remains as you stir, pull the milk off the burner and allow the tea to steep in the milk for 10 minutes before straining. Again, feel free to use a spoon to press the tea against the strainer to squeeze out the milk it absorbed. The 1/2 cup of milk for the cupcakes will become roughly a 1/3 cup and the 1/3 cup for the icing will become a 1/4 cup. This is fine. Make sure the milk cools to at least room temperature before using in the recipe. It is fine to make this a day or two before making the ice cream, just store in a container with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator.

Making Rose Tea Cupcakes

  1.  Make sure you have made the tea infused butter and milk and they have cooled before doing anything else.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F and line your cupcake/muffin tray with paper liners for the cupcakes.
  3. Using an electric stand mixer, beat together the The Rose Garden tea infused butter with the sugar. It should be mixed until lite and fluffy, about 5 minutes. You should stop the mixer a few times during the process and scrap down the sides and bottom to make sure everything is mixed evenly.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.
  5. On low, adding 1 egg at a time, mix in the eggs with the sugar and butter.
  6. Once all 3 eggs are mixed in, add the flour mixture and milk to the bowl, alternating about 1/3 of each at the time. Make sure each time that the ingredients are fully incorporated. Once down, take a look at the batter and pinch out a small amount. If is really shiny and feels oily, you will need to incorporate more flour. Using 1/2 tablespoon at a time, mix in the flour until the batter is shiny but doesn’t feel oily.
  7. Put the batter into the paper liners, filling them about 2/3 of the way full. Put them in the oven for 25 minutes. A tooth pick should pull out clean. Do not over cook. These cup cakes will be pale yellow to white in color, you do not want brown edges.
  8. Pull out the cupcakes and allow them to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing them from the tin and placing them on the cooling rack to come to room temperature.
  9. Once the cupcakes are at room temperature, you may ice them.

Making Jasmine Green Tea Frosting

  1. Put the cream cheese and Jasmine Green Tea Infused butter into an electric mixer and blend until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes.
  2. Then mix in 1 1/2 cups of the confectioners sugar until fully incorporated.
  3. Next add the Jasmine Green Tea Infused milk  Mix until combined, it will look runny.
  4. Last mix in the remaining 1 1/2 cup of the confectioners sugar. The icing should look thick and fluffy. It is a heavy frosting because of the cream cheese.
  5. Using an icing knife or a butter knife, apply the icing to the cooled cupcakes in a circular motion. Scoop out about 1 1/2 tablespoons of icing at a time to apply. If you icing starts to run on the top of the cupcake you did not let them cool enough. You can package up the icing and put it in the refrigerator and apply it within 2 days of making the cupcakes. It will start to get to hard after that ice cleanly for you.
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Celebrate Chinese New Year with Niangao

Next week marks the start of the Chinese New Year, and what better why to mark the occasion than with a Chinese sweet traditionally served during the New Year celebration, Niangao. This is a very sweet and dense rice cake with a simple almond flavor that pairs nicely with a cup of tea. This cake is traditionally steamed, not baked. So make sure to check the section on equipment and setup for steaming a cake, it is actually easier than it sounds.watch Half Girlfriend 2017 movie online now

Niangao – Ingredients

2 cups of water
16oz or 1 pd of Dark Brown Sugar
16oz or 1 pd of Sweet (Glutenous) Rice Flour (Asian Market, this is NOT Brown Rice Flour)
2 tsp of Almond Extract
Toasted Sesame Seeds for Garnish
Pitted Chinese Dates for Garnish – Sliced in half or small pieces (These are not always easy to find at the Asian Market, so feel free to substitute Medjool Dates)

Niangao – Equipment

9 inch round cake pan or 1 large loaf pan
Large deep pan with lid that is big enough to hold the cake pan
Aluminium foil
Cooling rack
Toothpicks
Electric stand mixer
Small pan to boil water and sugar in
Large spoon for stirring
Spatula
Kettle full of hot water

Niangao – Instructions

  1. Before you even pick up the ingredients it is critical to build your steamer. Now if you are used to using a bamboo rice steamer and your cake pan fits in it, go ahead and use that. For those of us that don’t have a bamboo steamer, we need to do some simple construction to build one. First make sure your cake pan fits nicely inside your large pan that has a tight lid, you need to have at least an inch of room above the cake pan when you set it in the bottom. If the lid is not tight, you will need to adjust your cooking time up to compensate for losing steam from the pan. Second, tear off 2 pieces of aluminium foil about the length of your forearm and shape them into snakes. If you are opting for the bread loaf pans, you may need 3 pieces. Do not crush them flat, you are building a platform to put your cake pan on so it does not sit in the boiling water. Shape the snakes into S or C and place into the bottom of the pan and put your cake pan on top. Adjust the height of the snakes so that the lid still fits over without touching the cake pan. Try your best to make them level otherwise you will find that your cake may come out thicker on side versus the other. Once you know everything fits, spray your pan and place it on your snakes. Start up your kettle full of water, you will use this water to fill up the pan at the appropriate time.
  2. Take out the second pan and put in the 2 cups of water and dark brown sugar. Place it on a burner set to high and start stirring. The goal is to melt the sugar without allowing the water to come to a boil, so you cannot walk away. It will only take about 5 minutes for the water to steam and for you to no longer have sugar crystals along the side of the pan. Remember, do not let it boil. Once you know you are sugar crystal free, take the pan off the burner and put aside.
  3. Put all the rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and slowly pour in the hot water. Set the mixer to low until all the water is in and then put it on medium. Once the water looks incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom and start it again. Put in the almond extract and mix for a couple of minutes and then stop.
  4. While your electric mixer is going, pour water out of the kettle into your steamer set-up. Take out the cake pan so you do not get it wet. You want enough water to come up about 3/4 of your snakes. Go ahead and turn on the burn the pan is sitting on. Since you already have warm water, set the burner to low. We want a simmering boil while the cake steams, not a rolling boil. Put the cake pan on your snakes and pour in the batter from your mixer bowl.
  5. Sprinkle the toasted almonds and arrange the dates on top of the cake. Put the lid on the pan and allow to cook for 60 minutes. You should check the pan and possibly refill the water at the 25 minute mark. You will probably not need to refill the water if you have a tight fitting lid. If your lid is not tight fitting, plan on checking every 15 minutes. Remember we do not need the water at a rolling bubbling, just a gentle simmer.
  6. When an inserted tooth pick comes out clean, the cake is done. Turn off the burner, and transfer the cake to your cooling rack. It needs to cool completely, which can take upwards of 3 hours. If you try to slice it sooner, it is a sticky mess. The cake can be cooled in the refrigerator.

To serve, slice the cake into thin pieces and rewarm in the microwave for 30 seconds so they are not rock hard. You can also fry them in a little sesame oil.

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Matcha Peanut Butter Fudge

Matcha peanut butter fudge on a plate with tea in background.

Matcha Peanut Butter Fudge for Desert

Matcha Peanut Butter Fudge is a fun addition to the holiday cookie tray or jar. Not only is it a beautiful green color, the sugar, peanut butter and matcha combine to create a luscious flavor worthy of any holiday treat. This is a child friendly recipe that they can help make, except for the step of taking the bowl into and out of the microwave. We have made substitution notes below for those with peanut allergies.

We will admit this is technically not fudge, because there is no chocolate in it. However, this is a fudge like candy. You can drizzle chocolate over the top once it has cooled if you need to have chocolate for you to be comfortable calling this a fudge. This recipe will produce about a 3/4 inch thick pieces of fudge. If you want thicker, double the recipe, just make sure you have a bowl big enough to handle it melting and bubbling the microwave.

Matcha Peanut Butter Fudge – Equipment

Large microwavable bowl
Mixing bowl to sift the sugar and matcha into
Plastic wrap or lid for microwavable bowl (Do not skip this or you will not get fudge.)
Kitchen scale
Sifter or small strainer
Spatula
Parchment paper
8″x8″ baking dish

Matcha Peanut Butter Fudge – Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter
15oz of confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Matcha

Substitutions – The peanut butter can be substituted with another nut butter like Almond, Cashew or Coconut Butter. The butter can be substituted with 1/2 cup of coconut cream and 1/2 cup of coconut oil. Follow the same steps below.

Matcha Peanut Butter Fudge – Steps

  1. Prepare your baking dish by cutting a piece of parchment paper and putting it in the dish. You will want excess paper hanging over so you can fold it over the fudge before putting it in the refrigerator.
  2. Measure out the confectioners sugar and matcha and sift it to remove all lumps. If you choose not to sift you will find that you have lumps of sugar you will need to press out when you stir the fudge, which can be annoying.
  3. Put the butter and peanut butter into a microwave proof bowl and stretch the plastic wrap over the top. Microwave for 2 minutes and take out and stir. Put back on the plastic wrap and put back in the microwave for another 2 minutes. Then remove. It should be bubbly and very liquid like. It may darken in color, which is perfect.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Stir in the sugar and matcha in batches, roughly pouring in the sugar about a third of the time. The mixture should start to get thick and stiff making it a little tricky to stir. You want to make sure you distribute the matcha so keep stirring and remove any green streaks.
  6. Spread the mixture into your prepared pan and fold the excess parchment over the top so it covers the surface of the fudge. Put in the refrigerator to cool, which will take about 2 hours. Once it cools, you can add that chocolate drizzle by melting chocolate chips and pouring them over the top of the cooled fudge and letting it sit until the chocolate hardens. Pull the fudge out of the pan by pulling up on the excess parchment paper and cut the fudge into 1 inch pieces. It will store for about a week, if it even lasts that long, in an air tight container in the refrigerator. It will darken as the matcha oxidizes, so don’t worry but if you want to keep the bright green color, serve within a couple of days.

Enjoy, I know we did!

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Earl Grey Infused Cranberry Sauce

Earl Grey Infused Cranberry Sauce

Add some intrigue with an Earl Grey infused cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so it is time to start planning what is considered one of most important meals in America. For tea lovers, it is a chance to use our favorite beverage in several dishes to highlight how it adds depth and flavor you will not find with other ingredients. For me, freshly made cranberry sauce is a requirement. It probably has more to do with the fact that it is the key ingredient in my favorite coffee cake from childhood than anything else, but it also brightens up the presentation of the other food, like turkey. So let’s jump right into making one of the easiest side dishes in the Thanksgiving meal.

Earl Grey Infused Cranberry Sauce: Ingredients

1 12oz package of fresh cranberries (look in the produce section)
1 cup of water
4 grams (Rounded Tablespoon) of Earl Grey Tea
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp of fresh orange zest (optional)

Earl Grey Infused Cranberry Sauce: Equipment

Colander
Glass measuring cup for at least 2 cups
Container to refrigerate the cranberry sauce in
1 quart pot and lid
Strainer for tea
Oven mitts
Long handled spoon for stirring
Spatula
Timer
Micro-planer to zest the orange

Earl Grey Infused Cranberry Sauce: Steps

Cooking this recipe only takes about 15 minutes and requires you to be focused on the sauce in the pot, so you will notice a lot of these steps are focused on preparing to cook. Skip them at your own risk.

  1. Empty the package of cranberries into the colander and rinse under water. Now is your one chance to sort through them, remove any stems that may still be there, and remove any bad cranberries. Bad cranberries are cranberries that are soft and wrinkled or have soft spots on them. You do not want these in your sauce as they will ruin the flavor and can make you sick.
  2. Once you have sorted your cranberries, pour them in the pot and add sugar and put the pot on the stove. DO NOT turn on the burner yet.
  3. Start your kettle for the water for tea. While the kettle is heating up you can put your tea in the glass measuring cup and get out the container, long handled spoon, spatula, timer and oven mitts and put them by the stove where you can get to them quickly.
  4. Add the boiling water to the tea and steep for 5 minutes. Remember you only need 1 cup of water.
  5. When the 5 minutes are up, pour the water through the strainer straight into the pot with the cranberries and water. Turn on the burner now to high and use your long handled spoon to stir in any sugar that did not get into the tea.
  6. Set your timer to 10 minutes and put on your oven mitts to protect your arms from splash back from the popping cranberries. Once you hear your first cranberry pop, start the timer and start stirring. The goal is to allow the sauce to come up to a rolling boil while you are stirring. Once you have that boil, drop the heat down to medium and keep stirring. You are only stirring for 10 minutes and it does not need to be a vigorous stir. Just keep the cranberries and liquid moving. If you want more of jelly consistency to your sauce, squash the popped cranberries with back of your spoon against the side of the pan as you stir. If you like whole cranberry sauce, just stir.
  7. When the timer is up, turn off the burner and take the pan off the heat. This is when,if you want, you will add the orange zest by running the micro-planer lightly over the outside of the orange. The goal is to get as much of the orange skin without the white pith underneath. You are looking for a tsp, which is find is about 3-4 passes over the orange based on its size. I just zest over the sauce and stir.
  8. Pour the sauce into your storage container and leave the lid off to allow the sauce to come down to room temperature. Once at room temperature, put the lid on and put it into the refrigerator. If you do not have time for this, you can put on the lid and put it into the refrigerator, just realize that condensation will form on the inside of the container which may cause your sauce to be more runny than you want.

When the sauce cools down (it will take a few hours), have a taste. The bergamot oil will be present, but not overwhelming. It makes for a nice change to traditional dish.

Want to go all out this Thanksgiving with tea infusions? Check out Irish Soda Bread, Matcha Salad Dressing, and Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream for dessert!

 

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Chinese Almond Cookies

Almond cookies are a traditional Chinese treat with tea.

Plate of Chinese New Year inspired almond cookies.

The Chinese New Year gives us an excuse to try out more Chinese recipes that pair well with tea, including Chinese Almond Cookies. These cookies resemble American sugar cookies, only with less sugar, and make a great snack to go along with any pot of tea. Traditionally, these are a very popular Chinese sweet and are usually given as gifts to friends and family as part of holiday celebrations. The almond is considered to give good health and lucky to the recipient.

Chinese Almond Cookies (Makes 2 dozen)

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of Almond meal
  • 1 cup of flour (I used an unbleached pastry flour for the cookies in the picture)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 24 whole almonds
  • Egg wash (1 egg beat with a tablespoon of water)

Steps:

  1. Almond cookie dough rolled into small balls before baking.

    Almond cookies ready to go in the oven.

    Beat in a mixer the butter and sugar.  This may require scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter.

  2. Mix in the salt, almond extract and egg.
  3. Mix in the almond meal, baking soda and flour.
  4. Scrap out the batter onto plastic wrap or wax paper and form into a ball.  Put into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare the egg wash by beating together 1 egg with a tablespoon of water (this is going to create a lot more than you need, but you can turn the leftover into a quick omelette or freeze the remaining for future use as an egg wash)
  6. When ready, pull the dough from the refrigerator and form into a long log.  Cut the log into 24 equal sized pieces and form those pieces into balls.
  7. These cookies will expand a little, so limit the number of cookies on a tray to 12.  Place the balls onto either parchment paper or a silmat on a cookie sheet and then flatten with the bottom of a cup.  Place a whole almond in the center and then brush with the egg wash.
  8. Put the cookies into the oven for 15 minutes or until a nice light brown color appears around the edge.  Pull out of the oven and put on a wire rack to cool before serving.

These sweet cookies make a great addition to an afternoon pot of tea or an after dinner cup of tea.

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