Friday, July 27, 2007

Earl Grey Tea Shortbread

Shortbread has always been one of my favourite kind of cookies. My grandma's shortbread that we all fight over, to be specific. I think I was probably initimidated by making shortbread for this reason. How could I possibly make shortbread good enough to compare?

A couple of Christmases ago, I tried this earl grey cookie recipe for the first time, not realizing it was basically a shortbread cookie (good thing!) It was such a perfect little cookie that I knew I'd be making it again, though it did take me a year and a half. My coworker was leaving, and I had always talked about these earl grey cookies, so I had to make her some before she was gone. I decided to split the batter in two and do half a batch of earl grey orange cookies and the other half matcha. Not too long ago I attempted another matcha shortbread recipe but wasn't happy with the results, so I was hoping to have more luck here. They did taste okay but weren't as good as the earl grey cookies, and the matcha dough was extremely crumbly. So crumbly that I had trouble cutting off pieces from the log to bake them (and I didn't have this problem with the earl grey portion). You can see on the matcha cookies the pieces that broke off as I was slicing the dough. It's possible I just don't like matcha shortbread, but I don't want to believe that so I'll keep trying!

Anyway, the earl grey cookies were just as good as I had remembered. Strong earl grey (bergamot) flavour, hint of orange (using orange zest), and a wonderfully delicate shortbread texture. The only problem I have with these cookies is rolling the dough into two logs. I seem to find it impossible to make the roll cylindrical and instead it's some lopsided mishapen thing that resembles something between a circle and a square. But that gives the cookies more character, right?

Earl Grey Tea Cookies
(Adapted from the special issue Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies 2005)

makes about 8 dozen supposedly, but I found it to make a few dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves (from about 4 bags)*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1. In a small bowl, whisk flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl.

2. Put butter, sugar, and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined.

3. Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow the log and force out air. Freeze until firm, about an hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.

5. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through,until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

*You can grind the tea leaves in a small food processor, spice grinder, blender, or do as I did and use a magic bullet!
**Or just lay them carefully in your freezer on something long and flat.

Note: To make matcha shortbread, substitute matcha powder for Earl Grey tea and omit orange zest.


Cookie baker Lynn said...

Yumm. I love Earl Grey tea, so I will definitely try this. Your cookies look great and I think the irregular shapes show they were made with loving hands, not by machine.

Ellie said...

Oooh, I like the idea of earl grey shortbread, would be an even better pairing with a mug of tea :) I'll have to see how finely I can ground my tea leaves and give this a shot!

Patricia Scarpin said...

They look wonderful!

I have never had cookies made with tea, I'm sure these are great!

katealaurel said...

[I got here through your post at bakebakebake..]

A local dessert shop where I live sells Earl Grey chocolates, but the bergamot flavor isn't really intense enough for me. These, however, look excellent! I think I'll try them tonight, as Earl Grey is always my favorite tea, and these seem like great summery cookies. Thank you for posting the recipe!

Mandy said...

thanks for the recipe. I love anything with tea, especially shortbread! You have a nice blog. :)

eatme_delicious said...

lynn: Very true, about the irregular shapes. Hope you like the cookies!

ellie: I think everything tastes better with a cup of tea! :)

patricia: Thanks!

katealaurel: I hope you can get your earl grey fix through these cookies. If not then you can always add more earl grey next time. :)

mandy: I love anything with tea too. Though there was an earl grey loaf that I tried to make once that didn't turn out too well. Thanks for the kind words about my blog. :)

Anonymous said...

I read a tip once on how to make cookie dough logs smooth and even. Place the dough in a line, as much like a log as possible, on parchment paper, then fold the paper over, leaving at least two inches on the top and bottom overhang. Use a ruler to pin the top edge of the paper down against the bottom edge, against the bottom of the side of the log of dough. Slide the ruler along the bottom edge of the paper, and push the ruler under the dough log, (it will have paper around the edge of it which is the top "overhang"). The log will even right out. Good luck! I think this tip came from the Martha Stewart Dec 1998/Jan 1999 issue Christmas cookie article.

Bev and Ollie "O" said...

ooooh I love Earl Grey tea! I'm going to try these!

Bev and Ollie "O" said...

Do you think these would freeze well if need be?
I am making now and have just transferred logs to freezer, but I mean after baking. My dough was a bit crumbly though do you think this is right? Maybe I added too much flour! I guess we will see!
Can't wait to taste them, yummy!
(I will post the results on my blog and link back to you of course! x

Bev and Ollie "O" said...

OK, I have made them and added them to my blog, feel free to check it out and let me know if you are ok with it. (I linked to your fab blog lots) x

eatme_delicious said...

anonymous: Thanks for the tip. :) I've tried to do that before but it never worked out too well for me so I just accepted my oddly shaped logs. I should try it again though.

bev and ollie: Thanks for stopping by! I commented on your blog in response to your questions. :)

Anonymous said...

Your photos are better than most books or magazines!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe, it turned out beautifully. They look almost as good as they taste, and the tea adds a pleasant bit of texture.

Instead of rolling into logs, I pressed the dough into a wax paper-lined 9x9 pan. After freezing I turned dough onto baking sheet, cut into 16 squares, then sliced diagonally, making 32 triangles. Used a big fork to poke a row of holes, voila! They look heavenly.

I may replace the tea and orange zest with poppyseeds and lemon zest next time... or not. These are perfect as is!

eatme_delicious said...

First anonymous person: Wow thank you!! =)

Second anonymous person: Great idea to put them in a 9x9 pan and freeze then cut them. I should try that! I hate rolling them into logs.

Anonymous said...

I used wax paper to fold the "logs" into triangles rather than round logs, and cut them after they froze. They made super cute little triangle cookies after being cut! Perfect for tea.

I also brushed them with a little water mixed with powdered sugar, because I found them not quite sweet enough.

Phoebe L. said...

the recipe doesn't yield 8 dozen does it? i only made about 1 dozen cookies!!

eatme_delicious said...

Phoebe: I think mine made about 36. I find that cookies recipes are usually off with how many they say they'll make. I wouldn't worry about it as long as they taste good! Maybe yours were just thicker? or the log was wider.

Anonymous said...

This recipe looks fab. I will try tomorrow - nothing like a fall sunday afternoon tea with biscuits. My husband LOVES Earl Grey tea....he'll be nicely surprized :-)
I may even try the Lemon Poppyseed alternative as well - what a terrific idea!

Kat said...

These are fantastic! I love Earl Grey, but since someone just gave me a ton of cardamon black tea I used that instead. Very nice with the citrus peel. I made them again tonight, and did half the batch with an herbal raspberry tea blend -- also very nice with the orange flavors. Thanks so much for posting this. Definitely a keeper.

saveur said...

Hey Ashley,

I made this recipe from Martha as well as another recipe.. and found my second recipe to be way better. I know you liked this recipe but consider giving this one a go, too:

Greene said...

I think this maybe my new favorite cookie!
While visiting my parents and taking advantage of their usually better stocked kitchen, I ran out of all purpose flour 3/4 of the way through so I threw some oats into the magic bullet and it turned out just fine.

I think next time I will try an orange spice tea to see how that turns out.

celia said...

i substituted the earl grey for jasmine green tea and added a little more to it.
Tasted greaaat! :)

officially my fav cookie <3

eatme_delicious said...

celia: Yum jasmine green tea sounds like it would be delicious in these. :)

Paulitaz said...

I made these Earl Grey shortbread cookies last week to take to a Christmas in January party. They are very rich, especially when dipped in dark chocolate. =)

I would say the tea flavor gets stronger as time goes on. Very flaky, buttery and tasty.

Anonymous said...


This is the second recipe of yours I've tried (snickerdoodle muffins were first) and you truly have some awesome ideas. Everything has come out delicious.

Here's a cool variation of this cookie that I tried this weekend and it turned out great!

Used chai tea bags instead of earl grey
1/3 tsp nutmeg instead of orange zest
a 1/2 tsp vanilla extract creamed into the butter & powdered sugar mix

All the Best,

PS I got introduced to your blog via and if you don't already know, your recipes are pinned up like mad on there.

eatme_delicious said...

Emily: Yaey glad you're enjoying the recipes you've found on my site. :) Love your vanilla chai variation!! I'll definitely have to try that. I have a pinterest account but haven't been on there much. It makes me super happy to hear my recipes are pinned on there though!! :)