30 April 2008

Cookies and Tea, Black

If you know me at all- that is, if you're one of the three people I've ordered to read this blog- you know that I fall into the green-tea camp. (And if you think green tea is bitter and disgusting, then you haven't had it brewed properly. Trust me.)

Every so often, though, I will bust out the black. It's always at the back of the tea pile in my refrigerator, but after I have a few cups and get cruising on H.M.S. Caffeine, I wonder why I've forgotten about it for so long.

So for this morning's brew (three cups and counting), it's the house blend from French purveyor Hediard. According to the venerable company's web site, the founder opened his first shop in 1854 at the ripe age of 13. Mon dieu. I was far too busy learning how to ride a bike sans training wheels at that age to be une entrepreneur extraordinaire.

Regardless, even the truly unambitious can appreciate the rich, full, deep flavor of this tea, or at the very least, the satisfying red squareness of the tin. It doesn't even need milk or sugar (trust me again), especially if you've got some, say, almond-butter cookies alongside.

What's that? They're also gluten-free? Sacre farine.

Almond-Butter Cookies
Makes: about 16.

1 cup almond butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
Whole natural almonds or about 1/4 cup jam, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix almond butter and sugar until well blended. Add egg and baking powder, and mix until smooth.

Roll small balls of dough and place on baking sheet. You can press an almond into the top, or make a thumbprint in each. Bake for about 10 minutes, until just set. Let rest on sheet for five minutes, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.

If desired, remake the indentations and spoon a bit of jam (I used raspberry and apricot) into the abyss.

Then try to save at least two for your friend who really can't eat gluten, the poor soul.


Unknown said...

Once I joined the snooty green-tea bandwagon, black tea seems so...imperialist. Or at least, WHITE. And black tea with no milk and sugar seems like a naked white dude hanging out in your cup asking where is his sugarcane plantation...but cookies make everything work of course

Anonymous said...

ana- why do you keep your black tea in the fridge? do you keep all your teas in the fridge? please, don't frighten me so.

ana dane said...

I actually keep all my teas in the fridge, and no, I'm not trying to be smarmy by saying that.

It was explained to me at my favorite tea supplier, Ito En, by comparing green tea to fresh spinach (they're both plant leaves, after all). If you leave a bunch of spinach on the counter, it will get wilted and the taste will fade pretty quickly. Now, tea has undergone a fermentation process so it's not a perfect analogy, but I've found it does keep better in the fridge, much like fresh produce does. Ito En actually keeps all their teas vacuum-sealed, in a huge cooler, and everything I've ever gotten from there is incredibly fragrant and delicious.

The key for a home fridge is keeping it well wrapped so it doesn't dry out excessively or pick up any odors (especially if you have 4 pounds of cheese festering in there at all times, like I do).

Also, buying in small quantities ensures that I never keep a batch around long enough to get old and bland, like my parents.

Are you asleep yet?

Anonymous said...

I may b old & bland, but never a large quantity. T-itillating!

Anonymous said...

As one of those ordered to read your blog, I can say that you are doing the world a great service. But please refrain from describing your festering cheese in the future.

Anonymous said...

once you've had black... ha

most often i drink the japanese greens with roasted rice, like ITO EN: Oi Ocha Genmaicha

ana dane said...

m&d, i meant I'M old and bland. never you two dears.

Bonbon Oiseau said...

aww man...you are so sweet--I ate all 15 of them (just about) in one sitting. Thanks again--now I will try to make them!

Dindin Hendra said...

Hmm...thanks for the recipe.. i'll try to make it...
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Tea Spot