Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Real Sweetie (Paula Deen's Sweet Tea)

As promised, for you Southerners transplanted to non-sweet-tea-selling-states, here is a sweet tea recipe to make you feel like you're at home. I grew up drinking sun tea at my best friend, Niki's, house. I originally planned on learning how to make sun tea, but then when I was Googling it to find a recipe I found a lot of gross facts about how it grows bacteria and isn't the safest thing to drink. So I scratched that idea, and decided to do regular sweet tea instead, which was the itch sun tea was meant to scratch anyway. I never knew how much I loved sweet tea until I moved places (New York and California) where it isn't offered anywhere other than McDonald's and out of an aluminum Arizona Tea can. Sweet tea is much better fresh and I have given up asking at restaurants if their tea is sweetened. The waiters don't seem to get that "it comes with sugar on the side" does not cut it. You can't dissolve enough sugar in ice cold tea, people - that's why you need a recipe for this stuff!

I was going to do a picture of all the ingredients, but then I felt silly. All you need is water, 7 tea bags, and 1 cup sugar. Start off by measuring 4 cups of water. I feel pretty smug that I have a handy 4 cup measuring cup, making things even easier on me. Bring this water to boil in a tea kettle.

Once the water has boiled, remove it from heat and add 7 bags of black tea. I've used earl grey a few times recently, which gives it a fun hint of bergamot in your finished product. This time it was plain black tea John bought in bulk to encourage me to make him more sweet tea. Now set your timer for 1 hour and go off and do something productive. I chose to watch Bravo.

Before the tea is done, add 1 cup of sugar to a large pitcher. Sorry again for the sideways picture. I'm not sure why random pictures are loading like this now.

After your hour is up, pour your 4 cups of dark tea into the large pitcher, which already conveniently has the 1 cup of sugar you need.

The hot tea will start dissolving the sugar right away, but before you mix it there will be a thick layer of sugar that is undissolved.

Now get to work dissolving the stuff, so mix your hot tea around to get all of the sugar dissolved. The key to making sweet tea is to add the sugar when the tea is warm/hot so that you can get a lot more sugar dissolved than if the tea were cold. That's your science lesson for the day.

See, I told you it would all dissolve! I keep using the word dissolve. Sorry about that. Dissolve.

Now, after all your sugar is dissolved, pour in 4 cups of cool water and stir to combine.

Your tea is pretty warm at this point, so serve over plenty of ice or cover it and store it in the fridge until you are ready to drink it. This recipe makes a lot, so we never go through it all in one sitting (only half).

Now it's time to settle down in your favorite chair and savor this glass of fresh sweet tea. I know I should have discovered this earlier in the summer, but I'm just hoping the weather in California holds out for a bit so I can enjoy this a bit longer.

Sweet Tea
Recipe by Paula Deen

4 cups water, boiled
7 tea bags, black tea
1 cup sugar
4 cups cool water

Boil 4 cups water in a tea kettle. Remove from heat and add 7 tea bags of black tea. Let the tea seep, covered for 1 hour. Pour 1 cup of sugar into a large pitcher and when the tea has seeped for 1 hour, pour the tea over the sugar. Mix the sugar and tea together to dissolve and add 4 cups cool water. Stir to combine and serve over ice for a refreshing treat!


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