Although I am a confirmed coffee addict, there is still plenty of room left in my life for tea. I’m not really into plain black tea, and coffee is all I crave during the day, but in the evenings I do enjoy a mug of herbal or green tea.
My one gripe about herbal teas is that they come in endless exciting-sounding flavour combinations, but the tea leaves generally smell better than the final tea tastes. For instance, I recently purchased a chocolate peppermint rooibos tea that smells absolutely divine. However, once brewed, you essentially lose the chocolate altogether and the tea just tastes like mint. It’s not bad, but it certainly wasn’t the minty/chocolatey taste I was hoping for.
So I recently started using tea leaves not only for beverages, but as ingredients in any number of recipes, especially baked goods. Happily, in most cases, all of the flavours in the tea leaf blend get a chance to shine in the final product. I baked the aforementioned chocolate mint tea into some coconut and oatmeal squares, and both the chocolate and mint flavours came through beautifully. Likewise, the tea flavour really comes out in these delectable little cookies.
These cookies are flavoured with Earl Grey tea and vanilla and take their name from a popular tea latte. In my hometown, a London Fog is made with Earl Grey tea, a shot of vanilla syrup, and some frothy steamed milk. In the cookies, you lose none of the subtle floral Earl Grey flavour, which pairs perfectly with the double shot of vanilla coming from vanilla extract and fresh vanilla beans.
The end product bakes up with a texture similar to shortbread, but slightly lighter and crisper. The flecks of vanilla bean seeds and tea leaves throughout lend a unique flavour, and the decorating sugar around the edges provides a nice sweet crunch. The amount of tea I’ve specified in the recipe below results in a subtle but noticeable Earl Grey flavour. Feel free to add more or less tea to suit your taste.
For tea drinkers and non-tea drinkers alike, these cookies are a perfect treat. Am I right, coworkers in my office who demolished a batch of these in record time the other morning? 😉
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup confectioner's (icing) sugar
- ½ vanilla bean pod, split and seeds removed
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon Earl Grey tea leaves (I just cut open one teabag and measured from there)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons decorating sugar (for rolling, optional)
- In a small bowl or dish, combine the granulated sugar, icing sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Using your hands, rub the seeds into the sugar to evenly distribute them throughout.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the vanilla sugar mixture. Add egg and vanilla and mix until blended well.
- Add the flour, tea leaves, baking powder and salt and mix to combine into a soft dough.
- On a clean work surface, roll the dough into a log. Roll log in decorating sugar (if using). Wrap log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours until ready to bake.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet. Slice chilled dough into ¼-inch thick slices. Bake until the edges are light brown and the middles set, about 6-8 minutes. Be aware that the bottoms will brown long before the sides or tops do, so don't over bake!
- Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Will keep covered at room temperature for 1-2 days.