Nothing makes me feel quite at peace with the cool weather as much as curling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book. And when I threw a tea-flavored donut into the mix, the cold hardwood floor and icy faucet water didn’t even seem that offensive anymore. I’ve always liked experimenting with different tea flavors in cooking, and I’ve been wanting to try making tea donuts for quite some time, but it took me a bit of brooding to decide what type of tea to use. In the end, I went with the slightly sweet, robust, and earthy oolong. Oolong is a Chinese tea variety that is dried in the sun and the leaves are then twisted up into tight little balls to brew loose leaf-style. You can find it packaged in tea bags at the grocery store too, but with delicate teas like oolong I like the full unfiltered flavor you get from letting them soak in the water with only a mesh tea screen separating them from the water.
I brewed the oolong in milk before pureeing the mixture in a blender and incorporating the puree into the donut batter. The result was a rich, delicately flavored baked donut that retained a lot of moisture and had a wonderfully, slight floral flavor to it. For the glaze, I really wanted to recreate the flavor of one of my favorite drinks, milk tea boba.
Milk tea is a generic flavor whose tea-intensity can vary depending on which boba cafe your getting it from, but it is basically made up of milk, a sweetener, and a black tea. To recreate the flavor, I steeped a dark black tea in milk for about an hour to get it nice and infused, then I used that milk as the base for the glaze with some powdered sugar and vanilla extract. The result was one of my new favorite glazes, deeply flavorful with the warm spiced flavor that only a tasty black tea can provide. And when combined with the oolong donuts, it made for an absolutely incredible dessert.
There are a large variety of oolong teas on the market, and luckily the kind folks over at Teavivre would like to give away an assortment of their oolong tea varieties to three of you! The varieties that will be included are:
- Taiwan Osmanthus Oolong Tea
- Taiwan High Mountain Oolong Tea
- Superfine Taiwan Moderately-Roasted Dong Ding Oolong Tea
- Superfine Taiwan Qing Xiang Dong Ding Oolong Tea
- Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea
I used their Osmanthus oolong for the donuts because it had a stronger floral hint, but the others were equally tasty, especially the roasted tea. To enter the giveaway, please use the rafflecopter widget below. The entry period is open until 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time on November 21st.
Begin by making the donuts. Bring the 3/4 cup milk to a boil and add the oolong tea. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cloves in a medium-sized bowl until well blended. Set aside.
Once the milk tea mixture has cooled to room temperature, pour it into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, vegetable oil, and sugar until blended. Add the buttermilk, oolong milk mixture, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Then slowly add the flour mixture in thirds, mixing until just blended. Scoop the batter into a greased donut pan, filling the wells 3/4 full.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the donuts have risen a bit and are lightly golden around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the donuts from the pan and allowing them to cool completely.
While the donuts are baking and cooling, you can begin preparing the glaze. Steep the tea in the hot milk for 1 hour until it cools to room temperature, agitating it while the milk it hot to get as much of the black tea flavor to seep into the liquid as possible. Once the hour has passed, squeeze all of the liquid out of the tea bags and mix the liquid with the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until a glaze forms. If it is thinner than your liking, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it is thicker than your liking, add a bit more milk.
Drizzle the glaze over the cooled donuts and serve immediately.