I don't know what's been going on with me lately, but I've been experiencing a near compulsive need to be busy at all times. Even when I'm feeling burnt-out and over-scheduled, something pops up on my radar screen and I feel like I need to do it. As my busy April posting schedule will attest, I've been filling up my days this month like a madwoman. Today was no different -- even after assembling the blogiversary carrot cake, I was still stricken with an overwhelming need to bake cookies. More accurately, this particular compulsion has been percolating much of the month, I just hadn't had the time to do anything about it.
This time around, some simple cookies perfumed with Earl Grey tea and orange zest captured my fancy. Unsurprisingly, I spotted them while perusing Martha Stewart's website, though the recipe has been lurking in my baking queue for years, but it kept getting passed over in favor of more impressive, elaborate creations. Given that two of the seven cookies I baked for last year's Cookie Bonanza were slice-and-bake icebox cookies, the ease and convenience of the genre is starting to grow on me enough that I thought it would be wise to add a few more recipes to my repertoire.
Predictably, the dough for these cookies came together quickly; the most tedious part of the entire process came from cutting open the pile of tea bags and emptying their contents. After the spate of grocery store trips associated with my blogiversary carrot cake, it was somewhat of a relief to be able to bake something entirely from ingredients I had on hand. The dough was even easy to work with, and rolled out into an evenly-sized log with ease. It was a decided contrast to assembling a layer cake, and a pleasant reminder of why I've always preferred baking cookies over cakes, even if cakes are more of a challenge to my skill set.
Once baked, the cookies turned out pleasant enough, but didn't blow me away. They were light and delicately crisp, smelling gently of bergamot (the citrus fruit that gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavor) and orange, but I found them a bit on the salty side (I adjusted the recipe below to reflect this). Visually, I liked the contrast of the dark tea leaves with the pale dough, and thought that the cookies would be at home on a tiered stand alongside some dainty crust-less sandwiches at a tea party. I think these Earl Grey biscuits, as the British would call them, would be a lovely addition to a ladies' brunch or wedding shower menu, but I would look elsewhere if you've got a serious cookie craving.
Earl Grey Tea Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart
2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons finely-ground Earl Grey tea leaves, from about 6 tea bags
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
zest of one orange
1. Whisk together flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Put butter, sugar, and orange zest in bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until fluffy and pale, about three minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour until just incorporated.
3. Divide dough in half. shape into 1 1/4 inch logs and wrap tightly in wax paper, using a ruler to force out air bubbles. Refrigerate overnight or freeze for one hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350. Cut the logs of dough into 1/4 inch slices and place one inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
5. Bake until edges turn golden brown, 13-15 minutes. Cool on wire racks before serving.