Tea Houses (Cookies)

Temps des Fêtes 2016
food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

These tasty and delicate sugar cookies begin with a simple dough that can be flavoured with any number of finely ground teas. Making charming house-shaped cookies intended to lie flat, instead of as components to a three-dimensional house, means they’re perfect for beginners. Royal icing mix is available from many bulk shops and most cake decorating stores.

2 cups (500 mL) flour
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder
2 to 4 tsp (10 to 20 mL) finely ground tea (see TEA GUIDE, below, for quantities)
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup (175 mL) sugar
1 egg
1 cup (250 mL) royal icing mix
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice, plus extra for thinning

1 Using sturdy construction paper or transparency film, cut out four or five of your favourite house shapes to be used as templates, each roughly 4 inches (10 cm) wide by 7 inches (18 cm) tall.

2 In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and desired tea. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until all is incorporated. Divide dough in half, flatten slightly and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

3 Arrange oven with 2 racks and preheat to 350°F (180°C).

4 Working with 1 quantity of dough at a time, remove from fridge and unwrap; let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Roll out dough to a scant ¼ inch (about 5 mm) thick, pinching cracks together as necessary. Using templates and a sharp knife, cut out 2 houses and carefully transfer to baking sheet 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until edges of cookies are golden. Let cool completely on baking sheets before moving.

5 Combine royal icing mix and lemon juice in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 6 to 8 minutes or until stiff and voluminous. Thin with a bit of extra lemon juice until preferred consistency for decorating. Using a piping bag and tip, decorate as desired.

To make matcha, Earl Grey or chai cookies, finely grind tea (except matcha, which does not need to be ground further), and use 2 tsp (10 mL) per batch of dough.

To make cranberry, chamomile or ginger tea cookies, finely grind tea and use 4 tsp (20 mL) per batch of dough.


Makes 4 to 5 large cookies