Tea & Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

Ground tea stirred into a cookie’s dry ingredients is one of the easiest ways to start cooking with tea.


To easily grind tea for baking, toss the dry leaves into a sturdy teacup. Then use a pestle or heavy wooden spoon to crush the leaves while gently stirring in circular motion. Voila! Ground tea.


While any coarse ground tea will add great texture and visual appeal to a sugar cookie or shortbread, I find that a flavored tea usually helps infuse a little more essence of the tea into the final baked treat.


I often turn to bergamot-infused Earl Grey for a shortbread like this. But as soon as I opened Williamson Tea’s brightly decorated tin full of fragrant Sunshine Lemon tea, visions of tea cookies danced in my head.


These easy thumbprints can be filled with your favorite jam. My preferred filling is a bitter marmalade to offset the sweetness of the cookies. They are particularly delicious with my Mulled Mandarin Marmalade. Lemon curd also makes a fantastic filling.


For a tea geek like me, I loved adding Williamson Tea’s unique tin to my tea collection. Williamson Tea cultivates sustainable teas direct from their own farms in Kenya. Sales of their elephant caddies—their colorful elephant-themed tea tins—support a wildlife trust dedicated to rescue and rehabilitation of Africa’s elephant population. What’s not to love?


Happy cooking and sipping!

P.S. Many thanks to Williamson Tea for sending me sample of their beautiful elephant caddy full of Sunshine Lemon tea to play around with in my tea foodie kitchen.

Tea & Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

Adapted by Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie from a Lemon Thumbprint Cookies recipe from Redbook, 2014.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

½ cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons citrus-scented black tea leaves, coarsely ground (I used Williamson Tea’s Sunshine Lemon but Earl Grey works too)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup your favorite preserves


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Cream butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer.

3. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks with lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Add to creamed butter and beat until incorporated.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk ground tea and salt into flour. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in a few batches just until dough comes together.

5. Scoop tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each ball.

6. Bake cookies until slightly firm and golden on bottom, about 20 minutes. Check on the cookies halfway through. If they are puffing up in the middle, remove from oven and carefully press the center back down. Use a small spoon if cookies are too hot for your thumb.

7. Remove cookies from oven and immediately fill indentations with preserves. Return to oven and bake 3 minutes longer so the filling will set.

8. Remove cookies from oven and let them cool on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container.


You can use any combination of tea and preserves to flavor and fill these cookies. Here are some of my favorite combos:

  • Earl Grey tea with strawberry preserves
  • Mango black tea with mango jam, or mango chutney for a more savory flavor
  • Green tea with peach preserves
  • Rooibos with blueberry preserves

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tea Foodie says:

    Reblogged this on Tea Foodie [#cookingwithtea] and commented:

    To celebrate the holiday cookie season I updated this oldie but goodie with new photos and new filling ideas. Enjoy! (Updated 12-2018)

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