Thursday, September 20, 2012

Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

What could be more refreshing than a hot cup of Earl Grey tea in the middle of the afternoon to lift ones spirit and rejuvenate the soul? Well, perhaps a buttery shortbread cookie wouldn't go amiss. Bergamot oil, which is extracted from the fragrant skin of the sour bergamot fruit, gives Earl Grey tea its unique citrusy flavour and imparts a bright note to these tiny Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies. Delicately scented with finely grated orange zest and vanilla extract, the Bergamot is subtle surprise to this basic shortbread cookie recipe. I always pick up a tine of Early Grey tea from Fortnum & Mason whenever I'm in London. Light and sweet, these tiny citrusy shortbreads couldn't be simpler to make and are simply delicious — they also freeze well for future decadent afternoons.

I always pick up loose tea from Fortnum & Mason

Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen

2 cups pastry or all-purpose flour
2 tbsp loose Earl Grey tea leaves, finely ground
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest 

Crush the Earl Grey loose tea leaves in a coffee grinder or mini food processor and pulse to a fine powder. In a small bowl mix the tea, flour and salt together, then set aside. Cream the butter, powdered sugar, orange zest and vanilla together using an electric mixer, until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix until well combined.

Transfer the dough to a surface dusted with flour. Divide into 4 pieces and roll each to 1-1/4 inch diameter logs and wrap in cling film. Tightly twist each end of wrap and chill in refrigerator for an hour or longer.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cut the logs into 1/4 inch slices and place on the baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges are just golden. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack before serving. They also freeze well in an air tight container.