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[Photographs: Carrie Vasios Mullins]

I don't think you'd guess it to look at me (or my apartment), but I have a secret obsession with things that fall into the category of kitsch or twee. Hey, life is short and dancing hula lamps, cottage-shaped tea pots, and over-decorated Mexican restaurants amuse me. Since I don't actually want my house to look like the set of a historical movie (OK maybe I do), I get my kitschy fill through baking.

No surprise, then, that when I recently purchased a tea pot-shaped cookie cutter, I knew I had to make the cookies taste like tea, too. I took my standard crisp sugar cookie base and ground Earl Grey tea leaves into the dry ingredients. Using the whole tea leaves as opposed to adding in steeped tea really makes a difference in terms of imparting the flavor of the tea; versus adding steeped tea, it's much more potent. The cookies are crisp, especially on the second day, and good for dunking. The Earl Grey tea gives them a light citrusy flavor, and there are also notes of vanilla.

I love that the dough is easy to roll out and doesn't crack or tear. And because the dough holds its shape, it's a good choice for any cutter you have with small or sharp accents (delicate snowflakes, flamingos, etc.)

So no, you don't have to make these Earl Grey Tea(pot) cookies in a tea-pot shape, but you know you want to. On the inside.

About the author: Carrie Vasios Mullins is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

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