Earl Gray Shortbread Cookies

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about shortbread recently; I don’t really know why, but I do know that I almost never make shortbread cookies but am always excited to eat them. There’s obviously a lot to love about shortbread, namely that it’s made almost entirely out of two of my most favorite ingredients in the world, butter and white flour.

 

Despite these lingering shortbread thoughts, I hadn’t really been motivated to bake. I was finally spurred me into action when my partner – the guy I make sandwiches for, for heaven’s sake –  threatened to buy Lorna Doone cookies! We weren’t even in an argument when he made this announcement.  Here’s what’s funny – he said it like Nabisco would fly in our house.

 

As it turns out, he was hit with shortbread fever because of this (ridiculous) podcast he listens to. It’s called Mike and Tom Eat Snacks. Truly, I need not explain it, since the title speaks to the depth of of the program; during the podcast, these two guys eat a snack and then talk about it for 45 minutes. Our friend Jeff told us about the show. Truth be told, it actually can be pretty funny, I just happen to think it’s funny in a let’s-listen-to-it-once-every-three-weeks kind of way, not the 40 episodes in 6 weeks kind of way that some people have enjoyed it. Anyway, I’m digressing… the point is, while Mike and Tom didn’t love Lorna, they apparently talked at length about how amazing shortbread can be, which planted the idea into Brandon’s head. Of course, I’m totally open to shortbread cookie-ing, just not with Ms. L. Doone.

 

So, I created these cookies (with the strong influence of the lovely Ms. I. Garten), and I believe they make up for what Lorna lacks. Buttery and crumbly, they have the great husky flavor of earl gray tea (I recognize “husky” is a weird describing word, but I think it works here). The cookies are also painted with chocolate, and chocolate obviously makes everything better.

 

 

So, we’re off!

 

The recipe is very simple. You get a pile of room temp butter (this is my moody photo of butter) and mix it with a cup of sugar and a bit of vanilla in your mixer. It gets nice and creamy

 

 

 

Then, grind up your tea

 

 

 

Sift together the flour, salt, and tea

 

 

 

Photo extra: at the Foodbuzz festival, we took a workshop on how to improve your photos. One suggestions was to use a grow light to imitate natural lighting when you are taking photos at night. Here’s a photo of what I set up; it looks like my flour mixture is under interrogation

 

 

 

Mix up the flour mixture with the butter and sugar; you’ll keep it in your kitchen aid past it’s crumbly stage and until it starts to come together. Dump it out onto the counter and pat it into a disk. Chill for 30 min, then roll it out

 

 

 

They’re done when they are slightly browned. They’re great just like this, or they can be painted or drizzled with chocolate. I painted the bottom of my cookies with melted dark chocolate.

 

 

 

 

Earl Gray Shortbread Cookies

recipe adapted from Ina Garten

printer friendly version

 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons Earl Gray tea (about 7-8 tea bags)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 to 7 ounces chocolate, finely chopped

 

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookies sheets with parchment paper.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.

 

Using a coffee grinder (or small food processor, or blender), grind up tea leaves until they are almost powdery.

 

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ground tea leaves and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix until the dough starts to come together (if the dough seems crumbly, just keep mixing, it’ll come together). Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

 

Dust the countertop again lightly with flour, roll the dough 1/2-inch thick, and cut into uniform sizes. Place the cookies on baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

 

Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for about 30 seconds. Stir with a spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.

 

Using a knife, spread chocolate on the bottom of each cooled cookie. Place back onto the parchment, chocolate side up, to allow chocolate to harden.

 

 

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