This time last year, we couldn’t afford to buy butter.
I became a stupid-smart shopper, able to build a week’s worth of healthy meals – for two – for cheap. I mean ridiculously cheap, insanely cheap, mistaken-for-a-bygone-war-torn-era sort of cheap. I remember cringing one week when my total bill cost $24. Twenty four bucks.
Those were the dark days, though they were also filled with sparkles and light, since I spent a good deal of my time petting my kitty and creating recipes, albeit recipes that I couldn’t make because I couldn’t buy the ingredients.
Things have changed.
We financed a truck, bought a sweet-ass bike, and are saving up for the next big thing (whatever that may be). Having two incomes sure makes a difference, and I am thankful for our recent tide of relative prosperity every day.
One thing I have always made room for in my budget is quality tea. Tea time is the best time, and if you are a tea drinker like myself, you will surely agree. There are a lot of great teas out there, and each has their place. Darjeeling and jasmine are old standbys, oolong, rooibos, yerba maté, and Irish breakfast are enjoyable, and silver needle and puerh, while relatively new to me, have become fast favorites.
But there is one amazing tea that stands out from the rest, and I literally cannot get enough of it. TeaSource Gold, sold by Minnesota tea store TeaSource, is so flipping incredible it makes me want to do cartwheels. If you know me IRL, chances are you’ve seen me drinking a cup or two hundred of this at some point. Black congou tea leaves are balanced by orange blossoms, red sandalwood, elderberry, passionfruit, and other mystery ingredients. While it smells floral and fruity, it isn’t a pansy cup of tea – it’s quite hearty and black. A fascinating contradiction…. like tea, like tea drinker?
My mum and I discovered the tea by chance and I latched on like a vulture after my first cup. Every few days, I go without tea just to make sure that it is the taste, and not the caffeine, that I am addicted to. My affection for this damn tea is so strong, it makes me feel effusively maudlin.
Gift from the gods of Tea Time
Gold be still my heart
Your hue is gentle
Dark mystery with hints of
I love to drink you
Dregs but an invite for more
More more more more now.
That was nice, no? There is a reason I don’t share my poetry here…. and that reason would be that I don’t write poetry. Except for that gem.
Despite a love so strong that I keep this tea everywhere (in my lunchbox, in my truck, in my pockets), I had never baked with Gold until now. Uff da, these cookies are good. All icebox cookies are, true, but these are quite enjoyable. Perfect for tea time.
In honor of those times when I couldn’t afford butter, how about a recipe starring the stuff? I chose to lightly burn the butter (or brown, for the pretentious among us), to give it an extra deep nutty taste. As if butter needs help to be tastier, but as I always say, there’s nothing wrong with an extra ounce of tasty.
If you’re curious, and would like to try TeaSource Gold before buying, I would be happy to send you a little sachet of it, provided you don’t mind any germs my grubby cookie hands might have. Anything I can do to spread the tea love in the world, you guys.
Burnt Butter + Gold Tea Cookies
Original recipe || Makes 24-28 small cookies
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tbsp + 2 tsp TeaSource Gold tea
Heaping 1/4 tsp salt
1 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
In a saucepan or sauté pan, heat the butter over medium heat until it begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and stir – the butter should darken an additional amount before cooling. [Unless the solids from the butter are seriously burnt, do not strain them out, as they will add extra flavor]
With a mortar and pestle (or small grinder), crush the tea leaves until fine. Add salt, and combine. Pour tea mixture into butter, and let steep / cool for five to ten minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and sugar. Mix in the tea butter, and stir until combined. Place dough on a rectangle of wax paper or parchment paper, and work the dough so that it become a thin log – roughly 1″ in diameter, or slightly greater. Wrap with the paper, and freeze for 30 minutes or more.
Heat oven to 350F. With a sharp knife, cut cookie slices that are between 1/4″ and 1/3″ in thickness. Place them on a baking stone or a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, until edges have begun to turn a light golden and the cookies have puffed slightly. Let cool on the pan, to allow cookies to harden up.
Serve with tea, duh.
And to end, an out-of-focus picture of my cat licking a sock.