I’ve been experimenting a bit more with my favorite recipes and have developed this “Lady Gray” Shortbread that customers have been raving about.
The shortbread recipe comes from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts, a long-time family favorite dessert cookbook. I’ve adapted it by adding Earl Gray tea and lavender. Just for fun, I got these cute 1” cookies cutters so the cookies are really bite-sized.
Although tea blenders have different variations of Lady Gray, my understanding is that its Earl Gray with Lavender added—hence the name of these cookies. Normally, I would never recommend tea bag tea, but in this case the “tea bag dust” works well—just make sure to get a brand with strong, good quality bergamont flavor.
Lady Gray Shortbread Cookies
½ lb. butter (1 cup) that is completely softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp. good quality Earl Gray tea—ground (may use tea bag tea for this)
1 tsp. food-grade lavender
1-1/2 cups sifted unbleached flour
1-1/2 cups sifted cornstarch
Pinch of salt (sift into flour)
Adjust rack to center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl of electric mixer cream butter until soft. Add sugar and beat for a few minutes. Add the tea and lavender. On lowest speed gradually add flour and cornstarch, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until incorporated. The mixture should hold together, but not be too moist.
Turn mixture onto a board or smooth surface and knead lightly until smooth. Use about half of the dough at a time. Wrap the balance airtight in plastic wrap.
To cut out cookies, I dust the board with a little confectioner’s sugar (versus flour) because I don’t want to have too much flour working into the dough. The original recipe calls for a lightly dusted cutting board using flour—it is your call. Roll cookie dough out to 1/3 inch thick and cup with a 1-1/2 inch cookie cutter—rerolling scraps as needed. Place cookies ½ inch apart on an unbuttered cookie sheet.
Pierce each cookie three times with a fork, going all the way through to the cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes, reversing position of the cookie sheet during baking. Cookies should be barely colored when done. Do not over bake. Transfer to pan with metal spatula.