I haven’t baked cookies in absolutely ages, but I’m back to baking cookies now. Our daughter is down for her summer break from college and she loves cookies. It’s a different thing that she isn’t very adventurous in her cookie choices and will always settle on firm favourites like Oatmeal Cookies, Cornflakes Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Decorated Cookies and the like. She has also now has a new found love for lime/ lemon in bakes so a lime/ lemon flavoured cookie is also acceptable but that’s about it for her.
I however, though I’m not much of a cookie person, have got rather bored of baking the same old cookie stuff and am ever champing at the bit to break free and try out new or different flavours in cookies.
A little while back, I came across an introductory “offer” for Earl Grey tea by a very well-known Indian brand of tea producers at one of the local supermarkets. This very affordable deal made the Earl Grey tea irresistible even though it came in tea bags. I never buy tea bags because frankly, anyone in the know will tell you that teabags are almost always filled with slightly inferior quality tea, unless you’re buying some overpriced boutique tea. For me, the ultimate tea experience always comes from brewing leaf tea, but that’s a personal preference.
The very popular British favourite Earl Grey is not a variety of tea but actually a flavoured tea. It is created by flavouring black tea with the oil from the rind of bergamot orange which is a citrus fruit.
According to the Grey family, the tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey who was the British Prime Minister in the 1830s.Apparently the water at Howick Hall, the family seat in Northumberlan, had a high amount of lime and the bergamot in the tea was used to offset it. Lady Grey used it to entertain her guests in London and it proved very popular.
I’m not an Earl Grey fan though I can drink it if I have to. I’m also the only tea drinker in a house of confirmed coffee aficionados. So that meant that I set about exploring all manners of ways to use up the Earl Grey tea. One experiment that turned out very well was this Orange Marmalade I made recently
I liked the idea of making cookies with them (I’ve made cake too but that’s for another post), but most of the recipes I came across were really shortbread or icebox cookies flavoured with Earl Grey tea and that wasn’t what I wanted. So I just put together a basic cookie recipe flavoured with Earl Grey tea and orange zest.
Earl Grey tea pairs pretty well with citrusy notes (orange or lemon/ lime) and also with strawberry and chocolate. So then dipping and coating one half of these cookies in dark chocolate after they’re baked will make them a little more sophisticated and take them to the next level. I left mine plain and they’re perfect with an evening cuppa.
Earl Grey Tea & Orange Cookies
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 to 3 teabags of Earl Grey Tea (about 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp or so)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 100 gm butter , soft at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tsps orange zest (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Lightly whisk together the flour, tea and salt in a small bowl and keep aside. In a large bowl, beat together the soft butter, sugar and the orange zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat it in.
- Add the flour mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon or your fingers but do not over mix or knead the dough. Pat the dough into a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about half an hour.
- When the dough is firm enough to handle comfortable, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/4" thick. Using a 2 1/4" cookie cutter cut out cookies and place them an inch apart on a lined baking sheet. Collect the craps and clump them together and roll out and cut more cookies from it. Do not knead but make sure the dough is a smooth ball otherwise you will have cracked cookies!
- Refrigerate them for about 15 minutes and then bake at 180C (350F) for about 15 minutes or until the edges and bottoms of the cookies are golden. Do not over bake them. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack before serving. Store them in a airtight jar.
And now to announce the winner of my previous cookbook giveaway. Sometime last month I had announced the giveaway of a copy 500 Breads by Carol Beckerman from Sellers Publishing.
As promised, I randomly picked one person who left a comment on that post and the winner of the book is Jeyasri. Congratulations Jeyasri! Please get in touch with me with your mailing address so I may send you the book.