July 2013

Chai Spiced Shortbread Cookies

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  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Leaves from 1 English Breakfast tea bag
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer until smooth. In another bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, fennel, cardamom, and tea. Add to butter mixture and beat on low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set 1-tbsp. balls of dough 1 in. apart on sheets and flatten slightly with a floured glass.
  3. 3. Bake until cookies are light golden on undersides, 15 to 18 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through baking. Transfer to racks to cool.
  4. *Grind in a clean coffee grinder or in a mortar.
  5. Make ahead: Up to 3 days, stored airtight.
  6. Note: Nutritional analysis is per cookie.

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Chai – Cherry Walnuts

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil $
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, whisk together spices, salt, and pepper. Add brown sugar, oil, and walnuts. Gently toss and rub nuts in mixture until evenly coated.
  2. Spread walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, turning nuts halfway through baking, until light golden, 10 to 15 minutes total. Let nuts cool completely.
  3. Toss walnuts with dried cherries.
  4. Make ahead: Up to 1 week.  Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1/4-cup serving.

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According to the SCAA – Specialty Coffee Association of America, in producing that perfect cup of joe you enjoy to start your morning off – 53 GALLONS go into it.  From the production of coffee beans to the brewing to the production of milk from cows to the paper cup, coffee uses lots of water.

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Creating paper cups uses a great amount of water.  From watering the trees that produce the paper pulp to washing it to using water to mold the pulp into the shape, using non-reusable paper cups are costly to the environment.  Next time you are in the cafe, bring your reusable cup.  Not only will you be helping the planet out, but you can also receive a discount on your delicious drink for doing your part.  We at Virtuoso really stand by our mission statement of creating a business model that takes into consideration the fragility of our natural surroundings.  We would love it if you helped us out with this too!

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