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



  • 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




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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10 Responses to Earl Gray Shortbread Cookies

  1. Kristen says:

    Oooh, I love the chocolate on the back. I could go for a bit of shortbread myself. Sounds wonderful!!!

  2. Aly says:

    I tried to make these and they didnt come out at all 🙁

    i even added another stick of butter (room temp)..but the dough is pure sand… tastes GREAT..but wont roll at all. bummer! any suggestions? I did use high-altitude flour since I’m in Denver..would that make a difference??

    • Strudel says:

      I’m so sorry they didn’t work out! I have a few thoughts… I wonder if you ran it in your mixer long enough? You want it to get past the sand stage, until it starts to come together.

      I consulted with Tiffany (the “Streusel” of this blog), who lives in Denver, too. Apparently the Hungarian High Altitude Flour (assuming that’s the one you used, it’s the only one she’s heard of), is wheat that’s grown at hight altitude and may not be great for making breads. I wonder if that impacted this recipe? Tiff offered to make the cookies this weekend (at 5280, too!) to see if the altitude impacts anything. So, stay tuned.

  3. Aly says:

    Thanks so much for the tips!!!! I look forward to any help.. they ended up tasting decent (I ended up forming the dough into a patty, scoring it and baking that)… I’m not giving up yet – because the taste was sooo good!!

    • Streusel says:

      Sorry for the delay! I made these this weekend and although the dough was crumbly at first, after mixing with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, it softened up and I was able to form it in a ball and refrigerate and cut with no issues at high altitude. I used King Soopers all-purpose flour and Sam’s club unsalted butter. I also used Turley’s Spice Tea (from Boulder). It made a great cookie!

  4. Kate says:

    These look yummy, I must try to them.

  5. Aly says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’ll try regular flour next time! I just got a kitchen aid for christmas..so I’ll try the paddle attachment once I get it set up!

    • Strudel says:

      CONGRATS on the kitchen aid! That’s great you got one, they’re life-changing! Good luck with the cookies, and please do let us know how they turn out. And of course, happy new year!

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