Boozy Chai Tea & Baileys Ice Cream

Chai Tea & Baileys Ice Cream | Sophster-Toaster Blog

I bought an ice cream maker last week and got experimenting right away! While trying to come up with the perfect fall flavour to bring to Friendsgiving potluck this weekend, one that wasn’t too obvious (looking at you, pumpkin spice), couldn’t be found at the store, and wouldn’t be out of place next to a slice of pie, I eventually landed on chai tea & Baileys. I’m glad I waited for the perfect idea, because this one’s a real winner! It tastes just like the holidays.

Chai Tea & Baileys Ice Cream | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chai Tea & Baileys Ice Cream | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chai Tea & Baileys Ice Cream | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ cup loose leaf chai tea
    • fairly inexpensive at Bulk Barn
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1-2/3 cup heavy cream

Method

  1. Add milk, sugar and salt to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar while bringing to a simmer.
  2. Remove mixture from heat and stir in the tea leaves. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain mixture into a clean, medium sized saucepan, making sure to press the tea leaves to get every bit of liquid out.
  4. Bring back to a simmer.
  5. Beat the egg yolks in small bowl and temper with the milk mixture. (Slowly stir about ½ cup of milk mixture into the egg yolks, then add the egg mixture back to the milk to slowly bring the eggs up to temperature and not curdle them. Don’t worry if some curdles, we’ll strain again later.)
  6.  Cook over low heat, stirring almost constantly, until you have a nice custard thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (or until it reaches 175○F). Do not allow custard to come to a boil. Strain into a medium bowl and chill in the fridge until cold.
  7. Stir in the Baileys and heavy cream.
  8. Churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. (I got my ice cream maker here.)
  9. You can eat it now but it will be better if you freeze it overnight. Scoop into a suitable container and press cling wrap down onto the surface.
  10. Optional: garnish with cinnamon.

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All photos by me.

Smoky Black Tea Macarons with Orange Marmalade

Smokey Black Tea Macarons with Orange Marmalade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

I don’t know if I’ll ever be good at making macarons. I’ve been trying to learn how to make them well for almost exactly three years now and this is my first batch ever that weren’t too sticky or hollow in the middle. I’ve never had trouble with the pied (the pretty, bubbly bit) but I’m still confused about how to macaronnage properly and I’m lucky if I get a handful of cookies to come out perfectly round. Macaron recipes appear deceivingly simple with only five ingredients that come together quite quickly but there are a lot of opportunities for mistake that make these cute little cookies difficult to master.

Smokey Black Tea Macarons with Orange Marmalade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

The best part about making macarons, and the reason I keep trying, is the literally uncountable number of flavour, colour, garnish and filling combinations you can make. This time I tried out an idea for smoky black tea macarons with orange marmalade filling.

Smokey Black Tea Macarons with Orange Marmalade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog Smokey Black Tea Macarons with Orange Marmalade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog Smokey Black Tea Macarons with Orange Marmalade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

Using the macaron recipe from I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita and following her flavouring tips, I added 1 tsp of smoked lapsang souchong star loose leaf tea, that I first crushed to a finely ground powder with my fingertips, to the dry ingredients before mixing them into the meringue. I decided not to colour the cookies with any food colouring. Then, because I’m not a huge fan of making or eating traditional buttercream filling, I chose to just fill the macarons with orange marmalade. The end result is a naturally peach coloured nutty, smoky, sweet citrus cookie perfect for a grown up tea party.

Smokey Black Tea Macarons with Orange Marmalade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog Smokey Black Tea Macarons with Orange Marmalade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

All photos by me. 

Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

I started experimenting with this simple potato soup a few years ago. This version of the recipe was first developed at the cottage and quickly became a favourite among my friends. I love making it for a large group and serving it, still in the pot, with lots of little bowls of garnishes surrounding it so everyone can have fun customizing their own bowls.

The soup is quite simple and comes together rather quickly. The potatoes can be baked several hours ahead and left to cool until you are ready to assemble the rest of the ingredients.

Baked Potato Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

Ingredients

2 rashers of high quality bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cups russet potatoes, baked, peeled and cubed (about 5 small to medium potatoes)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, or enough to cover
1 cup milk
3 tbsp plain yogourt
salt and pepper to taste

For the Garnish

plain yogourt
cheddar cheese, grated
green onion

Method

Things happen quite quickly, so you’ll want to have all of your ingredients ready before you get started.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash your potatoes and pierce them a few times with a fork. Place them directly on the oven rack (there’s no need to season the skins because we will be peeling them) and bake for 40 – 60 minutes, or until tender. Let cool.
  2. Slice bacon into garnish size pieces and place in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Cook until crispy then remove the bacon to a paper towel and set aside. Leave the bacon drippings in the pot.
  3. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring often, until soft.
  4. Peel and chunk up the baked potatoes. They are easy enough to peel with your fingers – if they have cooled – but you can use a knife, if you like. Add them to the pot with the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  5. Once you’ve reached a simmer, remove the pot from the heat, add the milk and sour cream then blend until smooth.
  6. Heat through and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve with plenty of garnishes. I like classic baked potato garnishes like sour cream/ yogourt, cheddar, bacon and green onion but you can use anything you would normally put on top of a regular baked potato!

Serves 4 – 6 as a meal.

Baked Potato Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog Baked Potato Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog Baked Potato Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog Baked Potato Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog Baked Potato Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

All photos by me. 

Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

I love making soup, and this butternut squash soup is probably the best that I make. I originally found the recipe in Joy of Cooking and have been adapting, tweaking and making it my own over the years. The great thing about this soup is that it can easily be made vegan-friendly with one small substitution.

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster BlogButternut Squash and Ginger Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

Ingredients

For the Soup

1 medium to large butternut squash
3 tbsp olive oil
½ large sweet onion, chopped
4 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make it vegan)
pinch of kosher salt

For the Garnish

2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º and place a rack in the centre of the oven.
  2. Split the squash in half length-wise on a cutting board with a wet cloth underneath the board for added stability. Use a large, sharp knife and keep your fingers well out of the way. Remove the strings and seeds with a spoon, keep the seeds.
  3. Place the squash halves (or quarters if it is quite large) cut side up on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt.
  4. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife.
  5. While the squash is baking prepare the seeds by rinsing them in water, trying to remove as much of the squash strings as possible – you won’t be able to get them completely clean, and that’s fine.
  6. Place the seeds on a paper towel and rub them gently to clean them up a little bit more. Remove them from the paper towel and leave them on the cutting board to dry. They can become stuck to the paper towel and be quite difficult to remove if left to dry on it.
  7. When the squash is done baking, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool. Turn the oven down to 325º.
  8. Mix the olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper in a small bowl and toss with the seeds. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the over for 10 minutes – I like to stir them up half way through to separate any that may have been stuck together.
  9. While the seeds are roasting, heat your olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat, chop your onion and mince your ginger.
  10. Add the onion and ginger to the pot and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft but not browned.
  11. Remove the skin from the cooled squash – I like to peel it like I would a celeriac – and chop the flesh into large chunks. Add the squash to the pot along with the chicken or vegetable broth.
  12. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring often and breaking up the squash.
  13. Puree the soup with a stick blender (or in a regular blender or food processor) until beautifully smooth. Season with salt. If the soup is too thick for your taste, add an addition 1-2 cups of broth and heat through.
  14. Serve garnished with the roasted seeds and some fresh ground black pepper.

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster BlogButternut Squash and Ginger Soup \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

All photos by me.