Saturday, March 13, 2010

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

This is a strange recipe. I'm just going to say that from the start. I would never have thought to cut open a tea bag and mix the contents into cookies. However, my husband loves Earl Grey tea so I've had this one bookmarked for a while. I made them for him for Christmas.

If you're a dough eater (come on, who isn't?), you'll be disappointed with this one. The Earl Grey is bitter bitter bitter and raw tasting in the dough, but the heat of the oven cooks the leaves and makes these cookies surprisingly delicate and fragrant. You could easily try other varieties of tea: Darjeeling, English breakfast, Lady Grey, etc.—but even though I wouldn't choose Earl Grey for drinking, it's great in these butter cookies.

To grind the tea leaves, cut open the tea bags and either empty the contents into a small mini-prep food processor or use a mortar and pestle if you have one. I created my own: I dumped the tea leaves into a small bowl and used the flat head of a meat mallet to grind the leaves down by hand.

These would be perfect for a springtime tea party!

Earl Grey Tea Cookies
makes 8 dozen bite-sized cookies
2 c. flour
2 T. finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves (2–4 tea bags)
1/2 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 T. finely grated orange zest (I wasn't crazy about this flavor, FYI)

Whisk together flour, ground tea leaves, and salt in a bowl.

Place butter, confectioners' sugar, and orange zest, if using, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Place each half in parchment paper, shape into logs, and roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Transfer parchment logs to the freezer; freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch slices with a sharp knife. Space 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat.

Bake cookies until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire rack.

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