Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Teatime in Spring

Spring is here, my friends! Are you rejoicing in seeing the clear blue skies and fluffy white clouds? Are you running and playing barefoot in the green grass? Are you getting your hands dirty to plant seeds and anticipate their harvest in the coming seasons? Go on, take a deep breath; inhale the perfume wafting strongly off the flowers.

Ah… Wait a minute...


Ahhhhh… ACCCHHOOOOO!!! *sniffle* *grumble* So much for breathing in spring.

With spring's frivolity and warm weather, it also means the dreaded snot and sinus monsters have come out of hibernation. It means piles of crumpled tissues everywhere you walk. It means sneezing and coughing and probably nose spray and decongestants. It means tea… lots and lots of tea.

March was a bitter pill to swallow, but despite the annual allergies April is showing itself to be more productive and bountiful. The stress has become manageable (it’s amazing what sleeping a full eight hours can do for a person), and the semester is a shy couple of weeks away from being over. Even more exciting is that the GFRR seems to have come back stronger than ever!

I mean, who doesn’t love a good shortbread with their tea? The participants of this month's GFRR sure do.

Shortbread is considered a cookie in the United States. I don't know about anyone else, but when I think of a biscuit I think of the savory, fluffy kind. In Ruhlman’s (2009) book Ratio, the classic recipe for shortbread is the exact same as his cookie dough (p.37) ratio (1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, and 3 parts flour), while his biscuit ratio (p.33) contains no sugar at all and is 3 parts flour, 1 part fat, and 2 parts liquid. So this could be another reason why the U.S. views biscuits differently. It’s all about the ratio of the ingredients that differentiate the two.  

This delectable treat is so named because of its crumbly texture, the cause being to its relatively high fat content inhibiting the formation of long gluten strands. When you are gluten free, however, it’s not much of a problem to begin with. In fact, substituting sugar with honey was relatively easy to do as well.

Instead of baking it like Ruhlman suggests (as one would a typical cookie), I chose a lower temperature and a longer baking period. Shortbread is typically baked at a low temperature to avoid browning; and when done, it is nearly white, or a light golden brown. It may even be crumbly before cooled, but will become firmer after cooling. In other words, I had to not eat them all when coming right out of the oven if I wanted to know how they actually turned out. Like my tendency with gluten free bread, I needed to be patient and leave them be in order to enjoy them at their best.

And thank goodness I waited, because shortbread and tea were meant to be together.

Earl Grey Shortbread

60 g Honey
120 g Unsalted butter, soft but not melted
150 g Brown rice flour
30 g Coconut flour
Pinch of Sea salt
1 Bag (2 g) of Earl Grey tea leaves

Preheat the oven to 275°F.
Cream the butter with the honey until light and fluffy (either by hand or with an electric mixer/food processor), and add the tea leaves and sea salt.
Slowly add the flours into the mixture until completely incorporated.
Shape the dough into a ball (will be soft and buttery but should not stick to your hands) and roll out to about 1/2 an inch thick.*
Use cookie cutters or a knife to make them into the shapes you want, and transfer them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.**
Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until the shortbread is lightly browned.
Leave them on a cake rack to cool, and store in a cool place in an airtight container.
Serve with hot Earl Grey tea during any time of the day throughout the year.

Makes 13 servings.
*I found it was easier to roll out and flatten by covering the dough with parchment paper on both sides and using a rolling pin (less of a mess too).
**You can make any shape you want, or you can cut into squares or rectangles and prick the tops with a fork in two parallel lines as it is traditionally formed.

I was beyond ecstatic to see so many participants for this month’s challenge! Meaghan (i.e., “The Vegan”) of The Wicked Good Vegan was our lovely hostess. She is thorough, hysterically honest, and a wonderful person in general. And how awesome is she to make gin and tonic shortbread cookies? I’ll drink (tea) to that!

Here is the complete list of those who participated. Welcome back!

*Meaghan | The Wicked Good Vegan    Gin and tonic cookies: Lime shortbread cookies with juniper berry glaze    
Rebecca | Salts Kitchen    Rosemary, Lemon, and Toasted Pecan Shortbread and Espresso and Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Shortbread
Mary Fran | FrannyCakes    Gluten-Free Jammie Dodgers   
Meg | Gluten-Free Boulangerie    Lemon Bars with Lemon Shortbread Crust   
Heather | Discovering the Extraordinary    Buckwheat Shortbread Cookies with lemon curd
Jonathan | The Canary Files    Black Sesame Teff Shortbread Cookies   
Morri (me!) | Meals with Morri     Earl Grey Shortbread   


  1. I'm envisioning your Earl Grey shortbread served with Earl Grey tea (dash of milk, with an orange round and a dash of orange bitters), and I am happy.

    I'll drink to that, indeed!

    1. Thank you, Meaghan. :) I'll have to try the orange round and the dash o' bitters next teatime.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I've come to really enjoy the taste as well.

  3. What a gorgeous recipe, Morri. I have the most fantastic tin of Earl Grey tea leaves (infused with best quality bergamot oil) that would do these cookies justice.

    1. Why thank you! I do believe the quality of the tea matters, so your tin sounds like it would really give these cookies and delicious kick.

  4. Ooooo, tea with shortbread: Sublime and oh so right. Your cookies look spot on. Thank you for sharing not only your recipe, but also your tips and insights and the tiny glimpse into your everyday life. [hug]