Earl Grey Cookies (Tea Cakes)
Why We Love this Teacake Recipe
Southern tea cakes in the United States, also called tea cookies, are different from British teacakes. These Earl Grey Cookies marry the two different sweet snacks to create a wholly new treat!
Ok, let’s first break down tea cakes vs. teacakes vs. tea cookies: Traditional British teacakes are sweet yeast rolls speckled with fruit, meant to be served with hot tea. However, the American version is more like a soft puffy cookie, made with baking powder or baking soda, instead of yeast. Therefore, although they are often called “tea cake” these cakes are actually tea cookies.
Since the American version was inspired by British teacakes, I thought I would give a nod to their origins in this tea cake recipe by adding Earl Grey tea to the cookie dough for flavor. This creates a unique earthy undertone to balance the sweetness of the cookies, including the kiss of lemon glaze on top.
Whatever you want to call them, they’re fabulous for after-school snacks, to serve with hot tea, or to nibble on as you sit out on the front porch drinking iced sweet tea in your rocker!
Ingredients You Need
- Butter – unsalted, softened
- Granulated sugar – or preferred white sugar substitute, like coconut sugar or sweetener alternative
- Eggs – room temperature
- Vanilla extract – a must-have for most baked treats
- Baking powder – a leavening agent that makes the cookies soft
- Salt – a pinch to balance the sweet flavors
- All-purpose flour – or gluten-free flour, if you like
- Earl grey tea leaves – loose leaf or removed from packaged tea bags
For the simple cookie glaze, you need only powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice.
How to Make Early Grey Tea Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set out several baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.
Set out a stand mixer. Add the softened butter and sugar to the mixing bowl. Beat on high for 3 to 5 minutes until the butter is extremely light and fluffy.
Scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on low and beat in the eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt.
Scrape the bowl again, then turn the mixer on low and add in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Quickly add in the Earl grey tea leaves with the last portion of flour.
As soon as the flour is fully blended, turn off the mixer so as to not overmix the dough.
Use a cookie scoop to measure the dough portions out in 1 ½ tablespoon scoops. Roll each scoop into a ball. Place the balls on the cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
Bake the tea cakes for 10-12 minutes until puffy in the center and just barely golden around the edges. Allow them to cool on the cookie sheets.
Get the Complete (Printable) Early Grey Tea Cakes Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!
Steps to Glaze the Tea Cookies
Make the glaze while the cookies cool. Set out a small bowl and combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Whisk well until the glaze is smooth.
Pro Tip: You can make the tea cookies recipe anytime, and freeze as dough or baked. Then quickly prepare the glaze and dip the cookies shortly before serving!
Once the tea cookies have cooled to room temperature, dip the top of each cookie in the glaze.
Then set them back on the parchment paper to dry.
Serve immediately or store to enjoy later.
Tea Cookie Tips & Tricks
- Measure your flour accurately! For fluffy earl grey infused cookies, be careful measuring your flour. Spoon the flour into the measuring up and level it off with the flat edge of a butter knife. This ensures that you won’t add too much flour to the cookies, which can cause dense cookies!
- Don’t over mix the dough! Once the flour is added to the cookie dough, gluten starts developing. To make sure you have soft cookies, avoid over mixing the dough.
- Let the cookies cool before you glaze them! To make sure the glaze stays on the cookies, the cookies need to be fully cooled!
- For super soft earl grey cookies with a slight crunch, don’t over bake them! The cookies will look slightly underdone when they are ready to be taken out. They will set up and harden on the hot baking sheet and while they are cooking!
These soft cookies are delightful to enjoy for breakfast or a mid-morning snack with a hot cup of tea or coffee.
Serve as an afternoon treat alongside a cold glass of milk.
And this tea cookies recipe is great for dessert after a classic Southern dinner. Bring out a batch after a hearty meal of Shrimp and Grits, Chicken Bog, or Grilled Pork Chops, and watch them fly off the table!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Earl Grey Tea high in caffeine?
Yes, because it is a black tea Earl Grey does have quite a good amount of caffeine. But not as much as coffee or energy drinks.
What makes cookies soft or hard?
Soft cookies, like these Earl grey tea cookies, are often made with baking soda and eggs as the leavening agents.
Hard cookies, like traditional Shortbread Cookies, do not usually contain eggs. They tend to be more dense and crumbly.
What is the best way to store homemade cookies?
Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Can you make cookies ahead of time and freeze?
You sure can! Prepare the tea cake recipe, but do not make the lemon glaze. Instead, cool the cookies and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. (You can also stack them with pieces of parchment paper between the layers.) Then place them together in an airtight ziplock bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw at room temperature, then make the glaze and dip the cookies before serving.
Looking for More Scrumptious Cookie Recipes? Be Sure to Also Try:
- Scottish Shortbread (Easy Shortbread Cookie Recipe)
- Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookie
- Linzer Cookies (Cut Out Cookies Recipe)
- Fresh Blueberry Shortbread Cookies with Lemon Frosting
- Cornmeal Cookies
Earl Grey Cookies (Tea Cake Recipe)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set out several baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.
- Set out a stand mixer. Add the softened butter and sugar to the mixing bowl. Beat on high for 3 to 5 minutes until the butter is extremely light and fluffy.
- Scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on low and beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt.
- Scrape the bowl again, then turn the mixer on low and add in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Quickly add in the Earl Grey tea leaves with the last portion of flour. As soon as the flour is fully blended, turn off the mixer as to not overmix the dough.
- Use a cookie scoop to measure the dough portions out in 1 ½ tablespoon scoops. Roll each scoop into a ball. Place the balls on the cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.
- Bake the tea cakes for 10-12 minutes until puffy in the center and just barely golden around the edges. Allow them to cool on the cookie sheets.
- Meanwhile, set out a small bowl and combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Whisk well until the glaze is smooth. Once the tea cookies have cooled, dip the top of each cookie in the glaze and set them back on the parchment paper to dry.