Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sweet Harvest Pumpkin by Celestial Seasonings

I tried two pumpkin teas this morning, and while the first one was a horrible mistake, this tea was the morning's saving grace. Fresh, sweet, and with just the right amount of kick!

Seller's Description: "Our newest holiday creation combines smooth black tea with real pumpkin flavor and a hint of natural sweetness."
Ingredients: Black tea, cinnamon, ginger, roasted chicory, natural pumpkin flavor with other natural flavors, Luo Han Guo, cloves, nutmeg, natural sweetener (Stevia extract) and pumpkin.
WebsiteSweet Harvest Pumpkin by Celestial Seasonings
Sample source: Provided

Teaware: 16oz glass tea infuser
Measured dry: 2 sachets
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 3 teaspoons of raw sugar

As I open the tea's wax paper bag, the scents of ginger, cloves, and what might be the roasted chicory hit me first. Following on their heels are the slightly more understated aromas of pumpkin and nutmeg.

What I've found with the Celestial Seasonings teas is that they are happiest when you stick as close as possible to the ratio of one teabag per eight ounces of water, so I used two bags in my 16oz infuser mug instead of just one.

It was totally the right call, because the scent profile takes an about face as soon as it's steeped. The pumpkin takes center stage, buoyed by the rich blend of spices. This is like drinking pumpkin spice bread, where the cook hit just the right spice balance: enough to leave a tingle on your tongue, but not so much as to let any one spice overwhelm.

I find myself craving some cream cheese to spread over it, the flavor is so similar!

In lieu of that (because this isn't a fresh, warm slice as much as it tastes like it!) I decided to add a dash of milk. If anything, it made the experience stronger! So I may have a little baking to do. In the meantime, this was a wonderful drink to spend the morning with.

Prominent Notes: Pumpkin, cinnamon, and clove
Aftertaste: Nutmeg and clove
Overall: Tasty!

But I don't feel like I'm done with this tea yet...

Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Pancake Butter

As will sometimes happen when I'm enjoying a cup of tea while cooking, I got a little inspired to experiment. I will usually use straight spices (like cloves, anise, or cardamon) to infuse butter for pancakes, but I thought this tea might lend itself well to the process.

Because I will do this from time to time, I picked up a tiny butter warming pot at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It was something like $15 and has lasted us a couple years now... mostly because our waistlines wouldn't appreciate it if we used it more often!

Place your butter in the pan and turn the unit on medium. After making the pancakes and leaving them in the oven to keep warm, I had about 3/4 stick of butter left. In the future, I think 2 bags per stick would be better.

Get a nice, solid layer of melted butter before you put the teabag into the mix. Bring the butter to a gentle simmer and then reduce the heat. Simmer for something like 3-5 minutes so the flavors of the tea can work their magic.
Transfer the infused butter to a bowl or serving dish that's up to the heat - I prefer Pyrex. As the butter drains from the pan to the dish, make sure to press the teabag well, to get more flavor out.

Serve and enjoy!

But be careful of kitties with feral instincts. We were going to put the left-overs in the fridge, but Mei-Mei decided it was just too tempting. By the time I realized she'd snuck away, she already had her face inside it!

All in all, this was a very scrumptious breakfast! The tea flavor was a little light, but still added a nice spicy kick to our pancakes. Should I do this again in the future, I think I may add some cloves or cinnamon pieces for a little extra kick. Overall, though... tasty!

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