Tea is the biggest topic I’ve yet to tackle on Spooning and Forking. Learning about tea is akin to learning about bread, or milk, such is its vast and enormous scope and influence and range. You sit down to a nice cuppa in the afternoon, maybe you have a cookie with it, and you have no idea that inside that one china cup is contained the history of modern man. Who would have thought the delicate drink was so important!
Really, the only way I could calm myself was to put the kettle on and call up Jonathan Kane, owner of The Naked Leaf tea shop in Kensington. Jonathon is everything you want out of a tea yogi – he’s friendly, approachable and has the best laugh I’ve ever heard. If he were to write “LOL” in a text, you would know he meant it. He also helped break down the world of tea into small sips so I could stop being so overwhelmed and just enjoy it.
If you missed this week’s episode, download the podcast to learn many wonderful things about this wonderful drink.
As with most people this month, I’ve been bed ridden with colds that catch other colds, so I decided that maybe I should exchange coffee for tea. Mostly because my energy levels better facilitated dropping tea leaves into a mug than measuring and grinding and pressing coffee beans. Although I will never fully give up coffee, it was really nice sitting in bed sipping on tea. Whether because of its unique release of caffeine (something Jonathon talks about during the episode) or just the delicate flavours, tea is definitely something to make you slow down and enjoy. I don’t know if it healed my sickness, but it certainly helped me to endure it.
For this week’s recipe, I wanted to try baking with tea leaves! The bergamot in Earl Grey is the defining flavour in the classic tea and I thought it would taste amazing in cookies. Martha Stewart seemed to agree.
Earl Grey Tea Cookies – adapted from Martha Stewart
(This recipe makes about 8 dozen, so I would recommend halving it unless you want Earl Grey Tea Cookies to see you through the winter, which you may)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves (from about 4 bags)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
- Whisk flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
- Put butter, sugar, and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined.
- Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow the log and force out air. Transfer in parchment to paper towel tubes; freeze until firm, 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.
- Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.