The Right Tea Newsletter
Issue #27 - December 2018
Welcome to the latest issue of The Right Tea Newsletter!
This December we decided to try something new: baking gingerbread cookies. We love eating ginger-flavored cookies, but we had never actually tried baking them ourselves!
It was easy to see why these cookies inspire so many Christmas tea blends: they are spicy, sweet and give off a wonderfully comforting heat. These cookies are ideal for the winter months and go perfectly with a nice cup of tea.
Join us and be inspired to try your hand at baking gingerbread cookies, too.
Gingerbread Cookies – A Christmas Treat
Baking cookies is one of my favorite Christmas time traditions. The kitchen becomes hot on cold winter days and there are no worries about diets because, after all, it is Christmas.
The following gingerbread cookie recipe is relatively simple, but it does take some time (waiting periods between steps), so don’t leave baking these to the last minute.
Gingerbread Tea Cookies Recipe
3 cups of flour
3 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Let’s get cooking!
First the dry ingredients:
Sift the the flour, baking powder and the spices into a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Just use a whisk to quickly mix the ingredients and set aside.
Note: Some people will also add a bit of ground allspice to their gingerbread cookies, but I found that these cookies were hot enough without it. This will be up to you, but if you wish, add about 1/8 tsp of allspice.
Now the wet ingredients:
In a saucepan add the sugar, butter, zest of the lemon and the juice.
Measuring the molasses:
First spray a few drops of olive oil into the measuring cup and brush the inside and edges of the cup.
Now the molasses will not stick to the cup and when you pour it out to add to the other ingredients in the saucepan you will not lose more than a drop or two.
Note: Did you know that you replace molasses for honey when baking cookies? You can use the same amount of either ingredient: cookies made with honey will be lighter in color.
Mixing the wet ingredients:
On a low heat stir until the ingredients in the saucepan are well blended and begin to simmer. Do not let the mixture boil, as the lemon juice may become unpleasantly bitter.
Turn off the heat and wait for this mixture to cool. This is the part that may take some time as sugar reaches high temperatures. Allow enough time for this step when baking these cookies.
Note: Use this time to prepare the kitchen counter for rolling out the dough. It should be clean, dry and cold, so if you use hot water to clean it, time will allow it to cool down. You can also use this time to search for the cookie cutters. In our house the cookie cutters are never in the place where they should be stored.
When the mixture has cooled down it is safe to add the egg and whisk again into a uniform mixture. Remember to break the egg into a cup first, to check if it is fresh and so that you pick off any bits of shell that accidently fall in with the egg.
Why do you need to wait before adding the egg?
My mother, the chemistry teacher, likes to say that the ingredients have to reach a thermal equilibrium, which is just a fancy of saying: don’t add an egg to a hot mixture or it will cook the egg before you get a chance to mix it in.
Bringing it all together:
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk them together as much as you can.
It’s time to get your hands dirty: bring the ingredients together to form a uniform dough ball. Check the temperature of the dough. Does it still feel warm to the touch? Then wait a while longer. If it is cool, then move forward!
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (about 350ºF) and line baking sheets with parchment paper. This stops the cookies from sticking to the baking sheets and in the end they will be much easier to wash.
Sprinkle your nice clean counter with flour and roll out the dough to a height of 0.5cm – 1 cm (1/4in – 1/2in). If either the dough or the bench is warm, the dough will stick to the bench despite the layer of flour.
Note: if the dough feels sticky to the touch then it is best to work with small portions of dough at a time and move quicker to stop the dough from sticking to the work area and making it impossible to remove the cookies.
Get you cookie cutters and start cutting cup cookies! Ours teapot-shaped ones come from a shop in the Netherlands and since we want to have these cookies with tea, they are just perfect.
Place the cookies in the oven for 10 minutes. Cooking time will depend on your oven and the size of the cookie: thin and small cookies will be quicker. Look at the edges of the cookies, as they begin to darken take the cookies out.
Note: if you have time for this: try a first batch, wait for them to cool a bit and then take one to see how well it breaks and if it is fully cooked. If they seem too hard, reduce baking time on the next batch.
Enjoying you cookies!
Don’t be too upset if you forget to take your cookies out of the oven at the right time and they get a bit too hard.
As long as they are not seriously burnt you can dunk them in a cup of tea for a few seconds and they will be just fine to eat and the heat from tea will seem to bring out the heat from the spices.
We decided to have our cookies with a fine Earl Grey tea as the lemon in the cookies would go well with the bergamot flavor of Earl Grey.
We also had them with Darjeeling black tea and found that a good black tea will go well with the spices and sweetness of the cookies. Milder and more delicate teas may lose out to these cookies as your senses will be overpowered by all the flavors.
What about decorating the cookies?
This is completely optional. The sugar in the acing will add to the sweetness of molasses and sugar already in the cookie, so if you are looking for the warm heat of the spices like us, you can skip this part.
You can either make icing sugar from scratch or buy ready-made colorful icing and make your cookies fun! Just remember: let your cookies cool down before decorating them or the icing will melt.
Have fun baking and dunking your cookies in fine tea!
More articles about tea are coming, so keep on the lookout for the January issue of our newsletter. While you wait, look around our website and learn more about tea and its health benefits.
Until then make sure to follow us on Facebook or Google+ for daily tips and other wonderful tea related items.
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