December 2, 2022

kathleengkane

Be Inspired By Food

Earl Grey Tea Cookies (Tea Cakes) Recipe

Earl Grey Cookies – These American tea cakes take inspiration from a classic British teacake recipe, but are softer with a slightly lighter crumb and a sweet lemon glaze.

Stack of soft tea cakes with lemon glaze.

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!

Wait, what?

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!

Top down stack of lemon glazed tea cookies.

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.

Bags of Earl grey tea.

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.

Hand adding loose Earl grey tea leaves to the cookie dough.

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.

Balls of tea cake dough on a baking sheet.

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!

Flat fresh baked teacakes.

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!

Whisking lemon glaze in a mixing bowl.

Once the tea cookies have cooled to room temperature, dip the top of each cookie in the glaze.

Hand dipping Earl grey tea cookie into the lemon glaze.

Then set them back on the parchment paper to dry.

Serve immediately or store to enjoy later.

Plates stacked with tea cookies with lemon glaze.

Serving Suggestions

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 they are 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!

Hand holding dipped cookie to camera.

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.

3 Earl grey tea cookies aka tea cakes on a plate, one with bite taken.

Earl Grey Cookies (Tea Cake Recipe)

These American tea cookies take inspiration from a classic British teacake recipe, but are softer with a slightly lighter crumb and a sweet lemon glaze.

Servings: 36 tea cakes

  • 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.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 133kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 37mg, Potassium: 22mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 171IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 1mg

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