with Darjeeling tea filling
The original spark of inspiration for these cookies came from leafing through Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen (by Georgeanne Brennan), a book that one of Richard's aunts gave me as an early Christmas present (of course with the string attached that she wanted something out of the book for Christmas this year). Amongst the recipes that I'd flagged to try during my first flip-through of the book were these awesome-looking vanilla cardamom cookies. But, these are not it. For some reason, I wanted something more. And nothing was more natural a companion to vanilla and cardamom than Darjeeling tea. :-)
I was hugely lucky also that my roommate, Maria, had brought me some Darjeeling tea from Darjeeling, India! on her trip there last year. Of course, being me, I had to find a way to bake with it rather than sitting down and enjoying a cup....
Anyhow, I hope that everyone enjoyed a very Merry Christmas! Have a great final week to 2009!
Read on for recipe...
Vanilla cardamom cookies
2 1/2 cups AP flour
3/4 tspn salt
1/2 tspn baking powder
1 heaping Tbspn ground cardamom (or more, if you want extra spicy cookies)
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tspn vanilla
vanilla sugar, optional (recipe found here)
1. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom, and black pepper. Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium.
3. Mix in the egg and vanilla to the fluffed butter and sugar.
4. Gradually add the dry ingredients in two batches and mix until combined.
5. Wrap the dough in 2-3 separate portions in parchment paper and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling:
Darjeeling tea filling
1/2 cup whole milk
4-5 Tbspn loose leaf Darjeeling tea
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup veggie shortening
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1. In a small saucepan, combine milk and Darjeeling tea. Bring to almost a boil.
2. Remove the milk from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
3. Return the milk to heat and simmer until the liquid reduces by about a half or more. Let cool.
4. In a mixer, beat butter and shortening for about 2-3 minutes on medium.
5. Add milk tea and gradually mix in powdered sugar.
6. With mixer on high, beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Baking and assembling:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Take one portion of dough out of the freezer at a time. Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper or on a floured surface until about 1/4" thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
3. Place prepared dough on a pan with a silpat or sheet of parchment paper. If using, sprinkle each piece with vanilla sugar.
4. Bake cookies for ~15-18 minutes, rotating once half-way through.
5. Remove cookies and let cool.
6. Fill a pastry bag with the filling and pipe a small amount on a cookie. Sandwich the filling with another cookie and gently press down.