*This post was generously sponsored by Dollar Tea Club. I received a fee and free product in exchange for creating original recipes and original photography with and inspired by their teas. All opinions are, as always, honestly mine.*
Another summer has come and gone and here I am left to soak in every drop of sun that I can get before the winter comes. As days grow shorter and shadows longer, my body begins to crave heartier meals and flavors that satisfy deeply. Every autumn and winter I find myself chasing that good old stick-to-your-bones type of feeling, but with foods that won't actually weigh me down. While I'm not quite ready to get into the savory flavors of the season (I'll be eating tomatoes and corn until they're all gone, don't you worry), I'm always more than welcoming when it comes to something sweet. Enter: a cookie that you'll want to eat 5 at a time and that won't make you feel guilty for doing so.
I originally invented this cookie recipe as a spring treat that would fit into a friend's Whole 30 diet but that would still wow at a dinner party. As someone with a few dietary restrictions myself, I am always happy to take on the challenge of accommodating those of my dinner guests. So I experimented with nut flours and natural sweeteners that wouldn't violate the Whole 30 rules, but that would, of course, turn out a simple and delicious end result. Aand then I added something that wasn't Whole 30-compliant to the top - powdered sugar. While that sugary glaze on top certainly rounds out this cookie experience and look, the mixture of tangy lemon zest, smooth vanilla and maple, and nutty almond flour in the cookie itself turned out to be a perfectly delicious balance on it's own. My original attempt at this cookie contained rose petals and chopped pistachio nuts instead of earl grey tea, and I highly recommend that you and your loved ones experiment with whatever dry, flavorful ingredient strikes your fancy for the season. And maybe reserve a few of these to be served naked, for those guests of yours who will not be indulging in sugar.
This variation on my gluten and sugar free tea cookie is beautifully perfumed with a dark and floral earl grey tea, and I expect most dry teas would be wonderful in it's place. If you want to try the earl grey blend that I used, or any other number of unique or classic teas, check out Dollar Tea Club and take 15% off your first order with the code SLVX. All of DTC's tea blends are direct trade, meaning they are sourced straight from the growers whom DTC's founders have been working and building relationships with for over 30 years. All teas are sourced seasonally, with fruit and herbal ingredients grown and mixed in Europe, which ensures that all growers must follow the European Union Pesticide Restrictions.
Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free Tea Cookies with Earl Grey
Prep time: 15 minutes. Bake time: 10 minutes.
Ingredients for about thirty small cookies:
1/2 cup earl grey tea (I used loose leaf earl grey from Dollar Tea Club - take 15% off your first order from Dollar Tea Club with code SLVX)
4 cups almond flour
2/3 cups maple syrup or honey (I tend to use a mixture of the two just because I somehow always have half a bottle of each in my pantry. Use whatever you prefer between the two!)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp lemon juice
Ingredients for glaze & decoration:
*Please note that this glaze is NOT sugar free!*
3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp earl grey tea leaves
Preheat oven to 350*F. Line two baking sheets with butcher paper or a silpat.
Mix all dry ingredients together (almond flour, salt, baking powder, zest, tea).
Add lemon juice and vanilla extract then slowly drizzle in maple syrup/honey and incorporate with a fork as you go. After all maple syrup/honey is added, mix with a fork until the batter is chunky and sticky. It will still be pretty crumbly, so don't worry about making it smooth.
Use your hands to pinch off chunks of dough and roll them into smooth little balls and place evenly on baking sheets with about 3/4 of an inch in between each cookie ball.
Wrap the bottom of a small, flat glass in butcher paper. Use the glass bottom to evenly squish each cookie ball until it is a flat round, a bit more than a 1/4 of an inch thick. If cookies are sticking to the bottom of the glass, use a flat butter knife to help coax them off without disfiguring the rounds.
Optional: make your cookie rounds look pretty by squishing the sides in and flipping each cookie upside down so that they are flat, even, and perfectly round. If you don't care how they look, skip this step!
Bake cookies for 10 minutes and check. If they are not yet golden brown around the edges, give them an additional 5 minutes to bake.
Let cookies cool for 10-15 minutes while you make the glaze.
Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice quickly with a fork to make glaze.
Once cookies are cool, use a fork or spoon to drizzle or spread glaze on top of each cookie, sprinkling with earl grey tea leaves as you go. Let glaze and cookies set for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Enjoy these beautiful cookies with a cup of tea and good friends!