When I lived in Russia as a student, my host mom kept a pantry full of snacks, the sole purpose of which were to accompany tea. These were often some Danish butter cookies or similar store-bought treat, but it was the ritual that mattered. There is something very elegant and timeless about keeping tea snacks on hand. It’s a subtle message to the world that you’re open for hospitality, which is psychologically and spiritually comforting on some level.
Russians drink a lot more tea than Americans. I drank a lot of tea in Russia, but it hasn’t translated back into my North American lifestyle, although at times I wish it would. To sit down and have a cup of tea, take a moment to unwind, it’s a luxury we should all allow ourselves time and again. The glass you see in the picture is the traditional glassware for serving tea on a train in Russia. This one is an homage to the city of St. Petersburg, where I first began laying some roots in almost a decade ago.
This week was not quite as bitter cold as it has been of late in Toronto, but I’m still just baking just to keep my kitchen warm! Our house was built in 1902, and it’s draughty to say the least. The kitchen and back of the house are consistently 5-7 degrees Celsius cooler than the front of the house. I know, something needs to be done about it, but this has been our first winter here and we’re managing for now.
I somehow got the idea for these treats between a fruitless search for a box of Nilla wafers and a craving for cinnamon. Throw in some almonds and you’ve got the absolute perfect combination, subtle yet full of flavour. Comforting yet intriguing. This little cookie packs a delightful punch. Plus, if measured out the way I did, they run at about 65 calories/cookie, a treat that’s decadent without inducing guilt.
When taken out of the oven and for the next day or so, they are soft on the inside but remain harder on the edge. If you keep them in an airtight container with a piece of fresh bread, they will stay softer for longer. But if you don’t have any bread on hand or if you just want to discover what these cookies were really meant for, you’ll see that around the third day, they become the perfect “crisp” for dipping in hot beverages such as coffee or tea. I did mine on a Wednesday night, and on Friday morning, they were ideal as beverage accompaniments. Without further ado, here is the recipe! I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup slivered almonds, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until consistently crumbly; beat in egg and vanilla extract.
- Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and mix the dry ingredients thoroughly into butter mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add the almonds and mix by hand.
- Using a small cookie scoop for 2 tsp of dough, drop cookies about 2 inches apart, 1 teaspoon at a time, onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake in the preheated oven until edges of cookies are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on wire racks.
Leave me a comment and let me know what your favourite snack is with tea!