I love black tea, so I was really excited when I came across this recipe. Although almost any variety of black tea would taste great in this recipe I think the Darjeeling works especially well, complementing the bright flavor from the orange juice and zest. I was surprised at how easily and quickly these cookies came together; the dough was very forgiving (and delicious raw), plus the hour or so that they sat in the freezer was just enough time for me to take a quick jog and then catch up on The Daily Show.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 13-15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes, including time dough is in freezer
Servings: 4 dozen 1 ½ inch cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons/ 4 tea bags finely ground Darjeeling tea (or any other black tea on hand)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 or 3-ish tablespoons finely grated orange zest (from about 2 oranges)
juice of one orange, or as much as needed to pull together dough
1. Zest two oranges. If you have never zested an orange before, don’t worry; it’s very simple, and the only tool you need is a decently sharp knife. Begin by washing and drying the outside of your orange.
2. Then, cut thin strips to peel from the outermost layer of the orange rind. Try to avoid cutting deep enough to hit the white pith. (If you get pith with your orange peel, just cut it off before proceeding.)
3. When you have finished removing the outer layer of your orange, chop all of your orange zest into pieces as small as possible. I have found that the best way to do this is to continuously gather all the zest into a small pile, chop continuously, re-gather the zest, and repeat for a few minutes.
4. Whisk flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
5. Combine butter, sugar, and orange zest in another bowl, and have ready an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, or about 3 minutes.
6. Gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined. Slowly add freshly squeezed orange juice until dough holds together.
7. Divide dough in half or thirds. Transfer each portion to a piece of plastic wrap; shape into logs about 1 1/4 inch wide. Freeze tubes until firm, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap foil and cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1/2 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or foil.
9. Bake cookies for 13 to 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden. Let cool on sheets or wire racks.