Friday, June 11, 2010

Bust Your Stress With Tea!!

By Kaitlin Koppenal

Now that summer has arrived, having a hot cup of tea when it is 80 degrees can seem to be a little too much, making the weather feel warmer. However, when the day is settling and the night is approaching, a cup of hot tea is a great end to my long and busy day.

For me, my tea is a stress buster and relaxer. It helps me to settle and fall asleep much quicker than anything else I’ve tried. Chamomile tea is my choice of tea before bed. Originating from Egypt, I prefer the English Tea Store’s tea bag version of this tea. I find that adding a little bit of honey or mint to this tea, makes the fragrant tea taste even better.

Being a new tea consumer, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with things in my own garden. Living on a third floor apartment with a small balcony, it does not give me a lot of room to grow a lot of things. I choose to grow peppermint, in a nice self-containing container, because it has great aroma and baking or cooking properties. I especially love to add the peppermint to my chamomile tea. Not only does the chamomile aid my ability to fall asleep quicker, but the peppermint is nice and refreshing and also helps digestion and upset stomachs.

With a degree in Pastry Arts, I try to create new recipes that will enhance my enjoyment of drinking my tea. Biscotti’s are a great tea dunking cookie because by itself it is very dry. With the addition of the tea, it brings the cookie to life and soaks up the delicious tea. One of my recipes is a Peppermint Biscotti. When eaten while dunked in the Chamomile tea, you can consume the relaxing tea and the refreshing peppermint all at the same time.

Below is my personal recipe for Peppermint Biscotti’s.

Tip: For a stronger mint flavor, you can also add peppermint extract.

Fresh Peppermint Biscotti’s


  • 1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped fresh peppermint
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract. Combine flour, baking powder, peppermint and salt; add to creamed mixture. Stir in almonds. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease the foil. Divide dough in half. On the foil, form dough into two 11-in. x 3-in. rectangles. Bake at 300 degrees F for 35 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven; increase temperature to 325 degrees F. Using the foil, lift the rectangles onto wire racks; cool completely. Place on a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 3/4-in. slices. Place with cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn over; bake 10 minutes longer. Cool completely on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.