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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Mini Cinnamon Glazed Vanilla Tea Loaves - Great surprises sometimes come in small and simple packages

19th Century Tea Tins - Bois Cheri Tea Plantation Museum, Mauritius

Did you know that tea is the most consumed drink worldwide (after water of course)? As it turns out, it is! Come to think of it who does not enjoy a cup of tea in the afternoon with a slice of cake, muffin, loaf or even cookies? You might think that preparing a good bake must take phenomenal skill, or out of this world talent, but that cannot be further away from true! Muffins and loaves are some of the easiest bakes that you can make to enjoy with your family and friends for afternoon tea. Just like with all baking, make sure to follow the instructions fully. Works like a charm...

Tip Muffins and loaves are one of the same. The same batter is used to make both. The difference is in the pan, Muffins are made in round muffin pans and loaves are made in the rectangular loaf pan. Any Loaf recipe is therefore a muffin recipe ;)

Victorian Tea Set
Tea is an excellent flavouring medium. Yes, not only does it taste delicious with a cake, but it will also taste delicious in the cake, besides offering a low fat, sugar-free liquid ingredient. 
The idea is that you can use tea to substitute other liquids, or even go along with the other liquids as in the recipe below. So instead of a full portion of milk, for instance, tea is added for lightness and flavour, in this case vanilla. However, you can use other flavours such as fruits, mint (for chocolate loaves), or even coconut tea! I had the world's best coconut tea in Mauritius. I never tried that flavour in tea, such a different and pleasant experience! In fact the whole collection of Bois Cheri Teas is just really good, and very aromatic. Makes all the difference to the whole tea experience. Too bad it can only be had in Mauritius as it is not sold anywhere else in the world! But anyone whose had it, would tell you it is a must try when there. Really good stuff. Well as with all food, it goes without say that good ingredients matter the most. If the vanilla tea is of poor quality, then it won't be as delectable, so opt for some good quality flavoured tea.

This loaf/Muffin recipe is a basic recipe that you can use to build on. Try it first as is to get familiar with its flavour palate then get creative and add to it any flavourings, fruit chunks, nuts, or herbs that you fancy. As ever, you can serve it on its own with tea, or buttered. 
Here is how its made...

Cinnamon Glazed 
Vanilla Tea Loaves
Makes 4 mini loaves or 1 large loaf
You Need ½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
Seeds 1/2 vanilla pod
½ cup prepared and Vanilla Tea
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line or grease only the bottom of 1 large loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together salt, flour & baking powder. Set aside. 
In another small bowl, beat together the eggs and vanilla seeds and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla infused eggs. Add the prepared cooled tea and milk, then mix until well combined. The mixture will look curdled, that's ok.

Add the flour mixture and stir until just moistened and incorporated. Do not over mix. Spread into the prepared pan/s. Bake 15 to 20 minutes for the small loaves and up to 35 minutes for the large loaf (or until toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean). 

Cool the loaves in the pan for 10 minutes. Using a knife and pressing against the tin, loosen the sides of the loaves from the pan. Remove the loaves and cool them on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile Prepare the 
Cinnamon Tea Glaze You Need 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (to taste)
3 - 5 tsp prepared vanilla tea

In a small bowl, whisk together the sifted icing sugar and ground cinnamon. Add 3 teaspoons of the tea to the sugar mixture and mix until well incorporated. Add more tea a little at a time, until the glaze is of a thick but runny consistency. 

Drizzle the glaze over the loaves in 3 separate layers. Sprinkle with additional ground cinnamon if desired. Leave the loaves to cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. 
To store -  Place in an airtight container and store at room temperature up to 4 days or refrigerate up to 10 days.

Variation Suggestions
This recipe works very well with blueberries and oatmeal, raspberries and peaches with, as well as with spices and nuts. You can also make these in muffins instead of loaves ;) So get creative and your kitchen won't run out of tea time treats.

Hope you like the recipe.
I always look forward to hearing from you, so let me know how it works when you make it. Also before you go, do let me know if you have tried some real good teas that you recommend everyone should try, and if you have ever visited a tea plantation that you found extraordinary and recommend?

I have brought back some giveaways for my lovely readers from Mauritius, and have brought back an assorted pack of the gorgeous Bois Cheri Tea. You can win that pack and try it, press this link for instructions on how to win. Don't miss out :))

Assorted Bois Cheri Tea Giveaway

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Have A Delicious Day!