If you’re already in the market for a New Year’s resolution, or are just looking to change things up in the dessert department, I’ve got one for you: baking with tea! Why more of us aren’t doing it on a regular basis is a mystery to me; maybe it’s that we’re in a rut of thinking of tea as only a beverage. If you think about it though, using tea to flavor food is no different than using other dried plant bits, like pepper, thyme or basil. When you’ve got a really flavorful tea, adding it to your basic baked goods can completely transform them with depth of flavor, delicate floral notes or a hint of citrus zest.
In this case, I used one of my favorite Stash winter teas, Christmas in Paris, to infuse my trusty chocolate chip skillet cookie with extra chocolatey flavor, a hint of lavender (that’s the Paris part!) and a touch of cool peppermint. Oh, and I decided to make a quick batch of tea infused no-churn ice cream too, and it turns out tea also tastes amazing in ice cream form.
Don’t ask me to explain the science behind the magic, but dairy happily takes on the flavor of whatever you put in it. So working the flavor of the tea into the skillet cookie and the ice cream is as easy as steeping a few tea bags in melted butter and cream before mixing everything together. Just like when you make a cup of tea, the strength of the tea flavor that comes through is up to you. Simply use more tea bags for bold flavor or fewer for just a subtle hint of tea. Either way, you’ve got a uniquely delicious cookie and ice cream pairing on your hands.
Why use the same tea to infuse both the cookie and the ice cream, you ask? This particular tea lends itself well to both, but in different ways: the cocoa shells in the tea add a smooth chocolate taste to the cookie batter, while in the ice cream I taste more of the peppermint, which keeps it from feeling too heavy. Whether you cut your skillet cookie into humanely portioned slices and serve it like pie a la mode, or just dive in with spoons like P and I did, I guarantee it won’t last long.
Two more thoughts before I get to the recipe. First, the key to infusing dairy is patience. You want to heat it slowly to prevent scalding, then let it steep for a good while off heat to soak up as much tea flavor as possible. I did all my infusing the night before to minimize waiting/impatiently eating all the chocolate chips time. Second, you can adjust the baking time so the cookie comes out perfectly tailored to your liking, whether you’re a crispy on the edges and gooey in the middle person, or a chewy throughout kind of person. Since it’s baked in a cast iron skillet, you (probably, but no judgment) won’t be trying to lift the whole thing at once. Thus, you can leave the center super gooey without worrying about it falling apart when you eat it! I made it this way the first time, and it went really well with the ice cream, super soft and straight out of the oven.
This post was created in partnership with Stash Tea. All opinions are my own.