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Saturday, June 16, 2012

tea shortbread cookies.

These are definitely one of the best shortbread cookies I've ever had.

And that's because these are really shortbreads- crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth (if you could excuse the overused phrase) deliciousness. Some shortbread recipes include eggs to help to bind the dough together for easier slicing or some other reasons but the egg creates the cohesiveness that precisely takes away that crumbliness of a signature shortbread.

I used to be skeptical of tea in baked confections. The addition of it makes the product sound all uptight and prissy, something that you would not want in a cake baked for comfort to console your frazzled self during stressful moments. But I take it all back now.

I used tea leaves that are a unique blend of earl grey and bitter chocolate, a current addiction of mine, instead of the pure earl grey tea leaves called for below in the recipe. Before baking, the dough already smelled fabulous but when it is in the oven, the magic happens. The entire kitchen, if not the house, is perfumed with the fragrance of tea and butter delicious butter. It's one of those moments you would brave the heat from the oven just to be near the cookies.

A word of caution though: It is very important to keep a close eye on these cookies so that they don't brown more than around the edges. I let my attention slip away and ended up with some entirely browned cookies. The reason behind this is because the brown toasty-ness would overwhelm the delicate tea flavour. If you do happen to overbake some, it's no casualty. You just have to concentrate really hard to detect the tea.

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies
adapted from Food Network
makes 24

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp loose Earl Grey tea leaves
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup butter, room temperature

Pulse together the flour, tea, salt and icing sugar in a food processor until the tea is just spotted throughout the flour. Add the vanilla and butter and pulse together just until a dough is formed. Place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, and roll into a log about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Tightly twist each end of wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. If you have a kitchen towel cardboard roll, slot the log of dough into it to help the dough keep its shape. You might have to make the diameter smaller though.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Slice the log into 1/3 inch thick disks. Place on lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes.

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