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Don’t you just love homemade cookies?
There are a lot of people who claim they don’t have time to cook. They have kids or they work too many hours or they are just too busy, in that vague way we like to use when our high-pressure schedules finally work to our advantage, providing an excuse to get out of anything we don’t want to do.
But these cookies won’t take longer than an episode of your favorite TV show to assemble, after which you pop them in the freezer.
What could be easier?
When you find a free moment (really, whenever you feel like it), pull out the frozen log. Let it thaw a bit, slice it up, and arrange the portioned dough on a baking sheet in the oven.
Bake for about 15 minutes, and you’ve got something pretty amazing.
Buttery and sweet, with the unmistakable punch of Earl Grey flavor (from black tea and bergamot, which is a type of orange oil), these shortbread cookies get credit for being the first Martha Stewart recipe I ever tried and loved, after which I’ve never looked back.
Martha Stewart’s Cookies available in Paperback and Kindle from Amazon
I say this (and mean it!) about a lot of cookies, but you truly can’t eat just one Earl Grey shortbread cookie.
For one thing, they’re small, at least the way I roll the logs of dough. So it’s okay to eat more than one!
Silpat silicone pan liners are perfect for cookie baking – read our full review here.
But also, the beautiful dough, dotted with crumbled bits of tea, sends this fragrant citrus smell out of the oven. One bite in, and the flavor proves addictive.
I’m telling you – however you choose to spend your time over the next few days, let these cookies be a part of it.Print
Sweet and citrusy, these Earl Grey orange cookies are a delightful baked good that’s ideal for bringing out at teatime.
- 1 1/2 cups einkorn all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon loose Earl Grey tea leaves (or about 3 bags)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 1 tsp orange zest
- Combine flour, sugar, tea, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add vanilla, water, and butter to the food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a firm dough. It will take a little bit of processing to come together, about 2-3 minutes or 50-60 pulses.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter and form it into a solid log that’s about 6.5 inches long and 2 inches wide. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until firm.
- Preheat oven to 375˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone pan liners.
- Slice into discs 1/3 inch thick with a knife that’s been run under hot water, gently reshaping the discs into rounds if they flatten or become misshapen as you cut them. Place on prepared baking sheets about two inches apart.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown, rotating the sheets halfway through baking.
- Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies.
It’s really important to crush the tea leaves thoroughly if you are using a loose leaf variety in particular, so you won’t have big, wiry pieces in the cookies. You could use a food processor, an electric spice grinder, or a blade type coffee grinder, but I prefer putting the tea in a plastic baggie and mashing it with a rolling pin or a hammer, or grinding it in my mortar and pestle.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: tea, Earl Grey, orange, cookie, holiday baking
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Cube Butter, Zest Orange, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Cube the chilled butter and set it back in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it, to keep it cold.
Prep the tea if necessary, by removing it from the bags and grinding any large pieces in both bagged or loose varieties. I prefer to use a flavorful, high-quality Earl Grey like this one, available from Plum Deluxe.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Make Dough
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, tea, and salt. You could also experiment with using regular flour and granulated sugar for this recipe if you like. If you do, let me know how it turns out!
Pulse a few times until combined.
Add the vanilla extract, water, and butter to the food processor.
Pulse again until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
With my equipment, this took about 2-3 minutes or 50-60 pulses. This may vary, depending on the size and power of your appliance.
Step 3 – Shape and Chill
Turn out the the dough onto a clean work surface, and form it into a solid log that’s about 6 1/2 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
If you want to make smaller cookies you can make a longer, thinner log. Just remember that you will need to adjust your baking time accordingly.
Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
If you won’t be baking these the same day, dough can be stored in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. Just let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
Step 4 – Slice and Bake
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone mats.
Using a hot knife, slice the dough into 1/3-inch-thick slices. If the dough flattens out a bit while you are cutting it, be sure to reshape the log as you go along, as well as any misshapen discs.
Place the portioned dough on the baking sheets, and space them about 2 inches apart. For this batch, I had 8 arranged on each sheet.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The cookies should be golden brown around the edges when they are done.
Remove to wire cooling racks to cool completely.
Store in airtight containers at room temperature.
Host a Holiday Tea Party
One of my family’s favorite traditions is hosting a holiday tea party for all the ladies in the family. We gather around around the table or in the living room at someone’s home to enjoy sweets and tea together during the festive season.
If you need another reason to celebrate, gather your own family and friends together around a table full of tea and treats. All you need is boiling water, a variety of teas, milk, sugar, and a variety of desserts and finger sandwiches.
All I can say is, make sure you have these lovely morsels on the table as well. They’re not to be missed!
If cookies are your thing, be sure to check out all of our recipes or try some of our favorites such as:
- Versatile Slice-and-Bake
- Rosemary Butter Cookies
- Perfect Dark Chocolate Rounds
- Spiced Spelt Flour Almond Wafers
What’s your favorite type of tea? Tell us in the comments below. Be sure to come back to rate the cookie recipe once you’ve tried it as well!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Clarkson Potter and Plum Deluxe. Originally published December 15, 2008. Last updated: October 5, 2021 at 13:19 pm. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.