A few days ago, Andrew Sullivan wrote about how the London Fog Tea Latte from Starbucks reminded him of the cuppa his mum used to make for him when he was a child. It sounded pretty good, so I stopped off for one on my way home from work that night.
I'm always looking for new cookie ideas, and this drink, with its Earl Grey tea, steamed milk, and vanilla syrup seemed like a good flavor combo to try.
I'm no stranger to tea-based cookiese. In fact, my Dark Earl Grey Cookies rank in my top five favorite recipes. Looks like I've got some experimenting to do!
Oh...random, I know...but check out R.E.M's "Find the River." It must be the only song ever to include the word bergamot--that's the citrus in Earl Gray tea--in its lyrics.
My friend Brad is back in town for a monthlong break from his job in Afghanistan. We've been having a fun time celebrating his return, which includes baking some cookies, of course! How can you not have fun when you're laughing and talking and messing around in the kitchen?
Brad loved the Coconut, Walnut, and Chocolate Cookies I included in his Christmas care package, but I figured we needed to make something a little more adventurous. So, over the weekend, we made some junk-food tweaks to my Copycat Momofuku Compost Cookies, including:
1. replacing the potato chips with Cheetos
2. swapping the used coffee grounds for a packet of Via instant coffee from Starbucks
3. trading the regular pretzels for chocolate-covered
4. adding Bugles covered with peanut butter and chocolate
5. increasing the amount of Fritos
Fresh from the oven, these had the all the Compost Cookie elements I love--salty and sweet, chewy and crunchy--but the peanut butter and coffee elements were coming through a little stronger than I had anticipated. But no need to worry. After the cookies had cooled down completely, the flavors mellowed and mingled and came into balance, with the peanut butter, coffee, and chocolate complimenting each other and contrasting the saltiness and crunchiness of the Cheetos and Fritos.
All this goes to prove that you should feel free to add to and subtract from this recipe and use whatever salty/sweet and chewy/crunchy bits of junk food you've got on hand to make this recipe. I'm pretty sure the cookies will come out tasty no matter what. And if they dont? Well...add them to your compost heap!
Marya, a longtime reader and real-life recipe user, wrote in to say that she made the most of the recent blizzard by baking up a batch of my Nutella-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies:
Hi! My roommate and I decided to make nutella stuffed peanut butter cookies after deliberating between all your nutella recipes. She went to the store in the snowmocalypse we're experiencing here in ATL and I cleaned the kitchen. We made half the cookies (a double batch, I should add, because if you're going to make some, make a whole bunch for later!) already, and they are SO GOOD. My roommate bought peanut butter/chocolate chip combo chips (by accident), and we think they were a good addition. Thanks for another amazing recipe. Can't wait to make more (after a good long 10 mile run to work this off!!!)
Hi, Marya! Thanks so much for stopping by, trying my recipes, and letting me know how they come out. I love it! I'm so glad you like these guys. Nutella and peanut butter make an excellent combo, if I do say so myself.
We're getting walloped by another blizzard, so I hope you're warm, dry, and finishing off the rest of those cookies.
B, a reader and real-life recipe user, wrote in with some blog-love and some follow-up info about Lisa's oat flour query:
I've used both in the Oatmeal Snickerdoodle recipe (one of my favorite cookies EVER!). I got the oat flour from the bulk bins at Whole Foods and used it the first time I made them. The end result is just as delicious and slightly less...gritty? Maybe? No matter how long I grind my oatmeal I can't get it as fine as the oat flour. However, I've made them half a dozen times since then with ground oatmeal and I have zero complaints about them. They still disappear just as quickly as they did the first time!
Thanks for writing in, B. Wow. That's some high praise for my Oatmeal Snickerdoodles. Thank you so much! And thanks also for adding to the conversation. So there you have it, everyone: Ground oatmeal and milled oat flour are perfectly interchangeable. Feel free to use whichever you have on hand!
Lisa emailed me with a few questions about the ground oatmeal in my Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies:
Hi and thanks for a great site! Your recipes call for ground oatmeal. So I want to know if oat flour can be used in your cookies? I understand that oat flour has no gluten & that recipes won't rise because of that. OR is the ground oatmeal totally recommended by you? Also, if I ground the oatmeal in a blender then how do I know I have the correct ratio called for in your Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies (and other cookie recipes you have)? Thanks so much & I can't wait to make your cookies!
Hi there, Lisa! You should grind then measure. If you have extra ground oatmeal, you can freeze it in a Zip Loc bag and save it for another batch of cookies. (Hooray!) But, to prevent grinding more oatmeal--or any other "grindable"--than I need, I tend to process the equivalent of only a few handfuls at a time. I then measure what I have and grind more if I need it.
I haven't used milled oat flour before in any of my recipes, but my guess is that it's as fine and powdery as regular white flour. Because people are more likely to have oatmeal on hand than oat flour, I'd suggest grinding the oatmeal in-house as I've described. The oatmeal you grind yourself will not be as fine as oat flour, so it will yield a cookie with a really nice texture. In addition, you won't need to tweak the measurements in my recipes to account for the finer grain of the oat flour.
I hope this helps. Happy baking!
Erin wrote in a few days ago with a quite festive modification to my recipe for Mulled Apple Cider Cookies:
I can confirm that these are just as delicious when a half cup of reduced Christmas wassail is used in lieu of the half cup of reduced mulled cider. These were a huge hit!
Hi, Erin. Thanks for writing in! I've never had Christmas wassail before, but after some research, you've made me a convert.
Christmas wassail is a hot spiced fruit punch--sometimes with some booze added to the mix. I'll have to put this on The List for next year's "12 Days of Christmas Cookies" posts.