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?
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
Earl Grey tea leaves (see Recipe Note)
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.
Originally published October 10, 2006.
Related: Recipe: Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
(Image: Faith Durand)