Lemon and thyme shortbread gets an Earl Grey glaze for a tea and cookies treat that is really more cookies with a touch of tea (but also divine with a cup on the side).
My kitchen has been taken over by cookies. They dot the surface of the counter, are tucked into boxes and bags that line the dining room table, have made themselves comfortable on the wire shelves in my small refrigerator, completely blocking the access to any food you might consider eating for dinner or lunch or breakfast or anything in between.
The first gift boxes headed out the door early this morning, clutched in the gloved fists of my middle two children as they made their way through the snow to school. Eager to bestow them upon their teachers and then to immediately start the freedom known as winter break, they were up at dawn picking gift bags and tying ribbons to secure their package. Inside each box was tucked an assortment of sweets from truffles to family secrets to shortbread that found its way to the lineup late in the game.
Tonight we take on yet more sweets in preparation for holiday gatherings that begin tomorrow. I am rolling up my sleeves and diving into the kitchen, its surfaces dusted with a fine layer of powdered sugar, a giant bowl of flour propped up on the counter for easy access, cookie cutters an arm’s length away.
And then there was butter, a whole case of it, in fact. The fine folks at Plugrá were kind enough to send a case of unsalted butter for my holiday baking, and I’ve been using it in everything from Brussels to mini molten cakes to shortbread. Shortbread showcases butter, a simple cookie where you can taste the quality and richness. European-style butters have a slightly higher butterfat percentage and less water which makes them great for baking.
Making these cookies, I wasn’t sure if I could make out the individual flavors (too much dough nibbling and tea drinking). The flavor profile is subtle, the lemon and thyme melding together, and the tea accenting the cookie with just a hint of bergamot-laced boldness.
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tablespoons brewed Earl Grey
Cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, thyme, and salt. Mix the flour into the butter until thoroughly combined.
Split the dough into two equal-sized balls. Form into logs and roll in parchment. Refrigerate for at least one hour until the dough is chilled and firm.
Preheat the oven to 300º F. When the oven has preheated and you’re ready to bake, line baking sheets with parchment. Slice 1/4″ slices off the logs and place on the baking sheets about 1″ apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, mix together confectioners’ sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of tea until a thick glaze is formed. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies. Allow to set before packaging.
Makes approximately 30 cookies.