Tuesday, February 28, 2012

White Tea Lemon Shortbread Teabag Cookies

I didn't come up with the idea to create teabag-shaped cookies — saw some once on Pinterest and had to replicate them, naturally adding my own Young Idealisic Baker cupcake tags and recipe twist!  

Pinterest is rapidly gaining speed as a top social networking website for its innovative design, ease of use, and ever changing user-generated content. It allows users to share snapshots of their interests, follow the interests of friends, and organize and save favorite “pins” or things they've found online.

I browse Pinterest all the time, searching for baking and decorating inspiration, fun craft projects to try out, and any kind of photo that strikes me as interesting. When I see something I really like, I’ll either repin it to one of my boards or “like” it, and then stash the idea away for some future use. This is exactly what I did with a pin I found that pictured these tea bag cookies.

As much as I love searching for fun crafting and baking projects to try out during my commute to and from work or while I’m watching a TV show, I haven’t been able to try out many of my favorites for lack of time and energy. I've realized it takes a little extra drive to make the time to really try out the fabulous projects that only take a second to pin.

Back in November, my sister and I were determined to create our own Melted Crayon Art on Canvas, a concept we first discovered when Pinterest users began marathon pinning pictures of their finished projects. We set aside time to run to Michael’s for materials, and then entertained each other as we set up our masterpieces side by side on the porch. As noted in my earlier blog post, this instance of Pinterest browsing led to two inspired creations, because after I finished the canvas, I was too sore to hold a mixer and instead baked a cake in a coffee mug in the microwave!

While I was home last week for a brief break, I was hit with the same type of sudden determination to create the teabag cookies that I’d glanced at for a moment on Pinterest and “liked.” I don’t even know how the cookies came back to mind so rapidly, but I decided to use my few days off work to make my own teabag cookies with a twist — I added actual tea to the cookie dough to make Tea-infused Teabag Cookies!

These cookies were so much fun to make and a HUGE hit among everyone I shared them with!

White Tea Lemon Shortbread Teabag Cookies (adapted from Ina Garten's Shortbread Recipe)
Yields plenty of dough for 30 regular sized cookies or 50 + button sized ones
  • 2 cups butter (you'll lose a little bit when you infuse the tea)
  • 2/3 cup loose leaf white tea
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • About two handfuls chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil

Directions for infusing the butter:
  • Melt butter in a large skillet
  • Add tea and stir occasionally for 5 minutes
  • Remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Pour butter mixture through a very fine sieve to strain out the tealeaves (you will lose some butter to the tea leaves and end up with about 1 2/3 cups butter – just as much as you’ll need for the cookies)
  • Bring to room temperature and/or refrigerate until using
Remaining Directions:
  • Mix together lemon zest and sugar and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes
  • Add tea-infused butter and blend on high until light and fluffy
  • Add vanilla and mix until combined
  • Add salt to flour and slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients until all incorporated 
  • On a floured surface, shape dough into a cylindrical disk, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or more
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and roll out dough on a well-floured surface 
  • To make the teabag cookies, I used a ruler and knife to cut out rectangles and trim off the top two corners, and used a straw to poke a hole for the string
  • For a simple, traditional shortbread shape, shape the dough into cylindrical logs, slice into short rectangles, and indent with the pointed edge of a piping tip
  • Refrigerate cut out cookies before baking! (This helps them keep their shape in the oven)
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn a light golden brown (I baked the teabag cookies for 18 minutes, and the smaller cookies for 16 minutes)
  • When cookies are completely cooled, melt chocolate chips and oil together in a double broiler or microwave, and spoon chocolate over the bottoms of the teabag cookies
  • Refrigerate until chocolate sets completely
  • Thread string through the hole in the cookie and bind loose ends with glue between two small squares of paper, decorated however you’d like

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