Monday, October 3, 2011


Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – March 18, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published by Taste of Home – Holiday Collection 2008

So I’ve had an interesting week.  Way to many ups and downs, but a decent conclusion to the weekend with tickets to the Chicago Bears game in an executive suite.  Gorgeous day.  Luxury box.  Bears win.  Now I’m back to business!

I have to admit that I settle into a routine very easily and sometimes need someone to drag me kicking and screaming into change.  For example, I was a very traditional coffee drinking kind of gal.  Then I got a job with Starbucks.  Part of your training is making every single drink… and tasting it.  My first day was an eye opening experience of everything I had been missing.  It also lasted about 3 days because I drank enough coffee to keep me awake for a week.

One of my new experiences came with a Chai Tea Latte.  I was expecting to hate it, but fell in love.  So much so that it became a substitute for coffee lattes.  The green tea is good for me and the ginger settled my stomach.  Of course the bad thing about finding my new love is the cost, so when I stumbled across this recipe, I was anxious to give it a try.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Be honest.  Don’t you just want to drink this?  I was so glad I picked a clear glass to show this drink off.  And yes, it smelled as good as it looked and it was warm and toasty in the mug.

© Kraft Food & Family
There picture looks a lot creamier than mine and I’m not sure that’s an improvement.  I love the dark richness to my drink.  It is so much more inviting.  I’m not saying that their drink looks bad.  I’m just saying that my drink looks better.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – There isn’t a lot of equipment and basically no prep, but things can get a little messy pouring between pans and through a sieve.

Start-to-Finish Time: UNDER 30 MINUTES – The bulk of the recipe time is in getting the milk to boil.  Really everything else is done quickly.

Prep Work: ALL FINGERS STILL HERE – Okay, you have to “crush” the cardamom seeds, which seems like it would be difficult and time consuming.  However, the seeds aren’t hard, so it’s like crushing wads of paper.  That’s why I couldn’t give it a SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – there really isn’t anything difficult to do.

Ease of Recipe: COOK IT IN MY SLEEP – It is as easy as boiling water.  And please don’t say you can’t boil water.  EVERYONE can do that.

OverallYUMMY – This was just as good as the ones I get from Starbucks.  Of course, buying all the spices, if you don’t already have them (and who has cardamom seeds) can be pretty expensive.  Now that I have all the ingredients, I would definitely make it again.  The only bad thing is that my husband doesn’t drink a lot of spiced drinks, so a lot would go to waste.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Servings: 4 (1 cup)
Prep/Total Time: 25 minutes

I’ll admit that I can drink more than 1 cup (8 ounces) of tea.  That being said, if you’re making it as a treat or for guests, a cup will do just fine.  Their timing is very accurate even for novice cooks.  In fact, my timing came in a wee bit less.  Here it is:
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 19 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 minutes
Nutritional Information
  • Calories 159
  • Total Fat 5g (Saturated Fat 3g)
  • Cholesterol 21mg
  • Sodium 75mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 24g
  • Protein 5g
Not terribly bad for a drink, although not as good as zero calorie water either.  I wasn’t sure if they included the whipped cream in their numbers so I ran the recipe through the Spark Database including a tablespoon of whipped cream (even though they clearly used more in their serving – I did not however), a dusting of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick.  Here is what I came up with:
  • Calories 143.4
  • Total Fat 3.2g (Saturated Fat 2.0g)
  • Cholesterol 12.8mg
  • Sodium 63.5mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 24.1g
  • Protein 5.1g
Much better than I had anticipated actually.  I still saw room for improvement with the drink by using skim milk, so I ran it again using my altered ingredients but the same condiments.  I came out with the following numbers:
  • Calories 120.8
  • Total Fat 0.4g (Saturated Fat 0.3g)
  • Cholesterol 3.6mg
  • Sodium 80.7mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 24.4g
  • Fiber 0.1g
  • Protein 5.3g
I knew it was going to be much better, but I’m still a little confused as to where the sodium is coming from.  It isn’t much though, so I felt confident that I had a reasonable drink to fit into my morning.

Changes denoted by red text
© You Want Me to Cook?
Chai - Ingredients
2 cups water
2 individual tea bags
1 cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1 whole clove
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2-1/2 cups skim milk
1/3 cup sugar
Sweetened whipped cream
Ground cinnamon
Cinnamon sticks

Ingredient Notes:
Tea Bags – The recipe doesn’t specify, but I used a green tea because that’s what I had on hand.  I did a little research and no matter what kind of tea you use, you’re going to get health benefits from it.

Cardamom Pods – I was actually surprised when I pulled them out of the jar.  The seed coverings were like paper – not hard shells.

Skim MilkI always use skim milk because that is the only milk we drink and I hate having to buy 2% for cooking.  This recipe certainly wouldn’t suffer from using the skim.  I know this because this is how I get my chai tea latte from Starbucks.  Even using 1% milk drops the calories by 20% and cuts the fat and cholesterol in half.  Skim has zero fat and a relatively insignificant amount of cholesterol while shaving off a third of the calories. 

Sweetened Whipped Cream – I used pressurized (from a can) and did about a tablespoon for my drink.  Remember, whipped cream can be a huge calorie addition, so don’t be crazy with the can.

Equipment Needed:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Chai - equipment
Large spoon
Small cutting board
Fine mesh sieve
Pourable bowl / Glass Measuring Cup

Equipment Notes:
Large Spoon & Small Cutting Board – I used these to crush the seeds.  I didn’t want to do it on the counter, so that’s why I did it on the cutting board.

Saucepan – I actually used a medium-large saucepan and it boiled over when I was boiling the milk.  Next time, I’d go with a large pan.

Pourable bowl / Measuring Cup – whatever you choose to strain the liquid into, make sure it can hold at least 5 cups of liquid.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Chai - tea mixture
(1)  In a small medium-large saucepan, combine the water, tea bags, cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds, clove and ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat.

I HATE when recipes tell you to combine the first x-number of ingredients.  Just list the ingredients out for Pete's sake!!!

(2)  Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

(3)  Stir in skim milk. Return to a boil; boil for 1 minute, then strain.

It took me about 5-6 minutes to bring back to a boil since the milk is cold.

(4)  Stir in sugar until dissolved.

(5)  Pour into mugs. Top each with whipped cream, cinnamon and a cinnamon stick if desired.

I really enjoyed this version of the drink.  I know it’s better for me than Starbucks because they use tea syrup.  Also, I can control how much whipped cream I put on top – if any at all.

If I were going to change anything about this recipe, I may use vanilla soy milk.  I started drinking it that way at Starbucks and really enjoyed it.  Don’t be scared of the soy… it really tastes great, especially if you get the vanilla kind.

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