Anyway, here are the last two weeks' questions:
January 15 – 21: Do you have a favorite tea source? Do you shop online or in a local store?
Hmm. I would probably have more favorite tea sources if I had more money to spend; most of my tea comes from various grocery stores, large and small. Some of the smaller ones tend to have teas that are new to me, or specialty types, and I like to treat myself to one every once in a while. The Whole Foods near me has a lot of different types of teas, and even better, sometimes they have a sale on them, so I can try two new ones, or revisit some favorites.
The only online tea shopping I've ever done is through Adagio Teas, which I like, but I'm seldom placing a large enough order to make it worth the shipping cost.
There are two tea shops near me that I love to visit, and would spend more time (and money!) in, if I ever won the lottery. One is House of Tea, which is on South 4th Street, here in Philadelphia. My very favorite selection from there is Monk's Blend. It's usually what we have with our Sunday morning breakfast (when we have a chance to have Sunday breakfast together).
The other one is called Steap, and is on South 18th Street, making it not just very close to my house, but on the way to so many other places I go on a frequent basis. There's a great selection of the standards and some new (sometimes bizarre) combinations. You can buy a 4-ounce sample to see if you like something, or you can try the "brews of the day" to see how you like them, as there is a small tea bar in the back. The woman who owns it is great, and she has a lot of really neat tea-related stuff besides just the leaves themselves.
January 22 – 31: Please share a favorite tea snack, especially if it is a treasured recipe!
As far as I'm concerned, almost any snack is a tea snack, as my cup of tea can be whatever I need it to be at the time! But one of my very favorite things to have with some tea are these Lemon Tea Cookies. They are such a perfect combination of sweet and tart, they go very well with just about any black tea I've tried. (Sadly I have no idea where the recipe came from, so I can't direct you there.) Edited 26 January 2009 to add: I found it! Here's where the recipe originated.
Lemon Tea Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners sugar
4-5 tablespoons lemon juice
a dash of salt
To make cookies:
Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, lemon zest and juice. Sift together flour, cornstarch and salt. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture. Allow dough to sit for 10 minutes, then shape into 1-inch balls (or use a sz 70 cookie scoop). Place dough balls 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes. Cookies will look pale on top, but bottoms should be a light golden brown. Cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer to wire wracks and cool completely before icing.
To make icing/glaze:
Mix confectioners sugar, salt and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice together until a smooth. Adjust thickness by adding more lemon juice. Spoon icing/glaze over cooled cookies and allow to harden before storing in an airtight container.
Makes ~45 cookies