The allure of tea is vast and grand; not only does it make boring ‘ol water taste just a bit more exciting, it tends to have a certain charm – a certain je nais se quoi, if you will – that is just hard to pin down.
Curling up the couch on a rainy day with a warm cuppa (that’s how the British say it – and face it, we all want to be British) with fresh lemon and shortbread cookies; attending a regal, fancy high-tea brunch service with friends on holiday; drinking a soothing cup of chamomile before bed to calm frayed midterm nerves; tea has got you covered, in good times and bad.
But – horror of horrors – what if those cuppas are getting just a bit tired, and your love for tea has begun to make leaps and bounds away from your porcelain chalices. Enter: a new way to inject some more tea into your life, through food of course.
In the spirit of all things basic and fall-oriented here is a roundup of some of the best ways to spend the cooler months baking away… with your tea in hand.
Prep Time: 70 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
Total time: About 80 minutes
Servings: 25-30 2″ cookies
1 tablespoon high-quality loose-leaf Earl Grey tea
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup and 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chunks
Flaky sea salt, to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. Using a coffee grinder, pulse the tea leaves until they become a powder.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, powdered tea leaves, sugar, brown sugar, salt and vanilla until smoothly combined. Beat in the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed, just until the flour is absorbed. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate the dough in the bowl for 1 hour.
5. Use a spoon to scoop out dough into approximately 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ balls and place them 3″ apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten the dough balls slightly with your palm, and sprinkle them lightly with the sea salt.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Total time: About 70 minutes
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 tablespoons Chinese green-tea powder (matcha powder)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, or granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
2. Sift flour, tea powder, and salt into a small bowl; set aside.
3. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed until fluffy (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add sugar; continue to beat until very light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add flour mixture; combine on low, scraping sides of bowl with a spatula if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers.
4. Place a piece of parchment on a clean surface; dust with flour. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness; chill in refrigerator or freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
5. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Cut chilled dough with 2-inch leaf cutters. Using a wide spatula, transfer to baking sheets. Chill until firm. Gather scraps together, re-roll, chill, and cut shapes. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool completely on wire rack.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: About 60 minutes
Chamomile Lemon Cupcakes:
3/4cup white sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup chamomile tea leaves
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
3 egg whites
1/4 cup white sugar
Honey Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup honey
1. Whisk together 3/4 cup of white sugar and lemon zest. Allow to rest for about 30 minutes to infuse the lemon flavor.
2. Melt 1 cup of butter in a saucepan. Stir in tea leaves and heat on low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
3. Preheat your oven to 350ºF . Whisk together lemon sugar and tea-infused butter. Whisk in egg yolks until completely incorporated.
4. Alternate beating in the flour and milk until you have a smooth batter.
5. In another clean and dry bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.
6. Gently fold egg whites into the batter in 3 additions.
7. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
8. Cream 1 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Add honey and beat until smooth.
9. Pipe icing over cupcakes. Eat right away or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Prep Time: 24 hours, 20 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Total time: About 25 hours
1. 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
2. 6 tablespoons organic Masala Chai Black Tea
3. 4 cups cake flour (sifted if clumpy)
4. 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
5. 1 tablespoon baking powder
6. 1 teaspoon salt
7. 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, chilled
8. 1 cup dried currants
9. 1 large egg
1. Combine heavy cream and masala chai tea in an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
2. When ready to make scones, preheat oven to 375°F.
3. Strain the cream to remove the tea, pressing with a wooden spoon to recover as much as possible.
4. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Toss butter pieces into flour, blending with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in dried currents.
5. In a separate bowl, mix together egg and 1 cup masala chai-infused cream, then gently fold this into flour mixture until the dough just comes together.
6. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface, and with floured hands shape into a 1-inch thick rectangle.
7. Use a knife to cut out small triangles of dough and arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops of scones with remaining cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
8. Bake scones until tops are golden, 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.