aromatics: Ginger, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Star Anise, Cardamom, Cloves, Nutmeg, Chiles
Heat milk with the spices and aromatics in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring once or twice, just until steaming. Cover pan, and let spices steep in milk for 1 hour. Strain, and reheat if necessary. Or refrigerate, covered, up to 3 days; reheat gently before using.
Ideas for using Spiced-Infused Milk:
Oatmeal: Infuse 2 cups whole milk with 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1 cinnamon stick, or the pod and seeds of half a vanilla bean. Add to oatmeal.
Swedish coffee: Steep 18 lightly crushed green cardamom pods in 2 cups whole milk. Add to coffee.
Hot chocolate: For spicy Mexican-inspired cocoa, infuse 2 cups whole milk with 1 or 2 dried chiles along with 1 cinnamon stick and the pod and seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean. Mix with cocoa.
Chai tea: Steep thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger (from a 1-inch piece), 6 whole cloves, 3 star anise, 18 lightly crushed green cardamom pods, and 2 cinnamon sticks in 2 cups whole milk. Mix with black tea.