Wayne’s Weekend: Flavored Iced Tea Buffet

Make a variety of flavored simple syrups to sweeten iced tea

There are still some warm days ahead this summer and a nice way to enjoy an outdoor evening is with family, friends and a tall glass of iced tea.  Freshly brewed iced tea is enjoyable unsweetened for many folks, but a lot of us prefer some extra flavor in our tea as well.  Rather than just a little sugar, a creative way to give guests a choice of sweeteners is by creating a buffet of simple syrups and garnishes.  From sweetened lemon to an aromatic lavender, these homemade syrups offer a palate pleasing smorgasbord.  And, by adding garnishes like lemon slices, peach wedges, skewers of blackberries, umbrella straws and more, guests can uniquely customize every glass.  So, brew a big jug of tea, put out the syrups and garnishes and enjoy the summer nights still to come.  Just for grins, I've also added a recipe for rosemary macadamia nut crackers.  The salty taste is perfect with a glass of sweet tea.

Big Jug Of Brewed Iced Tea
for about 1 1/2 gallons of iced tea

ingredients

3/4 cu Black Tea, like a ceylon
6 cu Water
Ice

Method

Fill a large container with ice.  Place tea in a strainer pot.  Bring water to a boil.  Pour water over tea and cover to steep for 2 minutes.  Strain liquid and pour over ice.  Add cold water to top off container if necessary.

Basic Lemon Simple Syrup

Ingredients

2 cu Water
2 cu Granulated Sugar
zest of 1 Lemon
juice of 1 Lemon

Pour water and sugar in a large pot over hight heat.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Add lemon zest and juice.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat, cover pot and let it sit for 20 minutes. Strain syrup into a sealable container.  Allow to cool and then refrigerate until ready to used.

Lavender Simple Syrup

ingredients

2 1/4 cu Water
2 cu Granulated Sugar
3 tbl Dried Lavender Buds

Method

Pour water and sugar in a medium pot over hight heat.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Add lavender and bring to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat, cover pot and let it sit for 20 minutes. Strain syrup into a sealable container.  Allow to cool and then refrigerate until ready to used.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

Ingredients

2 1/4 cu Water
2 cu Granulated Sugar
4 oz Fresh Rosemary, roughly chopped

Method

Pour water and sugar in a medium pot over hight heat.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Add rosemary and bring to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat, cover pot and let it sit for 20 minutes. Strain syrup into a sealable container.  Allow to cool and then refrigerate until ready to used.

Peach Mango Simple Syrup

ingredients

1 lb Peaches, about 2 medium
1 lb Mangos, about 1 large
2 1/2 cu Water
2 cu Granulated Sugar

Pour water and sugar in a large pot over hight heat.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Roughly chop fruit with the skin on and add to the pot.  Bring mixture to a bring.  Reduce heat, add a cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let mixture site, covered, for an additional 20 minutes.  Strain syrup into a sealable container.  Allow to cool and then refrigerate until ready to used.

Triple Berry Simple Syrup

ingredients

1/2 pint Raspberries
1/2 pint Blueberries
1/2 pint Blackberries
juice of half a Lemon
1 3/4 cu Water
1 3/4 cu Sugar

Pour water and sugar in a medium pot over hight heat.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Put berries in a large sealable plastic bag.  Seal the bag and smash the berries.  Pour smashed berries into the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, add a cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let mixture site, covered, for an additional 20 minutes.  Strain syrup into a sealable container.  Allow to cool and then refrigerate until ready to used.

Macadamia Rosemary Crisps
makes about 36

Ingredients

1/4 cu Ground Macadamia Nuts
3/4 cu All Purpose Flour
2 tsp dried Rosemary
8 oz Butter
1 cu Grated Parmiggiano Reggiano
1 cu Grated Dubliner Irish Cheese
1/4 tsp Fine Ground Salt, regular table salt
Additional Coarse Kosher Salt

Method

Place macadamia nuts, flour and rosemary into a food processor.  Pulse until ingredients are fully blended.  Add butter, cheeses and the 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Process ingredients until mixture comes together and forms a dough.  Remove from the food processor and shape into a log about 8" long.  Wrap log in plastic wrap and place on a flat surface in the refrigerator for 2 hours. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Unwrap dough and, using a sharp knife, slice 1/4" disks and place them on a lined baking sheet (using parchment paper or a baking pad).  Constantly rotate dough so that you aren't flattening out the circular shape.  Lightly sprinkle disks with coarse salt, just a few crystals on each.  Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool crisps on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Serve at room temperature.

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
 

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