One of my favorite chefs from my days studying at Le Cordon Bleu, London, was Chef Hervé Laurent. He was French, quite talented, über tall and skinny, a bit quirky, and had a fabulous French accent. During one of his demonstrations, an American student trouble-maker kept asking ridiculous questions trying to ruffle Chef Hervé. Instead of getting annoyed, Chef Hervé smiled a crooked smile and popped out the most wonderful response:
‘coohking issss fwheedom’
The kid shut up. In other words, there are not always hard and fast rules when it comes to cooking. Sometimes it’s perfectly alright to think outside the box.
Today’s recipe leaps out of the box… or the bag. In this case, the tea bag. Tea is being used in creative ways today — as a rub on meats, in vinaigrettes, and today we are using it in a sugar cookie.
My friends at The Tea Spot provided me with a sample of their Earl of Grey loose leaf tea. When I opened the foil package, a beautiful scent of black tea, citrus, bergomot, and lavender filled the air. It was fall when I made the recipe, so I used my leaf-shaped cookie cutters. With Christmas approaching, you could use your holiday shapes. This cookie would make a glamorous upgrade to the upcoming cookie exchanges.
If you have ever thought of hosting afternoon tea, consider other flavorful teas for your tea cookies: orange spice, cranberry, matcha, etc.
A Tea Spot Recipe, slightly modified by TPP
2 tsp ground EARL OF GREY leaves (woody bits removed)
2 cups flour
½ cup (4 ounces) butter, melted
½ cup cane sugar
1 Tbs Sugar in the Raw (turbinado sugar crystals) for decoration
a few loose EARL OF GREY tea leaves
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a cookie sheet.
- Beat the melted butter with the sugar.
- Add 1 egg, then flour and powdered tea, until you get a homogeneous dough.
- Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.
- Beat second egg with one tablespoon water in a small bowl.
- Roll out the dough to about ¼” thickness, on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut out cookies into desired shapes, and place on cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg mixture.
- Decorate with loose sugar crystals and tea leaves.
- Bake about 10 minutes or until just golden.
- Cool on rack and let come to room temperature before serving.
When rolling out a short cookie dough like this one, it might help to roll from the edges towards the center. This helps hold the dough together. Rolling from the center out causes the dough to crack and separate at the edges.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Not all sugar comes from the sugar cane. Some sugar comes from sugar beets. If you want ‘cane’ sugar, look for bags that specifically say ‘cane’.
- Blackstrap molasses is a byproduct of the process of refining raw sugar cane into table sugar. The juices from raw sugar cane are boiled three times and produce sugar crystals for table sugar and the remaining brown liquid is the blackstrap molasses. Believe it or not, blackstrap molasses is actually good for you as it contains important vitamins and minerals such as manganese, copper, iron and calcium.
- Brown sugar is brown because it is refined white sugar infused with molasses.