Over the last year, I’ve come to really love and appreciate good butter. It started with some encouragement from my friend Charlotte in DC, and intensified in London where I had access to a large variety of European salted butters. In roughly the same time period, I started making earl grey shortbread: a cookie that shows off everything great about butter. This is such a fantastic and adaptable recipe that I’ve made it multiple times (which is something I usually never do with such a long list of things to be making) with different flavor combinations. I usually prefer these with lavender icing, but I went with rosemary-cardamom this time––I had gotten a lot of rosemary in my CSA (more on that soon!) and it smelled too fresh and beautiful not to use.
The flavor of these––the combination of earl grey, rosemary, and cardamom––is autumnal and floral without being dark: an almost-wintery white chai. And the texture is assuredly that of shortbread, but even a bit cracker-y… that is, until the icing soaks into them later. Make these this fall––and all winter long.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp loose-leaf earl grey tea
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 sticks butter, softened to room temperature and diced
- 1/4 cup milk or cream
- 1 tbsp of fresh rosemary (just pick off 10-15 “leaves”)
- 1 tbsp cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- In a food processor or with a mixing bowl and knife, mix the flour, tea, and salt. Mix in the powdered sugar, and then add all the butter. Pulse or cut until the dough comes together––it might take a while if doing by hand––and then remove onto a counter and form into a ball.
- Cut the round of dough in half and form into a log. Individually wrap each shortbread log in plastic wrap while rolling it out to about 1.5 inches in diameter. Tighten and form the log as you would while making sausage and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375º. Unwrap the shortbread and slice into 1/2 inch cookies. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes until just golden brown on the edges. These are very easy to overcook, so start keeping an eye on them after 8 minutes or so. Let cool until firm (5-10 minutes) and remove to a plate.
- For the icing, combine the three ingredients in a microwavable cup for 45 seconds. Stir, and let steep while covered for 30 minutes. Then, strain into a larger bowl and add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix with a whisk until a thick and opaque icing forms (adding more powdered sugar if necessary).
- Dip the top of each cookie in the icing, keeping a bit of a border at the edge of the cookie, and allow to dry. On a covered plate, these will keep for a week at room temperature––but no worries, they won’t last that long.
Serve with tea, a hot toddy, or champagne.