Earl Grey Tea Cookies, Take Two

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who left a comment on my last post. My family has gone through a tough time lately, and although I’d prefer not to get into the details here, the virtual hugs are very much appreciated.

Secondly, I’d like to apologize to all my subscribers and followers for hitting “publish” instead of “preview” earlier today. This was the second time I’ve made that mistake, and I’m hoping I’ll never do it again. I hope having a broken link in your reader wasn’t too much of an annoyance.

Now onto the cookies. I was heading to a friends for coffee this weekend and didn’t want to show up empty handed. Cookies were the obvious choice; they’re quick, easy, and very transportable. I had a lot ideas about what to make but, as my mom pointed out, few ingredients. I took a look in the pantry and spotted a few containers of Mighty Leaf Tea. Tea in a cookie is something I’ve been meaning to try for awhile. I did a quick Google search and found a Martha Stewart recipe that sounded perfect. Then I had to make a tough decision; should I make the cookies as written, or should I make them with Jasmine Green Tea? In the end I chose to make them as written, but I will definitely be trying them with the green tea as well.

The cookies were perfectly crisp and very lightly flavoured with Earl Grey. Next time I make them I think I’ll omit the orange zest, because although Earl Grey is a citrus based tea, it’s flavour is too light to stand up to the orange. Despite that I really enjoyed these cookies, and I think I’ll be adding them to the Christmas baking rotation. I think they’d make a great gift along with some fancy teas.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

Makes about 60 cookies

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp finely ground tea (tea can be ground in a spice grinder or mini food processor, use the best quality you can afford as cheaper teas have less flavour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest (optional)
  1. In a small bowl mix the flour, tea and salt together. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, powdered sugar and orange zest together with an electric mixer until the butter is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the flour, mixing until well combined.
  3. Split the dough in half and create two round logs, 1 1/4 inches in diameter, wrap them with parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour. To keep the bottoms of the logs from flattening out you can slide the logs into paper towel tubes before refrigerating.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment, set aside.
  5. Cut the logs into 1/4 inch slices, place the slices on the baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes until the bottoms are just golden. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack before serving.

Enjoy!

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Orange Madeleines

I’ve had the hardest time trying to write this post. Usually I have an anecdote or something to say, but this week I’ve got nothing. I made madeleines because I wanted to bake something pretty, and I wasn’t in the mood sprinkles and icing. I served them to a friend who came over for coffee. We discussed hypothetical home purchases and gave each other hypothetical high fives while eating these yummy treats. That’s it.

Madeleines are basically little sponge cakes baked in special scalloped molds. I used David Lebovitz’s recipe, swapping out the lemon for orange. Despite his intentional vagueness, I found the recipe pretty easy to follow. Madeleines seem tough, but if you trust your baking instincts you’ll do fine.

In other news Danielle of Runs with Spatulas has been kind enough to give me the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers blog award. I really enjoy her blog, she has great recipes and gorgeous photos and I’m so happy she likes mine too! To accept the award, it needs to be passed on to 15 other bloggers and I need to share 7 things about myself that you don’t know.

  1. I’m generally very quiet, but I have a loud laugh. It might be annoying.
  2. Birds creep me out. Like a lot. They could peck your eyes out! Have you seen The Birds (or read the short story)?
  3. When I was a kid I thought eggs made my ears itchy so I refused to eat them. I only recently started eating them again.
  4. I am an amazing car singer. I’m especially good at 80’s power ballads.
  5. I’m only attracted to jerks. If I’m attracted to a guy who is not a jerk, he must be unavailable somehow (the most recent examples of this are recently divorced and lives far far away).
  6. My left leg is longer than my right leg. I found this out recently from the osteopath I went to see for my headaches. Why he was looking at my legs when my head was the problem, I do not know.
  7. I don’t like marshmallow filled chocolates, but I like marshmallows and chocolate. And I like s’mores.

So there you have it; 7 things about me you didn’t know before.

And now the important part, the 15 blogs I’d like to share the award with:

Kristel of Kristel’s Kitchen

Azmina of Lawyer Loves Lunch

Lilian of Sweets by Sillianah

Victoria of The District Chocoholic

Mardi of Eat. Live. Travel. Write 

Linsdey of Gingerbread Bagels

Sommer of A Spicy Perspective

Carolyn of All Day I Dream About Food

Christine of With a Bowl of Rice

Janice of Kitchen Heals Soul

Karen of Tasty Trials

Katrina of In Katrina`s Kitchen

Kim of Liv Life

Terra of Café Terra

Rachel of Baked By Rachel

Orange Glazed Madeleines

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
  • zest of one orange, divided
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoon freshly-squeezed orange juice
  1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.
  2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
  3.  Sift the flour and baking powder in the egg mixture, using a spatula to fold in the flour.
  4. Add half the orange zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pour enough batter into the molds to fill them 3/4’s of the way once the batter has spread from the heat of the oven. As David says, it’s not brain surgery.
  7. Bake for 8-9 minutes.
  8. While the cakes are baking, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, orange juice and remaining zest.
  9. Remove the madeleines from the oven and unmold by tilting the baking sheet onto cooling rack. Once they are cool enough to handle dip into the glaze, covering both sides of the cakes. Place the madeleines back on the cooling rack until the glaze has set.
Enjoy!

Orange Tea Loaf

I switched departments in my company a little over a year ago. The work I do now is a lot more interesting, but the environment is … less fun. I used to work with a team the handled Canadian trades only, then switched to the International side. The work in both departments is very stressful. They are high risk jobs with tight deadlines. My old department dealt with the stress by joking around and helping each other out. Even though there was a lot of pressure coming to work was fun.

Now it’s every man for himself. In my new department I sit beside a man who swears all day long and likes to slam his phone. The other day he picked it up and slammed it down even though it wasn’t even ringing. I think he got an email that upset him; you can’t slam an email.

I’m thinking of starting a swear jar in the office. I’m pretty sure it will pay for my morning coffee. It might even cover lunch sometimes. And if it manages to curb the swearing, then it will make coming to work that much more pleasant.

Until the day my neighbour calms down, I have an afternoon ritual that gets me through the day. Just before 3PM (when the Fed closes and things get extra stressful), I make myself a tea, put on my noise reducing headphones, and I listen to music that makes me happy. This afternoon it was Graceland. Sometimes it’s the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

If I’ve got my act together, I have a piece of cake with my tea.  This cake is one of my favourites. It’s a modification of one of my moms recipes. She uses raisins and walnuts, and puts an orange glaze on the cake. Today was particularly bad, and I could have used a little glaze on my cake, so I’ll post the recipe for even though I didn’t use it.

Orange Tea Loaf

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of one orange, divided
  • juice of one orange
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachios

For glaze

  • orange zest (leftover from cake)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 4-5 tsp milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350, line a loaf pan with parchment paper (or grease it)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and 1 tsp orange zest.
  4. Add 1/2 the flour mixture the butter, mix well. Stir in the orange juice and yogurt, followed by the remaining flour. Stir in the cranberries and pistachios.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Test the loaf after an hour with a toothpick to see if its done.
  6. Once done, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
  7. For the glaze: Stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and remaining orange zest. Pour over cooled cake.

Enjoy!

Red Rice and Chickpea Salad

Last night I had dinner at Au Pied de Cochon for the first time. It was an incredible meal. I shared the Foie Gras Poutine with one of my cousins. For those of you who don’t know, poutine is a Quebecois dish that consists of french fries topped cheese curds and covered in gravy. Under normal circumstances it’s delicious, but when the gravy is made with foie gras, the cheese is homemade, and the whole thing is topped with a piece of seared foie gras, it is artery clogging heaven.

As a main dish I ordered the Duck in a Can. It’s a magret duck breast with a piece of seared foie gras placed between the meat and the skin, the duck breast is then canned with wine braised cabbaged and cooked in the can. The waiter opens the can at the table and empties it onto a plate of celery root and potato puree and a piece of toast. The duck breast is perfectly cooked, and the foie gras somehow stays intact. It was incredible. For dessert I had a molten chocolate cake, which was also delicious, but I think next time I’ll have the Pudding Chomeur. Pudding Chomeur, which translates to welfare pudding,  is  a Quebecois dessert that was popularized during the depression. It’s a vanilla cake batter cooked in a hot sugar syrup, and the version served at Au Pied de Cochon is oh soo good.

Strangely enough, this morning I woke up with desire to eat nothing but salad. What I made was inspired by the Wild Rice Salad in Ina Gartens new book, How Easy Is That?. I was missing a couple of the ingredients, and I wanted something that could be a main course rather than a side, so I made a few changes.

Wild Rice and Chickpea Salad

  • 2 cups red rice, cooked (2 cups cooked is about 1 cup raw)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, or one can drained
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup almond slivers, toasted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parley to garnish
  1. In a large bowl toss the rice, chickpeas, orange sections, cranberries and almonds together.
  2. In a small bowl or cup, stir together the olive oil, orange juice, vinegar and seasoning.
  3. Dress the rice salad with the orange juice mixture. Garnish with parsley.

Enjoy!