As the newest member of the two leaves and a bud team, I'm well aware that the fastest way into the hearts of my new coworkers is with baked goods. So when my first day in the office included a guided tasting of chai teas with Richard, it seemed like a no-brainer to go home and bake some chai sugar cookies.
Maybe you're familiar with chai tea, an Assam tea that's blended with warm, hearty spices like cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. As it happened, I had a never-been-cracked-open bottle of McCormick's Gourmet Collection Chai Spice Blend in my pantry, which is a blend of those chai spices that can be used to add that mysterious, spicy quality to cakes, puddings and cookies. So I used the spice company's recipe for Chai Sugar Cookies, with the intention of pairing it with two leaves' own Organic Mountain High Chai, and seeing if I could impress the office.
Impress? I don't know, but reviews for my cookies were overwhelmingly positive. Customer service/graphic designer Lindsay Winkler, who admittedly isn't much of a snackaholic, extolled their virtues after serving as a hand model for dipping a cookie into the foam of a steamy chai latte. "This could be great in the winter - it's very comforting," said head of customer service Jen Hensley. Bess Hammer, head of marketing, enjoyed the pairing of a chai latte made with our own chai tea with the cookies, saying it enhanced the warm spices in the chai cookie.
But the cookies with chai tea wasn't the preferred pick for two leaves founder Richard Rosenfeld, who says he would rather pair cookies and other sweets with a more astringent tea - specifically Darjeeling. "Darjeeling is floral and astringent but light, so it doesn't overpower you," he said. Good call, Richard.
As a side note, the chai lattes made in our office were lightly sweetened with Tahitian Vanilla Sugar from the Tahitian Gold Company, which is sugar that includes specks of vanilla bean (and explains why it looks in the photo like we've sprinkled some pepper on our latte). We'll soon be selling Tahitian Vanilla Sugar here on the website, and you'll want some when I tell you it smells like heaven.
If anyone has a great tea and sweets pairing they'd like me to try -- and even a recipe -- let me know by commenting here, so I can give it a shot and blog about it in the future.