I love Russian Tea. Black tea with orange juice and spices. It reminds me of Christmas mornings on the couch with Mom before the sun came up. She was always too excited to sleep (I know, right?) so she would wait on the couch for the first kid who woke up. Whoever it was (me, mostly) got to drink a hot drink and watch the Christmas lights in the dark with Mom until it was a decent hour or she got tired of waiting whichever came first. Usually the latter. We opened a lot of presents in the dark... Sometimes we drank hot chocolate, sometimes hot orange juice with cloves (holy smacks it's good), or sometimes Russian tea. I really wanted to try to capture the flavor of tea in a cookie.
And thus, I embarked upon my first Entirely-Made-Up-Out-of-My-Head Cookie Invention Project... (Also known as the EMUOoMHCIP. After all, we learned in Kidnergarten that all good things start with emu. Wait... that's not right...) I knew I wanted to use a shortbread cookie as a base because they're so simple and light, I thought it would show off the flavor of the tea nicely. I researched a little on how to get the flavor of tea into baked goods and ran across this technique on Cupcake Project. Essentially, you boil loose tea in butter until the tea releases its color then you strain it through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth and then let the butter set back up. Pretty simple. So here we go!Russian Tea Cookies
1 C unsalted butter
1 Tbs loose black tea leaves
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C flour
1 Tbs orange zest
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
Boil butter with tea leaves for a minute or two until leaves change the color of the tea. Strain butter through strainer. Push out as much butter from the tea as you can. Put the butter in the fridge until it just sets.
When it has set, cream butter and sugar. Add flour, zest, and spices and mix completely. Roll into balls and bake at 325° for 10 minutes.
Pretty darn good if I do say so myself! The flavor of the orange zest comes through really well. You could boil the tea a little longer in the butter if you wanted a stronger tea flavor. They're better on the second day when they've cooled completely. I am extremely proud of these. The EMUOoMHCIP also yielded two other cookie recipes that I'll be sharing next week as the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies continues! To find out how Cara at Fork and Beans fared with these, go check out her post!