Earl Grey tea cookies and a sojourn to the land of tea

(Earl Grey tea cookies with lemon buttercream)

“Like the pastries themselves, each day is different from the last. As I look around at all of the handsome shapes of crescents, twists, and coils and the delightful assortment of cookies, scones, tarts, savories, and confections, I am excited and amazed. But it’s that final glance, that close-up view, that reveals their truth. Simple, humble, and beautiful, this is the stuff I love.” — Nancy Silverton.

I’m not sure if this is true or not, but someone once told me there are many Inuit words to describe snow. Likewise, us bakers have many words to describe baking.

It is a tool for procrastination, a gesture of love, a moment of greed or joy, and for some lucky people, a means to make a living. It’s an act whose meaning changes with every day that I bake. Yesterday we had chocolate sables because I didn’t really want to do my long overdue taxes. Today, I made these Earl Grey tea cookies because I enjoy the quietly therapeutic process of mixing and rolling soft, buttery dough. (Update : taxes still not done) Also, there was the matter of some frosting to use up before we went away.

Next week I’m heading to Shanghai for a few days and it’s my first ever trip to China so if anyone has any great tips or suggestions, please let me know!

A few people requested this recipe when I posted a picture of it a few months ago. Apologies for the delay, but here it finally is. The version here is tea inspired, but you can make it whatever flavour you wish : vanilla, chocolate, marbled.. it’s pretty versatile and very delicious. The cookies are an adaptation of a classic shortbread treat called Melting Moments and this particular recipe (original author unknown) comes from an old work notebook of mine. Sandwiched between ‘Madelines, citrus’ and ‘Messine sauce, for marron’, it reads as follows..

Earl Grey Cookies :
(makes 30 sandwiched cookies or thereabouts)

180g butter, at room temperature
60g icing sugar
180g flour
5g earl grey tea powder
60g cornflour
pinch of salt

In a food processor (or Thermomix), cream the butter and icing sugar. Add the flour, tea, cornflour and salt. Pulse/process until the dough comes together, stopping occasionally to scrape the mixture down. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 15 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven to 175’C. Line two or three baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Roll heaped teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and arrange them on the baking sheets, leaving about 1.5 inches of space between each ball to allow for spreading. Indent the tops with a fork. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool completely before sandwiching them with frosting (I used lemon buttercream here).

Comments (18)

Tags: , , ,

Hot Cross Buns : the 2010 Edition


(Hot Cross Bun with homemade marmalade)

Is it just me, or does holiday baking seem to revolve around a lot of dried fruit? Currants and mixed peel for Christmas tarts, dried cranberry stuffing for Thanksgiving turkeys and for Easter, raisin-studded hot cross buns… Mind you, it’s not like I’m complaining. Some of my best friends are raisins.

Every year I make it a point to bake my own hot cross buns. Most years, I experiment with new recipes and last year, I made these which I actually still remember quite fondly. This year, I’ve only managed to find time to try one recipe.

But what a recipe it is. Dan Lepard’s recipe for spiced stout buns have a fantastic crumb and great depth of flavour from the use of stout (James Squire Porter, in my case) and black tea for soaking the fruit in, as well as a generous quantity of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. They were so tasty, B and I inhaled two each, straight from the oven.

I don’t mean two tiny bite-sized treats either. These are door-stopper sized buns, sticky with sugar glaze and heavy with juicy raisins. Eat two and you may want to consider skipping dinner. But eating two was the only way I knew how to adequately explain their deliciousness.

Forget Simnel cake, cookies shaped like bunnies and chickens and forget chocolate Easter eggs (you can get those at half price after Easter anyway). Trust me, all you need is a hot cross bun or two, ripped from a still-warm baker’s dozen, and a pot of hot tea. The rest of the holiday will sweetly unfold.


Comments (46)

Tags: , , , , ,