Life has gotten a little bit crazy the last week or two. Work has been turning my brain to mush by about 10 am every day, my house has been a disheveled mess due to various projects and a mouse extermination campaign (little bastards), and no matter how productive I am I always feel behind on chores and to-dos. But yesterday I finally forced myself to get outside for a bit of sunshine and fresh air, and spent a solid 8 hours off-roading in the mountains. By the end of it I was filthy, sore, exhausted, and starving, but felt infinitely happier and less stressed.
Losing a whole day to fun was so worth it (self-care my friends), but left little time for housekeeping and cooking this weekend. Yet somehow I’ve managed to get my laundry done, dishes done, house cleaned, and run some errands. But let’s be honest, I’m already wishing it was bed time and I still have several hours to go.
While I was at the grocery store pondering what to make for you all, I couldn’t get this Thai Cashew Coconut Rice with Ginger Peanut Sauce salad recipe out of my brain. For some reason it was blocking all other entree thoughts, so I decided to make the salad for myself and bake for you instead. My original craving was for these Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal Pecan cookies but I don’t want to overkill the pumpkin just yet. Though I did just try my hand at making my own pumpkin puree. It went very well and I’m trying to use it up before it goes bad.
My next favorite fall flavor is chai. My issue with most chai spiced baked goods is the lack of tea in the recipe. It’s all fine and dandy to add the usual spices (cinnamon, cardamom, etc), but chai is a tea first and foremost and it seems inconsiderate to leave out such a key component. I’m currently at odds with my favorite chai latte mix though, as it contains dried milk. We aren’t completely broken up but I am looking into alternatives and without it, chai baking gets a bit more complicated.
And then I remembered the tin of loose Earl Grey tea on my shelf.
If someone said, “Raise your hand if you like Early Grey tea”, I would probably morph into a Hindu deity with multiple arms/hands and start flailing around like an octopus. It is my favorite tea of all time, and a cup of it can fix almost any situation or mood. That’s probably because of the bergamot, which as an essential oil is known for its antidepressant and mood boosting properties. It’s magical. And if you’ve never had an Early Grey Tea Latte (often known as a London Fog) then you are missing out on the greatest rainy day companion of all time. Rainy weather is my favorite and I always crave a London Fog on rainy days.
While I have dabbled in loose tea brewing, I find that tea bags are just more convenient, especially at work. I have about 14 boxes of tea in my desk at work (no joke, I counted them), and can easily drink 3-4 cups per work day. Tea is my first love, before coffee, and I drink it more than anything else. A while ago I did purchase a tin of loose leaf Earl Grey tea for the purpose of infusing alcohol. I had recently visited some friends in Seattle and one of the restaurants we went to had a featured cocktail called an Earl & Ginger. It consisted of Earl Grey tea-infused whisky mixed up Mule style with ginger beer. It was insanely delicious. So I bought the tea, infused the whisky, and made my own. For this cookie recipe I used a heaping tablespoon of the loose tea and steeped it per directions in approximately 4 oz of hot water. I saved the used tea leaves and used a few pinches in the cookies for stronger flavor. You could also just use 2 tea bags to 4 oz of water.
My go-to oatmeal cookie recipe is Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal (raisin) cookies. I omit the raisins because I’m one of those people. And with my recent diet changes, I do have to substitute a few things. But this recipe is the basis for Earl Grey Tea Glazed Oatmeal cookies. One of these days I will give you a full rundown of my ingredient substitutes, per the Whole Food Plant Based diet. For this recipe I had to replace butter, some sugar, and eggs. I didn’t necessarily have to sub the sugar, but I wanted to cut back a little bit since I was adding a sugar-based glaze at the end. I decide which ingredients to use as substitutes based on the recipe itself, and how many other ingredients need to be replaced. In this case, I used shortening instead of butter, maple syrup (pure) instead of the white sugar, and applesauce instead of eggs. For the shortening, I used Crisco. I’ve been trying to find pure palm shortening, as I’ve read it is the best alternative, but my local grocery stores don’t carry it and I haven’t made a trip to Boise to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods yet, so I’m making due with what I have.
These cookies are comfort for me and perfectly balance chewy oatmeal cookies with Earl Grey flavor. I hope you enjoy!
Earl Grey Tea Glazed Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 – 4 oz cup of unsweetened applesauce (or just 4 measured ounces)
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz strong brewed Earl Grey tea
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
pinch of salt
3 cups oats (I use 1 cup of old fashioned and 2 cups of quick oats. I like mixing both for texture and consistency)
2 pinches of the used tea leaves (optional)
2 oz strong brewed Earl Grey tea
2 cups confectioners sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In an electric mixer blend shortening, brown sugar, and maple syrup until well combined. (May clump a bit, but will smooth out once you add the rest of the ingredients.)
- Add the applesauce and tea. Blend well. Add the baking soda.
- Add flours in increments until fully combined. Add salt.
- Add oats and tea leaves, and blend until fully combined.
- Place parchment paper on cookie sheets and scoop dough by rounded tablespoons onto sheets.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. While baking, combine remaining tea and confectioners sugar. Whisk into a glaze.
- Remove cookies from oven and let cool before drizzling with glaze.