Seven cookies week day 1: Vanilla rooibos cookies

I found the idea for these cookies from the lovely food blog Anne's Food. It was actually that blog which inspired me to start my own (sorry, our own, since Markus also has a part of this project, even though so far he has been more "behind the scenes"). I was very intrigued by the idea of flavoring cookies with tea - I have eaten tea flavored chocolate which worked very well, but I have never tried it in a cookie.

I really like rooibos tea (sometimes called red tea). Rooibos isn't actually a real tea, but the leaves from the Rooibos bush which is native to South Africa. Since it isn't strictly a tea, it has no caffeine, and unlike black or green tea, rooibos tea doesn't become bitter when steeped for a long time. So, feeling a bit adventurous, I decided to make the cookies using a rooibos tea flavored with vanilla and some citrus, instead of Earl Gray tea. Aside from using a different kind of tea, I halved the recipe (not enough butter at home) and only used regular sugar (again, no powdered sugar in the house. I really need to go stack up on some basics!).

The smell coming from the oven was quite heavenly: a mixture of vanilla, butter and citrus with a light floral note (that did sound like a perfume, didn't it?). And they tasted great too! The tea was most noticable through the strong, but not at all overpowering, vanilla flavor, but you could also notice a kind of warm floral taste. The tea leaves also gave the cookies a nice little crunch, which I really liked. A really nice beginning for my cookie project! Now, let's get those babies in the freezer before they disappear...

Vanilla rooibos cookies

Makes about 30 cookies

25o ml (1 cup) flour
125 ml (½ cup) sugar
1½ tbsp vanilla flavored rooibos tea (leaves, not brewed tea!)
100 g butter
½-1 tbsp butter

Mix the flour, tea and sugar together in a food processor. Add the butter, cut in cubes. Add the water, and let the machine work it into a nice dough. Add more water if the dough is too grainy. Shape the dough into a sausage and wrap it in plastic. Put it in the fridge and let it set for a few hours or overnight. When you are ready to bake your cookies, put the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Cut the dough into 4 mm slices. Place on cookies sheets - the dough will float out a little but not too much so you can put them quite close together. Bake for about 10 minutes - they will still be a bit soft when you take them out but they set when the get cooler.

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