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Vanilla Bean Rooibos Tea Cookies and a Giveaway

Our kitchen’s been busy as ever, with spring finally here. The fridge is full of green (and even some red: rhubarb is back!) and I can’t control the urge to cook a million things all at once. It’s a special kind of attention deficit, and fortunately, its only notable side effects are too many pots bubbling on the stove and lots of full containers in the fridge/freezer/sink. Not too bad.

Chalk it up to my enthusiasm about spring recipes that I never shared this gem from fall. I love rooibos tea, I love vanilla beans, and I love sable cookies. One good day last November, I decided to put those three things together. A few whirls of the food processor later, I wound up with these lovely cookies, fragrant from toasted rooibos and whole vanilla beans and crunchy from their coat of sanding sugar.

The recipe actually won first place in Food52’s Vanilla contest, and it’ll be featured in (I think) the 3rd Food52 cookbook. So far, I’ll have been published in all 3 books. So exciting!

In the fall, I’d have recommended you eat them with a spot of hot tea. But now that it’s nice out, why not serve them with either iced tea or iced coffee? I’m already picturing a plate of them set out on our deck.

…But I know why you’re really here: giveaways are so fun, aren’t they? This one is especially delicious: the kind folks from Sucré are offering one lucky NDP reader macarons! That’s right: Sucré will send the winner of this giveaway its Signature Macaroon Collection. That’s 15 macarons in flavors like chocolate, salted caramel, and pistachio. What’s not to love?

To enter, simply Like our Facebook page, then leave a comment below sharing either your most frustrating macaron baking story, a tip for baking perfect macarons, or just your favorite flavor of macaron. I’ll pick a winner next Wednesday, May 1st. Stay tuned, and good luck!

Update 5/1/13: The giveaway has ended! I picked a random number on random.org:

And the 15th non-duplicate comment is….Margot C! Congratulations, Margot! I’ll be in touch with details about your macarons.

Vanilla Bean Rooibos Tea Cookies
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons rooibos tea leaves (about 5 tea bags)
1 vanilla bean, whole, ends trimmed, cut into segments
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons milk
1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Heat a small stainless steel pan over medium heat. When pan is hot, add rooibos leaves, and shake pan to distribute tea into a single layer. Toast for about 2 minutes, until tea is fragrant but not darkened. Depending on your leaves, this may happen much more quickly; watch it carefully. When leaves are fragrant, transfer them to a bowl and let cool for a couple minutes.

Combine the sugar, vanilla bean, and rooibos in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for about 2 minutes, until there are no chunks of bean left in the bowl. Add the powdered sugar, flour, and salt to the bowl and pulse a few times to combine. Then add the milk, vanilla, and butter and pulse several times, until a dough forms.

Turn dough onto a very lightly floured surface, gather it together, and roll it gently into a log 1.5-inches in diameter.

Sprinkle turbinado sugar on a plate or work surface, and roll cookie dough log in the sugar, making sure to cover the entire surface of the log with sugar. Wrap log in plastic or wax paper and transfer to the fridge or freezer for at least 30 minutes to chill. (You can leave the log in the freezer and slice off cookies one by one, whenever the urge strikes.)

When ready to bake, turn on the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat.

Remove log from fridge or freezer, and cut 1/3-inch slices off the log, rotating the log as you go to ensure that cookie slices stay round. Transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between each (they don’t really spread, but they need breathing room to crisp up). Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are just starting to brown. Leave on the cookie sheet to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anne April 25, 2013,

    So, the part where macaron recipes encourage you to use powdered food coloring instead of liquid to get the pretty, pretty colors? Yeah, the actually mean that. Otherwise yours might turn out looking like something on the Medical Examiner’s table on Law and Order SVU, particularly if you tried to go for purple…at least if yours turn out like mine did…

  • Adi April 25, 2013,

    I already like your facebook page! I have never made macarons, but that would be a fun project. I like vanilla.

  • Molly April 25, 2013,

    I’m already a fan of NDP on the Facebook. Years ago I borrowed a dessert cookbook from the library and honed in a a macaron recipe. I misread it for macaroons (this was so long ago that there was no craze yet, so not in the zeitgeist) and I baked macarons instead. Looking back, they were great macarons, but it wasn’t at all what I’d wanted or expected. Live and learn.

  • abigail April 25, 2013,

    I liked your Facebook page ages ago! My favorite flavor of macron is anise–anise and chocolate, anise and vanilla, anise and anything, really.

    Your cookies are just beautiful. Congrats on the Food 52 win!

  • Gayle April 25, 2013,

    These cookies look great – I think I’ll try them with earl grey tea.

    Favorite macaron? Isaphan, i.e., rose and raspberry. It’s the absolute best flavor combination. And I’ll always remember the boy in Paris who introduced them to me.

  • Gayle April 25, 2013,

    Sorry, I meant Ispahan. It’s been a long day.

  • Reyna April 25, 2013,

    These tea cookies look amazing!

    As for a macaroon story…I recently made some orange and almond macaroons-a bigger project than I thought it would be. I was making them for a dinner party and the largest recipe I could find called for thirteen whipped egg whites. No problem, I thought. Until I remembered that my mixer was in storage and I was stuck whipping them by hand with a whisk! A great arm workout later, I had some lovely macaroons.

  • Sally Cooks April 25, 2013,

    Love this recipe- can’t wait to try it!

    My favorite is vanilla, vanilla…I know, so boring!

  • Lori S April 25, 2013,

    I’ve only made one macaroon – the classic coconut! And coconut is the only one I’ve ever eaten. I liked your fb page long ago – this is one of my fave blogs and I only regularly check about 5. The masala dosa post was so awesome – I’ll get there, and I can’t wait for the eggplant rubens! And of course, I love your recipes on f52. Best, Lori

  • Julia April 26, 2013,

    I haven’t met a macaroon I didn’t like. I particularly like fruits and floral flavors!

  • jacquie April 26, 2013,

    i have never had a macaroon so no favorites

  • Courtney April 26, 2013,

    Those cookies look so good…rooibos is my favorite!

    Hmmmm, macaron flavors….I love cardamom, coffee, and lemon. Not really a huge fan of the floral flavors. I’ve only made them once and they were delicious, but I was scared the whole time they weren’t going to turn out. It was not a stress free baking experience so I’ve decided to only purchase them from now on….make them once and you understand why they’re pricey!

  • Polly April 27, 2013,

    Earl Grey! (Previously liked FB page.)

  • manda April 28, 2013,

    I like vanilla.

  • Grace Inman April 28, 2013,

    I like really any flavor of macaroons but especially lemon and chocolate!

  • Margot C April 29, 2013,

    I have never made macarons; I should try (wouldn’t I need special bakeware?) I have had divine pistachio macarons in France.

  • Carolsue April 29, 2013,

    I have only tasted coconut ones and have never tried to make them myself. The Pistachio sounds best to me!

  • Navah April 29, 2013,

    Here’s my confession: I’ve never had macarons. Twice I’ve purchased them for family gatherings…and they were all eaten before I could try one. These all look delicious, but the salted caramel looks phenomenal.

  • rachel April 29, 2013,

    The cookies do look gorgeous! I like chocolate or espresso macaroons. Vanilla is good, too. Or matcha!

  • Yael April 29, 2013,

    The last time I had macarons was in Paris – I tried a hazelnut flavored one which was terrific. Macarons are not to be confused with coconut macaroons which are entirely different but also delicious!

    Congrats on the Food 52 win!! I found your blog through Food 52 website and I adore your blog. I really appreciate your adventurous recipes and willingness to spend the time to master difficult things – like the Dosa recipe and Burmese specialties.

  • Lauren April 30, 2013,

    I liked you on facebook! My favorite is Rose flavor!! So yummy

  • Danielle April 30, 2013,

    My favorite macaron flavor is every macaron flavor. (Although if forced to pick just one I’d say salted caramel.)