Tea bag cookies

It’s not long until the summer holidays start now! Last year I made these cute little tea bag cookies for the teachers as a leaving present. I had originally seen just a picture of them in a friend’s Facebook feed, and had to do a bit of googling to find a recipe for them. It turned out it’s just a shortbread biscuit dipped in chocolate.

Tea bag cookies on baking sheet

These ones are flavoured with lemon zest, but they could just as well be flavoured with orange zest, cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon or left plain – whatever takes your fancy. There are loads of different recipes available for them – I ended up following the recipe on a French blog called Le Pétrin, which have some of the prettiest versions of them, having utilised the Google Translate services to read it {my French is a bit rusty}.

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To cut out the cookies, make a template. You can make one out of cardboard but I felt it would take too long to cut one out at the time, and instead cut long strips initially which I then cut to size and trimmed the corners to give it the tea bag shape.

Making tea bag cookies
I bought ready made blank tags which we decorated ourselves, but there are lots of templates available with pretty tea pots and other things to print out yourself.

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Tea bag cookies

Ingredients
180g butter or margarine, softened
70g icing sugar
lemon zest, about quarter to half a lemon
1 egg yolk
20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pinch of salt
280g flour
100g dark chocolate (or more… can’t remember how much I actually used)

Method
1) Beat the butter until soft and creamy, add the icing sugar and continue beating until smooth.
2) Add the lemon zest, egg yolk and lemon juice and mix thoroughly until everything is well incorporated.
3) Gradually sift in the flour and salt and stir until everything is well incorporated and you have a stiff dough.
4) Form the dough into a ball, flatten it to a thick disc, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for a minimum half an hour.
5) Preheat the oven to 180C.
6) Lightly flour the work surface. Roll out the dough to about 5 mm thickness.
7) Cut out cookies using a template. Make a whole at the top of each with a straw or piping tip/nozzle – the hole should be about 4mm wide.
8) Place the cookies on a baking tray covered with baking parchment. If possible, refridgerate the cookies for twenty minutes before baking, to allow them to rest and better keep their shape.
9) Bake for about 15-18 minutes until still quite pale with a gold trim. Let cool 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
10) Melt the chocolate and dip the cookies about half way up in chocolate and leave to set for several hours, preferably over night.
11) Tie the lables onto the cookies and voila! – your tea bag cookies are done!

Tea bag cookie

Tea bag cookies on plate

 

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Lemon strawberry cake – and a new kitchen

Summer finally seems to have arrived in Scotland! And with it the chance to relax a bit. The past six month have been very busy – we moved house in the beginning of the year, and I now appreciate why they say moving house is one of the most stressful events that can occur throughout your life. Although having moved several times in the past {including between countries}, I found moving with kids and gutting and redecorating the whole house immediately on entry meant the experience was taken to a whole new level!

Living without a kitchen for three weeks was also an experience. Getting a brand new kitchen at the end of the process was definitely worth it though! Just in case you are a tiny bit curious, this is how our kitchen looked for about two months before it got ripped out…
Kitchen_before
We weren’t using any of the drawers or cupboards, which is why everything was piled on top of the counter.

We then had to use this for three weeks..
Kitchen_during_renovation
…while the kitchen looked like this…
Kitchen_gutted

…before finally getting our new kitchen!
New_kitchen

It’s now a pleasure to cook and bake again. One cake I make every summer, usually as a birthday cake as there are a lot of summer birthdays in our family, is this one.
Lemon_strawberry_cake
I usually make it in a round tin, and without lemon curd in the filling, but I thought I’d mix it up a bit when some friends came round recently. The sponge is flavoured with lemon zest and the addition of lemon curd in the filling makes it very fresh. If you don’t want to fill it, the sponge cake is very good on it’s own too.

Lemon Strawberry Cake

Ingredients
2 eggs
250 ml  sugar
300 ml  plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, zest finely grated or 1 tsp vanilla extract
80 butter
225 ml milk

Filling
3-4 tbsp lemon curd
300 ml whipping or double cream
1 punnet of strawberries
possibly a little bit of icing sugar

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and prepare the cake tin.
2) Whisk eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
3) Gently mix in flour, baking powder and grated lemon zest (or vanilla extract if using)
4) Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the milk and once hot pour over the batter. Gently stir until smooth.
5) Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 mins, until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
6) Once cool, slice the cake into two or three layers and whip the cream.
7) Spread each of the layers (apart from the top one) with lemon curd, then add whipped cream and top with sliced strawberries. For the top of the cake, either spread it with the remaining cream or lightly dust with icing sugar and decorate with whole or halved strawberries.

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