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Creating Taste Treats with Tilia’s Mulling Spice Blend

We know that many of you really enjoy our mulling spice blend and that like us you use it during the holidays to mull apple cider, orange juice, wine and other beverages (hot chocolate is one of our favourites!). But once the holidays are finished those jars of leftover spice often gets pushed to the back of the spice drawer waiting to make a reappearance next year. Well we have exciting news for you – our Mulling Spice Blend is great year round and not just for making hot beverages. Below are some of our favourite ways to cook with this spice blend and to create exciting, delicious dishes we know you’ll really enjoy.

Basics of Making Mulled Beverages

Mulled Juices: Any juice can be mulled and it’s really easy to do so. We have tried mulled apple juice (and cider), cranberry juice, orange juice, dark grape juice and cherry juice but we’re sure there are many other types you can get adventurous with. For every 4 cups of juice add 2 Tablespoons of Tilia’s Mulling Spice Blends either tied into cheesecloth; placed in a muslin spice bag; or large teaball*. Bring the mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and very gently simmer for 30 to 35 minutes.

Mulled Alcohol: Stir 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and the liquid is slightly ‘syrupy” in consistency. Add 3 1/2 cups of wine (red or white), brandy, rum or other alcohol of your choice and 2 Tablespoons of Tilia’s Mulling Spice Blends either tied into cheesecloth; placed in a muslin spice bag; or large teaball*. Reduce heat to low, cover and heat very gently until mixture is very hot but not boiling (about 25 -30 minutes). If you do not want sugar added to your beverage simply omit the first step and increase the alcohol to 4 cups and follow directions from that point on.

* Note - Don’t worry if you don’t have cheesecloth, muslin bag etc. available. The mulling spice can be added directly to the liquid if you don’t have anything to use to hold it on while it infuses. Just strain the spices out of the liquid and discard before serving.

Cooking with Mulling Spices

Tilia’s Mulling Spice Dried Fruit Cake

This is a delicious traditional fruit cake using real dried fruits not the candied “fruit” you usually see in commercial products (are those green glazed cherries even fruit?!). This cake is super moist and rich and best of all it is ready in no time at all. In the recipe below we used ½ cup each of raisins, dried cherries, dried apricots and dates but you can add whichever dried fruit you prefer. Be creative with this cake, try whichever dried fruits you like – cranberries, currants, apples, prunes and so on. You can also toss in a teaspoon or two of grated citrus rind for an added flavour kick. Oh and if you like your cake a bit “boozy” add some alcohol to the apple juice when you mull it and use that as part of the liquid in the cake. We added a little brandy to our apple juice before warming the spices in it. (Well maybe we added a bit more than a little ; )

2 cups coarsely chopped dried fruit

1-1/3 cups mulled apple juice

2-1/4 cups unbleached white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup butter softened at room temperature

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the dried chopped fruit in a deep bowl and pour the mulled apple juice over and stir to coat the fruit with the liquid. Cover and keep overnight (if in a rush you can use the fruit after 2 hours but overnight is definitely better).

Preheat the oven at 325F. Grease and line a 9x5 inch loaf pan or a springform ring pan with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking powder, pinch of salt and set keep aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 2 to 3 minutes) and add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add the flour in 2 parts and fold well to incorporate. Add the soaked fruits with the liquid and fold again. The batter should be a nice “muffin batter” consistency so if you feel it is a bit too thick and dry add extra apple juice or milk a tablespoon at a time until batter is a good consistency.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack/stand. Invert onto the rack after 15-20mins and allow to cool completely. If desired drizzle the cooled cake with a glaze of icing sugar and water.

Mulled Apple Cider Drop Cookies

Gently spicy and deliciously apple is how we would describe these cookies. They’d be perfect for leaving out on Christmas Eve for Santa or for hoarding all of them for yourself. Personally we vote for a cookies, jammies and Netflix day but it’s your call!

3 cups (360 grams) unbleached white flour (Measuring flour by weight is a good way to ensure these cookies turn out perfectly but if you don’t have a scale then measure really carefully and sift the flour before adding to the recipe)

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon table salt

1 cup unsalted butter softened

½ cup granulated white sugar

¾ cup light brown sugar

1 large egg room temperature

¼ cup mulled apple cider*

1 apple peeled, cored and diced into smaller pieces

½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

For the icing: (optional)

2 cups icing sugar

4 tablespoons mulled apple cider

*To make the mulled apple cider place ½ cup apple cider (or unfiltered apple juice) in a saucepan with 1 teaspoons of Tilia’s Mulled Spice Blend and bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for ½ hour and then strain. Discard spices and use the cider as directed in the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or grease lightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a second mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix just until combined then add the mulled cider and beat until just combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until the dough is fully combine. Stir in chopped apple and nuts.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop the cookies into 1 ½-inch balls. Space about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet and then bake for 10 to 12 minutes until edges and centers are set. Don’t over bake as you want these cookies to be soft and chewy and they continue to cook on the pan when you first take them out of the oven. Cool on the pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together the icing ingredients. Spread or drizzle over each cooled cookie. If desired sprinkle tops with sanding sugar or coloured sugar. If you prefer not to use the glaze that is fine as well, they taste great either way! Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies.

Tilia’s Mulled Spiced Sweet Bread

Layers of spices and sweetness combine to create a moist loaf that is wonderful served anytime of the day.

2 ½ cups unbleached flour

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

2/3 cup honey

¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons Tilia’s Mulled Spice Blend, place in a muslin bag or cheesecloth and tied up with string

2/3 cup strong tea (Tilia’s “Herbal Chai” or our “Cozy” teas are great in this recipe!)

½ cup orange juice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Parchment line and lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and set aside. In a very large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Combine the tea and orange juice and add the mulling spices, heat to just boiling and remove from heat. Allow to steep for ½ hour and then strain and discard the spices. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, honey, brown sugar, eggs, spiced tea/orange juice mixture, and vanilla extract. Using a strong wire whisk or an electric mixer on low speed, mix the ingredients until well combined. The batter will be pourable.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan on 2 baking sheets stacked together and bake until the loaf spring back when you touch them gently in the center, about 40 -45 minutes. (the stacked sheet pans will prevent the bottom from browning too quickly). Let the loaf stand for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Run a butter knife along the edges of the pans to help the cakes release, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap the cooled loaf in foil and it can be store at room temperature for several days.

Mulled Orange Chicken Breasts

This elegant dish is bursting with flavour and was so much fun to create. The whole team at Tilia got in on the process and tweaked it until it was “perfect”.

1 ½ cups mulled orange juice plus 2 cups more set aside (see instructions for making this above in the Making Mulled Beverages description)

1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salt & pepper to season

1 ½ teaspoons Tilia’s Gloriously Garlic spice blend

2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Orange segments to garnish

Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a glass or ceramic dish and pour 1 ½ cups of the mulled orange juice over them. Make sure you get the juice under the chicken as well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight. (Don’t cover with aluminum foil as the orange juice reacts with it). If possible flip the chicken several times as it marinates to ensure all sides are well exposed to the juice.

After marinating the chicken overnight, heat the olive oil in a large fry pan and place just the chicken in the pan. Discard marinate. Sauté the chicken on each side for 5 to 6 minutes to cook through (internal temperature should be 170F). Season with salt & pepper if desired. While chicken is cooking use a fork or small whisk to combine the Gloriously Garlic spice blend, brown sugar and soy sauce together. Add this to the 2 cups reserved mulled orange juice and whisk in. When the chicken is ready remove from the pan and keep warm. Add the mulled orange juice mixture to the fry pan and deglaze the pan scraping any bits off the bottom. Allow the mixture to simmer on low-medium heat until it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and drizzle sauce on chicken and serve. Garnish with orange segments if desired.

Quick Tip for a Mulled Glaze for Ham

A quick and easy glaze for ham is to combine 1 cup mulled orange juice or apple cider with 2 Tablespoons brown sugar. Heat this until reduced to a thin syrup and then use as a flavourful glaze on ham, pork chops or chicken. Simple but delicious!

Hearty “Mulled” Soup

This is an amazing soup with a twist. Many of you are fans of our Mulling Spice Blend and use it to make yummy warm beverages but did you know you can use it to add to soups and stews for an exciting flavour addition? Give it a try; we think you’ll be hooked!

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 large garlic cloves)

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoons turmeric powder

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)

1 Tablespoon Tilia’s Mulled Spice Blend, place in a muslin bag or cheesecloth and tied up with string

1¼ cups dry red lentils, rinsed and picked over

1 - 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained (or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas)

1 - 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes and their juice, pureed with an immersion blender or squeezed by hand until they're broken down. (Try the roasted variety for a richer flavour)

7-8 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

2 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves

¼ cup chopped fresh flat parsley leaves

Coarse salt

In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic over medium-low heat until they soften, 5-7 minutes. (Don't let them brown) Add the paprika, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne pepper (if using). Cook, stirring for 5 minutes to toast the spices. Add the bag of mulling spices, tomatoes and chicken broth (start with 7 cups and add more later, if you want a thinner soup). Bring to a simmer. Add the lentils, chickpeas, spinach and parsley. Simmer, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, until the lentils break down and the soup becomes thick and creamy, adding more broth if you want a thinner soup. Add salt to taste.

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