I LOVE tea and cookies. Wow, I feel like I sound about 95 years old when I say that. Eh, who cares!
I wasn't always a tea and cookies kind of girl. Over the last couple of years tea has become a morning (and afternoon) ritual that I look forward to and rarely miss. No doubt I've always liked cookies, but I mostly leaned towards the very sweet ones...you know chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, ginger snaps. I wasn't much into lightly sweetened or crunchy cookies like shortbread, biscotti or tea cookies. Part of me thinks I didn't "like" them just because they weren't what I was used to. I'm glad to say I broke out of my cookie comfort zone to now enjoy cookies of all kinds. :)
I first had Somerset Easter Biscuits (raisin spice cookies) when my best friend made me a batch as part of a tea and cookies inspired birthday gift. The cookies are lightly sweet and ever so slightly spiced with cinnamon, allspice, clove and ginger. Studded with raisins, a crumbly texture and an extra crunch from the turbinado sugar on top...they make for a perfect tea (or coffee if that's your pleasure) cookie.
It's impossible to eat just one.
Don't you just love the sugar sparkling on top?
I'm so glad I finally got a chance to make these special little cookies. I made a double batch and packed most of them up to send in my August Operation Baking GALS shipment to some of our hardworking troops in Afghanistan (along with these and these and a variation of these).
But, I had to save
I'm pretty smitten with these babies. Definitely a recipe I will make again and again.
Somerset Easter Biscuits
adapted from The Great British Book of Baking
125 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
75 grams sugar
1 egg, yolk and white separated
200 grams all purpose flour
A good pinch of salt
A good pinch of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon mixed ground spice (such as pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
50 grams raisins
1 teaspoon citrus zest (such as orange)
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter until creamy. With mixer on add slowly add in the sugar and continue to meet for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add the egg yolk until combined.
In a medium bowl, sift flour, salt, baking powder and spices. Add flour mixture in 3 batches to the butter mixture with mixer on low. Add zest and raisins and mix until just combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2.5 inch fluted cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on baking sheet about an inch apart.
Bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden and firm. Meanwhile whisk the egg white until slightly frothy. Remove cookies from oven and lightly brush one cookie with egg white and then top generously with turbinado sugar. Repeat with all cookies. Return to the oven and bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes until tops are golden and crunchy. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.