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Especially, at this time of the year, it is nice to have a quick gift on hand: for a friend stopping by, your child’s teacher, a neighbor, etc. My chai concentrate is a great option, as it is mostly homemade and last minute-friendly. Made with sweetened condensed milk and an array of warm spices, it is festive, versatile and very tasty. You (or your kids with help!) can make it in 3 minutes flat with pantry items, or take it up a few notches by grinding spices yourself… or up even more notches by making the sweetened condensed milk yourself. Hello. I stay in the middle with this recipe, purchasing sweetened condensed milk but grinding the cardamom with a mortar and pestle. (A spice grinder works, too, if you have one.) I like the cardamom flavor to be assertive, and using freshly ground makes the flavor come through a little more. You could grate the nutmeg, too. Black pepper is an optional ingredient; if you are making this specifically for someone who likes a peppery chai, add it right in.

Once you make the concentrate, put it in a cute bottle or jar and write on the container or lid the very simple instructions: add 1-2 T. concentrate to 8 oz. of hot black tea, steamed milk or almond milk, or coffee. I absolutely love chai concentrate in coffee; it’s like an easy homemade version of dirty chai. Using black tea is most traditional, and using milk or almond milk produces a comforting steamer-like drink. If you want to stay dairy-free, there are some sweetened condensed milk options made with coconut milk that work perfectly and taste delicious.

One recipe fills three 4 oz. jars, the cute little ones, or one 8 oz. half pint jar (as pictured) and one 4 oz. jar, with enough left over for you to have a beverage or two. During the bustle of the holidays, while you are making for and giving to others, it’s nice to have a little treat for yourself. That makes this chai concentrate an absolute win-win!

chai concentrate

Chai Concentrate

  • One 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and then divide between the containers of your choice. Use 1-2 T. chai concentrate in 8 oz. tea, coffee or warm milk or almond milk. Store in the refrigerator between uses; keeps for about 2-3 weeks. The recipe as written makes about 1 3/4 c. of concentrate, or 14-28 servings.