The One Thing You're Missing That'll Make Every Apple Dessert Better
The aromas and flavors of cinnamon and apple take me back to visiting Christmas stores with my mom. Tiny shops were strung with lights and filled to the brim with all kinds of Thanksgiving and Christmas trinkets –– tinsel, trees, and ornaments galore. And they all had one thing in common: they smelled like apple cinnamon.
In the last few years, Americans have really gotten into the chai tea lattes. You can find different versions of chai tea lattes in almost every coffee shop in the U.S. My best friend growing up always told me "chai tastes like Christmas," and she’s right.
As it turns out, chai spice blend has cinnamon in it, along with some other ingredients that give chai its signature taste. So it only makes sense for apple cinnamon and chai to come together as one for the ideal holiday season flavor.
Since chai originates from India, I asked an expert for the best spice blend to use as my staple chai spice mix. My friend Armani, who’s from New Delhi, India, was kind enough to share her insights with me.
"In Hindi, masala means 'mix of ground spices' and chai means 'tea,' so spiced chai stems from the Hindi version of masala chai. Growing up, some of my favorite memories of drinking chai were often shared with family and friends during 'chai time.' The table was always piled high with lots of Indian snacks as we all gathered around. As a kid, I'd add lots of milk and sugar to my chai.
"Chai was something I grew up watching my grandma and mom make, and as I got older I learned how to make it my own. My family chai recipe has been passed down for generations and adapted to what we enjoy today. Making chai and bringing family together is one of my favorite childhood memories."
Related: 4 Types of Cinnamon to Know
Masala chai represents love and family, which makes it the perfect addition to holiday apple dishes. Blending flavors and blending traditions are beautiful ways to make the season a special time for you and those you love most.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate the apple chai flavor into your holiday season:
Apple Chai Cider (or Apple Chai-der)
Instead of using the traditional cider spice mix to your warm apple juice, substitute the chai spice mix below. Those warm, cozy flavors will have you ready to go a'wassailing (at a six-foot distance of course).
Chai Apple Pie
This flavor combo gives an American classic a new level of multicultural holiday cheer. The recipe uses the chai spice mix in addition to some steeped chai tea.
Get the Recipe: Chai Apple Pie
Apple Chai Crumble
When making your favorite apple crumble or cobbler, simply use chai spice in place of the cinnamon for a crowd-pleasing flavor.
Feel free to get creative with this combo. I've yet to find an apple recipe that wasn’t improved by adding chai spice blend. Oh, and vanilla ice cream or whipped cream added to all your apple chai favorites is always a great idea.
Armani's Masala Chai Spice Mix
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tbsp of peppercorns
- ½ tsp ground cloves
To make tea, add in:
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1 - 2 bags of black tea
- ½ - 1 tbsp of sugar
- optional: 2 - 3 strings of saffron
- optional: 2 star anise
No matter the size of your holiday gathering, these apple chai desserts will bring everyone to the table.