Earl Grey Tea Cookies

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I miss tea. I miss tea time in New York at my old favorite spots, that have since, sadly closed. The shutdown of operations were probably major contributors for me taking the final steps to leave behind my crazy Manhattan life. But, god, if there is anything I miss from the other coast, besides Tuesday night all you can drink at Doc Holidays... its tea time.

There is something so simple and beautiful about enjoying tea with friends. It just doesn't seem right to rush tea into to-go containers. It urges you to take the pot, and sit down a while... taking your time to enjoy your day... or trying to rectify a really bad one. Indeed, there just isn't anything like tea. The times we (Schmoopie et moi) pretended to be super fancy while attempting to solve all things life... we always did it over tea. and various pots of tea. and tea lattes. green tea cupcakes. lavender bread. and tea infused cookies. Well I guess that brings me to my recette. Le cookie du the. It is a take on shortbread, but with that great bergamot flavor from earl grey tea leaves. If you love tea.... this is a must. And if you don't... just give it a shot. They're truly special.

So have a treat, invite a friend over, and remind yourself sometimes you just need to take the time. So why not do it over deliciousness. Maybe the Brits did get something right afterall.

Early Grey Tea Cookies
adapted from The Kitchn

These are so, so simple. You can make (and bake) them, start to finish, in about 30 minutes. (minus refridge time) I used tea from an organic tea bag, but I'm sure loose leaf would work just as well....if not better.

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Begin the wonderfulness by pulsing together the flour sugars, salt, and tea leaves in a food processor. You want the tea leaves to be finely ground.

Ina separate bowl beat your butter up and then add in the vanilla and honey until combined. Finally add in your dry mixture until everything is uniform. Roll your dough into a log and place in the refridge. Wrap it up... in parchment or plastic, to avoid other smells being absorbed. Chill for about 30 minutes.

When ready preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the dough from the refridge and slice off quarter inch segments off the log. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they just are turning brown. Enjoy... with tea.

Music Pairing

"Glamorous" by Fergie

This song always makes me think of my favorite tea friend. Too many good times were spent swifer-ing the floors and sipping tea over this tune. Plus, you cant help but feel first class fanciful with tea. and tea cookies.

I Did Not Bake This...

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I repeat. I, Stephanie Stein did NOT bake this dense, delicious, walnut cranberry, whole grain loaf. But I wish I did. I did, however, take a crucial part in the consumption of it. And I'm damn proud of it.

After leaving Paris behind, and regretfully my addiction to good bread (and believe me, not by choice), I have come along a great bakery, right here, within a lengthy biking distance from my house in California. Double yay!

So,again I didn't bake this, and have no recipe to give you, but what I can do, is share the gloriousness of this place with you. That is if you happen to be somewhere in northern/central California strongly craving delicious bread. Its my new favorite, and if you aren't somewhere close to here, then please plan a visit.

Did I mention its a winery too? Just sayin...

Tarte au Citron REMIX

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fantabulous photo compliments of Miss Megan W Moore

So this time I did things a little backwards. Sitting at the comp listening to le musique on the wondrous Grooveshark, I was smiling so hard listening to M Ward (also the smiles no doubt credited the gloriousness of the weekend too) I decided to let the song dictate the recipe. No thought really, just listening and then whatever came to mind... smiles, sun, bike rides, and ah yes, a lemon tart. Et plus...le chanson: "Chinese Translation" par M. Ward.

I think its partially because I have just wanted an excuse to make a tarte au citron. Ive been thinking about it since I left Paris and their cute little sunshine tartlets with "citron" written in a white chocolate cursive over their tops. My mom is going to kill me, when she sees yet another dessert sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting for her to make sure the lines from the last slice are as straight and clean as possible, usually meaning a sliver here and there to even everything out. Its true that the poor pies, tarts, crumbles, cobblers (not to be confused with the shoe man) always need a bit of help when it comes to upkeep and we, the Steins, have dedicated ourselves to never let one let itself go, you might say, until there isn't a crimbly crumb left. Its funny though how no frittata, Shepard's pie, or any of the like never needs any straightening like the glazed foodstuffs do. I guess sometimes you just do what you can, and when it comes to straight lines and the absence of crumbs, I guess we will just stick with the suga.

Tarte au Citron ReMix with Almond Meal Crust
adapted from Mr. David Lebowitz

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of one lemon, grated
1/2 cup raw sugar (such as turbinado)
6 TB butter
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

One pre-baked Almond Meal Tart Shell (recipe to follow)

You are ready to commence!

In a small saucepan, heat the lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter until everything is melted together. Keep on low heat.

In a separate bowl whisk together your eggs and yolks. To this eggy mix add about a couple TB of the buttery sugary mix to temper. Once you have warmed the egg mix whisk the two mixes together in the saucepan over low heat. The mixture should thicken, but be sure to stir constantly and attentively so you don't get scrambled eggs.... not a welcome attribute of a tarte au citron I say.

Once you see whisk marks in your curd (this should have taken about 10 minutes), pour through a strainer right into your pre-baked tart shell. Let this set up for a couple hours so you have a nice sturdy tart. Finish with shaved white chocolate...trust the frenchies on this one. Enjoy with puckered lips...

Ah, yes, to make the crust (or 2).....

Sweet Almond Tart Crust

adapted from Mr. Pierre Herme

Now, lets try something new. To get things just right when you are baking..whether it be bread or crusts, you need to start doing the gram things. I know, I know. I was intimidated at first too. But why? Its so easy. I guess it was letting go of my cute stainless measuring cups that I have grown accustomed to and reaching for my mom's digital scale that hasn't been used in a creep's age.* One definite benefit is the precise number flashing at you on the screen, ensuring accuracy time in and out. Yay for something new.

285 grams sweet (unsalted) butter
150 grams raw sugar (such as turbinado)
100 grams ground almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
500 grams white whole wheat flour

Beat da butta. until creamy. Then add in your sugar, ground almonds, salt, vanilla, and eggs and beat on medium speed in a kitchen aid until things are just Incorporated. Then, take your flour and add, bit by bit, at a low speed. Et viola... you have your dough. Refrigerate at least for 2 hours or up to 3 days. This also keeps in the freezer....just transfer to the fridge about a half day before rolling.

When ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Now, formation. It depends what you are making the crust for, but for this particular recipe, I like to keep the dough fairly thick (around one inch) to counterbalance the intensity of the lemon. Flour your work space as needed, as well as the top of the dough. Roll dough out to desired thickness. Place in your desired vessel (mine was a medium sized square Pyrex) and it took approximately took 20 minutes to finish with a nice goldeny brown tone. Don't forget to stab the dough with a fork before baking. Once it has cooled, pour your citrus filling dans le centre et refridge ou mangez tout suite! Comme vous voulais....

Now... if you have managed to wait long enough to let your tart set, take a slice, turn on the aforementioned tune and skip around in circles trying not to stumble over your clumsy feet. There is nothing like good music, citrus tarts, sunshine, and a great spring day. If I ever open a cafe, each time someone orders a tarte au citron, the above will commence. They might think I'm a wacko, but again....I'm just gonna run with it.

*not exactly sure what this is suppose to mean....but just roll with it.
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