Spiced Tea

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Make those mornings even sweeter by filling your home with the simmering scent of Spiced Tea on the stovetop. As the recipe claims, it will make your house “smell like Christmas.” Keep the concentrate in the fridge to whip up hot tea lattes for you and yours at any time of the day.
 
(From the graphic food memoir Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley)
 
Ingredients:
 
2 bags of black tea (caffeinate or decaf)
3 cups of water
3 whole cardamom pods
½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or more to taste)
1 star anise
1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 cap full of pure extract)
6-8 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Maple syrup to taste
Milk or milk substitute
 
Directions:
 
Place 2-3 cups of water in a small pot on the stove on high. Add tea bags or a diffuser of black tea and let it heat up to a low boil.
 
Meanwhile, crush cardamom pods with the side of a knife. Peel and grate or chop the ginger.
 
Add crushed cardamom, star anise, grated ginger, vanilla bean, cloves, and cinnamon stick to the pot and stir. Continue to stir while it simmers, until it has a soupy consistency (about 5-10 minutes). Get ready for your house to smell like Christmas.
 
Remove from heat and let cool for a bit, then strain it into a lidded glass container. (You can reuse the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean, but chuck the rest of the strained-out stuff).
 
Add maple syrup to taste. Pour over milk (or milk substitute), about ½ milk, ½ tea mixture. If the mix is still hot, it’ll warm the milk, if not, nuke it!
 
Cap and refrigerate tea mixture for later use (lasts about a week) or freeze it for longer.