I used to hate anything heart shaped. Despised! You’d think since I was born on Valentine’s Day this would be innately impossible.
But I got an annual overdose of birthdays bursting at the seams with anything and everything heart shaped. Sometime during my third decade, however, I turned from a heart hater into a heart lover. Just like that, I gave in to the inescapable celebratory shape of my holiday birthday. Now, easing into the middle of my fifth decade, I’m a heart collector.
So imagine my elation when I received a heart shaped tea—yes, tea!—in the mail from Story of Tea. An adorable-to-look-at and exquisite-to-sip rose puerh showed up at my doorstep in a sample of Story of My Tea’s new monthly tea box collection. The rose-infused dark tea is pressed into a tiny brick in the shape of a heart. Once brewed, the heart melts and the tea leaves unfurl to yield a sublime tea with the subtle floral notes of rose, the malty nose of black tea, and the earthy richness of fermented puerh.
I couldn’t just leave this tea to sip. I immediately knew I wanted to explore it in a recipe.
At the same time this tea came into my life I was just starting to cook my way through Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea, an adorable and modern new cooking with tea book by Annelies Zijderveld. In it is my new favorite sugar cookie recipe, one she calls an Iced Tea Sugar Cookie.
I tweaked the Steeped recipe slightly and added brewed rose puerh tea leaves to the dough and bumped up the flavor of the cookie glaze with rose water in addition to the brewed rose tea. Instead of repeating the Steeped cookbook recipe here (get the book!) I’m giving you my method for turning your favorite sugar cookie recipe into a tea infused cookie. Enjoy, and go bake tea cookies for someone you love this Valentine’s Day!
Happy cooking and sipping!
P.S. Many thanks to Story of My Tea for providing the tea samples that made my heart tea cookies inspiration possible. They just wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign to get their monthly tea subscription box concept off the ground. Check out their unique story here.
Turning Sugar Cookies into Tea Cookies
By Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie. Inspired by the Iced Tea Sugar Cookies recipe in Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea by Annelies Zijderveld.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Your favorite sugar cookie recipe (I used the Iced Tea Sugar Cookies in Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea by Annelies Zijderveld. But any sugar cookie recipe that has about 2 cups of flour to 1 cup of butter and yields around 2 dozen cookies should work with the tea ratios and method below.)
1 tablespoon loose leaf tea, ideally one that’s flavored (I used Dark Rose Puerh from Story of My Tea.)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon extract or flower water that complements your tea flavor
1 to 2 tablespoons strong brewed tea (Brewed from the loose leaf tea leaves above.)
Crushed tea leaves for garnish
1. Start preparing your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Meanwhile, steep 1 tablespoon loose leaf tea of choice in 8 ounces of water for about 5 minutes. Strain and keep both the steeped tea leaves and the brewed tea. When you’re toward the end of your sugar cookie dough mixing, stir in 2 tablespoons of the steeped tea leaves into the dough. Roll out the dough and cut into your favorite cookie shapes. Bake according to recipe directions. Let cookies cool completely before glazing.
2. For the glaze, mix powdered sugar with extract of choice plus 1 tablespoon of the brewed tea to start. Add more tea if you want the glaze to be thinner. Spoon the glaze onto the cooled cookies. Sprinkle lightly with crushed tea leaves and let sit for an hour or so for the glaze to set.
Here are some of the tea flavors I’ve tried for the dough/glaze/garnish:
- Rose pu-erh / rose water / rose petals
- Earl Grey / orange water / Earl Grey tea leaves
- Moroccan Mint / peppermint extract / green tea leaves
- Rooibos / coconut extract & shredded coconut / rooibos tea leaves
- Chai spices / vanilla extract / black tea leaves