Saturday, March 29, 2014

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

After receiving loose leaf teas from "The Tea Company", the search was on for what to do with them. A post on instagram got my friend J to suggest I make Tea Cookies. Honestly, I've never heard of them before. I mean, Tea Cookies...with actual tea leaves in them. Really?

A bunch of questions ran through my head and the primary question was "Can you eat tea leaves?" I mean, it's not like I think tea is poisonous, we can drink it after all. But, can we digest them? You know how you can use bay leaves in things like beef stew and such, well, you don't eat the bay leaf now do ya'. Well, "Can you eat tea leaves?"

But, if a recipe says to put Earl Grey Tea leaves into the cookie, I assume tea is edible. If not, Claire Robinson would be arrested. But look, I'm still alive! 

I used "The Tea Company" Earl Grey Creme which gave the cookies a slight anise flavor. This recipe used powdered sugar which gave the cookies this crackly outer cookie which was unique. So, who knew you can eat tea leaves? I sure didn't.

AJ's Secrets
-Instead of pulsing the flour, salt and tea together, I pulsed the tea in the food processor first before I added the flour and salt. This just ensured there weren't too many large pieces of tea leaves.

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies
Recipe by Claire Robinson

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is just spotted throughout the flour. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and butter. Pulse together just until a dough is formed. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, and roll into a log, about 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Tightly twist each end of wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the log into 1/3-inch thick disks. Place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart (2 probably needed depending on size of sheets). Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks and cool to room temperature.

-Aaron John

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Tea Company

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Ben of "The Tea Company" asking if I would review some of their loose leaf teas. Of course, I happily accepted. You see, as a college student, you would think I'm a huge coffee drinker, but nope...I prefer tea. For me, it has a much cleaner taste, less bitter and well, I just prefer it. The only time I will drink coffee is if it's heavily sweetened. Tea is just the healthier route for me.

When the package came, I was excited about the teas I received. There were three, Moroccan Mint, Earl Grey Creme and Hibiscus Madness. I was most excited to try the Hibiscus Madness not only because I know about the fantastic color it has, but also because of how I loved the "Hibiscus Nectar" drink at one of Seattle's Food Trucks, Maximus/Minimus. So...let the review begin!

First up, Moroccan Mint. Upon opening the package, it had the aroma of spearmint gum. One of my favorites. After steeping according to the instructions on the package, it had a light green hue to it and the mint aroma mellowed out while still maintaining that distinguishable "mint" smell. It had a nice clean and fresh flavor leaving your mouth feel as if you just went to the dentist. Ben suggested steeping this in cream and using it in chocolate truffles. Mint-tea chocolate truffles? Yes please!

Next up was Earl Grey Creme. When I opened up this package, it had an aroma I smelled before but I couldn't pinpoint it. After sitting for 30 minutes drinking and thinking about this tea, it hit me. It had a deep flavor with hints of anise notes to it. It reminded me of biscotti I used to buy at the grocery store. Dipping those biscotti into this tea would be a double whammy of anise-y flavor. My friend J suggested I make Tea Shortbread Cookies with this, and that post will come soon.

At long last, the highly anticipated Hibiscus Madness. The tea leaves have a fruity smell to it, almost like fruit punch. At some points I smell grapes, at other points I smell apple. When steeping the tea leaves, the red hue from the hibiscus made it's way into the hot water turning it a light red color, a little lighter than fruit punch. This tea was definitely my favorite. It had those fruity notes and was tangy at the same time. Add a bit of sugar to it and it's perfect.

I want to thank The Tea Company for allowing me to review their teas. They were all fantastic and had something unique to each one of them. If you're a tea lover, head over to their website at and check it out. They have a wide variety of teas, different equipment to use in your tea making and are always willing to help if you have any questions about tea. One thing I learned from Ben is that tea is not just limited to drinking. You can make things from truffles, cookies or even something savory like a roast with them. It may seem like you can only steep tea, but the possibilities are endless. So, thank you The Tea Company!

-Aaron John


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