We all get in a baking rut now and again. I feel like I'm in one right now, actually. But then I was lucky enough to stumble across a little bit of inspiration last week: baking with tea leaves!
Spice expert and food writer, Monica Bhide, wrote a piece for NPR on using tea in baked goods, especially cookies. She interviewed chef Carla Hall who became interested in how tea can be used in recipes in a very deliberate way and can really be paired with other flavors — just like wine.
I'd heard of making tea infusions to impart flavor into batters and doughs but I'd never heard of some of the tricks that Hall recommends, and some of the wonderful flavor combinations she's devised. Here are a few of my favorite tips:
Grind loose tea into a powder and mix in with the flour
Subsitute strongly-brewed tea for wine or liquor in a recipe
Infuse tea into one of the wet ingredients in a recipe. For example, steep flavor into cream or make simple syrups.
For More on Using Tea in Cookie Recipes: A Twist on Tea and Cookies
Related: Recipe: Peach and Spice Tea Muffins
(Image: Faith Durand)