I do love shortbread. It started with Walkers (of course!) in the plaid boxes, years ago.
Then I fell for a Nordic Ware shortbread pan (see below) from King Arthur Flour, and added a packet of Shortbread Mix to that order as well. Since you still have to add your butter, that was kind of silly I later decided, but I still had half the packet to use up (it makes a double batch), so just the other day used it, throwing in some ground Earl Grey tea.
I got that idea from a Valentine’s Day recipe column I did for the Packet a few years ago, and it was actually for Chocolate Earl Grey Shortbread – here is the recipe again, in case you get inspired and it’s not too hot to turn on your oven:
Chocolate-Earl Grey Shortbread Coins Adapted from “The Art & Soul of Baking” (Cindy Mushet, Andrews McMeel, 2008)
Makes about 36 cookies
I used King Arthur Mellow Blend Pastry flour for these, and they were delicate and tender. A cardboard core from a used roll of foil or wrap keeps the rolled dough straight in the fridge during chilling. I’ve kept the dough chilled for a couple of days before slicing and baking. F.B.
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (1/4 ounce) good quality Earl Grey tea leaves
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (or pastry flour)
3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process or natural)
1/8 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons sanding or decorator’s sugar (optional)
Grind granulated sugar and tea leaves in a food processor (steel blade) for 1 minute, or until the leaves are very finely chopped. Add butter, flour, cocoa, and salt and process for about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and break up any large clumps with a spatula. Process for another 15 to 30 seconds, until dough clumps. Dump dough out onto a work surface and knead gently several times, just to bring it together.
Form dough into a log about 12 inches long by 1 inch in diameter, and gently roll it back and forth until smooth. If dough is sticky, refrigerate for 15 or 20 minutes, then try again.
If you like, sprinkle the sanding sugar on the work surface alongside the log and gently roll the log in the sugar, turning to coat evenly. Securely wrap log with plastic wrap, twisting ends to secure. Slip into a cardboard roll if using and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and position an oven rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner.
Unwrap dough and slice 3/8-inch thick. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, for 30 minutes, or until cookies are cooked through and look dry on top. Keep cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
p.s. I just noticed that The Frog & The Peach in New Brunswick has Chocolate Earl Grey ice cream on their menu!