Fall brings out the warmest of flavors, and I absolutely love it! Today is a bit of a two-for-one recipe post because I couldn’t just share the perfectly spicy chai blend I mixed up without giving you something to do with it. And of course since it’s pumpkin season (you should’ve embraced this by now) I couldn’t resist throwing a little in the mix. 🙂
I love this particular spice blend because it’s so… spicy! Some chais can be pretty weak (if you’re partial to those, do scale back on the cloves and cardamom) but we love rich, powerful flavors around here. It’s a dry, ground blend so it’s great for drinks, cookies, cakes, breads, muffins, you name it. Just insert wherever you see a recipe calling for cinnamon to bump up the flavor.
Another bonus is I had almost all of the required spices in my pantry already. You can track down green cardamom pods and anise seed in most grocery store spice aisles, but if you can buy in bulk at your local health foods store, you’ll get a better deal for sure. You don’t need a lot, just a couple of teaspoons, so no need to break the bank here.
Some people like to add black pepper to their chai blends, which would give this even more of a kick. I opted not to this go round, but you sure can! I’d scale back on the cardamom by 1/4 teaspoon or so and add that much black pepper in its place to start off with.
You can buy pre-ground spices or whole spices to grind yourself. I used a little bit of both for this recipe. Whole spices give bolder flavor, and I’d definitely recommend toasting them first. Just throw them in a dry skillet over medium heat and warm until just fragrant, shaking the pan to move them around occasionally. Let them cool for a bit then grind away!
Chai spice is a great blend to keep on hand, especially during the cooler months! This recipe makes about 1/4 cup and you can scale it up or down easily. Store it in an airtight container, such as an old spice jar (preferably one in the blend) or a small glass mason jar. Keep in a cool, dark and dry place for longest lasting flavor.
Now let’s talk about this latte. It’s creamy and delicious and goes perfectly with breakfast or dessert (preferably this pumpkin bread, made into muffins). To lighten things up a bit, I used coconut almond milk and agave and pure maple syrup to sweeten. If you prefer whole milk and sugar, have at it!
When it comes to drinking milk, we’re a strictly almond milk house (buttermilk and heavy cream are usually around for baking though). The coconut almond blend is a favorite of ours because the coconut milk gives a nice sweetness and depth of flavor, even in the unsweetened blend. I recommend the unsweetened kind so you can control the amount (and type) of sweetener you’re using here. I went with a combination of agave and maple syrup for a richer sweetness to complement the spice (and the maple syrup in the muffins 😉 ).
This is another recipe that you can easily scale up or down and adjust the flavors to fit your own tastes. This version is heavy on the spice, so you can either scale back or amp up the sweetness if you like. Start with a little and see what you like. You can always add more to get it just right for you.
Seriously I’m sipping on this right now and it is oooohhhhh so good! I think I’ll take it to the porch to take in some of this crisp fall air. Perfection!
- 2 tsp green cardamom pods
- 1½ tsp allspice
- 2 tsp cloves
- 4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp anise seed
- 2 tbsp roasted ground ginger
- Toast whole spices (if using) in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Allow to cool slightly then grind to a fine powder using a spice or coffee grinder. Ours is Krups and we LOVE it!
- Whisk all ground spices together (you may want to sift using a small, fine mesh strainer to ensure any big pieces from freshly ground spices are removed). Store in an airtight jar or spice container in a cool, dry place.
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut almond milk
- 4 tsp chai spice
- ¼ cup pure pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup agave
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- Warm the milk in a small pot over medium heat until steaming, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in the chai spice and pumpkin, stirring until smooth. Stir in agave and maple syrup, to taste, and cook until just thickened. Ladle into mugs and serve hot.