So I haven’t posted for almost a month….yeahhh. Let me try and explain.
This post is roughly two (going on three) weeks in the making. I had an entire post written and queued up, but something about it felt unauthentic and I deleted it. So here I am, writing this post for the second time. Though why the almost month hiatus? School has been kind of a lot to handle and all of my efforts are being spent working on homework and papers (and concerns about the state’s lack of funding the university, but that's another story). Then to top it all off, I’ve been in a writer’s block state for the last few weeks. Just the perfect combo!
In other exciting news, I got a new camera! What?! I know right? Long time coming, but I finally had enough money saved to upgrade. Over seven months of late night shifts at the hotel plus doing client work for Clabber Girl and Aunt Millie’s allowed me to buy my camera. I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s a Canon EOS Rebel T5i (her name is Stella, and yes I named my camera) and I love her.
So what have I been up to?? Over Valentine’s Day weekend, I spent the long weekend at home with family, where we made Greek pizzas, topped with Alfredo sauce, red onions, feta cheese and black olives, and drank coffee. It snowed on the holiday, so I was able to take my camera out and go on a walk through the woods and photograph with Father. So beautiful! I just love the way the Midwest looks with a blanket of snow covering its fielded plains. Fast forward a week, and I was back home to celebrate Father’s birthday. I asked off work that Saturday and surprised him with lunch out at the Brown Bag where we gorged on burgers and homemade pies. Afterwards, we took a walk around Allerton Park (being that it was almost 70 degrees that day) with me photographing along the way. A perfect way to celebrate!
Why did I make mini cookies? I was stressed with school and needed a bake break (plus, making them mini maximizes their cuteness. Duh). These mini chocolate chip & chamomile tea cookie sandwiches are inspired by the traditional French macaron, but are way better because they’re buttery, warm, and sandwiched in between a layer of butter-rum cream cheese frosting. The dough smells of vanilla with a hint of earthiness from the tea as the frosting is robust from the rum extract. Sandwiched together and it is absolutely perfect. What doesn’t sound divine about that? It makes me want to take the afternoon off, serve up a cup of coffee, eat on the front porch, and watch the clouds roll gently by.
All I have to say is Tea + chocolate = a match made in heaven.
Mini chocolate chip & chamomile tea cookie sandwiches with a butter-rum cream cheese frosting
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup butter, soften
2/3 cup shortening
2 tablespoons chamomile tea leaves
2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 cup Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce bag) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. cream cheese
2 ½ confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Slightest drop of butter rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, shortening, and tea leaves and mix until mixture becomes fluffy and turns a slight pale white, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, and vanilla extract. Incorporate with a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer until combined.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. Using a wooden spoon or paddle attachment, stir to combine all the ingredients until all the flour mixture is mixed through with the wet ingredients. Stir in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
(If making mini sandwiches) Using half a tablespoon, form the dough into little spherical drops. Spread the dropped dough 2 inches apart. On a 9 x 13 cookie sheet, 18-20 drop doughs fit perfectly. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the bottoms is a light golden brown color. Let cool slightly before serving.
For the frosting: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese. With the mixer on low, add the confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the heavy cream, butter rum extract, and vanilla extract.
Assembly: For each pair of cookies, turn them over so the bottoms are facing up. Transfer frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto half of the cookies a layer of frosting. Sandwich the unfrosted cookie onto the frosted cookies. Serve immediately.