Don’t knock it till you try it. The slow cooker kind of caramelizes the sugar or honey that you use and the spices get nicely intense. Mmmm…. The thing I don’t do that some recipes do is to leave the tea in for the entire cooking time. I think the tea over brews and may get a bit bitter when left in the entire cooking time, which then requires more sweetener. If you don’t want to work out more than you have to, cook the tea leaves less!
You can really take any chai recipe and convert it to the crock pot. I like to use mine, but toss in what you like. Sometimes I throw in a vanilla bean if I want more of a vanilla chai. One thing I would suggest, as the tastes for chai are so varied, is to make a smaller pot of the chai you want to try, and see if it is for you BEFORE you make a giant batch and cry because of all the wasted spices. I take my mix and triple it for my slow cooker. I don’t use the ground spice option, usually, because it get too cloudy looking for me, so try to get whole spices, if you can. It’s so nice to have a big jug in the fridge! Yum!
Head over to Sandra’s blog for Slow Cooking Thursday and see what everyone else is putting in their slow cookers this week!
Slow Cooker Chai
18 cups water (4 1/2 quarts)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey OR 3/4 cup crystalized cane juice or sugar
18 whole cloves
3 cinnamon stick (8 inch), broken into 1” pieces
18 cardamom seed pods
12 whole allspice
1 1/2 inch crystallized ginger
12 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf (I don’t triple this, gets too strong of a bay flavor…bleh.)
5 rounded tablespoons loose Darjeeling tea (or other black tea)
Almond milk (or other dairy substitute), to taste when ready to serve
Mix all ingredients except tea into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Add tea, cover and cook for 1/2 hour longer. Strain chai, discarding solids. Serve immediately with milk of choice(2 parts chai to 1 part almond milk – I like almond) or chill for later.
* * *
I waited to post this at the end of my entry, because my son said he would be “so mad” if I posted it. I told him I would anyway! Poor guy! I did promise not to make it one of the photos at the top… I think this is the best picture! Is there any better way to tease you big brother?