Kathy Beymer, the crafting genius behind MerrimentDesign.com and I have been pals for a looong time, and we love to get our “creative” on. She called me with a fun idea for a heart-shaped tea and cookies gift for Valentine’s Day, and I must have been sending her vibes, because I had just finished up my gluten-free Valentine’s Shortbread Cookie post. So, it was a no-brainer. We got together and shot a video for YU. We have so much fun, so stay tuned for more…
Watch the video for all the steps (I can promise some dancing and laughing, too).
In the vid I halved the recipe, so use these measurements here.
Juicer (or visit your local juice shop and bring them a beet to juice for you, or blend the beet with a bit of water and strain with cheesecloth)
Large glass bowl
Silicone kitchen spatula
Rolling pin or large, smooth, sturdy glass
Unbleached parchment paper
Cookie cutters in multiple heart shapes (optional, and you can stick with one size, too)
Bamboo skewer (optional)
Unbleached tea bags (like these) or
Unbleached coffee filters (grab a handful of stick pins if you’re going this route)
Your favorite loose leaf tea
Heart cookie cutters (or any shape YU like)
Embroidery thread in your fave color
Sewing thread in your fave color
Sewing machine or
Your hands and a sewing needle
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 tsp arrowroot
1/8 tsp fine ground sea salt
1/8 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
3 tbsp unrefined, virgin coconut oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sucanat
3 tbsp beet juice
*If you have a coffee grinder, process sucanat through the grinder for a powder-y smooth (powdered sugar) texture, but it’s not necessary.
Let’s get started.
Juice your beet. If you don’t have a juicer, you can blend your beet in a high powered blender and squeeze the pulp through a cheesecloth to get some fresh juice. If you live near a shop that sells fresh juices and smoothies, call and see if they have beet juice, or if they will juice a beet for you if you bring one in. Set juice aside.
Sift together all of the dry ingredients.
Like fluffy piles of snow [smile].
Now, in a small bowl, cream together coconut oil and vanilla extract.
Add coconut oil mixture to dry ingredients, then beet juice. Get in there with your hands and work the dough together until you form a ball.
At first it may be sticky, but keep working, the flour will soak up the juice. Roll into a ball and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Lay out a baking sheet-sized piece of parchment paper. Place the ball of dough on top. Then place another piece of baking sheet-sized parchment on top of your dough and roll it out. The parchment not only minimizes cleanup (no red, sticky rolling pin), it makes dough rolling a breeze. And you can use the parchment to line the baking sheets for your cookies.
Peel back top piece of parchment, grab your cookie cutters and go to town. Love that tiny guy.
Use the smallest heart cookie cutter make a hole for your teabag. You can also use a bamboo skewer to make a hole—but make the hole before you bake.
If it’s too warm in your kitchen, it may be difficult to take a butter knife, or an offset spatula, and lift out cookie shapes onto the baking sheet. Warm kitchens make for stickier dough. My favorite trick is to slide the parchment with pre-cut shapes onto a baking sheet and pop it in the freezer for about 1-2 minutes (no longer). Then you can easily separate the dough scraps from shapes. Those scraps will soften when you work them into a ball again with your hands, and the cookie shapes lift out easily without sticking to, or pulling from your tools.
Fill your cookie sheet with loveliness.
Bake for 8 minutes, no longer or they will brown too much.
Now let’s make the extra cute part of this little treat—heart teabags.
Take your tea bag filter, place on a flat surface. If you are using coffee filters, flatten two on top of each other and pin together. Lay a cookie cutter on top of bag/filters and trace a heart shape with your white pencil.
Cut the extra filter material from the tea bag, to give you some room to sew—leave about 1/4″-1/2″ from white line.
Cut your embroidery thread about 12-14″ long. Fold in half and feed the two ends about 1/2″ into the center of your heart “M”.
Sew around your white line‚ lifting presser foot when needed—to navigate the curves. Reinforce the embroidery thread with a backstitch when you make it to that part of your line/stitching. Stop sewing to leave about 1″ of your white line un-sewn so you can fill your bag with tea.
Using a small spoon, fill up your bag with about 1 tbsp of tea—you should be able to get two steeps from it. Be sure to put a plate underneath you for spillage, and reuse that tea.
Shake/jiggle the tea down into the un-open side of the bag and then sew ’er shut.
Trim extra filter off with scissors, being careful not to cut your embroidery thread (cut around it). Kathy recommends cutting pretty close to your thread—it looks the best.
Feed the loop of your embroidery thread through the hole in your cookie (top, left). Open up your loop (top, right) and feed teabag through the loop (bottom, left). Now gently pull (bottom, right)—voilà!
For the ultimate sweet gift, buy a pretty tea cup and fill it with a handful of tea and cookie sets. Just wrap your cookies/teabags with unbleached parchment, making sure you have some parchment between the two to keep flavors separate.
Store cookies in an airtight container the fridge until ready to gift. Then they will keep in a pantry for up to 7 days.
Now, go make someone feel extra special with this gift.
Big thanks to:
Kathy Beymer (go see her mastery at MerrimentDesign.com)…
… her smiley son, Liam…
… and of course, Kathy’s twin daughter and unofficial cookie monster, Elise…
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And because I love YU…