Tea of the Week: Bigelow’s Girl Scout Thin Mints Herbal Tea

Knock, knock, knock. And there they are…Girl Scouts, with their adorable smiling faces, asking if you’d like to buy just a few boxes of cookies.

It’s a daunting dilemma having Girl Scouts show up at your front door, especially if you’re trying to watch your calories. You don’t actually want to tell the sweet little girls “no,” do you? For those of you who feel my pain, there’s hope for us and it comes in the form of tea…more specifically, Girl Scout Thin Mints Tea!

In partnership with the Girl Scouts of America, Bigelow Tea Company launched its cookie-flavored teas earlier this year. As the operator of the largest working tea plantation in the US, leave it to Bigelow Tea to come up with a distinctively all-American tea flavor to delight the young at heart. On top of that, Cindi Bigelow, the third-generation President of the companywas once a proud Girl Scout herself!

Next year, I’m hoping that the Girl Scouts come knocking on my door with both cookies and tea. How great would that be? In the meantime (for those of us in the US), be on the lookout at your local grocery stores. Like the cookies, Thin Mints Herbal Tea is a seasonal offering, so it’s a great idea to stock up while you can!Tasting Notes for Bigelow’s Girl Scout Thin Mints Herbal Tea:

BREWING TIPS:  Brew at 212 degrees F for 4 minutes. This tea brews dark and strong quickly so keep an eye out while it’s steeping.
THE BLEND:  A mix of peppermint, chicory, rose hips, licorice root, low-fat alkalized cocoa powder, natural chocolate flavors, and other natural flavors.
THE SCENT:  Of soft, bright peppermint with hints of rich caramel.
THE STEEP:  The color is dark chocolate brown, like coffee! Each sip starts with the smooth taste of chocolate followed by mild mintiness. The chocolate and mint flavors are well-balanced where one doesn’t overwhelm the other. This is great served on its own if you want to taste more of its peppermint base. Enjoy it with a splash of milk to highlight its rich, deep, chocolate flavors. I like the taste of this brew hot, not cold.
GET IT:  The tea is available in grocery stores during the months of March, April, and May this year. It can also be found on Amazon, but not at the Bigelow site. I found my tea at Sprouts, alongside Caramel and Coconut, the tea version of Caramel deLights (a.k.a. Samoas)!
FOOD PAIRING:  Since this is caffeine-free, refreshingly minty, and inspired by cookies, it’s ideal as a substitute for dessert. If you want to indulge, serve this with anything chocolatey like Chocolate Petit Fours, Homemade Chocolate Pocky, or those leftover Thin Mints parked in your freezer (are there any left!?). The touch of mint makes this tea a delicious partner to a few pieces of dark chocolate. This is also great for the calorie conscious who are craving a taste of Thin Mint Cookies minus the guilt.

Canadian Bacon Cheese Crisps

Have you ever considered pairing tea with cheese? Think about your last Cucumber and Cream Cheese Tea Sandwich. I’m guessing you can remember the tartness of the cheese, and (if you had it with tea) how the brew brought those flavors to life. Cheese and wine often make ideal partners, but the next time you find yourself in the funky smelling cheese section of your favorite gourmet store, think of the leaves and not the liquor. Tea has a way of highlighting rich cheese flavors, whether sharp, tangy, or just plain stinky!

This simple recipe for cheese crisps is made with any semi-hard or hard cheese. I’ve made these with strong English Cheddar, Swiss Gruyère, and Italian Pecorino Romano all with great results. Today I’m using everyone’s favorite, a nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano, which you can easily buy pre-grated if you find yourself short on time. 
My cutesy embellishment for these crisps is a little heart of lean Canadian Bacon which develops a lovely caramelized finish as it cooks. These crisps take mere minutes to make, but are surprisingly elegant when paired with other yummy nibbles like cornichon, olives, or marinated peppers…an ideal way to kick off any romantic Valentine’s Day soirée.

English or Irish Breakfast Tea, Keemun, and Darjeeling all make great pairings to these Canadian Bacon Cheese Crisps. The full-bodied strength of these black teas make them like red wine, able to stand up to the complex umami flavors in robustly flavored cheeses. But don’t take my word for it…find and discover your own favorite tea and cheese pairings! Assam and Gouda? Darjeeling and Havarti? Sencha and Goat Cheese? If you love tea and love cheese, let the culinary adventures begin!

Canadian Bacon Cheese Crisps

Makes 15 crisps.


5 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

5 pieces Canadian bacon

dried parsley (optional)


flat top griddle or large skillet


paper towels

round metal cookie cutter, 2 1/4″

1 Tbsp measure

large baking sheet, lined with paper towels

small heart-shaped cookie cutter (optional)


1.) Cut out heart shapes from the Canadian bacon using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter. I was able to get 3 hearts out of one bacon slice. Blot them with a paper towel to remove excess moisture from the surface. Set aside.

2.) Place the round cookie cutter on a flat top griddle, then spoon out 1 Tbsp of the grated cheese in the center of the cutter. Spread the cheese out with your finger so that it lays even in thickness in the cutter. Remove the cutter, then repeat the process as many times as the size of your griddle allows. Leave 1″ between each patch of cheese.

3.) Turn on the griddle to 350 degrees F or med-high heat (if using stove top) under a skillet. Heat the cheese until melts, for several minutes until the fat starts to render out. When the edges of the cheese start to brown and the cheese looks semi-set, use paper towels to blot off the now liquid fat. Gently lay the paper towel even to the surface of the cheese and the fat should easily wick up. Push a “heart” of Canadian bacon in the center of the melted cheese.

4.) Flip the cheese crisp over to brown the other side. Cook for a few minutes, checking occasionally to see when the bacon “hearts” are nicely browned but not burned. Remove the crisps from the griddle using a thin spatula. Park them on a paper towel lined baking sheet until hardened. Lightly sprinkle the tops of the cheese crisp with dried parsley to finish.

French Tea Gummies

Artfully blended and bold, a good cup of French tea is the most decadent treat. Today’s recipe for French Tea Gummies is inspired by the gorgeous black and hot pink tin of tea that’s been hiding in the back of my tea cabinet since I bought it in Paris last year.

Fauchon’s Raspberry Macaron Blend has a perfume-like quality that makes it ideal for using as a base in simple and sweet food items like candies. If you are thinking that fancy tea should be left out of the cooking realm, this recipe will help to change your mind. When carefully selected, certain high-quality teas can take your food from one-note to extraordinary.

I became enamored by fleur di lys (literally translated as “flower of the lily”), a classic symbol of all things French, when I visited Quebec a few years ago. There are so many options when it comes to molds for gummy candies, but I must say that I was really excited to find this design. I don’t know who would have thought to make candy molds out of a motif so distinguished, but I’m glad they did because these gummy candies wouldn’t have half their charm without their artistic shape.

I hate to tell you this, but Fauchon’s Raspberry Macaron Blend isn’t available in the US. Don’t worry though, Harney & Sons Paris blend or Mariage Freres’ Marco Polo will both work great here. To put it simply, use any black tea that’s floral (roses) and fruity (berries), and has you coming back for more!

Adding milk into tea is a tradition in French tea-drinking. To honor this, I’ve introduced an option for a tea gummy that has a touch of milk added to it. This custom was started by none other than Madame de Sévigné, a French aristocrat who would add the liquid as a way to take the edge off of tea that had traveled for years before reaching her. It’s a custom that many still know and love, so I certainly didn’t want to skip it!

Instead of using corn syrup, which is typical for gummy snacks, I’ve used a combination of honey and stevia in this recipe. The honey helps to create a chewy texture, while the stevia gives a boost of natural sweetness to make these bites taste truly candy-like.

The black tea is steeped with triple strength here, so that it’s flavor is noticeable and shines through. This is a culinary trick anytime you cook with tea…steep it strong–very strong–much stronger than feels right! And even though we want a strong tea, we don’t want a tea that’s been over-steeped, so read your tea’s packaging carefully for brewing instructions.

Take my advice…get more than one mold and make plenty of these, because you seriously won’t be able to stop eating them once you start. Healthy, nutritious, and incredibly delicious, they are the most childishly sophisticated snack around. Kids will like these French Tea Gummies, but it’s the adults who will absolutely love them!

French Tea Gummies

Makes 2 cups of gummy candies.


6 oz package organic raspberries

juice of 1 lemon (2 Tbsp)

4 Tbsp honey

1/4 tsp stevia

1 cup strongly brewed tea, preferably flavored, French, or French-inspired! (ratio of 1 cup water to 1 Tbsp loose tea leaves)

6 Tbsp gelatin

non-stick vegetable oil spray

5 Tbsp evaporated milk (optional)


Fleur de Lys candy/chocolate mold

medium pot

medium bowl

tea brewer


medium mesh sieve


small spoon


1.)  Place the raspberries and lemon juice in medium pot and place on low-medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the raspberries are completely broken down. You can use the back of the spatula to help with this process. Place a sieve over a medium bowl. Pour the raspberry mixture through the sieve to remove all the seeds. Add the honey and stevia to the strained juice and mix in. Set the raspberry juice aside.

2.)  Brew the tea. It’s typical to brew black tea for 4-5 minutes with water at 212 degrees F. Set aside.

3.)  Scatter the gelatin on top of the raspberry mixture and mix it in. Add the hot tea in and mix together until you get a homogenous mixture. If you notice clumps, add the mixture back into the pot and cook on low heat until the gelatin fully dissolves. Use a spoon to skim off and discard any foam off the surface of the mixture.

4.)  Give the candy mold a very light, even spray of vegetable oil. Using a small spoon, fill each cavity of the mold. Place the mold into the fridge or freezer until the gummies are fully set. In the freezer, it will only take about 5 minutes. Repeat the process as many times as it takes to use up all of the tea mixture. Meanwhile, if the raspberry-tea mixture starts to set in the prep bowl, give it a zap in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to return it to a liquid state. Store gummies in the fridge in an airtight container.

Variation:  If you like a bit of cream in your tea, add 5 Tbsp of evaporated milk to the tea after it has been brewed in Step 2. Alternatively, I like to add 2 1/2 Tbsp of milk after there is a half portion of the raspberry-tea mixture left (after you’ve spooned out 1/2 of the mixture). This way I get 2 types of gummies (one cup of clear gummies & one cup of milky gummies) from one full recipe.

Easter Bunny Stroopwafels

Who says chocolate bunnies are only for kids?

Let’s be honest, Easter isn’t Easter without a large chocolate bunny being involved.  These Easter Bunny Stroopwafels are the more enchanted version of those grand hollow Easter bunnies that children enjoy, with a measure of portion control thrown in.  What’s also great about these is that they make good use out of the unique and incredibly delicious Dutch stroopwafel!

Several months back I posted a recipe on tea bark, where fragrant green teas were scattered over thin layers of glossy dark chocolate.  For these Easter Bunny Stroopwafels, I used matcha infused white chocolate to set the stage for some grass-like imagery.  The matcha tea also helps to give the cookies an extra boost in green tea flavor.

When choosing which tea blend to use here, you want a green tea laced with lots of flowers and dried fruits.  Even just plain herbals like lavender and ripped rose buds work well.  Above all, you want to use a tea that is pleasantly fragrant and edible.

Teavana’s Sakura Allure is an ideal tea to use for these Easter Bunny Stroopwafels.  Aesthetically, this is a very beautiful, feminine looking tea, which is exactly why I chose it to use!  This blend is inspired by the cherry blossoms that bloom in Japan every spring.

Tasting Notes:

BREWING TIPS:  2 minutes at 175 degrees F.

THE LEAF:  Long, narrow, dark green tea leaves with chunks of dried cherries, dried mango, candied pineapple, orange peels, hibiscus, rose leaves, and rose buds thrown in.

THE SCENT:  A very strong cherry and floral scent.  I left some in my hot car after my run to Teavana, and the car smelled incredibly fruity by the time I returned!

THE STEEP:  This blend looks and tastes very much like fruit punch.  Since there are many fruits and herbal flowers added in, the caffeine content is lower, so this blend is good for kids or those who are caffeine-sensitive.

*** The thing you need to remember if you use Sakura Allure for this little project is that the dried cherries in the tea are not pitted.  Pit and cut the large dried cherries into little tiny bits before using them to make the tea bark.  The cherries are easy to spot in the blend–they are large, sticky, speckled black clumps.

bunny stroopwafel from aboveEaster Bunny Stroopwafels make an easy and elegant after-brunch dessert.  Enjoy them with a hot, fruity cup of brewed Sakura Allure so that your guests can try the tea in two ways–dried and brewed!  These Easter-themed stroopwafels help to capture a lovely image of the season, reminding us that spring is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings.

And with that, I would like to wish all my blog readers out there a very Happy Easter!!

Easter Bunny Stroopwafels

Makes 6 decorated stroopwafels.


6 stroopwafels

6 small chocolate bunnies (I used Lindt)

6 small pastel-colored chocolate Easter eggs (I used Cadbury Minis)

1/4 cup white chocolate or candy melts

1 tsp matcha green tea powder

2 Tbsp of a floral, fruity, and fragrant loose-leaf green tea (I used Teavana’s Sakura Allure), plus more for brewing


teacups, with diameter same or less than stroopwafels

baker’s twine or thin decorative ribbon, cut into 8″ pieces



1.)  Melt the white chocolate or candy melts in the microwave or over a double boiler.  Add in the matcha and mix until the chocolate is an even green color.

2.)  Place 2-3 tsp of the green tea melted chocolate in the top middle of each stroopwafel.  Smooth over the chocolate evenly so that you leave a 1/4″ border all around the top circumference of the stroopwafel.

3.)  Lightly scatter the green tea blend atop the setting green tea chocolate.

4.)  Place an unwrapped chocolate bunny in the center of the stroopwafel, and an egg beside the bunny.  Allow a few minutes for the chocolate to set.

5.) Using baker’s twine or thin string, tie a bow around the neck of each chocolate bunny.  Snip off excess ribbon.  When it’s time to serve, place the stroopwafels atop a teacup filled with the same Sakura Allure you used to make the bark.  Enjoy!

Fragrant Orange English Scones

When I started my tea blog last year, it seemed obvious that scones should be at the top of my tea recipes list.  After all, there isn’t any treat around as quintessentially tea-time related as the classic English Scone.

There are so many wonderful scone recipes that I have in my files, but today I’m sharing the Kensington Palace Scones recipe that comes from Bruce Richardson’s book, The Great Tea Rooms of Britain.  In it, the Tea Maestro himself travels all around the UK sharing with us the country’s most special tea venues, both humble and elaborate.

The one item undeniably found at every tea room in Britain are hot, fresh scones.  When making these scones, you finish kneading the dough with a final fold-over.  This technique gives these beauties a natural horizontal split.  Just gently break the scone in half with your hands and there it is, a perfect canvas for globs of cream and jam!  Proper etiquette would dictate that you carefully slice the scone in half with a knife, but I must say, I am partial hands-on method, especially when I’m at home and the golden mounds have just come out of the oven.

And speaking of scone etiquette, I suppose I should share with you the proper way of eating a scone.  This way, when you end up visiting one of those fancy tea rooms in Britain, you’ll know exactly how it should be done!

How to “Properly” Eat a Scone

1.  With a knife, slice the scone in half horizontally.

2.  Using the serving spoons, spoon small spoonfuls of jam and cream onto your plate (just enough for your one scone).

3.  Use the tip of your knife to spread a small amount of jam on the edge of the scone, then cream on top.  When not being used, place the knife in the upper right side of the plate, with the cutting side facing in towards the center of the plate.   Take a bite, and when you’re ready for the next…repeat!

Other “Proper” Ways to Eat a Scone:

You can also break off bite-size pieces of scone after cutting it in half.  Then use the knife to dab the small piece with jam and cream, then repeat!

Another way to eat a scone properly is to slather the bottom half entirely with jam, then cream, and then take bites as politely as possible.  You can repeat process with the top half.

Other interesting facts about scone-eating etiquette:

Never spoon the jam from the serving dish directly onto the scone!

If you are served butter instead of cream, spread butter first before the jam.

Did you know that eating a scone American style, means that you can eat it with a knife and fork?

And here’s my favorite…never eat a scone like you would eat a sandwich or burger!

If you’re wondering where I come up with these ideas, I don’t!  They came from another of Bruce Richardson’s tea books, Tea & Etiquette.  For this project, he paired up with etiquette expert Dorothea Johnson to give us these interesting tips on tea manners.  Tea & Etiquette is a really useful read if you are trying to brush up on your afternoon tea skills…scones, tea, and the like!  Consider it the Emily Post of afternoon tea.

Bake off some of these Fragrant Orange English Scones to test out your scone eating etiquette! If you are like me, it might take a few scones before you get a graceful groove going for you.  Hey, practice makes perfect, right?  Undoubtedly, the next time you take tea at The Ritz or The Four Seasons you’ll be dining confidently with class and ease!

Fragrant Orange English Scones

Makes 10- 2.5″ scones.

Note:  Kensington Palace Scones are originally made without any orange zest or glaze.  If you aren’t into orange flavor, make them plain and they are just as delicious (and most authentic) this way!


{Orange Scones}

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 tsp grated orange rind

1/3 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I used Spectrum brand)

1/3 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1 egg, beaten

bench flour

{Light Orange Glaze}

2 tsp grated orange rind

1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 Tbsp orange juice


fine grater/zester

food processor

large mixing bowl

liquid measuring cup


work surface

2.5″ round cookie cutter

rolling pin

half baking sheet

parchment paper

cooling rack with baking sheet underneath


1.)  Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Measure out the butter and shortening.  Cut butter into 1/4″ cubes and place on a plate.  Spoon shortening into 1 tsp chunks and place on same plate.  Place plate with butter and shortening in the freezer to chill for a few minutes.

2.)  Place all dry ingredients into the food processor and pulse a few times to combine ingredients.  Add 2 tsp of orange rind, and pulse one more time.  In measuring cup, measure out milk, then add egg and beat until the mixture is thoroughly mixed.

3.)  Remove butter/shortening from the freezer and add it into the food processor with flour.  Pulse the fats with the dry ingredients several times until you get pea sized pieces of the fat covered in flour.  Dump this mixture into a large bowl, then gradually add in liquid mixture with a fork until you get barely mixed shaggy dough.

4.)  Dump the shaggy dough onto a work surface scattered with bench flour.  Knead the dough ball 8-10 times.  For the final kneading, fold the dough entirely onto itself.

5.)  Roll dough out to a thickness of 1″.  Use round cookie cutter to punch out rounds.  Use bench flour on rolling pin and cookie cutter as necessary, to stop dough from sticking.  Place dough rounds on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, at least 1″ apart.  Bake scones for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

6.)  Make Light Orange Glaze.  Mix powdered sugar, 2 tsp of orange zest, and orange juice together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

7.)  After removing scones from oven, place on a cooling rack with baking sheet underneath.  Spoon glaze over scones.  This glaze is for flavor and not looks.  It will seep into the exterior of the scone, giving the scones an extra boost of orange freshness.   Serve scones warm, with generous amounts of jam and cream.

Adapted from Kensington Palace Scones recipe in Bruce Richardson’s The Great Tea Rooms of Britain.