March 18, 2014

Vanilla Rooibos Tea Cookies ~ #CreativeCookieExchange

Spring must be right around the corner, right? Most people I know are ready for days to start getting warmer and the flowers to start blooming. Spring here usually means rain, which is always very welcome, as it makes the islands beautiful and green.  On these rainy days I love to sit down with a cup of coffee and some biscuits and watch the rainbows appear.

This month's theme for the #CreativeCookieExchange is Wake from Winter with Coffee and Tea. There are just so many great ideas for cookies that fit this theme, but in the end I settled on one from Food52. The fact that I chose this recipe really surprised me as I am all about coffee, but ended up choosing a cookie that is made from tea. 

Have you ever heard of rooibos tea? I had heard the name but really didn't know much about it. For starters I found out that I had been pronouncing it incorrectly - it is pronounced roy-boss, and means red bush in Afrikaans.  It is a dark red color, and has a slightly nutty/herbal smell.  As I was toasting the tea, it also had a slight tobacco smell. Rooibos tea also has many health benefits, including the fact that it is grows naturally caffeine free so there is no processing required, it contains many antioxidants, and it can help with stomach complaints and skin conditions.

These cookies are easy to put together, but do need to be fully chilled before they are sliced and baked. They don't spread on the baking trays, however the chilling really helps with slicing the cookies.  Once they had come out of the oven I grabbed one to try.  At first I wasn't sure I was going to like them, so I let them cool on the tray for a short time and then moved them to a cooling rack.  Once they were cooled I tried them again and I loved the shortbread crunch and the slightly nutty taste of the cookies.

For more information regarding the #CreativeCookieExchange, and to see what the rest of our members baked (and believe me you will want to see this list of amazing cookies), please see below the recipe.

Vanilla Rooibos Tea Cookies

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rooibos tea leaves (about 5 tea bags)
  • 1 vanilla bean, whole, ends trimmed, cut into segments
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1½ tablespoon turbinado sugar

  1. Heat a small stainless steel pan over medium heat until hot.
  2. Add rooibos leaves, and shake pan to distribute tea into a single layer, toasting for about 2 minutes, until tea is fragrant but not darkened (depending on your leaves, this may happen much more quickly so watch it carefully), then transfer them to a bowl and let cool for a couple minutes.
  3. 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. 
  4. Add the powdered sugar, flour, and salt to the bowl and pulse a few times to combine. 
  5. Then add the milk, vanilla, and butter and pulse several times, until a dough forms.
  6. Turn dough onto a very lightly floured surface, gather it together, and roll it gently into a log 1.5-inches in diameter.
  7. 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. 
  8. Wrap log in plastic or wax paper and transfer to the fridge or freezer for at least 30 minutes to chill.
  9. When ready to bake, turn on the oven to 375℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
  10. Remove log from fridge or freezer, and cut ⅓-inch slices off the log, rotating the log as you go to ensure that cookie slices stay round. 
  11. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet, leaving ½ inch between each (they don't really spread, but they need breathing room to crisp up). 
  12. 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 to cool.
  13. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days.
Recipe by Food52

The theme this month is Wake from Winter with Coffee and Tea ~ because unlike last month, now our Spring Fever has some basis in reality! Creative Cookie Exchange has decided to stop using the linky. What this means is that the only way to join in the fun is to become a host. Just contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Facebook page, our Pinterest Board, and our monthly posts. You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made ~


  1. Oh yum! Rooibos tea is one of my favorites. And these cookies are so easy to make. Definitely on my to-bake list now.

  2. I had never baked with tea before either, Felice, because coffee is king in our house, but I know I will be using it more from now on. Love your vanilla rooibos cookies!

  3. I'm sure the tea infuses these with such a lovely herbal flavor! So delicious!

  4. Yay! I can now stay healthy and eat my cookies, too. With all those health benefits of rooibos tea, I can double fist the cookies guilt-free! Thanks Felice =)

    P.s. Great descriptions of the tea.

  5. I've never heard of rooibos tea and I was wondering what it is, you've provided some useful information. Though India is primarily a tea loving country, I am yet to try with it in baking. Once I'm ready, I know which recipe to try first :D Btw, those little tea specks in your cookies look great!

  6. I thought it was really fun to try out baking with tea- a first for me. I have rooibos tea in the pantry but have not tasted it yet. Sounds like a should! Great cookies!

  7. Those look so delicious, love the rooibos in the them!!

  8. Ok so now I'm going to have to look out for this tea as well, I really like the sound of your cookies and wound like to make them.

  9. These look really good and sound so interesting! What a great story!

  10. I love rooibos tea, these look delicious!

  11. These are so unique and look absolutely delicious! They seem to be begging for a cup of tea to have right with them. I never knew so much about rooibos tea until reading your post! So many benefits!

  12. OK I totally thought I had commented on these! Argh! I love the idea of baking with rooibos--actually I love drinking rooibos too! :) Gorgeous cookies--love the sparkly sugar edges!


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