Chai is the generic name that applies to tea in India, however in the West it refers to tea that contains spices like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, and is often sweetened and drunk with milk. As a rule, any dessert that contains or matches these flavors will be a good pairing.
Brownies and Cakes
Brownies and cakes are a natural match for tea of all kinds, and the ingredients of chai tea can be added to the mixture of both to flavor them. You can either cheat by using chai tea powder or add each ingredient from scratch. Add black teabags to hot milk, and make sure you grind the cloves and crush the ginger well, as well as using powdered cinnamon. Usually chai ingredients alone won’t be enough for a flavorsome cake, so as well as sugar add vanilla, add cocoa or chocolate chips or a combination of all three.
Cupcakes and Cookies
As with cakes, cookies and cupcakes are also great partners for chai tea, especially if they are vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg-flavored. You can make chai cupcakes by using chai spices, black tea, butter and flour and pouring into molds before baking in the oven. Top them with a conventional icing made with sugar, eggs and milk, or alternatively, flavor by infusing black tea and cinnamon in the milk before mixing together. Add chai spices to cookie mixture and bake; for an interesting version, mix in eggnog and fresh nutmeg.
A sip of spicy tea after a few mouthfuls of cooling ice cream can be delightful. Vanilla and cinnamon ice cream work well, or try making your own, particularly if you have dinner guests to impress. First you need to make a custard-like cream with milk, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and whichever other spices you wish to use (star anise, allspice, etc). Black tea and sugar is added later and then the liquid is poured over whisked egg yolks before heating, straining and lastly, freezing. The combination of the icy cold dessert with the spices makes for an original dessert.
A key ingredient of rice pudding is cinnamon, therefore this dessert will pair well with chai tea. You can even add crystallized ginger and cardamom if you want it to share some of the same flavors. Remember to sprinkle cinnamon over the top.
References and ResourcesMy Husband Cooks; Chai Tea Brownies - Are These A Sign of Stockolm Syndrome?; 2007
Serious Eats; Sunday Brunch - Chai Tea Cupcakes; Robin Bellinger; February 7, 2010
My Recipes; Chai Tea Eggnog Cookies; 2009
Epicurious; Rice Pudding with Chai Spices; February 2002