Cookies

Earl Grey Shortbread

You won’t be-leaf how delicious this shortbread is! # 236: Earl Grey Shortbread

Leaf-shaped cookies speckled with tea leaves. . . It’s like an autumnal version of Inception!

Yes, I managed to sneak chocolate into these very non-chocolate cookies. You’re welcome.

Shortbread is in my top five favorite cookies. Rich and buttery, I love the simplicity and the texture. Plus the dough can take on basically any flavor you can think of! They’re the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans of the cookie world.

While these are perfect alongside a warm drink, should the tea in the mug be the same as the tea in the cookie? Or is that too matchy-matchy? You could also go rogue and have them with a cup of coffee. *Gasp*

I waffled between earl grey and raspberry black tea, but then came to the perfect solution: make a double batch and use both! The raspberry tea flavor came through a little stronger than the earl grey, but both were scrumptious.

Last time I made tea-flavored cookies, I just mixed tea with powdered sugar to make a glaze to go on top. The cookies were tea bag shaped and utterly adorable, but the flavor didn’t really come through. A few recipes I found suggested mixing the whole leaves into the dough itself, either dumping the tea leaves in with the flour or mixing it with the butter ahead of time to infuse the flavor more thoroughly. The butter option worked very well! But I’ll be mincing the tea leaves next time – the larger tea leaves that took away from the lovely shortbread texture when I took a bite.

Welcome back to winter baking! Daylight Savings always messes with my photoshoots. Overcast daylight is truly the best for photos, but I have a cookie in my hand so I shouldn’t be complaining too much.

A few years ago, I thought I’d stumbled on the perfect proportions for shortbread. I have since changed my ways and have settled on a new favorite:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Whatever mix-ins you want! Pistachios, tea leaves, mini chocolate chips, spices… yum

Subbing out some of the flour for cornstarch helps inhibit protein (gluten) formation, giving it even more of a melt-in-your-mouth texture. And I love swapping half the sugar out for brown sugar whenever the extra moisture won’t hurt the bake. Love the extra flavors from the little bit of molasses in the brown sugar and a splash of vanilla!

My mom let me borrow this lovely embossed rolling pin, but I either didn’t press down enough, or this dough refused to cooperate and I ended up with flat-topped cookies. Sigh.

C’est la vie – it was pretty while it lasted.

Baking puns make me so happy (thanks Katie!) It now hangs on the side of the fridge to inspire me when my bakes fail and most importantly, to make Nathan sigh and shake his head whenever he sees it. (He loves my puns, I promise.)

Embossed elegance is fleeting when the surface is almost ⅓ butter.

Eek a naked cookie bottom!

Phew, fixed it.

Someday I’ll take the time to temper my chocolate. Maybe.

Happy munching!

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