A few freshly baked cookies and a cup of hot tea is a wonderful afternoon treat – and it is even more delicious when the cookies have some tea in them, tying the two elements of that tea-time snack together. These Earl Grey and Vanilla Sugar Cookies are laced with just enough real Earl Grey tea to give the an addictive flavor that Earl Grey fans will keep coming back for. And even if you’re not a big tea drinker, the cookies still go just as well with coffee and milk.
The cookies use a few bags of Earl Grey tea to get the tea flavor into the cookie dough. Loose leaf tea may be the preferred way for many to brew their tea, however the bagged tea is much finer and incorporates more easily into a dough like this one. The flecks of tea leaves add a beautifully specked look to the cookies, and you really don’t want to have larger leaves in the mix when you eat them. I used two whole bags of Earl Grey tea, which came out to be approximately 2 tablespoons of tea leaves. While that might sound like quite a lot, the flavor of the tea is still rather subtle when it’s added to cookies dough and not brewed into a cup.
The dough comes together just like any classic sugar cookie dough and should be shaped into 1-inch balls before baking. The balls of cookie dough are rolled in sugar, giving the cookies a sweet exterior and adding a nice crunch around the sides of the baked cookies. When baked, the cookies should have a hint of brown around the edges so that you get cookies with a crisp edge and chewy interior. If you prefer your sugar cookies to be crunchier, you can simply bake then for an extra couple of minutes.
The cookies are delicious when they are first baked, but the flavor in them develops a bit more when they are stored overnight. If you want to amp up the tea flavor even more, you can add a tea aroma to the cookies by storing them with an (open) Earl Grey teabag in the same container. Still, you’ll get subtle hints of tea, orange and vanilla – all of which tie in perfectly to make these cookies a tasty option for tea lovers any time of year.
Earl Grey and Vanilla Sugar Cookies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 Earl Grey tea bags
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar, for rolling
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, adding them one at a time, followed by the tea (cut open the tea bags and pour in the tea leaves) and the vanilla extract, then mix until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually incorporate the flour mixture until the dough comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Place 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow bowl.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the sugar to coat completely. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches between the cookies to allow for spread.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, until cookies are set and very light golden around the edges.
Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.