I like my tea. People say it’s a British ‘thing’.. but it’s most definitely a Chinese ‘thing’ too. I guess being an ethnic mix of both it was inevitable I’d like a good cuppa. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my coffee but there is something comforting about tea for me.. especially if accompanied by a slice of cake or a good biscuit. (I’m talking cookie type biscuits here, not the US style biscuits – They’re scones!!)
The range of tea flavours & combinations available to us are quite phenomenal these days and it’s a lot easier to get our hands on some of the more interesting or unusual tea leaves. In Montreal, I personally prefer Camellia Sinensis, Kusmi Tea & for convenience of being in Hochelaga, Tisanerie Mandala. However, with how the world is these days there are many great companies that deliver internationally so if you’re after something special.. browse our pal google & you’ll find some fab options like the UK based Rare Tea Company (founded by the ‘Tea lady’ herself, Henrietta Lovell).
Overall most people are probably used to the classic English breakfast style black tea but sometimes folks I know ‘go wild’ by having an Earl Grey! To me Earl Grey is definitely an afternoon tea. It has a citrusy flavour & scent from the bergamot oil it contains and for some reason, I think it works really well in baking. Which brings me to this post…
As tea & biscuits are a match made in heaven (in my opinion anyway), I decided to combine the two into these baked treats. Admittedly I would normally sway towards making more of a shortbread, but there can sometimes be a bit of an issue with excess crumbs which I knew I wanted to avoid on this occasion; I was meeting up with Eva, a McGill nutrition student & blogger at Wang Food and I didn’t want them to be a complete crumbly mess when I got there.
So anyhoots, below is the recipe for what I did make. I think I’ll experiment a bit more with different textured biscuits as I do prefer the crumblier type. BUT do try & have a go at these as they aren’t particularly difficult to make and they look fun as a gift. If you have the time, you could even add a little label to the end of the string, but I decided to keep these a bit rustic looking.. as the focus is the biscuit.. and the tea! Time to put the kettle on….
Adapted from this recipe at theKitchn. If you have a food processor, basically throw in all the dry ingredients. Process, then add the butter, vanilla & water till a dough forms. Then follow the rest of the steps below! Don’t forget, you could also make some in cute teapot or teacup shapes, just because…
1 heaped tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves*
125g plain/all purpose flour
20g icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
100g unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoons water
100g good quality 70% dark chocolate (optional)
- With a mortar & pestle, grind the tea leaves till they are smaller & fine in texture.
- Add to a large mixing bowl with the remaining dry ingredients (sugars, flour, salt) and combine well.
- Take the butter & lightly rub it into the dry mix with the vanilla & 1 tsp of water.
- Using your hands, quickly mix it all together till a dough forms. If needed add a few extra drops of water to bring it together.
- Place the dough onto a large sheet of parchment or wax paper and flatten/roll till it’s about 1cm thick. Cover & chill for 30minutes. (You can also just form the dough into a smooth log shape ready to be just sliced into discs if you don’t want a specific shape).
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
- Roll out the dough to about a 1/2cm thickness & cut out the teabag shapes. I used a piece of parchment as a shape guide. Using a straw, press out a little hole to thread each biscuit later.
- Carefully place them onto a lined baking sheet with about an inch between them (they won’t spread much) & bake till the edges are golden for about 12minutes. Leave on the sheets for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Break the chocolate into a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once almost fully melted, remove from the heat & set aside. Carefully angle & dip the ends of the cooled biscuits into the dark chocolate, leaving them to set on a baking/wax paper lined sheet.
- Thread some butchers twine or thread & label as you wish!