Friday, February 22, 2013

A New Way to Enjoy Earl Grey - Earl Grey and Blood Orange Shortbread

Shortbread often comes in pairs. Or at least it does when I am making it.  :)

I have been drinking a lot of tea over the last few days, because I have been fighting a cold, and nothing is quite as satisfying as Earl Grey with lemon.  It really is my ultimate tea.... I will admit to having a soft spot for first flush Darjeeling, but Earl Grey is my all time favorite.  It's bright, rich, bold and exotic.  It stands to reason that lemon is an excellent accompaniment to Earl Grey Tea, especially when your ill, since it already contains oil of Bergamot Orange.  It's the perfect pairing, which is why Earl Grey is traditionally served with slices, not a wedge, of lemon to be added at the drinkers discretion and allowed to languidly float upon the sea of "Grey" within the cup. Sometimes, the lemon slices are even spiked with a clove in the center.  But I will refrain from talking about British tea traditions as that would fill several posts.

My favorite brand has got to be the Tao of Tea's Organic Earl Grey, which is the perfect balance of rich Assam and Bergamot oil.  I like their Smoked Earl Grey too, but it doesn't translate as well into one of my most loved winter drinks, the London Fog.  A London Fog, is a delicious concoction made from Earl Grey steeped in steamed milk, with a hint of vanilla syrup.  True, Earl Grey is not normally served with milk, because the Bergamot oil could potentially curdle the milk, but I find it to be a winter time necessity in dreary winter environs, such as the Pacific Northwest.  (and I have never had one curdle on me)  After all, oil of Bergamot is second only to lavender in it's ability to act as a stimulate and anti-depressant, while simultaneously acting as a sedative and relaxant, giving you an overall sense of well being. 

Now that I have expounded upon the liquid wonder that is Earl Grey, lets move on to something more solid...  Shortbread.

Just like ground coffee, ground tea is an excellent addition to Shortbread.  Earl Grey's ability to play well with other flavors in such goodies as Chocolate Truffles and Pots de Creme makes it the perfect candidate for baking.  It also lends itself well to other additions such as vanilla, almond, and a myriad of citrus zests.  Add the zest of a Blood Orange and you have something even more exotic and out of the ordinary.  Have a taste for Lavender?  Try Lady Grey tea with Meyer Lemon zest instead....  (though it really should be called Countess Grey, which is the accepted feminine form of Earl. I'm just sayin)  Black tea not really your thing?  Try Earl Green (Green tea with Bergamot oil) with Tangelo zest.  They are ALL delicious. 

Earl Grey and Blood Orange Shortbread

2 oz (57g)(1/4 cup) Granulated Sugar
4 oz (113g)(8 TB) Unsalted Butter
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 tsp Earl Grey Tea leaves
zest of 1/2 a Blood Orange (about 3/4 tsp)
6 oz (170g)(1 1/3 cup) AP Flour

Combine Sugar, Butter and Salt in the bowl of your mixer.

Beat until light and fluffy, while you grind the Earl Grey leaves into a powder.

Add the Earl Grey Powder along with the Blood Orange zest, and beat again until everything is combined.

Slowly work in the Flour,

you have a crumbly mixture.....

Turn the dough out onto a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap and work into a log with your hands.

Refrigerate the log for 1-2 hours, or until nice and firm.

Preheat the oven to 325F (162C) degrees.
Slice the log into 1/4 inch (6mm) slices.

Place on an AirBake pan or on a regular pan lined with Parchment. (AirBake pans are excellent for shortbread - I always forget that I have them)

Bake for 13-18 minutes, or until the edges just begin to change color.

Move to a rack and allow to cool completely.

Serve with tea of your choice..... (or coffee)

Me?  I double up and enjoy these with a cup of Earl Grey.  :)



Patricia Taylor said...

My tastes keep changing all the time, long ago when I first heard of using tea in cookies I thought Ewwwww. Now this recipe sounds very good to me. My sister and I went out for "coffee" this week and she got Earl Grey(er) tea, and I thought I really need to get some Earl Grey tea, I have been out for a while. Earl Greyer tea is what Panera Bread calls their brand of Earl Grey.

Bob said...

That sounds wicked good, I love Earl Grey. It's funny, I was just thinking about lemon shortbread this morning as I drank some tea...

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