Scottish Shortbread

When my grandmother would visit during my childhood, she would bring a tin of sugar cookies that she prepared especially for our “tea parties”.  One visit she brought her Scottish Shortbread recipe.  In my memory, the preparation was difficult and time consuming; this however, is the exact opposite of what is true.  This shortbread will take some time to chill, but the mixing and baking is no time at all.  Another plus is the fact that the dough is freezable.  If you make a double or triple batch of the recipe below, freeze two of the disks.  Then roll into a log and cut when you have unexpected guests or are time pressed for a dessert.  Or if you are in need of some “me-time” cut a couple of slices, bake, and prepare a little tea for yourself.  There is such a serenity of a pretty plates, teacups, flowers, and crisp napkins just for yourself.

This morning, in the rush of preparing myself for travel, I drank my Tiramisu rooibos in a favored teacup.  The rooibos has cocoa nibs along with other flavorings chocolate creamy flavor.  The blending of teas fascinates me.  When I look at the ingredients in tea descriptions, I notice various flowers and nuts that add to the flavor.  In the tiramisu rooibos, sunflower petals and pistachio nuts, along with other flavoring, create the signature Italian dessert taste. How did they come up with those flavors?  Did they one day say, “hey, let’s see what sunflower petals will add to this tea?  Maybe this year I could tour a tea plantation and learn all about blends and preparation of tea.  I loved reading about the picking, “fermentation”, drying, and varieties of tea on Wikapedia.  One way they flavor the teas is to sprinkle the dried flowers, citrus, or herbs? on the tea leaves to sit with them while they are drying.  They must be infused with the flavors during that process.  Hmm… more research to do.

So whether you are drinking a straight oolong tea or a lovely Tiramisu rooibos tea, these cookies are sure to compliment.

Scottish Shortbread

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla.  Sift the flour and salt together; then slowly mix into the butter and sugar.  The dough will be very crumbly.  Lay out a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface.  Dump the dough out on to the plastic wrap and form into a flat disk.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roll the disk out on a floured surface to about ½ inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 15-18 minutes until the edges are slightly brown.  Allow to cook.

Makes 8-10 cookies depending on size.

*These do have the ability to freeze.  Freeze the dough for up to 3 months.

** To dip in chocolate, melt about ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of cream for 20 seconds in the microwave.  Stir, then heat in 10 second intervals, stirring in-between until completely melted.  Dip cooled cookies in halfway, and place to dry on wax or parchment paper.

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