Halloween Tea Cookies

 
Matcha cookies for Halloween. 

Fun Tea & Spooky Halloween Themed Cookies

These fun Halloween tea cookies use matcha to get their green color and can be shaped into all sorts of different shapes. This recipe makes around 36 cookies if done as a simple round cookie.

Halloween Tea Cookies – Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Matcha
1 egg
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup granulated sugar for rolling cookies
Eyeball candies
Gummy candies

Halloween Tea Cookies – Instructions

  1. Cream together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add Egg and Matcha and mix until well-combined.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.
  4. Scrap dough out of the bowl and onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  Wrap the dough and put into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, 2-3 is better, to allow the butter to harden again.  This will keep the cookies from spreading out as much.
  5. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 350º F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  6. Scoop cookie dough by the tablespoon full and roll into a ball. Place each ball of cookie dough into the bowl of granulated sugar and roll to coat well. Place cookie dough onto baking sheet, spacing about 1½-inches to 2 inches apart. Lightly press each cookie down.  If decorating, you can put on your hard candies now on the top of the cookies and press in.  If you put in the gummy candies now, they may slightly melt creating a cool melted colored sugar effect on the top.  If it is important to keep them hole, wait until you pull the cookies to add them.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and decorate with the gummy candies while the cookies are still warm.  Just lightly press the gummy candies into the cookies.  Allow the cookies to cool on the tray before removing.  Store the cookies in an air tight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

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Burmese Tea Leaf Salad – Part 2

Plated Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

Burmese Tea Leaf Salad – Plated for presentation but not yet mixed together.

So, if you are just joining us, you may want to read Part 1 of this blog post describing how to pickle your green tea leaves. For those of you who already read and now want to eat, we have a few more steps to finalize this salad. This salad is traditionally served with the tea leaves acting as the equivalent of lettuce, which I will prepare below. However, the pickled leaves remind me more of a dressing and do nicely as a garnish on romaine lettuce. So feel free to Americanize.

Ingredients (To serve 4)

Fried Rice Noodles (look in the Asian isle of the grocery store)
8 gloves of Garlic
1/2 cup Peanuts
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
1 can of Lentils (color is your choice)
Oil for frying
2 whole Tomatoes

Equipment

Paper towels and four plates. Cast iron frying pan or a pan with high sides to fry in. You will also need a ladle to pull out the lentils and a slotted spoon for the garlic.

Steps to Prepare the Other Ingredients

Start by gathering up all your ingredients as the frying times are going to be short and you cannot walk away from the pan. Setup the paper towels on two of the plates, double the paper towels on one of the plates for the lentils. This will give you a place to put the ingredients to cool before plating them with the tea leaves. Remove the skin and slice the garlic cloves. Cut the tomatoes into wedges to get you at least 4 wedges per serving. Empty the lentils out of the can into a strainer and rise under cool water. Pat dry with paper towels. Put the pan on the stove top and allow to heat. Add the sesame seeds and allow to toast for no longer than about 1 minute. If they start to turn brown on you remove from the heat so they do not burn. Pour the sesame seeds out on one of the plates with no paper towels. Next, put the peanuts into the pan and toast them for about 2 minutes. You need to stir the peanuts to prevent burning. You will smell the peanuts, which is an indicator to remove from the heat as they will burn quickly after this point. Pour the peanuts out on a plate without the paper towels to cool. Now add oil to the pan, depending on your oil type it will ripple immediately and will not require any more time before putting in the garlic. The garlic will cause bubbling, so do be careful. You can lower the heat and stir the garlic with a slotted spoon. It will take the garlic about 5 minutes to start to turn brown. Once brown, remove from the oil and put on one of the plates with paper towels to remove the oil off the garlic. Next, put in the lentils, leave them in the oil until they are crunchy, which will take around 5-7 minutes. Keep stirring and you will feel as they dry out and harden. Remove them from the oil. Unfortunately, the lentils are so small they fall through the slots in the spoon. So you will need to remove them with a ladle.

Steps to Plate the Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

Measure out roughly 1/2 cup of the tea leaves into the middle of each of the 4 plates. Arrange the dry ingredients (rice noodles, fried lentils, sesame seeds & peanuts) in piles around the outside of the leaves and divide the piles with the tomato wedges. Sprinkle the garlic on the top of the tea leaves. It is up to the individual to decide how they would like to mix the ingredients together. Don’t skip the fried garlic and lentils as they add a wonderful textural contrast to the tea leaves.

Enjoy!

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Earl Lavender Tea Muffins

 
Mug of tea and three muffins drizzled in earl lavender glaze. 

Earl Lavender Muffins — fresh from the oven with tea.

Earl Lavender tea muffins are easy to make and a tasty breakfast treat. I have prepared these in miniature muffin tins but they can be done in a full sized one, just add about 7-10 minutes to the cooking time on these muffins. If you do not have Earl Grey with Lavender tea, don’t sweat it. It works just as well with your favorite black tea.

Earl Lavender Tea Muffins

Prepares 12 muffins in a regular sized pan & 24 in a miniature pan

1 1/2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of Earl Grey with Lavender tea
16 ounces of water
1 stick of butter
1 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Optional:  1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers, chopped

Earl Grey with Lavender Glaze

1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons of brewed Earl Grey with Lavender (You may want additional if you want a thinner glaze on the muffins)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, you will need to melt the butter with 2 tsp of the Earl Grey with Lavender tea in it. Start by putting the stick of butter in a pan with the tea.

Bring the 16 oz of water to a boil and put in the tablespoon and half of the Earl Grey with Lavender tea. Allow to steep for 5 minutes and strain off the tea. You will need to reserve 8 ounces for the recipe and possibly as much as 1/4 cup for the icing. So the remaining 3/4 cup is for you to enjoy while you cook.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg and slowly add the sugar making sure to incorporate the sugar fully into the egg. Then mix in the vanilla extract. Pour the cooled butter through a strainer, to remove the tea leaves, into the bowl and stir until combined. Then pour in the cooled cup of Earl Grey with Lavender tea and stir. Next pour the wet ingredients into the bowl full of flour. Mix until fully combined.

Next pour the batter into the muffin tins just shy of the top of the tin.

When using a miniature muffin pan, cook for 20-25 minutes and test the center of the muffin with a tooth pick before removing. For a full size muffin tin, start with 30 minutes but you may need as long as 40 minutes to make sure they are done.

Plate of Earl Lavender Muffins 

Fresh Glazed Earl Lavender Muffins

While the muffins are cooking, it is time to make your glaze. In a bowl, put the half cup of confectioners sugar and pour in the first tablespoon of tea and stir. Then pour in the second tablespoon of tea and stir completely to make sure there are no clumps of sugar. If you end up with clumps, use a fork to break them apart. If you would like a thinner batter, add additional tea 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach the consistency you want.

When the muffins are done, allow them to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then remove. To glaze, put the muffins on top of a cooling rack on wax paper. Brush the glaze over the top of the muffins. The glaze will drip off, which is why you want the wax paper below the cooling rack. It will take a few minutes for the glaze to set. The muffins are then ready to serve. They can also be put in the refrigerator and will be good for about 4 days.

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3 Tea Cocktails for Spring

Margarita made with hibiscus isle tea.

Hibiscus Isle Margarita

Longer days mean dinner outside and provides the opportunity to create some tea cocktails with a spring flare. Each recipe provides a fun way to mix your tea addiction with a bit of evening fun.

Hibiscus Isle Margarita (Serves 4)

  • 16 ounces of brewed Hibiscus Isle tea
  • 4 oz tequila
  • Juice from a lime
  • 1 tablespoon Agave Nectar

To brew the tea, use 1 tablespoon of the Hibiscus Isle tea and steep in water at 185 degrees for 3 minutes.  Strain off the leaves and refrigerate the tea to cool it down.  If you do not have time to allow to cool in the refrigerator, brew the same 1 tablespoon in 8 ounces of water at 185 degrees for 3 minutes and then strain out the tea leaves pouring the tea over 1 cup of mounded ice.  The ice will melt, getting you the full 16 ounces of tea and the tea will be cold.  In a pitcher combine the tea, tequila, line and agave nectar and stir.  Serve over ice.

Adirondack Beer Cooler (Serves 3)

  • 12 ounces of brewed Adirondack Berries Tea
  • 12 ounces of your favorite IPA beer (this can be substituted with a malty black tea like Yunnan Sunrise or Colonial Breakfast)
  • Juice from 3/4 of a lemon
  • 3 tsp of Agave Nectar

To brew the tea, put 2 tsp of the Adirondack Berries tea into 12 ounces of boiling water and allow to steep for 5 minutes and strain off the tea.  Put in the refrigerator to cool.  If you do not have time to cool in the refrigerator, brew the 2 teaspoons of tea in 6 ounces or 2/3 cup of boiling water and then strain out the tea over a mounded 1/2 cup of ice.  This will cause the ice to melt and cool the tea down immediately.

In a pitcher, pour in the tea, and then add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Assuming the beer and tea where both cold, you will not need ice cubes.

Darjeeling Gin (Serves 4)

Pour the gin into a container with a lid. Put the tea directly into the gin and put the lid on the container. You can leave the container out on the counter or put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but it gets stronger if you allow it to go over night before removing the tea leaves. In a pitcher, mix together the gin, lemon juice and Agave Nectar and stir. This is a perfect drink to use the tea ice cubes with (Link).

There are plenty of other teas that can be substituted in these recipes, so feel free to play and enjoy.

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5 Tips for Making Your Own Tea Blends

Herbs and spices to create your own tea blend.

Herbs, spices, flower petals, and more can be used to create your own tea blend.

Making your own tea blends is a fun way to play with your tea and allow you to make a one-of-a-kind creation for yourself or for a special event. Before pulling out all the spices you can find, you should keep in mind the following.

    1. Bad tea is bad tea. No matter how good your spicing or flower mix is, it cannot cover up bad tea. If you want a good tasting blend, you need to start with good quality tea. If you are contemplating blending to try to use a tea you do not like or tastes slightly off, put those tea leaves in your flower bed or compost pile, your plants will love you and you do not have to drink bad tea.
    2. Less is more. When working with spices and herbs like cinnamon, mint, or lavender, a little bit goes a long way. Tea is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs all odors in the air. It only takes thirty mints of exposure to mint, that is just sitting next to it on the counter, for mint flavor to appear in your tea, adding that to the spice itself amplifies its effect. Start with these spices and herbs at 1/8-1/4 of a teaspoon per ounce of tea and work your way up to a flavor profile you like.
    3. Work in small batches. Black tea can have a three year shelf life, but few additives can last that long. If you are making a blend, work with no more than 2 ounces of tea, which makes thirty cups.
    4. Use dried or fresh edible flowers, but brew them first by themselves. To brew them by themselves, you will want about 1 gram to 1 ounce of water, bring the water to a boil and steep for 5 minutes. Sorry, but a scale is necessary when handling flower petals, there is no direct conversion to teaspoons as their weights vary dramatically. This will mimic what will happen when it is in the tea and give you an idea of what flavor it can add to the mix. Dried flowers, like calendula (marigold) are frequently added to tea for their appearance but they have their own flavor. By itself, calendula tastes like leather, but in a tea it adds depth and a full mouth feel. Keep in mind number 3 when working with flowers as well.
    5. Size of ingredients matter if you are planning to store the tea. Small ingredients will fall to the bottom of your container, if you size the ingredients to the size of the tea you have a better chance of it remaining blended evenly while in storage. If that isn’t possible, you will want to pour out the dried tea, stir and then scoop out what you need to brew a cup or pot.

We have several tea blend recipes for you to play with including Almond Tea, Kashmiri Chai, and Masala Chai.

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