Holiday Cookie Exchange #1

For the first ever Holiday Cookie Exchange, hosted by Dawn, at SoCal Foodie, I made Earl Grey Tea Cookies - little buttery shortbread cookies with flecks of real Earl Grey Tea in them. They're perfect for that cup of tea after an afternoon of Christmas shopping when you've been out fighting the masses or for just relaxing after a busy day or perhaps for some comfort during a dark and rainy day (uh-huh, like it is here), when all you want to do is sit and read food blogs for an hour or two (okay, now I'm wishing...).

The recipe comes straight out of the Holiday Cookies special edition by Martha Stewart Living. I'll never be Martha, nor do I want to be, but this is a really cool little edition - every page has few cookie recipes on it, and it's available in stores right now. I halved the recipe because I know I'll be making more cookies for the Exchange over the next couple of weeks and I don't want to be eating all those cookies!! But my co-workers have already gobbled up all of these little cookies that I brought in just this morning! The original recipe says it makes 5 dozen and darn it if I didn't forget to count mine before I started giving them away, so I'm not positive I got 2.5 dozen out of them, but there were still plenty, and besides, I only had one paper towel roll (you'll see what I mean when you read the recipe below). The orange zest is essential, and gives them that little boost of flavor and brightness they need to cut through the butter and because you really don't taste the tea that much.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies, from Holiday Cookies, by Martha Stewart (recipe has been halved)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp Earl Grey Tea, ground finely in a small food processor or spice or coffee grinder
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 paper towel roll
parchment paper

1. Whisk flour, tea and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Cream together butter, sugar and orange zest for about 3 minutes, until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Then gradually add the flour until just combined. Gather up all the dough and place it on parchment paper. Shape it into a log, and roll in parchment to 1 1/4" in diameter. As you roll, push it together tightly to push all the air out so that your cookies don't fall apart. Try to get it as round as possible, because you'll be inserting it into a paper towel roll and the cookies are prettier if they're round rather than oblong! Transfer (in the parchment paper) to the paper towel roll, and put it in the freezer until firm - 1 hour. I tried it after 30 minutes and it's definitely better to wait for the full hour or the dough is still squishy.
3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the cookie logs into 1/4" slices and space 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until edges are golden. Let cool on sheets on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container at room temp for up to 5 days.

Go check out all the other recipes posted at Dawn's site today and through the weekend and join in! The cookie exhange will be taking place today, and the next two Fridays, so there's still plenty of time. This is a great way to learn new recipes and show off some of your family favorites! Happy beginning to the Holidays! And thanks for hosting, Dawn!!

8 comments from you:

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Michelle, your cookies look beautiul! I had a little incident today: http://panamagourmet.blogs.com/tastydesign/2005/12/ant_farm.html

UnGourmetGal said...

The cookies look tasty and very proper next to a cup of tea :)

vlb5757 said...

I agree with ungourmetgal! Now that is a proper way to have a cup ot tea. I am a tea person and I love having a little cookie or biscotti with my tea. They look really good and what a cute pattern on the tea set. Would you say that Martha book is worth the money? I don't own any of her books.

michelle said...

Hi Melissa!
OMG - I had NO idea that ants could actually get inside a computer. Sounds like you have my kind of luck!! Hopefully things will be back to normal soon for you! Big hug from Oregon!

Hi Ungourment gal!
Thank you, that's just the look I was going for!

Hi Vickie!
I thought of you when I was making these cookies :) The 'china' cup actually belonged to my grandmother but she just gave them up to me two summers ago, I just love them. It's not really a book, more of a special edition magazine and it's not that expensive I think, only 5-6$, and with probably 40 recipes or more, so I'd say it's worth it. The snickerdoodles were awesome and these were really good too. I don't own any of her books either, but most of her recipes that I have tried have been pretty tasty.

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Michelle..., cannot find your email. Would you please email me at cookingdiva@gmail.com? I have to ask you something :)

vlb5757 said...

Michelle, I am thrilled to see that you have something from your grandmother that you can treasure and now it is on the web so it will be in cyber space forever! If you ever come to the right coast or I get out there to the left, we will have to have a cup of tea with your Earl Grey cookies. How old is that Martha magazine?

Dawn said...

Thanks for joining in Michelle! I was glad that I could count on you and Vickie! These cookies sound good. Now I wish we were really sending cookies all over the place! I finally got all of the submissions up at my site (long story short: I forgot that I had plans to go to Las Vegas this week and had to ask my sister to help me out with putting the post up on Friday and updating it for me!). I'll put some photos up on my page this week so you can see the fun stuff from my trip. Can't wait to see what other neat recipes you have used. I really like earl grey tea and have even done earl grey truffles. Yummy!

michelle said...

Hi Melissa!
I emailed you!

Hi Vickie!
I love the dishes, especially because they're my grandmother's and she's been such a huge part of my life. We will definitely have a cup of tea in them when the day comes when we can meet! The martha magazine is in stores right now - if you can't find it there, I can pick you one up, just let me know! I just got mine in the grocery store (one of those impulse buys that sometimes occur while you're standing in the check out line...)

Hi Dawn!
Of course! I think it was a great idea and as the weeks go on, I bet we get more and more participants. I can't wait to see about your vegas trip - sounds like fun! Your earl grey truffles sound great - did you post them? I can't remember...I'll have to go back through your archives...all these recipes and sometimes I forget whos done what and when!