by Amanda Kahn
Near the end of my stay in Bamfield, all of the graduate students decided to meet up one night, potluck style. By this time, I’d depleted most of my food and had very little left, so it was time to get creative! I searched online for something using few ingredients, and especially things from the pantry that I’d been having trouble finishing up. Some time during my stay in Bamfield, I discovered that Earl Grey tea was the tea I’d been looking for all my life. Only not all kinds of Earl Grey. Really, as it turned out, it was the Twinings Earl Grey tea that I loved. In the process of discovering this, I ended up with several different brands of Earl Grey, each with their shortcomings or over-seasonings. So I had lots of boxes of unwanted tea. And then I found this recipe, originally from TheKitchn.com:
Earl Grey Tea Cookies
makes 2 dozen
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves, which equals 3 tea bags
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and definitely not melted
Preheat oven to 375°F. Pulse together all the dry ingredients in a food processor or, if you’re in Bamfield and don’t have one, just mash things together with a fork, until well mixed. The finer the tea leaves, the better, so bagged tea worked better than loose-leaf, just like the blog I found this on recommended.
Add the wet ingredients (vanilla, water, and butter). Mash together with a fork, then use your hands to knead out a buttery dough. Form the dough into a log onto a piece of parchment paper. Wrap the paper around and roll the log smooth. Chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour. The colder this is when you cut it, the easier it is to cut. The dough is very crumbly, so colder is better (but don’t leave overnight…that was a mistake. Then the dough is rock-hard and needs to be thawed).
When chilled, slice the log into 1/3-inch thick pieces. Place on baking sheets and bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. The bottoms tend to burn, so err on the side of under-cooking versus over-cooking. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.
We theorized that one could use any type of tea leaves for this: chai, rooibos, black, green, white, matcha, or herbal tea. I opted for the original. Also, I used Stash Earl Grey when I did it (until I finally finished those off) because it has a really strong citrus-y taste.
So, I made cookies for the potluck. Only I made them the night before…with friends…and somehow, I still ended up with nothing to bring to the potluck. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? Fortunately, Bamfield has lots of wild berries growing around in summer, so I found a suitable replacement.