20 February 2013

Tea ... As An Ingredient

I have heard and read so much about using various teas as ingredients in everything from baked goods to sauces for braising, but I have never tried the technique ... until today. I must admit that I chose a safe recipe to attempt this first time out of the gate. I had some dried dates that needed to soak before going into a date nut bread recipe. I'd been thinking that I wanted to add some orange peel and star anise to the boiling water that the dates would soak in and then I had a brilliant idea ... why not use a Celestial Seasonings Mandarin Orange Spice tea bag to provide the hint of orange and added spice to the beginnings of the date nut bread batter?

It smelled divine as it steeped with butter, brown and white sugar, the dates and a piece of star anise ! After several minutes, I just squeezed out the teabag, removed the anise and proceeded with the recipe. The results were delicious - a fast and easy quick tea bread. It was still warm when we brewed our pot of Earl Grey later in the afternoon!

Well, I've got one 'tea as an ingredient recipe under my belt; next time, I think I might be more adventurous!
If you decide to try this bread, I hope you enjoy it! Slather on a bit of butter and have it with a hot cuppa!

Date Nut Bread
adapted from a Silver Palate Cookbook recipe


1 c. dried dates, coarsely chopped
1 Celestial Seasonings’ Mandarin Orange Spice teabag (or other citrus and spice herbal)
1 star anise star
¼ c. packed light brown sugar
¼ c. sugar
4 tbsp. butter, cut up into chunks
¾ c. boiling water
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 ½ tbsp. Captain Morgan spiced rum
½ tsp. vanilla
½ c. walnuts, chopped

Making the Bread:

  1. Grease a 13 x 5 inch loaf pan and pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Place the butter chunks in the bottom of a big mixing bowl. Dump the dates, sugars, star anise and teabag on top.
  3. Pour the measure of boiling water over top, poke the teabag and anise under the surface of the hot liquid, cover the bowl with a plate and set aside to steep the tea for several minutes.
  4. Meanwhile measure the flour, baking powder and salt in a measuring cup, whisk to combine.
  5. Chop the walnuts and reserve a few whole nut halves for decorating the top of the loaf.
  6. When the tea has steeped for a few minutes, squeeze the excess tea out of the teabag and into the mixture, remove the star anise and discard both.
  7. Let the mixture cool uncovered a couple minutes and then, beat in the egg.
  8. Turn the dry ingredients into the mixture and mix until smooth.
  9. Add the walnuts, spiced rum and vanilla and fold in until combined.
  10. Turn the batter into the prepared pan, place the walnut halves on top of the batter in a sweet little design, and bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes.
  11. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn the pan out ont a rack to cool completely before trying to cut the loaf.


  1. Once again the Silver Palate cookbook rises from our archives to make something delicious. I have not tried using tea in anything other than punch. This needs to change Susan.

  2. You should be a pastry chef or at least my very very good neighbor:) this sounds wonderful and I admire your creative cooking skills.

    1. Thanks, Diane! I do like my sweet treats when it's tea time!

  3. Another mouth watering post! I love the idea of using herbal teas to give a subtle flavor but something tells me the spiced rum didn't hurt(the flavor) !!

  4. You've inspired me! I, too, have always thought about cooking with tea but never have gotten around to doing so. Now I will! This recipe would be a good start.

  5. What a great recipe. I use tea in an cranberry cake and I love its very subtle flavor. I've also seen but never made macha cakes which are very popular in Japan. I hope you are having a great week. Blessings...Mary

  6. Very clever! I've never used tea as an ingredient. The bread looks amazing.

  7. Yes! I am fairly tea obsessed and love seeing people use tea as an ingredient! Your use in this quick bread is lovely and I commend you for experimenting outside of the box. I'm looking forward to see how you use tea in the future in your cooking :)


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