Tag Archives: Beverages

Meyer Lemon Cookies & Lavender Lemonade

A long time ago my friend Katrina told me about a pitcher of lavender lemonade she made. She raved about it. Oh my goodness it was the best thing ever. And then she never made some and sent to me by UPS or FedEx or DHL. What gives? How do you not figure out a way to send me such precious and awesome lemonade?

Okay just kidding about that last part. But the description and concept of the lemonade really stuck with me. I always have lavender around (for things like lavender lemon bars) but until I stumbled on a bag of Meyer lemons for $2 (Hey-o!) I hadn’t thought seriously about making it. And now I can’t imagine why! This is delicious and refreshing. But my issue with the lemonade was that it didn’t use the precious zest of the Meyer lemons.

Have you used Meyer lemons before? They are incredible. They’re soooo different than regular lemons: sweeter and somehow more lemony. It sounds like a contradiction but I promise it isn’t. They are also far more juicier. And their zest is delicious. So I set out to make some small cookies to go with the lemonade.

I wanted a cakey cookie and one whose other ingredients wouldn’t compete with the lemon zest flavor. I realized that black and white cookies had the texture I wanted and once I eliminated the lemon extract (superfluous, don’t you think?) and vanilla extract, the lemon zest would be the main flavor. I came up with a cake-like cookie with tiny shreds of lemon zest that gave just the right amount of not-sour, lemony goodness.

Meyer Lemon Cookies (adapted loosely from smittenkitchen’s Black and White cookie recipe-which are yummy):

2/3 C sugar
1 stick unsalted, room temperature butter
2 eggs
1/2 C milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 5-6 Meyer lemons
1 C cake flour
1 C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

These lemony, cakey cookies are simple to make and just taste like summer. To make them even more moist, I think I’ll throw in a couple dollops of yogurt next time. To quote Ms. Fancy-pants herself, “How bad can that be?”

These would be wonderful as a small cake with a powdered sugar glaze. In fact, a thin powdered sugar glaze would be yummy on the cookies but they are delicious without a glaze of any kind.

Lavender Lemonade (adapted from Elise’s basic lemonade recipe):

1 C Meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
3 1/2 C water
prepared sweet lavender syrup (below)
ice for serving

Sweet Lavender Syrup (adapted from, er, that one time when Katrina told me about lavender lemonade):

3/4 C sugar
1 C water
2 Tbsp lavender flowers

First make the lavender syrup. Combine lavender, sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves and then turn off the heat. Let this sit for at least ten minutes before straining and adding to the other ingredients. The syrup should be fragrant and slightly purple in color.

While the syrup is cooking, juice the lemons. If you’ve never used Meyer lemons before, watch out. They are incredibly juicy and their peels are so thin and fragile, they will break if you twist the halved lemons on a juicer. It seems best to just press the halved lemons on the juicer to extract most of the juice and then squeeze the flattened lemon with your hands. I got just over a cup of the most yellow-y yellow lemon juice.

Around this time the lavender syrup should be finished and ready to mix in. Pour the lavender syrup and then the lemon juice though a strainer and a funnel into a pitcher. Add in 3 1/2-4 1/2 cups of water depending on how strong you want the lemonade. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Serve over ice with a bendy straw. (<-That part is really important. Don’t skip that step.)

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Fragrant, Spicy, Authentic Chai Tea

So many people love chai nowadays. Years ago you had to visit Indian restaurants to find it. Now it’s one of the most popular drinks at Starbucks. And if you’re craving chai really badly, Starbucks will suffice. But once you’ve had authentic Indian chai, you’ll taste the difference between the fresh ground spices and “chai syrup.” Blech. Okay, not blech. It’s chai tasting stuff. But it’s not THIS. A long time ago my friend and her mother taught me how to make authentic chai tea. This is their recipe times 5.

2 C filtered water
5 Tbsp black tea
5 Tbsp sugar
5 whole peppercorns
5 whole cloves
5 whole cardamom pods (or 1.5 tsp ground cardamom)
1.5 tsp ground ginger
2 C milk

For chai you need cardamom. Car-da-mom. Say it. It sounds earthy and aromatic. You need cardamom and cloves and peppercorns and spicy ginger.

Heat water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add tea and spices and stir well. Omit the ginger—since it is not fresh, it is best to add after the tea has brewed and strained. Dump in the sugar. A good rule of thumb is equal parts tea to sugar, but it depends on your tastes. There is no perfect time to brew the tea because it depends on temperature and your stove and blah blah blah. Instead, look at the color of the liquid in a spoon. It should look like this and smell like tea!

When ready, pour through a sieve into a bottle. I used a really pretty wine bottle. Repurpose! Woo! Press leaves to get out all the liquid. Quickly add ground ginger to the brewed tea and stir well. You can stop now and keep the tea without milk in it, or you can add heated or chilled milk immediately. I use equal parts milk and water but that’s all up to you. My friend’s grandfather prefers less milk so don’t feel like you’re sacrificing authenticity here, y’all.

And oh my, when you taste it…will you ever be a believer in real chai tea. Serve it hot with frothy milk or serve chilled over ice. Either way, you’ll taste such complexity of flavor, such earthy spiciness and such sweetness.

Mmmmm. Starbucks who?