Venetian Tiramisu Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies and they are also a great cookie to infuse tea into! I've experimented before with making Chai Snickerdoodles and they were SO GOOD.

One of the teas I got in my sipsby box this month was a Venetian Tiramisu by Harney & Sons. This blend has a whole lot of goodness in it! The blend combines white tea, hojicha, cocoa, vanilla and brandy flavor. When I read the ingredients, I knew right away this would be a great tea for snickerdodles!

The method I love most for tea infusion in cookies is with the butter. I fee like when the butter is infused, you get the flavor coming through better than if you infuse milk or put the tea straight in the dough. 

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When making snickerdoodles or any cookies, I love using an ice cream scoop for size and also so that it makes less of a mess! 

One of the main parts of the snickerdoodle is rolling the dough in cinnamon sugar! 

I also added a tiny bit of nutmeg and ground cloves the cinnamon and sugar because all those flavors pair so wonderfully!

I wanted to show this picture to demonstrate different ways of baking your cookie. Once you have the rolled ball on your cookie sheet, It will have a nice finished look if you flatten them a bit. I did different variations of flattening to see the difference. The top cookie is flattened less than the bottom. The top cookie came out softer than the bottom but the bottom cookie looks a bit prettier because the flattened shape almost looks a bit like a cloud. 

Even though the more flattened cookie came out really pretty (below), I'm not a fan of crunchy cookies! I love soft the best, BUT these cookies were perfect for dunking in my tea which is something I also love to do. 

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Matcha Mint Julep + Matcha Giveaway!

Mondays can be kinda lame right???! Don't worry! I have a fun drink recipe and a giveaway for you! I used Meiko Matcha from Matchaeologist to create a Matcha Mint Julep! Enter the giveaway at the bottom of my post!

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For this recipe I used crushed ice, bulleit bourbon, mint sprigs, brown sugar and matcha!

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Place in your glass several mint sprigs, brown sugar to taste and one shot of bourbon. Muddle all these ingredients until well mixed. Add crushed ice on top of this mixture.

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For the matcha, you can either brew it hot and let it cool down or brew with cool water. For a cocktail I prefer cool water. Make sure your matcha is sifted as it will integrate better into the water. Using the chashaku, sift 2 scoops of matcha into a glass or tea pot. Pour a little bit of cool water over it, enough to make a paste when whisked. 

Once you have a paste like consistency, pour a little more water and whisk until combined. You want the matcha to be strong in the drink so I suggest not using more than 1/4 cup -1/2 cup depending on how many drinks you're making. Pour water little by little and whisk and stop when mixture is smooth. 

Add matcha to the drink, stir and enjoy! You can win a can of meiko matcha, just enter below!

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Chai Rooibos Night Toner

I'm back with more beauTEA DIY for you to try! Keep in mind that mother's day is coming up so you may want to try this and if it works out, then BOOM you have a fun and homemade gift for mom :) 

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I'm not the biggest fan of rooibos, I've definitely had blends that I enjoy but it isn't my tea of choice. However, rooibos has so many wonderful health benefits including helping your skin! The anti inflammatory properties in rooibos is seen to have wonderful effects on helping to reduce acne and eczema. Considering all that, I thought that this would be the perfect candidate for a toner! 

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The rooibos I used has chai elements in it as well which only add to the skin benefits and give it a nice aroma! When I started these beauTEA recipes I bought lavender essential oil and rosehip oil and they have been so versatile in all my recipes! I would encourage you however to feel free to replace these oils with other essential oils you have or that you prefer. I think any oils that have positive skin benefits would be beneficial in this toner. 

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A word about the coconut oil, this is a little different from the other essential oils and I need you to know that if you don't melt the coconut oil it will congeal in the toner. I also would encourage you to not put more than my suggested amount into the toner because my first try I put more and it was a bit too oily. 

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I like to put coconut oil on my skin at night before bed so that 1) I'm not walking around with an oily face during the day and 2) I think it really refreshes my skin for the morning. I made this a nighttime toner for this very reason. Put some on your face in the evening and feel like a goddess in the morning! 

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I bet you're probably wondering if this toner will make your skin the color of the rooibos and when I put it on my face several times, I didn't find my skin to change color at all!

I created this fun little label that you can download and use!   

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Ceylon Infused Old Fashioned

You may or may not be surprised but I infused my fav ceylon with my fav, bourbon! I then made an old fashioned because I needed a fancy drink that day! 

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Let me back up, the idea had always intrigued me but I was given the extra push by my friend Lu Ann from The Tea Cup Of Life who infused oolong into her wine! I saw it and thought how cool it was but how I didn't have wine nor did I really like wine. I decided that the obvious choice was bourbon and that why not infuse my everyday tea with it, ceylon! 

Something important to note, aromas are so important when drinking and the fact that my ceylon tea has bergamot oil in it, is a game changer!

I wanted to wake up the tea leaves before infusing the bourbon so I ran warm (not hot) water over them. You should be able to see just like with another black tea especially, some of the warm liquid showing color of the leaves. If the water is coming out of your strainer clear, turn up the heat of the water a little bit. 

 For comparison from left to right: Brewed ceylon, non infused bourbon, Ceylon infused bourbon

For comparison from left to right: Brewed ceylon, non infused bourbon, Ceylon infused bourbon

Next I simply put about a tablespoon of the leaves into the pot and covered it with bourbon. For a drink like Bourbon, I didn't use a lot of alcohol because it's not like wine where you can fill your glass to the top and drink it. I simply poured enough bourbon to cover the leaves. This also proves for a very strong infusion so if you want it less potent, decrease the amount of tea leaves. 

I left the leaves and bourbon to mingle all night and in the morning when I took a small sip, BAM ceylon flavored bourbon. I think that they two flavors paired well with each other and that's why it's so successful. I also think a puer would be ideal for a darker liquor like bourbon. 

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I had this strong infused bourbon and thought that it was perfect for an old fashioned. Throw some bitters and brown sugar in a glass then add the infusion! I decided to garnish it with a date because the normal orange rind would interfere with the flavors. Taking nibbles of the date between sips was also delicious! 

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Puer Ice Brew

I'm a hot tea drinker through and through. Around DC, summer can be brutal. Oh, it's 90 degrees outside and with humidity making it 110 degrees? Yeah, still sipping on my hot tea. In the summer the heating up of my body by the tea actually turns into a cooling sensation and It feels nice. 

I know that Iced tea is a big thing but I'm truly not the biggest fan! I still enjoy iced tea of course, but I will always choose hot over iced. I always strive to bring on content that is wanted though and I know so many people love iced tea! I wanted to try a new way of brewing so I started digging. 

I found an article on Bon Appetit that mentions kouridashi, a Japanese ice brew method. It was difficult to find other sources on this, mostly search items brought up Japanese ice brew coffee. I decided to follow the general directions in the article and see if I liked the result. 

I decided to use the puer from Yunnan Sourcing that came in my sipsby box. The article mentioned "specialty" teas and I know they meant green teas but I wanted to experiment with puer. Essentially, instead of using water you allow the tea to brew as the ice melts. 

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I used one of those large ice cubes that are often used to make drinks, I happened to have a round mold but a square would be even better !

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Pour about a tablespoon of your leaves into the container on the ice an it's ok to let it fall around the ice. Take a little bit of water and pour it into the tea pot to start the melting! You could use a few drips for a stronger brew or use up to 1.4 cup of water. I used room temperature water. 

Now, we wait. 

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SO....this is really cool! First, I didn't think that the tea would get as dark as it did! I generally prefer the ripe puers because they often have darker steeps but for a raw puer, this color is pretty on the mark! 

I didn't keep track of time strictly but this definitely took a few hours. I think you could probably speed up the process by adding more water at the start but then your tea wouldn't be as strong. 

The flavor was very fresh! It was refreshing and got the flavor of the tea really well. In terms of practicality, I wouldn't use this method often or if I was short on time but it was definitely a fun experiement! 

Together for H2OPE Water Challenge!

Join me!

I have the pleasure of being a Together for H2ope ambassador to bring awareness around clean water access! I want to share with you what the program is about and what I will be doing to raise awareness. I'll be doing a small water challenge and because it's very simple and easy I hope that you'll join me! 

First, check out what Numi Foundation is doing with their Together for H2ope program ! Here is a video about their work in Madascar, they are also working with communities in India and soon in South Africa as well! 

My Challenge

Water is essential to tea and I also know that if clean water is limited, tea is a luxury. Residents in Capetown, South Africa are being limited to 25 litres a day which is about 6.6 gallons. Let's round up to 7 gallons and keep that in mind. That's 7 gallons to do all your essential daily tasks, as you can tell that's not a lot. In other places, even here in the US the access to clean water is either not there or scarce. Here are some common water statistics to keep in mind: 

  • In a normal shower, about 2 gallons is used every minute. So even a "quick" 10 minute shower is using about 20 gallons. 
  • Older toilets can use 3.5 - 7 gallons with every flush. Newer toilets are being regulated to use less than 2 gallons per flush. Think about this in terms of how many times you use the restroom in a day. 
  • Most high efficiency washers use 15-30 gallons per cycle. 
  • Leaving the water on while brushing teeth could us up to 5 gallons of water

In relation to this 7 gallons, I want to track how much water I use in my daily tea brewing (2-3 times) and how much water I drink. These are two things I find essential to my life and want to see how much water I would have left to wash clothes, use the restroom, shower, cook etc. 

Will you join me in tracking your water for tea and drinking?! I would love to read you results! I will post mine here and on instagram. Please feel free to share your results in a comment on this post, email me hello@teathoughts.com or if you share on instagram make sure to share to tag me @teathoughts and use #4H2OPE ! 

Here are some of the amazing companies that contribute to Together for H2ope:

Numi Organic Tea We strive to foster a healthy, thriving global community while bringing you the purest, best-tasting organic tea. In partnership with Numi Foundation, Numi Inc. P.B.C. helps fund and administer Together for H 2 OPE programs around the world.
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


Stasher Fun. Functional. Reusable. Responsible. Stasher’s 100% pure platinum food grade silicone bags
are the healthy alternative to plastic. Stasher contributes a percentage of sales to Together for
H 2 OPE.


Jeremiah’s Pick A simple concept: “Right Roast. Right Taste.” Starting with the finest green coffee beans,
personally selected by Jeremiah. A portion of the sales of Jeremiah’s Pick Rescue Organic Cold
Brew Concentrate goes to Together for H 2 OPE.


Sevenly Outfitters for World Changers! Sevenly has raised awareness, followers, and $5 million of
funding for the world's greatest causes since 2011 – by making and selling the best advocacy
apparel and accessories on the planet.


Mud Love Clay creations made to spread hope and show love, from handmade mugs to jewelry. Every
product you purchase provides one week of clean water to someone in need.


Hand-in-Hand Hand in Hand creates sustainable, vegan and palm oil free essentials for a clean life + a clean
conscience. For every product purchased, Hand in Hand donates one bar of soap and one month
of clean water to children in need.


Janji Janji is a running apparel company dedicated to fighting the water crisis. Each piece of apparel
has a design inspired by a country and proceeds from each pair funds organizations dedicated to
those who lack basic access to clean water.


LifeStraw Innovating water filter technology that provides safe drinking water globally. LifeStraw is an
award-winning personal water filter, designed to provide you with clean water in the harshest of
conditions.
 

Bangkok Chai Sugar Cubes

Chai Sugar.

Have you ever seen fancy sugar cubes?! Different flavors and shapes? I've been sent some and I've also seen them sold at a bunch of places. It's a simple way to make tea time fancier!

After researching how they're made, I decided that the Bangkok chai I got in my sipsby box would be perfect because it's not your typical chai blend! This chai blend from Kleff tea has Black tea, cinnamon bark, ginger root, cardamom pods, lemon grass, dried coconut in it!

In my recipe I mention using up to one tablespoon of tea. You may need less than this but definitely not more than this! I didn't actually measure the amount I used completely but it wasn't a lot. What I did was added a tiny amount of tea then I would mix, mix, mix and see how much more I needed. I read somewhere that it should be like damp sand, not wet sand and I think that is a great way to think about it!

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Probably the most important note, MAKE SURE YOUR TEA IS COOL. If your tea is hot, it will melt the sugar and all you will have is sweetened tea! I crushed up some of the chai and put it in the sugar as well to give it a fun look but this is not required!

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I used this mini donut tray that I have for baking but you can use anything! These are quite large for a sugar cube so I would suggest finding a small candy mold if you can. 

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The best tool that I found for packing these is my hand! Get your fingers a little sugary so that you can really put pressure on the sugar and pack it in!

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I put my mold near my heater to speed up the drying process but you don't have to! Smaller molds will definitely be ready quicker. 

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These are super cute and fragrant! I think they would be a great gift as well :) 

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Afternoon Meditative Ginger Tonic

Mocktail!

I love making tea cocktails but I also realize that not everyone drinks alcohol. I also realize that even if you do drink alcohol, sometimes it's nice to have a fancy drink. I received some meditative mind tea in my sipsby box this month and oh man, this is some of my favorite tea! 

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The combination of white tea, jasmine tea and rose buds and petals creates a lovely blend. The tea smells beautiful and has an all around calming nature. I decided that this would definitely make a great afternoon tonic but it needed a few things!

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I added ginger because I thought it would go well with all the ingredients and give it a little spice to help energize you. I also added a bit of honey to make is slightly sweet as you'd expect a fancy drink to be! The drink will be topped off with seltzer water to add some fun fizz to the experience! Finally, I added an orange peel garnish for fun but you can also dunk the peel in the drink and give it a little orange flavor as well!

Honey is totally optional and feel free to use whatever type of sweetener you'd like to suit your tastes!

I have this fun glass tea pot that I brewed all the ingredients in together so that they could mix well. You could use a tea pot of any type of bowl that can widthstand heat!

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This tea doesn't need to brew for more than 2-3 minutes. Feel free to let it brew a little longer for the ingredients to mix but not too much longer because the longer you brew the more bitter the tea may become. I did ginger slices but I think grating the ginger may give the drink even more of a kick! 

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After you strain the tea, make sure you let the tea cool before adding it to your glasses!

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I filled my glasses about 3/4 of the way with tea and then the rest with seltzer water and added a garnish on top!

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Chai Cookie Sandwiches with Cinnamon Buttercream Filling

Oh my Chai. 

Soooooo, I know those butter cookies with the heart cutouts and jelly centers are a popular choice on valentine's day but I decided to go a different route...chai! I posted these cookies on my instagram on 2/14 without the recipe because I mentioned how it was "selfish" baking aka I didn't take a lot of photos and I didn't write the recipe. I made a batch of these to give out to my family, friends and coworkers on valentine's day. After asking on instagram if people would be interested in the recipe, all the YES PLEASE comments convinced me to write it up!

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Something to note about cutting shapes with this dough, it's not easy. There is a high butter content in this dough so it's very soft. I used flour on the rolling pin, work surface and the dough itself to make rolling this dough out a little easier. Even with the flour, you have to be very careful when working with this dough so that it doesn't break! If you want to avoid the hassle, I would suggest balling up small amounts of dough and gently flatening them (not all the way) to make the two halves of the sandwich! 

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In terms of your choice of chai, it's up to you. Remember that when you infuse tea in butter It really gets the flavor of whatever tea you're working with! For these I used a chai I had which is a white chocolate pumpkin chai, the pumpkin flavor came through well. If you need a reminder on how to infuse the butter with tea, it's very simple! Melt the butter in a pan, once it's melted take it off the stove and place your tea in the butter. I like to keep the tea in the butter until it's fragrant! Strain your tea and then let the butter solidify, I find it useful to put in the freezer to make the process faster. 

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Don't throw away your tea leaves after you strain the butter! What I did to get this fun texture is took some of the leaves, chopped them up fine and threw them in the dough. Be careful to take out any hard chunks like cardamom, pepper etc. This is totally optional but I thought it added a pretty design to the cookies!

These are the heart shaped cookies I made on valentine's day, very festive! Making the heart shapes was definitely easier than making the teapot shapes!

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Just for reference, in one of these batches I used bread flour because it was all I had and all I did differently was use 2 egg yolks instead of one egg, the cookies were just as good and soft :) 

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Did I mention that the best part about these cookies is how soft they are?? It's very easy to take a bite out of them! No crunching here!

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I wasn't specific about the filling because everyone has their own preferences. I beat the butter then gradually added cinnamon and powdered sugar until it was stiff enough to stay but not runny when spreading. If you get to a point where you overdid the sugar and it's too stiff, add a tiny bit of milk of your choice to loosen it up. 

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I was a little lazy with the designs, I had on hand these store bought frosting that come in an easy squeeze bag and used that to make the swirls on both sets of cookies :) 

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Yaupon Infused Cinnamon Rolls!

Tea Rolls.

So as you might have noticed, I don't do a lot of bread type baking. There's a simple reason for that, I'm not very good at it!! I one time made a braided pesto loaf and it was really good but all other attempts at bread have been failures. 

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I really wanted to infuse the yaupon I had into bread because I think it has a great flavor for bread. With Valentine's day being tomorrow I thought I would try a fun heart shaped bread. Essentially, I brewed the tea and let it cool down slightly until it was warm and used the warm tea as the base to put the yeast in!

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Enter the idea for cinnamon rolls! I modified a recipe from Paula Deen that seemed simple upon searching with tea and also slightly different ingredients. 

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One thing that I've often gotten wrong with bread is the rising of the dough. This is probably an issue with the yeast but I was never really sure what I was doing wrong. I knew this would be different because at every step, the dough was looking and feeling the way it should!

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I cut the dough into regular slices and used some of those but to make the heart I just unrolled one side and pinches the bottom to make the point. 

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I think the next time I do this, I'll put something in the little space of the heart to keep the shape better. 

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FINALLY! These came out well and they tasted pretty good! I would mention that I feel as though I didn't put enough filling in the middle and would be more generous the next time I make these!

These cute harry potter pusheen toppers are made by the lovely Ali from paperlypress. I thought they were such a cute addition to the rolls. Check her out for all your party supplies needs!

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I didn't include the glaze in the recipe but it's just a mixture of powdered sugar and almond milk until I got a good consistency! 

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