Tippy’s Sweet Matcha Butter Cookies

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My lovelies, we’ve discussed springtime picnics and afternoon teas, and I thought I should give a recipe that you can use for both, or even just for snacking on your own. Have you ever made green tea cookies? Kat and I have an recipe for a buttery, tender cookie that have pleasing sweetness and a powerful matcha punch.

These cookies are perfect for any gathering, or could be enjoyed on your own with your favorite cup of tea. Dunk them in your favorite green tea for a super delicious experience.

These cookies only require a few ingredients, and are super simple to make!

Tippy’s Sweet Matcha Butter Cookies

For the cookies:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 tsp culinary grade matcha

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

For the topping:

1/2 tsp matcha

1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, salt and matcha and give it a mix to make sure everything is well combined. Set aside. For the topping, in a small bowl mix together the 1/2 tsp matcha and granulated sugar.

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In an electric mixer cream the butter and powdered sugar until it’s light and fluffy. It will be much lighter than you started, a few minutes on medium/high.

Switch the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. Be careful not to have the mixer on a high setting or you’ll have a cloud of matcha flour in your face!

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When everything is combined, you’ll have a deep green dough. Remove this dough and shape into a log that’s about 10 inches long. Wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. This step is important to make sure you have well-formed cookies!

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. When the dough is ready, slice into cookies about 1/4 inch thick and spread them out on a lightly greased baking sheet (or you can line the cookie sheet with parchment paper if you have it).

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Bake cookies for about 15 minutes (may need a few more minutes depending on how thickly you sliced them) until they just start to get a bit brown and firm. While the cookies are still hot, spring with the sugar/matcha mixture. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely, if you can wait that long to taste them!

Enjoy with your favorite green tea! Kat likes to serve these cookies with Citrus Green Tea from Private Selection. This is a beautiful blend of light, vegetal green tea with a delicate orange flavor. The green tea of course blends well with the cookies, and the orange flavor breaks up the green tea sweetness and refreshes the palate. I just love this combination! Kat always has this tea available in the warmer months for a refreshing yet light iced tea. It’s perfect for picnics and BBQs.

I do hope you enjoy my special cookie recipe! Be sure to check back for more recipes coming soon!

Picnic Tea Sparklers

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Dearies, it’s time to dust off that picnic basket! Since spring is finally here, Kat has been talking endlessly about all of the spring picnics she plans to have. She certainly gets excited about picnics. She wants to have a picnic every weekend! Just the thought of all that planning makes my saucer ache. But, being the good tea cup that I am, I agreed to help Kat find some interesting and unusual tea related recipes for her picnics. I thought I’d focus on one type of recipe in particular today, the tea sparkler.

A fizzy, refreshing, and delicious tea drink is such a fun idea for a picnic! Just make it ahead and put it in a bottle for transportation, or you can even make them right on the spot with just a few ingredients. It’ll definitely add a festive pop to your outdoor gathering!

For something brimming with spring and summer flavor, how about a strawberry and basil iced tea? I came up with this recipe after Kat brought home so many strawberries from the farmer’s market that she could barely fit them all in the fridge:

Tippy’s Strawberry Basil Iced Tea

6 cups brewed black tea such as Assam, Ceylon, or Nilgiri, cooled.

2 cups freshly sliced strawberries

Large handful of basil leaves, torn or roughly chopped, leaving smaller leaves intact

Honey to taste (about a tablespoon)

Small handful of mint leaves

3 cups sparkling water

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large pitcher and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Add in sparkling water. Pour over ice and top with mint leaves. Dearies, isn’t this a lovely twist on iced tea? Perfect for sitting in the grass under a leafy tree.

For a different flavorful fizz, use sparkling apple juice in your tea sparkler! I love that this recipe uses sparkling apple cider along with black tea, lemon and cinnamon. What a delightful combination!

For a boozy sparkle to your outdoor soiree, Kat likes to use the pomegranate champagne cocktail that I came up with for the holidays. You can find my recipe in my previous post here.  The cocktail uses HEB Pomegranate Green Tea, a deliciously festive flavor combination of vegetal green tea and fruity, crisp pomegranate. This tea also has hibiscus added to the blend, which gives a nice tart bite to the brew. It works nicely with the added champagne for a juicy, bubbly brew worthy of your special picnic.

Well, I’m certainly glad to have found these sparkling tea recipes to keep in our picnic arsenal! I won’t get quite as large of a saucer ache when I hear Kat planning how many picnics she wants to have this summer!

Special Tea-Themed Gifts for Mother’s Day

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Dearies, it’s the special time of year when we get to spend the day honoring the most important women in our lives. What are your plans for Mother’s Day? Last year Kat made a lovely breakfast for her mom, and this year she’s planning to have a little spa getaway for just the two of them. She’s been brainstorming beautiful tea themed gift for her mother, so I started thinking up some creative ideas of my own. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Tea Themed Gift Basket: I love the idea of a basket brimming with tea goodies. Package favorite teas in beautiful tins, add a tea-for-one teapot and cup set, a small jar of local honey, maybe even a few delicious cookies. Don’t forget to add a luxurious DIY Tea soak, matcha face scrub, or one of my other tea beauty product ideas! A basket filled with gifts to pamper that most important woman in your life. I’m sure every mother out there could use a bit of luxurious relaxation!

I recently saw a photo on pinterest of a white teapot that had beautiful words and quotes written on it with an oil-based sharpie. You can personalize your own teapot for mom! I love this idea. You can add poetry, quotes from her favorite authors, or lovely little tea themed phrases. It’s a sweet and sentimental way to show your love. She’ll be reminded of you every time she brews a pot of tea. You can get kids of all ages involved in this project.

A small windowsill tea herb garden would also make a sweet gift. If you’re really feeling crafty you can reuse tea tins for the garden! Or you can make a seed kit with all of your favorite herbs to brew into a relaxing nighttime tea. I love adding herbs such as chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, mint, and basil. But really, you can mix and match seeds for any herbs you think your recipient would love to grow and brew. Include a few pretty plant markers and even a small shovel or nice pair of gardening gloves for the ultimate tea gardening gift!

If your mother is a bookworm, how about a tea book? if your mother is anything like me, she’d love to spend the day reading and learning about tea. You could select an informative book like the classic  Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties. This is practically a tea textbook, with everything a tea lover would want to learn about teas from all over the world. Or go for a fun, exciting read that’s a tea-themed mystery! Author Laura Childs writes a series of tea shop mysteries that take place in Charleston, South Carolina. They are fun and filled with tea tidbits!

If you are including tea in your Mother’s Day gift, don’t forget to create your own tea bags with personalized tags! This is one of Kat’s most favorite gifts to create and give. It gives such a lovely personal touch to the gift, and this way you can include lots of different loose leaf teas in easy to brew packages.

Whatever you choose for your Mother’s Day gifts, you can’t go wrong with lots of tea! I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day. I raise my cup to each and every mother. You have the hardest and most important jobs of all!

Teas For National Orchid Day

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Dearies, April 16th was National Orchid Day. I bet you didn’t know that! I found out while examining the kitchen calendar. I love orchids, aren’t they just so beautiful? They may be challenging to grow, but their unique shape and vibrant colors are absolutely worth the effort! Kat actually has an orchid plant that she’s lovingly taken care of for years. It often blooms toward the end of the winter time, and it just brightens up the whole house. Just when Kat starts complaining that winter will never end, the plant gifts us with a burst of springtime color. Dearies, did you know that many oolong teas have a natural orchid aroma and flavor to them? You can bring the beauty of blooming orchids right to your cup.

In fact, there’s even an oolong tea that’s called ‘honey orchid’. The aroma and flavor comes directly from the leaves, and is not an added flavor. Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong is literally honey orchid oolong tea. The orchid flavor and aroma is quite prominent. This tea is grown in the Phoenix mountain area which produces beautiful aromatic oolongs. The tea is fruity, honey sweet, and quite floral. A definite must if you haven’t tried it before.

Tieguanyin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) is one of my most favorite oolong teas, and it has a powerful floral aroma. One sip will transport you to a lush, exotic garden. A good quality oolong will leave your palate remembering that floral flavor for quite a long time.

You can also find oolong teas that have been scented with flowers to recreate that orchid scent. These are of course lovely to drink as well, especially if you are looking for a very strongly scented floral tea. One sip and you’ll imagine your house is filled with vases of gorgeous flowers.

Oolongs range in flavor and can be very light, similar to green teas or much more heavily roasted. I love that you can pick an oolong based on how you’re feeling. Do you want something light and floral with heavy orchid notes, or something more toasty and nutty? If you’d like to learn more about oolong teas, the best way is to taste as many as you can. Prepare them, taste, see what you like. I wrote a post all about oolong a little while back you can find it here.

Kat and I have decided that we love these oolong teas so much, we’re not going to just have them around this floral holiday. We’ll be toasting National Orchid Day all spring and summer long.

Tea Gatherings

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My fine tea friends, do you know of any tea societies? Years ago Char used to be part of a ladies’ tea society that gathered once a week for tea, light refreshments, and lots and lots of gossip. These sort of tea societies are fewer and far between but the idea behind them is still relevant. A time to relax, see friends, share a delicious snack with your favorite teas.

In the UK I’ve come across tea societies that meet for afternoon tea, tea discussions, etc. Sort of like a book club for tea lovers. It’s just a lovely reason to get together. Some tea societies hold themed gatherings where you dress up in costume from a certain period of time. I think I should be an official tea society consultant- I’ve been around for so many decades that I could help out with choosing clothes and food to pair with the teas!

A quick search on meetup.com will result in tea gatherings all over the country. I’m so thrilled to see that people are gathering for tea! If you are interested, try to start a tea society in your area! You’ll have the opportunity to meet people and instantly have something in common with them.

I’ve even come across an organization called Tea With Strangers that is trying to get folks around the country together for tea, in order to get out, meet people, and just have a lovely time.  Especially in this age of constant screen time, it’s so important to foster in-person relationships.

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Kat is trying to create her own little tea club, but it’s been ever so difficult to schedule. Her friends are all so busy! She’s thinking of taking the club online, via Skype or G+ as a weekly hangout. They’ve been coming up with themes for each meeting. For the next meeting, Kat would like to have a ‘berry’ theme. Everyone needs to bring a favorite tea with a berry flavor. Kat’s going to bring her HEB Superberry Green Tea. This tea is full of cranberry and blueberry flavor. The sweet blueberry is enhanced with tangy cranberries for that classic sweet and tart combination. Hibiscus adds to the snappy flavor, and the mellow, vegetal green tea rounds everything out. Kat picked up this tea to ice in the summertime, and realized it is just as delicious hot. Even though the flavors are zippy, the warm green tea always makes her feel calm and relaxed. It’s quite a versatile tea.

Dearies, do you have a tea gathering that you attend? Are you thinking of starting one? I’d love to learn your thoughts!

 

NY Tea Scene

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Dearies, I have traveled all over with Char and Kat, and we’ve experienced tea in many different places. I thought it would be fun to post about different cities that have a vibrant tea scene. Tea is becoming very popular in the states, with tearooms and tea shops opening around the country I’m going to focus on various cities with growing tea scenes in the US. Today I’m going to discuss the New York City tea scene. Kat and I have been to NYC many times, and there is always a new tea place to visit! Here are a few of our favorite places:

Té Company– This is a newer tea shop that Kat has bookmarked to visit on our next trip. Oolong tea is the specialty here. There is a carefully sourced menu of all types of oolongs. Think you know what oolong is? Go to Te, and try as many as you can. They even offer tasting flights so you can try a few at a time. If you are hungry, there is a gorgeous, small menu of seasonal offerings. Teas are served from beautiful small clay teapots.

T-Shop– This place focuses on seasonal Chinese and Taiwanese teas sourced by the owner through personal trips. The little shop is hard to find but worth the effort! Teas are served gong-fu style poured from a gaiwan or small yixing teapot.

Tea Drunk– The focus here is also on Chinese teas, carefully sourced. It’s a great place for a pot of puerh or Chinese green tea. Each table has a tea tray, gaiwan, and tea accoutrements ready for brewing.

Cha-an– This is a Japanese tea house serving delicate Japanese cuisine and lovely teas. The focus is on Japanese green tea.

If you are looking for a matcha fix, you’ll have to visit Chalait, and Matchabar. Both of these cafes focus on the magic of matcha. You can get matcha whisked up in dozens of different ways. Iced, in lattes, even in hot chocolate.

If you’re looking to purchase tea in a shop, you can’t go wrong with Harney & Sons or Palais des Thés.

Don’t forget afternoon tea! There are loads of hotels doing the fancy teas. If you’re looking for something a little more low key, try Bosie Tea Parlor, Tea & Sympathy, or Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon.

Dearies, what favorites have I missed? NYC is so large, you can probably just pick a neighborhood, walk  around, and see what tea places you discover. If you have a favorite place in NY, be sure to mention it. We’ll check it out on our next visit.

Do you have a favorite city that has fabulous places for tea? I’d love to hear about it! Please do leave me a comment below, and it may become our next travel destination.

Mixing Teas & Flowers

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Dearies, I know I’ve written quite a bit about spring time teas, but I’ve recently thought of one more way to get spring flowers in your cup. To actually put them in your cup! I know, it seems too easy to be true, right?

You’ll want to dry your flowers first, or you can purchase them already dried. The amount of flowers you use depends on how much tea you want to make. For a few servings I’ll blend one cup of tea and a tablespoon of flowers and adjust if necessary, but you’ll need to start experimenting and see what works best for you. You may also want to add a floral extract to your blend, to increase the flavor. But that’s entirely up to you!

To make a garden blend with just flowers, you can use equal parts of each flower. Kat likes to blend chamomile and lavender together for a soothing evening blend. She often likes to play around with the following flowers. You can find these already dried online for easy use: rose, jasmine, lavender, hibiscus, chamomile, and chrysanthemum.

Kat likes to create her own version of Rose Congou. This is a fragrant rose tea from China. She takes 1 cup of her favorite Chinese black tea, and 2 tablespoons of dried rose petals. Sometimes she’ll add in a couple drops of rose extract. Mix everything together and store in an airtight container for 1 week. Open the container and give it a sniff. If it smells like a rose garden, it’s ready!

Adding flowers to your tea blends is delicious and also visually appealing. Fill tea filters with your tea blend and share with friends and family. You could also put it in a pretty glass jar for gift-giving, although I wouldn’t recommend storing your tea in glass long-term unless you’re sure to keep it out of the light (see my previous post on properly storing teas!)

You can add your flowers to any of your favorite tea bases, or I also like to use rooibos as a caffeine-free base. You can also skip the tea base altogether and just blend the flowers together!

Now my lovelies, please note I’m not a master tea blender, I just know what Kat and I enjoy. These are just my recommendations to get your mind thinking about how to get creative with tea and flowers.

DIY: Easter Tea Brunch

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It’s time for egg hunts and Easter bunnies! I love the colors and flavors that Easter brings to our house. Kat loves decorating with pretty pastel colors and creating sweet baskets for her nieces and nephews. This year she’s planning an Easter brunch for family and friends. I’m very excited about our menu so far! Here’s what we’ve got:

We’re going to start with eggs, of course! How can you have an Easter brunch without lots of eggs? Kat’s British friend Jocelyn sent her this recipe for Bacon Deviled Eggs. They are the perfect thing to nibble on to start off the tea brunch! The smoky bacon gives the creamy eggs a nice interesting flavor and crunchy texture.

We’ll serve these peppery ham tea sandwiches that are savory with a bit of bite. Kat’s also going to make these little mini spinach quiches. They are just the right amount of food to pair with the sandwiches. She’s going for a brunch that’s light and sunny, with springtime flourishes.

Then it’s time for Kat’s favorite strawberry scones. These delicious, tender scones are a hit with both children and adults! They’re easy to make and quick to disappear! We’ll have lots of Devonshire cream on hand to spread on them.

Dearies, I’m sure you’re wondering ‘But Tippy, what about the tea’? Of course, I was just getting to it! It took Kat awhile to decide on a tea that would pair with all of the tea nibbles. She finally decided on Wegmans Earl Grey Black Tea.  She loves this malty, bold tea with a hint of bergamot. It’s the perfect thing for all the sweet and savories she’s going to serve. The black tea and citrus flavor pairs well with just about everything!  For those that do not want caffeine Kat has created a beautiful floral blend of chamomile and lavender. It’ll be delicate and floral to match the upcoming spring weather. If the idea of a bespoke floral blend tickles your fancy, stay tuned for an upcoming post about blending tea with flowers!

To finish off the meal, Kat found this recipe for vanilla custard served in eggshells which will be a whimsical way to end the meal. She’s planning on serving cut-out butter cookies as well, in festive Easter shapes.

What are your Easter plans? Whatever you do, I’m sure you’ll find creative ways to include tea into your activities! Happy Easter everyone!

Teas To Welcome Spring

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Dearies, I’m just so tired of this cold weather, aren’t you? Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more of it, I noticed a few green shoots sprouting in the garden! Spring is ready to burst forth, and I can barely wait another minute! I’ve decided to round up a few lovely floral teas to properly welcome springtime. What could be better than looking at the budding flowers while sipping on a lovely floral tea? Bring a bouquet into your cup and the winter weather will feel lightyears away.

Jasmine tea is a perfect choice to melt away the frost. The sweet, delicate jasmine combined with grassy green tea will bring you right to a sunny meadow with the dainty white flowers. Close your eyes, breathe in the intoxicating floral aroma. You’ll feel as good as new!

Rose teas are also a wonderful choice. I adore Kat’s rose garden and the scent always uplifts. Sometimes she’ll set a little table in front of her trellis of roses and we’ll enjoy tea in the sunshine. A sip of rose tea will make you feel like you’re right in the garden.  I enjoy green teas scented with rose, and you can often find teas with the rose petals mixed right in. It’s beautiful to look at and to drink. It would also work well as a potpourri. I’ve also seen rose as a tisane, all on its own.

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Chamomile is a springtime favorite for Kat. She has many different chamomile choices in her cupboard, and her newest favorite is called Cool Chamomile from British company Dorset Tea. Kat’s friend Jocelyn moved to England a few years ago and always sends her teas she can’t find in the states. This chamomile from Dorset is one of Jocelyn’s favorites and now Kat is obsessed with it as well. The soothing sweet chamomile is accented with tangy raspberry and lemongrass for a unique and delicious tea. The lemongrass makes me think of those bright green early spring shoots that are sprouting up all over the garden. This combination is bright, yet relaxing. Kat often has this tea in the evening since it’s herbal and won’t keep her awake. She also has been making it iced, as a refreshing sunny sip to keep those winter blues away. It’s the perfect tea to welcome spring!

 Springtime is also when the new harvests of teas start to arrive at your favorite tea shop. Be sure to ask for the spring green, oolong, white, and first flush Darjeeling teas. They will be fresh and vibrant, and perfect for your cup.

Pairing Tea And Pie

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You know I always look for reasons for celebration, and I’ve noticed that March 14th (3/14) is Pi Day! Yes, there is an entire day dedicated to celebrate the mathematical constant 3.14. Dearies, I’m more interested in tea and treats than mathematics so I’ve decided to celebrate with pie! Pie and tea, to be exact.

Let’s start off with sweet pies and teas. I like pairing a first flush Darjeeling with lighter tasting fruit pies such as peach, lemon, and strawberry. The earthy, grapey sweet muscatel notes in the tea work very nicely with these delicate fruit flavors. A light green tea such as sencha or nuttier dragonwell would also be a good choice. A lightly roasted oolong such as a Lishan would be a lovely choice. It is sweet, floral and a little bit grassy. These teas are light enough to let the delicate fruit flavors shine through, and their sweet and floral notes will complement the fruit.

For stronger fruits like blueberry, and cherry I like heavily roasted oolongs such as Tieguanyin and Da Hong Pao. The strong toasty notes, stone-fruit sweetness, even caramel notes compliment the pies and let the darker flavors come out. The fruit have bold flavors and need a stronger tea to compliment them. You could also try a nice Chinese black tea such as Dian Hong, which will be sweet, malty, with hints of dried fruit. The brightness of the tea will bring out the tart fruit notes.

You could also go for a savory pie! How about a shepherd’s pie with a dark puerh? The puerh will work well in cutting through that savory meaty goodness. It also helps with the digestion! Or I think a second flush Darjeeling would be lovely with a chicken pot-pie. It’s just the right amount of earthy, floral, and a little bit astringent to complement the chicken and veggies.

Instead of pairing teas with your pie, how about putting tea in the pie? I found this scrumptious recipe for Sweet Tea Lemon Chess Pie. This sweet, buttery, lemony tea-filled pie would be the perfect way to celebrate pi day! I’m printing this recipe out right now and leaving it on Kat’s desk. I’m not too subtle when it comes to hints, especially tea-related ones!

So my lovelies, will you be celebrating pi day with some pie and tea? I can’t think of a better reason to indulge. Can you?