Recipe | Traditional Scottish Shortbread

Traditional Scottish Shortbread with
Tea And All Its Splendour

Classic Shortbreads

  • 1cup, chilled salted butter, cubed into ½” dice
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325 Degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the butter, sugar and cornstarch into a food processor and process until combined. Now add the flour and again process until a rough ball forms. Turn the dough onto a flat surface covered with parchment or wax paper and form the dough into a log that is approximately 1” in diameter. Place the log in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and become firm for cutting.

Unroll the dough and slice with a sharp knife into ¼” to ½” medallions. Place in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges. Remove form the oven and allow them to cool before handling. Store in an airtight container.

 

As I said, we also had some fun with these cookies, and because of Rae’s background, we infused a batch with Earl Grey Tea and another with Oolong Tea, Cheddar and Cayenne.

Let’s start with the Earl Grey. Please note that the process is slightly different to combine ingredients but then with both of these recipes the chilling and baking is the same.

 

Earl Grey Tea Shortbreads

Tea Concentrate

Cookies

  • 1 cup chilled salted butter, cubed into ½” dice
  • 3 tablespoons crushed loose Crème of Earl Grey. Crush with a mortar and pestle
  • (a rolling pin also works) 
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour divided

 

Preheat the oven to 325 Degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the tea concentrate, place tea leaves in a bowl or cup and pour boiling water over them. Steep for five minutes, strain and cool. Reserve three tablespoons of the liquid for the cookies.

To make the cookies, place the butter, sugar, tea leaves and cornstarch into a food processor and process until combined. Add ¾ cup of flour and two tablespoons of the tea concentrate, pulse gently until mixture is crumbly. Add the remaining ¾ cup flour and the last tablespoon of concentrate and process until the mixture “balls” into a smooth dough. Turn the dough onto a flat surface covered in parchment or waxed paper. Twist the ends of the paper making it look like a large bonbon. Hold the ends and bang the roll onto the counter rotating so the dough becomes a square log. You can in fact make the cookies as large or small as you like. Process the same way as the plain ones.

Making savoury shortbread crackers




Savoury Oolong Tea Cheddar Shortbreads

Tea Concentrate

  • 3 tablespoons of loose Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea - this is a smoky tea and if you do not want to order it from Rae you can get many loose teas in a variety of places now.
  • ½ cup boiling water

Shortbread

  • 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups shredded Aged Cheddar, the older the better
  • 2 teaspoons loose Oolong Tea
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of Cayenne - I like more bit so I add a ½ teaspoon
  • ½ cup chilled salted butter, cubed into a ½” dice
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts, optional

To make the tea concentrate, place tea leaves in a bowl or cup and pour boiling water over them. Steep for five minutes, strain and cool. Reserve three tablespoons of the liquid for the cookies.

To make the cookies, place flour, tea leaves, cheese, salt and cayenne into a food processor and process until combined.  Add the butter and process until the dough resembles coarse crumbs. Add reserved tea one tablespoon at a time and process until the dough forms a smooth ball.

Now you can as with all the recipes make it square, round or roll it out and use a fork to make crackers. There is a photo of this and it is quite easy to grasp.

Something to note:
this dough freezes beautifully just thaw it enough to cut it without it cracking.

You will also see a picture of shortbread cookies with a cherry on top; these are called 'Whipped Shortbreads' and they are exactly what it says. The dough is beaten and combined. I am really amazed at how versatile this dough is and all the fun, sweet and savoury applications there are.

I learned so much about teas and shortbreads. If the truth be known, many teas should be called “tea infusions” and ones without actual tea, like mint, chamomile and more, are really just “infusions”and not tea at all.