Recipe: Earl Grey Tea Cookies

The weather changed ever so slightly this week; there's a briskness and nip to the air that even in the sunshine leads our thoughts to tea. A hot cup of tea is an essential cold-weather ritual for many of us, and what is tea without a cookie?
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Of course, many of us drink tea year-round, not just in cold weather, but we've been indulging in the afternoon ritual of proper tea and small cookie a little more frequently this week.

Here's an easy recipe for a little cookie good with tea or milk, whipped up quickly in the bowl of your food processor. These cookies are rather literal and Amelia Bedelia-esque in that they really contain tea leaves, which are ground fine with the flour and give them a rich yet delicate flavor. With the buttery crunch of a sophisticated shortbread, these are dangerously addictive.

Fortunately, this is an icebox cookie. This means that the dough can be frozen for months and just a couple cookies sliced off and baked at a time - perfect for sweet-toothed singles and unexpected guests.

Try making them with other kinds of tea, too - orange spice, masala chai and green tea have all worked well, although Earl Grey seems to suit them best.

This batch size just fits into my 4-cup KitchenAid food processor.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

makes 2 dozen

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pulse together all the dry ingredients in a food processor until the tea leaves are pulverized.

Add vanilla, water, and butter. Pulse together until a dough is formed. Form the dough into a log onto a piece of wax or parchment paper. Wrap the paper around and roll the log smooth. Freeze now, or chill for at least 30 minutes.

When chilled, slice the log into 1/3 inch thick pieces. Place on baking sheets and bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

*One would think that expensive loose leaf tea would be best in this recipe. But I've actually gotten the best flavor with tea from cheap bags that I've ripped open. I think the leaves are more fine and flaky.

Related: Recipe: Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

(Image: Faith Durand)

(Originally published October 10, 2006)

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