Tea Time Shortbread Cookies

I’ve said before how much the hubster loves shortbread, but I’m not sure if I really conveyed the depth of his devotion to these cookies. Seriously, he can come home from work in the worst mood, tired and cranky, but if there’s shortbread cookies waiting for him, watch out! The mood turn around with this guy over shortbread will give you whiplash!

Fortunately for me, they’re the easiest cookies in the world to make. Unfortunately for him, I still rarely make them. I think that I’m just always more interested in making something a little more exciting, like pretty cupcakes, or something with lots of chocolate and caramel. Which is why I tried to do something a little more interesting with shortbread recently. Interesting, and functional!

Okay, so you know how when you decide to have some tea and cookies, you always have to get a separate little plate for the cookies, because they really just don’t fit on the edge of the saucer? Yeah. I hate that. I know it’s ridiculous, but I do. I hate dirtying a plate for a couple of cookies and nothing else. Plus, what if you’re also trying to snuggle in with a book? And you’re maybe carrying a sweater, or a pen and paper for a little writing? How will you carry all of that and two plates of food?

Sure, sure. You can be a little less lazy than I am, and make two trips, but let’s be honest…none of us really want to do that.

Problem. Solved. I will never again have to try to precariously balance cookies on the edge of my saucer, only to fail halfway to my destination. There will be no more cookie catastrophes, no more kamikaze cookies dive bombing the floor, leaving me to clean up the tragic remains of morsels and crumbs (before the wolves, a.k.a. Loki, descend). Never again will a chocolate coated cookie melt against my teacup, unbeknownst to me, leaving behind it’s remains for me to unwittingly smear on my clothes and/or face (which the hubster chooses not to tell me about because “it’s funny”).

Well. Never, as long as I put “spoon holes” in all of my cookies anyway. Maybe I’ll invent a “spoon hole cutter.” Just punch each cookie, hang ‘em, and go! Plus, you can have a bite sized preview while you make your tea! Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure this would be pointless with drop cookies…they’d just melt right back into a cookie shape in the oven. Unless…you punched that hole after you baked them. I think I’m onto something here!

Anyway, though, I’m going way off on a tangent. The point is, I wanted to make shortbread more interesting, hence the tea and cookies solution. Strictly speaking, these aren’t really shortbread cookies, because they have an egg in them, but I really wanted them to be little, round, individual cookies (rather than the typical shortbread wedges). Adding the egg helped bind the dough together a little better, without taking away all of the special things that makes shortbread so wonderful.

All you need to make these are all-purpose flour, confectioners’ sugar, unsalted butter (softened, but still cool), dried lavender flowers or loose Earl Grey tea (optional), salt, vanilla, and an egg. These don’t have to be made with lavender. They are excellent as plain vanilla shortbread cookies, and even as Earl Grey cookies (instructions for both included below). These are incredibly easy to make, and you can have the batter chilling in the freezer in less than 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Stir in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, lavender flowers, and salt. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the butter mixture and beat until combined.

Generously flour your hands, then scrape the cookie dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, about 12-inches long. Adding more flour to your hands, as needed, shape the dough into a log about 10-inches long. Wrap the cookie dough in the plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Remove chilled dough from plastic wrap and cut into slices about half-inch thick. If desired, use a small round cutter (like an apple corer) to cut little offset holes in the cookies. Dip one side of each slice in the sugar (or completely coat them…just because you can). Place the slices, sugared side up, on a cookie sheet lined with Silpat mats or parchment paper, leaving at least an inch and a half between them. If the cookies become too warm or soft, chill them in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before baking. Bake at 300 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes, or until the bottom edges start to turn golden brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Aren’t they fun?! I know this probably isn’t an original idea, and I’m probably more excited about them than everyone else, but I just love them! They’re cute and fun, and so convenient! And you can totally stack these babies up on the spoon too! No skimping and having just one!

They’re not just for tea time either. How fun are they with a straw through them?! This would be a great snack with kids! You can make any kind of rolled or icebox cookies like this, not just shortbread. I think kids would love to see a couple of fun, frosted sugar cookies waiting on a straw with some milk when they got home from school! You could even just use fun shaped cookie cutters. How adorable would a little purse shaped cookie be here? With the straw through the “strap” of the cookie?! Or a little skull cookie at Halloween? The possibilities are endless!

As for the hole, an apple corer is perfect for punching the “spoon holes” into these cookies, but any hollow, cutter between a half and one-inch across will do. If you work with the dough while it’s cold (as you should always do with shortbread anyway), then the punched out bits of dough will be easier to work with.

Speaking of the punched out bits of dough…

I’m not gonna lie, these are my favorite thing about this recipe! I know, I know…I was pretty jazzed about the fact that these cookies eliminate the need for a cookie plate with tea, but honestly? How adorable are these?! I decided to bake them on a whim and I love them! Perfectly poppable little bites of shortbread! Love it! Just chill these bits in the refrigerator while the cookies are baking to keep them firm. Roll them completely in sugar, place them on the baking sheet, and bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the bottom edges start to turn golden brown.

Regardless of how you serve these, the cookies are delicious! They’re slightly denser than typical shortbread, thanks to the egg, but still have a flaky shortbread texture. They’re soft and sweet inside, with the perfect crisp outside. And with lavender, they have a perfect mild touch of spice to make them slightly exotic. With or without lavender, or “spoon holes,” these cookies will be a hit whenever you choose to serve them! Enjoy!

Lavender-Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen
Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
1/2 teaspoon salt
*For Earl Grey shortbread, replace the lavender with an equal amount of loose Earl Grey Tea.
**For plain vanilla shortbread, omit the lavender and double the vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Stir in the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, lavender flowers, and salt. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the butter mixture and beat until combined.

Generously flour your hands, then scrape the cookie dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, about 12-inches long. Adding more flour to your hands, as needed, shape the dough into a log about 10-inches long. Wrap the cookie dough in the plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove chilled dough from plastic wrap and cut into slices about 1/2-inch thick. If desired, use a small round cutter (like an apple corer) to cut little offset holes in the cookies. Dip one side of each slice in the sugar. Place the slices, sugared side up, on a cookie sheet lined with Silpat mats or parchment paper, leaving about 2-inches between them. If the cookies become too warm or soft, chill them in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until the bottom edges start to turn golden brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Recipe by Darla

 

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Comments

  1. Mary Anne says

    How adorable are these?!
    I love shortbread, too. Those little ones would be dangerous, too easy to eat them all, one at a time, every time I walk by the bowl.

  2. Carolyn Jung says

    Brilliant idea with the hole in the cookie. I think one could even string a few on a chain to make a necklace. LOL But that way, we'd all have cookies to nibble on anytime we want.

  3. Koci says

    These cookies are so awesome!! Since I'm constantly reaching for the cookie plate whenever there's some available, this is a very useful invention. Brilliant!

  4. Candi says

    These are one of my favorites too. I made them for a tea room last summer but the party that enjoyed them said they sort of tasted soapy. Oh well, I loved them!

    Have you tried rosemary and chocolate chip? If not, it's delicious! Tasted sort of pepperminty.

  5. KtLw35 says

    These were fun cookies to make on a whim! I had fun sharing them at work, quizzing my colleagues and students why there was a hole in them. "I'll give you a cookie if you can tell me why there is a hole." I got some fun answers: "a ring," "hang it on a tree," "for a necklace…" Everyone loved the idea and the cookie!

  6. Akile says

    Could you please tell me where can I find the lavender flowers? Is there any specific kind for baking? They look soo yummy, I have to try them…

    • says

      I got mine at Whole Foods, but you can get them at most health foods stores. There is no special kind, just plain dried lavender flowers (be sure that they haven’t had fragrance of some kind added, like in potpourri), if they’re at the grocery store, then they should be plain.

  7. Shaina says

    can I use some loose strawberry flavored tea instead of lavender or earl grey?
    I like neither of them…
    Do you think it’ll ruin the flavor of shortbread?

  8. Taylor says

    These were easy to make and very tasty. I used a 3/4 (plus a few tablespoons to taste) of golden blossom honey in place of any kind of sugar, and added some sea salt for a contrast.

    They weren’t as crunchy as the shortbread I’m normally familiar with, and they needed more honey than I added. Other than that, however, not bad if you like something different.

  9. Shannon says

    Great recipe, Darla!! I just made it (with dried mint and Haitian vanilla) and it is delicious!

    Question – I have some extra dough and was wondering if I could freeze it. How long do you think it will be good for?

    Thanks!

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