Earl Grey Tea Cookies
from Martha Stewart’s Cookies (modified by myself)
- 2 cups flour (I used one each: all purpose flour and whole wheat)
- 2 tbsps finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves (from about 4 bags if loose is unavailable)
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tbsp orange zest, finely grated (omit if using the butter infusion method)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and pulp scraped out (optional, but I liked it - also, save the pod and bury it in a cup of sugar, we should all have vanilla sugar on hand)
In a small bowl, mix the tea with the softened butter and blend thoroughly. Cover and allow to rest for at least a day before making the dough. The bergamot oil in the tea (which is where Earl Grey gets its flavor) is fat soluble and will intensify the flavor of the finished cookies. There is no liquid component in the dough for a proper tea infusion, and anyway, this works better for this purpose.I'm going to try these using jasmine tea and see how that goes. I'm also interested in making a version using saffron and poppy seeds, and maybe one with lavender honey.
Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter, confectioners’ sugar, and orange zest (if using) on medium speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined. Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper and shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Freeze until firm (30 minutes to 1 hour).
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut logs into 1/4 inch thick slices with a very sharp serrated knife. If the cookies begin to break apart, allow the dough to rest a couple of minutes to soften. 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.