Fortnum and Mason Tea and Light Almond Cookies

Tea is woven into my everyday routine.  When I'm alone at home, I make a pot of English Breakfast each morning, grab my favorite gigantic mug, sit at my kitchen counter with laptop in tow and get to work. Though I sometimes interchange this scenario with a french press of coffee, tea is where I'm happiest.  If I'm in a rush, I'll stick to simple bags of tea, but I do very much enjoy the ritual behind making a nice pot of loose leaf tea.  If I'm making tea for a special occasion [like let's say, Mother's Day...hint hint!] cookies are a required accompaniment.  Something light like this recipe for almond cookies [aka: Mexican wedding cakes] are a staple in my house. 

The delicate, mild flavor of these cookies works especially well with a nice quality tea. I fell in love with the tea company Fortnum and Mason back when I visited London a few years ago. I own quite a few varieties of their tea, but their English Breakfast still wins my heart every time.

This particular cookie recipe is on the lighter side.  I've slowly figured out how to use the least butter necessary, while not compromising the cookie's flavor. That way, I can pop as much of these in, without all the guilt! [well, maybe just a bit of guilt...]

Apologies for the seemingly infinite number of cookie and tea photos.  I have a hard time 'killing my darlings' when it comes to this beautiful combination of all my favorite things!

Scroll down for the recipe. I HIGHLY recommend giving this one a try at home this weekend, especially if you have a mother who would enjoy a batch of cookies and tea [I know mine will!]. 

Almond Mexican Wedding Cakes

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup almonds [I like to grind up 1/2 in a mortar and pestle and chop 1/4 for texture]
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup confectioner's sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup for dusting
  • ½  tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, whisked

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine sugar and pecans in either a food processor [if you like a more delicate cookie] or by hand [if you prefer a coarser texture]. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt.
  • Add butter and vanilla to the flour mixture and either using a food processor, a dough cutter or a fork, work the chunks of butter into the flour until the flour and butter are combined with a coarse texture.  [You'll want to work quickly so that the butter stays cold!]
  • Work the sugar and pecan mixture into the butter and flour until combined. Add the egg to the mixture and quickly knead into a dough.
  • Roll the dough into small balls about an inch in diameter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat [if you don't own one yet- it's a must have for the kitchen!] Worried the dough is too soft or warm? Follow step 6, otherwise, skip to 7.
  • Refrigerate the tray of cookies for 30 minutes.
  • Bake the cookies for 15 minutes. [depending on your oven, this may vary by a minute or two].  Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes and then roll in the extra powdered sugar. 

These are best served immediately, but taste just as yummy stored for later.  [but they won't last, trust me!]  I also love eating them alongside fresh raspberries or blackberries.  This helps me eat a few less cookies and keeps things appearing slightly healthy!

Eating gluten free? I've made this recipe using Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour Mix, and they're equally as delicious!

To make these extra fast [it's already a quick recipe, but they can be made even quicker, I've tried!] I always like to have a stash of pecans [walnut and almonds also work really well!] already chopped and prepped for a recipe. The same goes for the chilled and cubed butter- you can use butter this way in many recipes, so it doesn't hurt to have some prepped and in zip locks, ready for your next batch of cookies.