What do we like here at MEM almost as much as tea? Chocolate, that’s what. And for those of us with a serious sweet tooth, it was inevitable that “would you like tea with your sugar?” would transcend tea-snark and become a challenge.
How do we use tea in cooking? Steeping, steaming, brining, smoking- really the only hard-and-fast rule is that there has to be a way for the flavor of the tea to get into the food, and this can be achieved in many ways. Fudge, as it turns out, is a great vehicle for stronger blends, as it creates a versatile bitter-sweet and fatty cushion for any tannins or strong flavors, much like a sugar and cream base for chai.
Ahead is a recipe making use of the most common tea-cooking technique- steeping- which leaves you with a sweet and toothsome fudge which we infused with Red Chili tea for a vegan treat that anyone can enjoy.
• Heavy bottomed sauce pot - not cast iron
• Mesh strainer
• Large, heat-safe bowl
• 8" x 8" glass baking dish, greased or lines with parchment paper (larger for thinner fudge, smaller for thicker)
• 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
• 3 tbsp coconut oil
• 18 oz vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (Enjoy Life, Sunspire, and Lily's are all good brands)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 pinch salt
• 4 heaping tbsp Red Chili tea, loose (can substitute with other MEM loose chai blends)
• Prepare glass baking dish either by lining with parchment paper or greasing with coconut oil and set aside.
• In a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, mix coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and salt over medium heat, stirring and scraping the sides to prevent sticking until mixture just starts to boil.
• Reduce heat to low and add Red hili tea to mixture, continuing to stir gently for five minutes. Allowing the tea to steep loose throughout the mixture maximizes how much flavor is released into the fudge base.
• After five minutes, when mixture has taken on a brown color, remove from heat and strain tea through the mesh strainer into a large heatproof bowl, making sure to scrape the sides of the pot for any remaining residue or leaves.
• Discard the leaves and return the tea-infused mixture to the pot, return to the stove on low heat, and add the chocolate. Stir until chocolate is dissolved and until mixture appears smooth and glossy. Again, make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot as you stir to prevent any sticking or burning!
• Lastly, pour mixture into prepared baking dish and let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to prevent chocolate sweating in the fridge. After that, you may continue to cool it at room temperature or move it to the refrigerator to finish setting.
• I cut the fudge into 30 two-bite squares, but feel free to make them whatever size you like! No matter what size, you and your friends will have a hard time stopping at just one.