Autumn Tea Time Treats

I love the fall. The leaves are changing color and the crisp air means some of my favorite holidays are just around the corner. But, best of all, autumn brings a whole new palette of flavors to bake with. A nice, warm cup of tea is the perfect way to warm up during this season. In these recipes, I incorporated the full aromas of herbal tea to revamp some of my favorite fall treats.

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Nothing reminds me of autumn more like the taste of pumpkin spice. To spice up traditional pumpkin pie flavor, I created Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies filled with a bold chai cream cheese icing.

Looking for something to snuggle up with? Try some London Fog Icebox Cookies, which bring out the subtle floral Earl Grey flavor paired with the sweet pure taste of the fresh vanilla bean.

For tea drinkers and non-tea drinkers alike, these cookies are a perfect treat.

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies with Chai Cream Cheese Icing

For the Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies:
1 cup of granulated sugar
2/3  cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons maple extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs
½ cup oil
½ cup butter
15 oz. canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

  1. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar with the room temperature butter until it is dissolved.
  2. Stir in pumpkin, oil and extracts into the mixture. Add one egg at a time and continue mixing until the batter is blended.
  3. Once the batter is smooth, scoop two tablespoons of dough on a baking sheet that is either greased or lined with parchment paper a few inches apart.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for ten minutes.
  5. Let the cookies cool completely.

For the Chai Cream Cheese Icing:
1 chai tea bag. (The spices in chai tea can vary so pick depending on how fragrant you would like your icing.)
1 cup of room temperature cream cheese
½ cup of room temperature softened butter
½ of teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cardamom (Adjust the levels of the spices to bring out the flavors in your chai tea. The spices in chai tea can vary so pick one that you like that will bring out the warm flavor in the pumpkin cookies.)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
4 cups of icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Directions:

  1. Beat together cream cheese and butter until it is smooth.
  2. Steep your tea in a quarter cup of water to concentrate the flavors and add two tablespoons of tea into the icing mixture.
  3. Combine spices and vanilla into the icing and stir until it is evenly mixed.
  4. Dust half the whoopie pies with powdered sugar to stop them from sticking to the plate.
  5. Spread or pipe the chai icing evenly on these cookies and top with the remaining whoopie pies. Feel free to dust the combined pies with powdered sugar for added décor.

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London Fog Icebox Cookies

Ingredients:
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup icing sugar
½ vanilla bean pod
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon Earl Grey tea leaves
2 tablespoons decorating sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine your granulated sugar, icing sugar and vanilla bean seeds (split the pod and remove the seeds from inside) together in a small bowl until it is evenly mixed.
  2. In a separate bowl (or stand mixer) cream the vanilla sugar mixture with the room temperature butter and then add the egg, vanilla extract and blend well.
  3. Mix in flour, baking powder, salt and Earl Grey tea leaves  into the dough. I picked my favorite Earl Grey tea to use. Feel free to try one with different floral tones for a sweeter or richer taste.
  4. Roll your dough into a log shape and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. If you would like to coat the cookies in decorating sugar, once the log is formed, roll the cylindrical dough mixture in a light sheet of sugar. This is optional, but a cane sugar or any with larger sugar crystals would do the trick.
  5. Let your dough cool for at least 2 hours (until it is chilled and firm) and up to one day.
  6. Cut your chilled dough into equal sized slices. Our cookies were a quarter inch thick but feel free to make them thinner (or thicker) as desired.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. Remember, the thicker the cooker, the longer they will take to bake so adjust your timing accordingly.

Looking for a sweeter taste? Try icing the cookies with an Earl Grey Glaze.
To make the glaze, whisk ¼ cup of tea and the confectioners’ sugar until it is smooth and dip the cookies into the glaze until it is coated. Leave the cookies (glaze side facing up) out to harden.

Images via Bethany Small

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Caleigh is a public relations practitioner who has wandered her way through thirty countries and counting. Based in Toronto, Canada, she loves exploring and is always on the lookout for her next adventure or creative project.

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