Was it Starbucks? Sometime over the past decade chai became just another beverage flavor, like vanilla, or pumpkin. But spiced tea, masala chai, has both a lovely delicacy and a fortifying strength. Here, Kim Laidlaw turns those qualitites into refreshing milkshakes that should get you through the hottest summer day, or at least a good 10 minutes of one. Chai tea bags are handy things, but we suggest making your own sachet for this recipe, using good-quality masala chai (ours is from The Chai Cart in San Francisco) and cheesecloth. Oh, and to turn these into ice pops, check out this simple variation. –John Birdsall
Kim Laidlaw’s Chai Frozen Milkshakes
Makes 4 shakes
3 cups whole milk
1/4 cup loose masala chai tied in cheesecloth, or 4 chai tea bags
4 slices peeled fresh ginger
12 whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Ground cinnamon, for garnish
Step 1: In a saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat just until it begins to steam and bubble around the edge.
Step 2: Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chai cheesecloth sachet (or tea bags), ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and sugar. Stir briefly to dissolve the sugar.
Step 3: Cover and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Step 4: Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or (preferably) overnight. Step 5: Just before serving, make the whipped cream.
Step 6: Pour the cold chai through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass measuring cup and discard the solids. Step 7: Add the ice cream to a blender, then pour over the cold chai and process until smooth.
Step 8: Pour into tall frosty glasses, top each with a big dollop of whipped cream, and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon.
Photos by Chris Rochelle; styling by Kim Laidlaw.
Kim Laidlaw is a cookbook editor and the author of Home Baked Comfort, Baby & Toddler On the Go (an IACP Cookbook Awards finalist), and Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day. She teaches baking and pastry classes at the San Francisco Cooking School, and is a recipe developer and former professional baker who has been in the kitchen covered in flour since she was big enough to stir the biscuit dough. Follow her on Twitter @kimlaidlaw.