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A rich and creamy gelato infused with black tea and chai spices, swirled with handmade chai caramel sauce. (And a Giveaway!)
The bittersweet combination of caramel and black tea, blended with the warm and spicy aroma of chia spices, makes this rich and creamy gelato downright captivating. If you're into that sort of thing - delicious creamy ice cream infused with exotic flavors, that is.
Perhaps you prefer plain old vanilla. A fine choice, of course - a classic even. But now and then it's nice to try something new, right?
If that time is now then may I humbly suggest this homemade dessert? It takes a little doing, between steeping tea in milk, whipping up a fresh batch of handmade caramel sauce, and waiting for everything to chill to perfection, but I think you'll find the end result to be well worth the effort.
There's something really wonderful about warm flavors in frozen custard. It's like sensations of the hot spicy ginger and cinnamon and the cool creamy texture of the gelato are dancing some kind of cha-cha on your tongue. Oh. And there's a little vanilla in there too, so you vanilla people will know someone at the party.
This recipe calls for the gelato and caramel to be packed in layers. This creates that gorgeous swirl effect that you might recognize from fudge swirl ice cream or heavenly hash. I usually like something crunchy with my ice creams, so you might like to try topping a scoop of this gelato with a gingersnap or a little crushed graham cracker.
Drinking a cup of tea with this might be overkill, but I say go for it. I won't tell anybody.
Chai Tea Caramel Sauce
Makes about 20 ounces, by volume
- 2 bags Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided (warmed in microwave or on stove top)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Remove tea bags from wrapper, pull off paper tabs, and combine with water in a small saucepan. Bring water to boil, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain tea bags from pan and discard. Add sugar and corn syrup, whisk with tea, and bring to simmer over medium-high heat.
- Monitor the temperature of the sugar water with a candy thermometer. Remove from heat right away when it reaches 350F.
- While whisking continuously, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons butter. The liquid will bubble vigorously before sugar crystallizes. Continue to whisk until crystals melt and mixture becomes smooth.
- Whisk in the remaining cream and sea salt, and transfer sauce to heatproof jar. Cover, and allow sauce to cool for at least one hour before handling.
Chai Caramel Gelato
Makes about 1 quart
A rich and creamy gelato infused with black tea and chai spices, swirled with handmade chai caramel sauce.
- 4 bags Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea
- 2 cups Whole Milk
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 4 egg yolks, beaten
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup Chai Tea Caramel Sauce (recipe above)
- Remove paper tabs from tea bags and combine with whole milk in a double boiler. Warm the milk over high heat until water comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let warm for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow tea to steep until cool. (If you don't have a double boiler, just bring the milk to a simmer, turn off heat and let steep until cool.)
- Remove tea bags, squeeze out excess liquid, and discard. Strain whole milk through fine mesh strainer into measuring cup. If milk measures under 2 cups, add fresh milk to replace what has evaporated.
- Combine infused milk and heavy cream in saucepan. Heat until milk reaches about 150F, just as it begins to bubble, but before it hits a boil.
- Combine egg yolks and sugar in a heat proof bowl and whisk together.
- Slowly drizzle hot milk mixture into the egg mixture while whisking continuously. Go very slow so the eggs will not scramble.
- Return the custard to the sauce pan, place over medium heat and bring back to the brink of simmer. When the custard thickens to trace (or coats the back of a spoon) it has finished.
- Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer to catch any solids. Let the custard reach room temperature, then refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Churn the custard in an ice cream machine for 30-60 minutes. Time will vary depending on machine, but you are looking for the gelato to become quite thick and pull away from the sides of the tumbler. If you're ice cream machine has a gelato paddle, use that instead of the ice cream paddle.
- Scoop some gelato into a sealable container or ice cream tub. Make your first layer of gelato about 1 inch thick, then drizzle some of the caramel sauce over it. Pack another layer of gelato on top, followed by another layer of caramel. Repeat until the container is full.
- Freeze the gelato until fully hardened, about 2-4 hours, before serving.
There's nothing like a good cup of tea. It's my drink of choice for my morning wake-up and one of my go-to treats when I hit an energy slump in the afternoon. I switched from coffee to tea mostly because I enjoy it without any added sweetener. Since it comes in so many different flavors and varieties, I don't have to worry about getting bored with it either.
Bigelow carries a really great variety of tea, from your standard black and green teas to herbal blends and fruit flavored teas. I love the fruity blends for making iced teas, popsicles, and sorbets. It's a family owned brand, which is always nice to support, and the company puts a priority on using quality ingredients and packaging. I can TEA PROUDLY while drinking Bigelow.
Another great thing about Bigelow is that it is easy to find. Most of my local grocery stores carry it, including Target and Walmart, so I can pick up a new flavor whenever I'm in the mood. The comfortable price point makes it an affordable treat and a practical ingredient for baking and cooking. Tea is actually a really fun ingredient in the kitchen for both sweet and savory recipes.
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