Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Tea Time Memory for National Hot Tea Month

 A Spooky Book Signing One Week After Stephen King's Event!

Over the decades I've been an author at dozens and dozens of book signings. 

Some book events I've teamed with well-known people featured in my books.  We were greeted by TV cameras, radio station hosts, a microphone and rows of people in the audience. Others, guide dogs to adoption cats upstaged me, the author, and nobody wanted me to speak out or sign a book. You just never know what's going to happen at a book signing--and the thing is, I continue to get booked and go on the road for the thrill of the unknown...

Last weekend on Saint Patrick’s Day, for instance, I took a leap of faith and drove over the snow shrouded mountain (with my Australian shepherd in tow and survival food) to attend a book discussion/signing for number six, the Healing Powers series tea tome.  So much for lucky holidays and numbers, I thought. The roads were icy, cars were moving at a snail’s pace, and a couple of times I mumbled, “I’m turning back.”
Knowing I was stocked up on granola bars, salt and vinegar potato chips, bottled water, and canine chow seemed a bit calming for a snow day raining on my parade. While there were a few close skidding out of control moments, no “Misery” car crash for this food book series author. 
On the way home, I wondered, “Why didn’t I bake chewy cookies and bring tea?”  A sobering flashback of hitchhiking in my twenties through
a blizzard in Wyoming with my black Lab (not a snow-loving dog) paid me a visit and reminded me, "This too shall pass." We survived--and this time around, too.
Back in the cozy cabin I made a fire, brewed a fresh cup of hot chamomile (two cups, actually), and cuddled with my action-oriented Aussie and zen-like Siamese. After a day of adventure, cravings for fresh coconut macaroons were on my mind. 
After all, it’s still winter-like weather in the Sierra and a home-baked cookie (filling the house with a sweet aroma) paired with an over-sized cup of my favorite beverage is super comforting and takes me to a place I love. This recipe is inspired by my new tea book The Healing Powers of Tea (infused with soul, thanks to pro chef recipes and gritty, heartwarming stories, and tearooms I visited both in and out of the country during research in Tealand).

Snowflake Cookies

5 tablespoons whole wheat flour (good for high altitude so cookies don’t spread in the oven)
¼ cup granulated white sugar
6 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 capful each almond extract and pure vanilla extract
7-8 ounces (approximately 2 ½ cups) sweetened coconut, premium
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon lemon or orange rind (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar (for dusting) (optional)

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, milk, extracts and coconut. Set aside. In a mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff. Fold in coconut mixture. Add orange rind. Use 1/3 cup ice cream scoop or 1 teaspoon (shaped like a Hershey’s chocolate drop), and place cookie dough on a cookie sheet (parchment paper is nice to use to avoid sticking). Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes or till bottoms are golden and cookies are firm. Remove immediately. Dust cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Makes about 10-12 cookies; depending on size.  Store in airtight container and put in fridge or freezer.
(Tip: I cut the recipe in half because these cookies do contain sugar and fat. If you love chocolate, melt white or dark chocolate chips in the microwave for about 30 seconds, stir, 30 more seconds till melted. Dip on one side of the cookie or on the bottom.)

While the drive in a post-snowstorm wasn’t as horrific as I had thought it could be, the chips were super stress reducers, but herbal tea and warm homemade cookies would have been more soothing. Next time around during a drive in the snow or rain, I’ll pack a thermos of tea and snowflake cookies.

--Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, and Superfoods) published by Kensington and available at fine bookstores everywhere. (The collection has been featured by One Spirit, Literary Guild, and the Good Cook Book Club.)  Her website is

No comments:

Post a Comment