Indian Chai Lattes

Indian Chai Lattes

Indian Chai Lattes

There’s an Indian restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona called Jewel of the Crown. I grew up a few miles away from it, but it was slightly too fancy to go there on a regular basis. Mostly, we would go when family was visiting from out of town – it was a special occasion. And for the kid version of me, it was a very special occasion. I took to it immediately, even when I was young: the chicken was perfectly cooked, the naan bread was devoured in minutes.

But my favorite thing came piping hot from a tap: chai lattes. Milky, subtle but present spices, and delicious black tea. It took everything in me not to finish it in one sip. I coveted these chai lattes and thought about them months after eating at the restaurant. I’d try chai lattes elsewhere, but they weren’t the same – they tasted pretty much like watery syrup with some milk mixed in.

I haven’t been to the restaurant in at least 10 years and here I am, still thinking about those perfect chais.

But here I am with a chai latte recipe that tastes just like those perfect ones. I am so glad I finally tried it. If you’ve only ever had chai lattes from The Great Big Coffee Chain That Shall Not Be Named, you really, really should try making these. And it’s not even too hard to make in the comfort of your own saucepan: if you can get your hands on green cardamom pods (I found them easily at Penzey’s) and some star anise (in most grocery stores), everything else comes together in minutes.

Indian Chai Lattes

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Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies on www.inthiskitchen.com

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies on www.inthiskitchen.com

This year the beginning of September and Labor Day happened to coincide with the temperatures dropping a good 20 degrees here in the DC area. It’s been close to 90 (and humid) most of summer, but the past few days its been more like low to mid 70s, and all of this combined means people are going crazy getting excited for fall.

Even I’m a little excited for fall, which is always a surprise for me because I start to shiver around 55 degrees. But around here we probably have at least two months before we have to endure temperatures below freezing, and for that I am happy. I can get behind some good pumpkin spice, squash, apple pastries and boots. And beautiful fall colors… yeah, okay, I’ll begrudgingly admit it: I like fall. Now I just need to get through what I’m sure will come next: the typical DC Indian summer.

In any case, I’m much more interested in cooking and baking now that the temperatures have fallen a little. I’ve been trying to find more recipes with tahini in them – I absolutely love it, and I find it to be the best alternative to peanut butter. Cashew and almond butter are way too different from peanut flavor-wise, but sesame packs a similar punch. I love it in sauces (like these fantastic otsu noodles or mixed with yogurt for these pita sandwiches), and of course in classic hummus.

But I also love tahini in sweets – enter: tahini cookies.

These tahini cookies are reminiscent of peanut butter cookies, and also of chocolate covered halvah. They are nutty and sweet, with a hearty amount of chocolate chips inside (if you prefer a less chocolatey cookie, you could cut the amount of chips in half). The sprinkling of salt on top is perfect with the decadent cookie below it. And you probably have all the ingredients in your house already (unless you need to get your hands on some tahini).

The cookie dough does require at least 12 hours to chill – so plan ahead! I promise it is worth it though.

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies on www.inthiskitchen.com

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