Cambrian: Opinion

Tea goes nicely IN cookies — not just WITH cookies

It’s time to flip over a new calendar page — what a shock! My grandmother warned me this would happen — time slipping more and more quickly through my fingertips. And as I apply my fingertips to this keyboard, I am enjoying more and more sunlight each day, as the sun marches across the horizon, setting about one minute later each day. That’s five minutes every five days, according to my tides table booklet.

I feel the same relief and enjoyment the ancients must have when they experienced and marked time, but never having to deal with a capricious computer. My grandmother also advised me that I should remain serene, by finding ways to relax in the garden or in the kitchen. In between times, I relax by clipping coupons and articles from the newspaper, and especially cartoons which I tuck into envelopes for appreciative recipients.

It seems that the simple act of cutting paper, the sound as well as the feel, is enjoyable to me. I recall sitting with my sister Erica when we had little booklets of paper dolls, long before they came ready to pop out off the pages.

She enjoyed dressing the dolls, but I was content to cut out the ensembles. I have a vision of me a long time in the future, sitting and rocking, “the one over there in the corner, clipping paper with blunt end scissors.”

Until then, I can be in the kitchen baking cookies. The first recipe entered many a conversation I have had over a very broad range of topics with my friend Christine Quinn as she does my nails at Fringe Hair. I have known her many a year, since she was one of the first volunteers I interviewed at the Teen Center. It incorporates my absolutely favorite evening cuppa, especially now that it comes in decaffeinated form.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea leaves, pulverized

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp.

Crush the tea leaves well, and mix with the flour and salt (you may use a food processor). Add the sugar, vanilla and butter, and mix with a fork (or processor) only until incorporated. Form into a loose ball and the roll into a log about three inches in diameter. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge until thoroughly chilled, at least 30 minutes.

Slice the log of dough into pieces 1/3-inch thick. Place on a parchment-lined ungreased cookie sheet with room to spread. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven 10-12 minutes, just until the edges brown (do not overbake). Allow to cool on the pan until set, about five minutes, before placing on wire racks to cool completely. Bake one sheet at a time, and store in a tightly sealed tin. Makes about two dozen.

Ricotta Cheese Cookies

(Makes eight dozen)

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tblsp. baking powder

1 16-oz. tub ricotta cheese

In a large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar and butter until blended. Increase speed to high until light and fluffy (about five minutes). At medium speed, beat in ricotta cheese, vanilla and eggs, until well combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, and at low speed, add into the ricotta mixture until the dough forms. (If you like, stir in butterscotch or peanut butter chips at this point. I used cappuccino chips I have been hoarding in my freezer since Guittard stopped selling them.)

Drop dough by level tablespoons onto a large ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake in a preheated oven about 15 minutes until very lightly golden — cookies will be soft. With a pancake turner, remove to a wire rack to cool.

This recipe was shared by my friend Marjorie Ott, innkeeper at the Ollalieberry Inn, where I plan to attend her next class from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, April 8. For just $40, we’ll be working with and sampling dishes with lovely fresh asparagus, special bread and a light spring dessert. (Call her at 927-3222 for info and reservations.)

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune