Leaf it to Me…

Produced by Mindi Shapiro

Written by Brett Levine

Food styling by Lily Plauché

Photography by Alison Miksch

Tea may be for two, and it may have launched a party in Boston Harbor, but for our purposes it is the perfect foundation for incredible additions to your menu. Its distinctive flavor adds smokiness in the form of a Lapsang souchong, and delicacy to the sweetness of your favorite cookie. Let loose-leaf tea be a go-to flavoring in your spice rack, and enjoy its depths and tastes in unexpected ways.


Lapsang Souchong Chicken

Serves: 2-4

1 (3½ – 4 lb) chicken

2 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns, finely crushed

3 Tbsp. sesame oil

3 Tbsp. Lapsang souchong tea leaves

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

½ lb. bok choy, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Cooked white rice, for serving


  1. Heat oven to 400F. Season chicken all over with salt and peppercorns.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add chicken; cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from pan.
  3. Combine tea leaves, sugar, and ½ tablespoon sesame oil. Rub all over chicken. Bake chicken in a roasting pan or sheet pan with sides for 30 minutes.
  4. Toss bok choy with ½ tablespoon sesame oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Add to roasting pan with chicken. Continue cooking 15 minutes or until chicken is done and bok choy is tender.
  5. Sprinkle chicken and bok choy with sesame seeds. Serve with rice.


Jasmine Shortbread Cookies

Makes: 24 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. kosher salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. jasmine tea leaves

2 Tbsp. dried jasmine tea flowers

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar


  1. Beat butter and powdered sugar with a mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and salt. Beat in flour and jasmine tea just until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten each into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F. Roll dough on a heavily floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 2 ½ inch rounds. Place rounds onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Press a few dried jasmine flours into each dough round. Sprinkle tops of cookies with granulated sugar.
  3. Bake cookies 15 minutes or until pale golden around the edges. Cool cookies on a wire rack.


Earl Grey Butter

Makes: about 1 cup

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 Tbsp. Earl grey tea leaves

Pinch of sea salt

2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

½ tsp. lemon zest

1 ½ tsp. lemon juice

¼ tsp. vanilla

1 Tbsp. honey


  1. Combine ½ cup butter and tea in a saucepan over medium low heat, swirling until butter melts. Once all butter is melted and mixture is very hot, turn off heat and let stand 10 minutes. Strain. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm but still spreadable.
  2. Combine tea infused butter, ½ cup softened butter, salt, powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and honey in a mixer and beat over medium speed until combined and creamy. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 1 week.

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