Russian tea

Russian tea recipe

Can I just say, for the record, I have no idea why this is called Russian Tea? I don’t. But I DO know why I’ve kept this recipe, written on orange construction paper, for so long: it is SO GOOD. I used to be a preschool teacher, and the teacher in the next room over gave me this recipe forever ago. Every year I make it it’s just as good as I remembered! There are a lot of versions floating around out there, but this one has never failed me. You will need:

Russian tea mix

  • 2 cups Tang mix
  • 1/3 cup lemonade mix
  • 3/4 cup instant tea (recipe says decaf; I use fully leaded because I have a 3 year old)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves

Then just mix it all in a bowl and store in a jar — so easy that this is a great project for the kids to help with. To serve, pour one cup of hot water over 1 Tbsp. of tea mix (grownups only with the boiling water, obviously).

This mix looks very pretty in little jars for presents, along with some sugar spice craisin nuts.

I must confess, though, my favorite thing to do with this tea is to enjoy a steaming cup of it in the afternoon with a little plate of cookies. It’s downright civilized, I tell you. My two favorite accompaniments for Russian tea this year are these buttered rum meltaways from Erin’s Food Files, and these shortbread cookies from The Novice Chef, my two bloggie sisters in crime. Try them… you won’t be sorry!

Russian tea

White chocolate oatmeal Craisin cookies

I had a morning appointment at Redo in Franklin (if you haven’t been, go now — love them) today and, as I am wont to do, brought The Kiddo with me. Fortunately he travels well, especially when the iPod is loaded up with Super Why. Know what else travels well? These cookies! I can neither confirm nor deny that they are lovely for breakfast sandwiched around a healthy smear of peanut butter.

This varies just a bit from the recipe on the Craisin bag, so here ’tis:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag Craisins
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

To make the goodness:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla for 5 minutes at medium speed till mixture is light and fluffy
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a second bowl and add to butter mixture one cup at a time, mixing till just incorporated
  4. Stir in Craisins and white chocolate chips
  5. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto nonstick or greased cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes until they’re just starting to brown around the edges
  6. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes, then move to wire rack to completely cool

This makes about 5 dozen, and they  freeze beautifully! Enjoy!

Classic chocolate chip cookies

Just makes you want to reach for a glass of milk, doesn’t it?

These are classic, easy, ridiculously nom-worthy chocolate chip cookies from my very favorite cookbook. Get the oven heating!

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup softened shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar — half brown, half white
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 oz. chocolate chips (about 1 1/4 cups, or half a bag)

And then:

  1. Mix together butter, shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla till creamy, but not fluffy
  2. Sift together and stir in flour, soda, salt and mix in with wet ingredients
  3. Add in chocolate chips and stir
  4. Chill dough while oven is preheating to 375F
  5. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, about 2″ apart
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes until they are just barely starting to brown — Betty says “delicately browned.” I love that
  7. Cool slightly on the cookie sheet, then move to a rack to cool completely

Makes about 3 dozen 2″ cookies. And they don’t last long.