Author Notes: Aunt Da was the much-older sister of my favorite grandmother, Nanny. We all lived in the same town when I was growing up, and she was a great cook with a few distinct specialties. I mostly remember her desserts: French Silk pie, lemon meringue pie and wonderfully simple tea cakes that seemed simultaneously substantial and light. She always made huge batches and stored them in a silver canister that seemed bottomless.
Here, I've reimagined them to be even lighter (using a combo of cake and whole wheat pastry flour) and slightly spiced with Irish Breakfast tea, Meyer lemon zest and a nice dose of marzipan (rather than the originally called for vanilla).
These are absolutely delightful, subtly flavored, not-too-sweet pillows of comfort. And, they last for weeks! Make them a day or so in advance if you can! - em-i-lis
Makes 38 - 40 cookies
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 bags Irish Breakfast tea, carefully opened, tea reserved, bags discarded
- 1 stick butter, slightly chilled, cut into 1 tablespoon chunks
- 3 ounces marzipan
- 2 eggs
- zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 cups (or slightly more) whole wheat pastry flour
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the sugar and loose tea. Add the butter chunks, and with your fingers begin to incorporate it (this is optional but I like to get it started before beating). Put the paddle attachment on the mixer and cream the butter and tea-sugar until well-combined. Add in the zest and then the eggs, one at a time.
- Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and when evenly incorporated, add in the milk and 2 cups of the pastry flour. When that's well incorporated, slowly add the remaining cup of pastry flour.
- The dough will be a bit sticky and this is OK. If it seems wet though, add a bit more flour (you're going to be rolling this out on a generously floured surface after chilling so keep that in mind). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375.
- When the dough is chilled, place it on a generously floured work surface (I use a silpat covered with flour) and roll it out to about 1/2" thickness (I use a rolling pin and pastry sock). Cut into your desired shape, place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-11 minutes, until lightly tanned on top and darker brown on bottom. Store in an airtight container.