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Healthy Recipes: Walnut Chai Tea Loaf

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Baking With Tea Is a Treat

By Dana Jacobi 
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

While reading my first Agatha Christie mystery, the craving to join Miss Marple in a comforting, bracing "cuppa" overwhelmed me. I have been an avid tea-drinker ever since and particularly like to indulge at mid-morning – "elevenses" – and in late afternoon.

Enjoying a sweet is frequently part of this ritual. Usually it is a biscuit (cookie to non-Anglophiles) or slice of teacake. Tea loaves, in fact, got their name because they are a perfect choice. Including tea as an ingredient in these recipes adds a nice flavor. Ever since, I have tried to make true tea loaves enhanced with the tea flavor, and perhaps the health benefits, of this benevolent brew.

For the holidays, when the aromas of cinnamon, clove and other warm spices reflect the season's festive mood, this moist loaf is a favorite. It perfumes the house beautifully with orange zest and a generous measure of chai, the Indian blend of tea and spice. Wrapped in foil, it also keeps nicely in the refrigerator, ready to share when guests drop by.

This gingerbread-brown loaf contains whole-grain flour, applesauce, egg whites and walnuts. The combination minimizes a sugar rush, a good thing when the holidays are so full of sweet tempting confections. Its sweetening is even light enough to also let you enjoy an accompanying cup of chai, including its traditional drizzle of honey or agave.

Walnut Chai Tea Loaf

Walnut Chai Tea Loaf

  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 3 chai teabags
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 large egg whites (can substitute 2 large eggs)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 8-inch x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In heatproof measuring cup, steep teabags in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove bags, squeezing well. Cool tea to room temperature.

In small bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine applesauce, oil and tea. Set both bowls aside.

In mixing bowl, beat egg whites (or eggs) with electric mixer or whisk, 1 minute. Add white and brown sugars, beat together, then add wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients and zest and mix just until they are combined with other ingredients; there will be many small lumps. Use rubber spatula to blend in most small lumps, taking care not to over mix. Stir in nuts. Scoop batter into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until straw inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn loaf out of pan and cool completely.

This tea loaf is best when wrapped in foil for 8-24 hours, which allows flavors to ripen and loaf to become more moist.

Makes 12 servings

Per serving: 210 calories, 10 g fat (1 g sat fat), 27 g carbohydrates, 
4 g protein, 2 g fiber, 156 mg sodium

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $95 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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