Posted on October 04 2013
Week 1 of the Christmas Cookie Exchange Challenge…
Vanilla Roobios Tea Meltaways
I have to admit I was excited for this self-imposed challenge to begin. I love baking, I love cookies (well sweets in general) and if I can do all this and call it work…Well, why not!
First, let me back track a little. I LOVE Christmas, probably more than your average person. I have all sorts of romantic ideals about the holiday and neighborly fantasies of carolers, cookie exchanges, house decorating contests, and maybe even one day a white Christmas in South Florida (I am not holding my breath for the last one – but a girl can dream!). Well, I have never gone to a cookie exchange but this year I have been invited to not one but TWO. Couple that with my slightly competitive nature and you bring us to the present day and my self-imposed challenge. Find the BEST Christmas cookie or two to take to these exchanges.
I decided to start with something easy: Vanilla Roobios Tea Meltaways from the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies publication for this year. I had all the ingredients on hand so I thought this would be a great start.
¾ cup butter, softened ½ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla roobios tea leaves 1 tablespoon strong brewed vanilla roobios tea
½ cup powdered sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
Start off by melting ¼ cup of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter is fully melted and bubbles.
Promptly remove from heat and steep the tea leaves in the melted butter for 4 minutes. Strain the butter into a large mixing bowl through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the tea leaves.
In the same large mixing bowl add the remaining butter (1/2 cup) and ½ cup of powdered sugar. Beat on medium to high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla, flour, and cornstarch and beat until just combined. Do not over beat. (as a side note – I always level off my flour with the back edge of a knife to ensure an accurate measurement. Something I remember learning in junior high Home Ec. Class and I haven’t stopped since)
The dough will be crumbly, empty out onto a clean surface and shape into a roll approximately 10 inches long.
(Yes I got out my ruler! Don’t laugh at me I have engineers for parents and I can’t fully shake the preciseness I grew up with.) Wrap your roll in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill for about 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to slice evenly.
So while you are waiting it is the perfect time to grab a cup of tea and relax on the back patio with a good book…
Wait…who am I kidding? I have an infant son and a small business to run. I need to make sure my teeth are brushed and I am back to work emailing customers and putting the finishing touches on some custom made aprons for a local store.
Okay so 2 hours or so have passed (I waited about 3 and I had to let the cookies warm up a bit on the counter to get a good even slice). Time to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and pull out your cookie sheets. (I used two) Using a serrated knife, cut the roll into ¼ inch slices and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, approximately 1 inch apart.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are a very light brown. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool before glazing.
To make the glaze combine the powdered sugar and brewed tea in a small bowl and mix together.
I found that I needed more glaze than that (it might have been because I tasted it…but I don’t think I had that much!) I would double the glaze recipe, it’s easy to do and you will probably need it. Simply spoon the glaze on the cookies and let stand on the wire rack until the glaze is set.
According to Better Homes and Gardens you can store them in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Now for the taste test: I have to admit I was underwhelmed. I love a good tea cookie as much as the rest but these taste a bit chalky! I am sorry to have started out with such a bust but I guess that is what this Challenge is about - Weeding out the fabulous from the only okay. To be fair I wouldn’t say they were terrible and I did have two, but I certainly wouldn’t sneak these in the middle of the day and break my diet. You can certainly taste the roobios tea and it is a nice light overall flavor but I am scratching these from the list to make again. Sorry Better Homes and Gardens!
P.S. My Husband just came home and tried them and LOVED them. So there you go... You will have to let me know how you like them and then we can really decide I guess. I'll bring some to the Sarasota Farmer's Market tomorrow to give away if you are local. If you are not local I'm sorry to be missing you tomorrow but the recipe is easy enough try them for yourself and let me know how you like the taste!
Next week I’ll give them a chance at redemption with the Milk Chocolate and Cherry Cookies.
Only 82 more days till Christmas!!