In the kitchen: Earl Grey Tea Cookies

Last night, for the very first time in my life, I learned how to use a food processor properly, and all because of a cookie dough recipe.

You say. How can you love food and cooking, as you claim to do, without knowing something how to use something so integral to food preparation as a Cuisinart?

Well, ’cause a resourceful lil’ moppet such as meself never had to use one.

Our blender, which is almost as old as I am, has two speeds and either is good for reducing just about any food stuff to pieces or mush. In fact, those are the two speeds: “Pieces” and “Mush.” And we have a mixer, which is nearing the end of the line, but can still function well enough to batter things into submission. Plus we have potato mashers, whisks, forks and other utensils and…

Okay, I admit it. The darn thing scared me. Happy?

I could never figure out how to place the blade, much less which one to use, and it took me awhile longer than it probably should have to figure out how to turn it on, etc. My mother was the only one who could figure it out, and her response was always, “Figure it out yourself!” to which I would reply, “I did. That’s why there’s bits of potato in my hair.” Finally she broke down and showed me which end was up. I think my choice of recipe may have had something to do with it.

Everyone in my family loves Christmas cookies and it’s getting to be “cookie season”- I know this because I got invited to a cookie swap the other day. “Cookie season” being defined as any time of year you can brew yourself a nice, hot cup of tea and reach for a cookie, curl up with a book and relax. Cookie season starts in November, hits a high note at Christmas, carries one through January and February, and ends in mid-March. It’s what gets one through the bleak D.C. winters when the skin on your face hurts, your hair freezes 5 feet outside your door, and the sky looks like an old, washed-out, cotton undershirt.

You feel it now, right? That cold, hollow feeling? Well, it’s easily fixed. Say it with me: Pass the cookies.

Ah, much better.

I love tea, so it stands to reason that one of my first forays into cookies would be tea cookies, or rather cookies with tea in them. Of course Martha has a good recipe, because, you know she has a recipe for everything. I used the recipe for Earl Grey tea cookies posted on the Food Network site. It’s a simple, buttery shortbread, studded with bits of dried tea leaf. Although the recipe says that any tea will work well here, I think Earl Grey is best because it’s so mellow in flavor- in fact you really don’t taste the tea right away, it’s more of a subtle aftertaste.

The recipe says to pulse and so pulse I did. After a quick lesson from La Mama, who agreed that it was for a good cause.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies
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.

(from Food Network)

When the first batch was done I realized that 2 dozen wasn’t much, so I made another. Very simple recipe and easily done- it is destined to become a favorite. I might try it with Assam and roll the logs in raw sugar before baking.

To be totally honest, I have no earthly clue what pulsing in a food processor did to the dough, other than combining the ingredients quickly and with minimal effort. No overbeating possible here! I’m a little late in the game saying thing, since Cuisinarts have been on the market since just before I was born, but better late then never, right? Mixers and blenders are all very well and good, but these cookies came out so well- did I mention they were buttery, crispy and quite delicious with a hint of delicate tea flavor? I didn’t? Shame on me!– I think I might be a Cuisinart convert.

Like, say, everyone else with a pulse?


3 responses to “In the kitchen: Earl Grey Tea Cookies

  1. >Mmm… Earl Grey…*drool*

  2. >Hey, awesome, Liz! I used to live in Silver Spring and I know exactly what you mean about cookie season. It’s even more essential in Ohio. About the food processor, I’ve been realizing that one of its chief benefits, other than convenience, is it cuts in cold butter without warming it – unlike working it in with your fingers, which works the butter but also melts it quickly. So for shortbread and pie crust recipes, where you really want the butter to stay as cold as possible and not melt into the flour, a food processor’s power is great. Cuts down on the time you have to chill the dough, too.

  3. >Those cookies sound wonderful. Will definitely try, them. Thanks!

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