Tea in Cookies

Whoever would have thought of making sugar cookies with tea leaves? Yossy Arefi—that’s who! A recent contributor to a special collection of dessert recipes in a Sunday edition of The New York Times, her Chewy Earl Grey Sugar Cookies are a mix of sweet and savory and, most interestingly, unusual in their use of loose tea from tea bags.

I was immediately intrigued by this ingredient and amused by the fact that with the tea already in the cookies you’ve saved a step by not having to make a beverage! I set out to make a batch and was so impressed with the results, not only because they were easy to make but also because they turned out looking exactly as the photo depicted they should with rounded tops, a cracked surface similar to Snickerdoodles and perfectly sized.

The steps were fun to follow and the cookies would definitely impress family members and guests alike. So if you’re looking for an entirely different kind of treat, Chewy Early Grey Sugar Cookies are worth a try. Who says you can’t have your tea and eat it too?

Chewy Earl Grey Sugar Cookies (Makes about 20 cookies)


  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves, from about 3 tea bags
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda



  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper. Put 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl or shallow dish and set aside.
  2. Combine the butter and tea leaves in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Melt the butter, stirring occasionally, until it just begins to sizzle around the edges. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tea butter to a large bowl, then add brown sugar, salt, orange zest and remaining ¾ cup granulated sugar. Use an electric mixer on medium speed or a whisk to combine for about 30 seconds; the mixture will be grainy and separated. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. 
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda to the bowl, and mix on low speed or with a rubber spatula until just combined. Use the spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the dough is evenly mixed.
  5. Use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion the cookies. Alternatively, measure 2 tablespoons of dough with a measuring spoon. Roll each dough ball in the reserved granulated sugar, then place on the baking sheets 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake the cookies until set, light golden around the edges and crackled on top, 16 to 19 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back in the oven halfway through the baking time.
  7. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets. Store extra cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or for a few weeks in the freezer.  

Special Note: Feature Image for this blog post courtesy of Taken at Pixabay.