I had the pleasure of being the Chef for a Twining Tea inspired menu at the PC Cooking School (in Bayview Village). I met Stephen Twining, a 10th generation of the Twining family. He knows his tea! No, he really knows his tea – you might say “it’s in his blood!” The Twining family has been in the tea trade since the 1700’s. Of note, they have been the official purveyor of teas since Queen Anne appointed them in 1711 –and still are the official purveyors to today’s royals. Wow! Stephen gave a fascinating presentation – I caught pieces of it during lulls in prep time (it was the one time I wished I was a participant in these classes). It was a short history of the company – it’s origins, it’s growth, where they are now and a little glimpse into what they are doing to bring tea, sorry – the finest of tea, to our bone china and (heaven forbid) paper cups! My mum always had tea in a tea cup – never a mug or regular cup, she had a proper set of tea cups for just this purpose.

We did three recipes and a mocktail, two made by the eager participants in the class and the main and mocktail made by me. The recipes all contained tea – Mango and Green Tea, Golden Tipped English Breakfast and of course – the most noble of all (and one of their newest line) Twining’s London Strand Earl Grey. This is the same Earl Grey I have used in my Earl Grey Shortbread cookies featured on this site (a long time ago) but ramped up – a newer significantly more fragrant and flavorful Earl Grey. There is no way to describe the powerful aroma this tea provided as I opened the bag to get at some. I’m presenting their recipe for Earl Grey Tea Cookies below.

If you are a tea drinker, spoil yourself and go get this tea. If you are not a tea drinker, go out and get this tea anyway, then start baking, cooking (poached salmon anyone?!) and maybe eventually drinking this tea. This is a great cookie recipe. There were three groups that made this recipe – I sampled one from each group – consistently good results. A slightly crispy cookie packed with flavor from that aromatic London Strand Earl Grey tea. When Henry Evans of Twinings North America asked how I liked the new variety and I told him we didn’t have any. He looked horrified – for a moment, then immediately ran to his car and picked us a box of it for this recipe – thanks! I guess if I can carry a grill pan in my car, Henry can carry samples of tea in his! I will post a recipe for their Exotic Mango and Green Tea Poached Salmon with Ginger Lime Sauce at a later date.

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp. Twinings London Strand Earl Grey Tea leaves
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
1 teaspoon water
½ cup unsalted butter

Pre-heat your oven to 375f
Whiz the dry ingredients in a food processor until the tea is pulverized – now there were three groups making this cookie – some pulverized some not quite as much – both really delicious end results, so make this twice and then you can be the judge!
Add the vanilla, butter and water
Pulse (this time) to cut the butter into the dry ingredients – only until it starts to form a dough
Pour out and roughly shape into a log, place on a sheet of parchment and using the parchment as a guide, press the roll into a log – keep wrapped and pop it into the freezer for about 30 minutes until firm enough to cut into slices

Cut 1/4” or thicker slices, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until slightly browned around the edges
Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely – trust me, you can skip this step. If you haven’t been drinking the tea while they have been baking – the fragrance will drive you crazy and you will start devouring these warm – love the taste!
As always – enjoy!

Earl Grey Cookies 3

Earl Grey - Group Shot

Stephen Twining, Chef and PC Cooking School Coordinator – Vanita Ashat, Me