Vanilla Bean Rooibos Tea Cookies and a Giveaway

by rivka on April 25, 2013 · 22 comments

in cookies and bars

Our kitchen’s been busy as ever, with spring finally here. The fridge is full of green (and even some red: rhubarb is back!) and I can’t control the urge to cook a million things all at once. It’s a special kind of attention deficit, and fortunately, its only notable side effects are too many pots bubbling on the stove and lots of full containers in the fridge/freezer/sink. Not too bad.

Chalk it up to my enthusiasm about spring recipes that I never shared this gem from fall. I love rooibos tea, I love vanilla beans, and I love sable cookies. One good day last November, I decided to put those three things together. A few whirls of the food processor later, I wound up with these lovely cookies, fragrant from toasted rooibos and whole vanilla beans and crunchy from their coat of sanding sugar.

The recipe actually won first place in Food52′s Vanilla contest, and it’ll be featured in (I think) the 3rd Food52 cookbook. So far, I’ll have been published in all 3 books. So exciting!

In the fall, I’d have recommended you eat them with a spot of hot tea. But now that it’s nice out, why not serve them with either iced tea or iced coffee? I’m already picturing a plate of them set out on our deck.

…But I know why you’re really here: giveaways are so fun, aren’t they? This one is especially delicious: the kind folks from Sucré are offering one lucky NDP reader macarons! That’s right: Sucré will send the winner of this giveaway its Signature Macaroon Collection. That’s 15 macarons in flavors like chocolate, salted caramel, and pistachio. What’s not to love?

To enter, simply Like our Facebook page, then leave a comment below sharing either your most frustrating macaron baking story, a tip for baking perfect macarons, or just your favorite flavor of macaron. I’ll pick a winner next Wednesday, May 1st. Stay tuned, and good luck!

Update 5/1/13: The giveaway has ended! I picked a random number on

And the 15th non-duplicate comment is….Margot C! Congratulations, Margot! I’ll be in touch with details about your macarons.

Vanilla Bean Rooibos Tea Cookies
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons rooibos tea leaves (about 5 tea bags)
1 vanilla bean, whole, ends trimmed, cut into segments
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons milk
1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Heat a small stainless steel pan over medium heat. When pan is hot, add rooibos leaves, and shake pan to distribute tea into a single layer. Toast for about 2 minutes, until tea is fragrant but not darkened. Depending on your leaves, this may happen much more quickly; watch it carefully. When leaves are fragrant, transfer them to a bowl and let cool for a couple minutes.

Combine the sugar, vanilla bean, and rooibos in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for about 2 minutes, until there are no chunks of bean left in the bowl. Add the powdered sugar, flour, and salt to the bowl and pulse a few times to combine. Then add the milk, vanilla, and butter and pulse several times, until a dough forms.

Turn dough onto a very lightly floured surface, gather it together, and roll it gently into a log 1.5-inches in diameter.

Sprinkle turbinado sugar on a plate or work surface, and roll cookie dough log in the sugar, making sure to cover the entire surface of the log with sugar. Wrap log in plastic or wax paper and transfer to the fridge or freezer for at least 30 minutes to chill. (You can leave the log in the freezer and slice off cookies one by one, whenever the urge strikes.)

When ready to bake, turn on the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat.

Remove log from fridge or freezer, and cut 1/3-inch slices off the log, rotating the log as you go to ensure that cookie slices stay round. Transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between each (they don’t really spread, but they need breathing room to crisp up). Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are just starting to brown. Leave on the cookie sheet to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days.

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