DIY Gift: Chai-Infused Sugar

This chai-infused sugar is the very definition of a “last minute homemade gift idea.” Crush some spices, mix them with some granulated sugar and pour it into a pretty little jar. Boom! You’re done!

Plus, this gift re-gives itself again and again. Just tell your lucky recipients to add more sugar now and then to the spices, and they will have a continuous supply of chai-infused sugar.

Chai-Infused Sugar // Savvy Eats #DIYGift #Chai #Recipe #FoodGifts

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I have a bit of a chai “problem.”

Well, some people would call it a problem. I call it a deep and abiding love.

I drink chai nearly every day, and I’m constantly brewing up ideas for new chai-flavored recipes (Ha! Brewing…see what I did there?)

This chai-infused sugar might actually be my first chai flavored recipe that doesn’t contain actual tea.  But, it is packed full of the spices that make chai what it is, which is really the most important part. Cinnamon, cardamom, pink peppercorns, ginger all come together to lend a warm spiciness to everything you might add this sugar to.

Personally, I’m loving it in my coffee on those days when I want a bit more caffeine, but am missing that chai spice flavor.   I also used it in these chai shortbread cookies (and skipped the vanilla and ground tea), and think it would be excellent in scones, brownies, or other cookies, too. I want to try it in hot cocoa next!

Plus, pack it in a pretty jar and you have a DIY food gift that feels decadent and fancy, but is super-simple to make. This gift would be perfect for tea & coffee lovers, creative bakers, and anyone else who is obsessed with all things chai.

Bonus! Once you strain the sugar, you can reuse the spices for another batch or two of sugar to get more bang for your buck. Which means you can make one batch for a gift, and keep one all for yourself.  It’s a win-win.

Chai-Infused Sugar #DIYGift #Chai #Recipe

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Compound Butter for Freezing

Compound-Butter

Making compound butter is an easy way to preserve fresh garden herbs. Try making butter with a single herb or a mix of several. I like to use combinations of sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil. This post was updated on October 7, 2014.

Stalwart rosemary, buttoned-up thyme, flirty sage, cheerful oregano: I can’t pull off Thanksgiving without them. Frustratingly, I know that they will go into hibernation mode, turning dark and shriveled for the winter, about a month before the holiday feast. It is their time to truly shine, and I’m going to be stuck buying them from the grocery store instead of using them fresh out of the garden? A tragedy. And that’s why I’m making herby compound butter now, and freezing it until November. I’m making two batches with oregano, thyme and rosemary, and another with just sage.  Later, I’ll slice them to stuff under the skin of our turkey, to brown and simmer with winter squash and to blend into mashed potatoes.

Thyme

Making your own herb compound butter is incredibly easy. Here’s all you need:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh herb leaves

To make your herb butter:

  1. Blend the butter with the herbs until completely mixed.
  2. Press the butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap into a long, narrow log. It doesn’t need to look pretty; it will get smoothed out later!
  3. Fold the short ends of the plastic wrap in, then tightly roll up the butter in the plastic wrap lengthwise, just like the way you roll a burrito. Roll the wrapped butter back and forth on the counter to create a smooth, round log.
  4. Wrap the butter log in a piece of aluminum foil. Label and freeze.

To freeze your herb butter:

Wrap the compound butter tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil. Butter picks up odors easily, so the foil will protect it from developing off-flavors from the other foods in your freezer. The butter should be used within 2-3 months.