The following recipe is from the December 2 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!
Baking a big batch of holiday cookies to share with friends and family is one of the sweetest holiday traditions around. Whether they are packed into plastic baggies with some ribbon or lovingly placed into Martha Stewart worthy vintage decorative tins, home baked cookies are sure to please every time.
This recipe for Chocolate-Earl Grey Shortbread Coins from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet is a variation on the common shortbread, but the addition of aromatic Earl Grey tea and cocoa makes it into one memorable cookie. The dough comes together in the bowl of a food processor, making it a cinch to assemble large batches for cookie-hungry friends. The dough is briefly kneaded and rolled into a long and chilled for easy slicing. But be warned: Making these addictive little cookies might create a cookie baking legacy that have all of the lucky recipients asking for them for years to come.
- Yield:about 36 cookies
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (1/4 ounce) good-quality Earl Grey tea leaves
- 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder, either Dutch-process or natural
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Place the granulated sugar and tea leaves in the bowl of the food processor and grind for 1 minute, or until the leaves are very finely chopped. Add the butter, flour, cocoa, and salt and process for about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and break up any large clumps with the spatula. Process for another 15 to 30 seconds, until the dough looks uniformly dark and forms large, shaggy clumps. Dump the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently several times, just to bring it together.
Squeeze the dough into a log about 12 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter, and gently roll it back and forth until smooth. Don't add flour if the dough is sticky—simply refrigerate the dough for 15 or 20 minutes to firm up the butter, then try again.
If you like, sprinkle the sanding sugar on the work surface alongside the log and gently roll the log in the sugar, turning to coat evenly. Cut a piece of plastic wrap several inches longer than the log and center the log at one long edge of the wrap. Roll the log into the wrap so it is tightly bound by the plastic. Twist the ends of the wrap to secure the log and help to create a rounded shape. You can use a cardboard paper towel roll to keep the roll of dough nicely rounded during storage. Just slit the cardboard lengthwise and slip the log inside it to help keep the rounded shape. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 300°F and position an oven rack in the center. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the cardboard and plastic wrap from the dough log and use a thin knife to slice it into 3/8-inch-thick rounds. Place about 18 cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking time, for 30 minutes, or until the cookies are cooked through and look dry on top. (It's difficult to tell when dark chocolate cookies are done. This is when an oven thermometer and a timer are your best friends in the kitchen.) Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool completely.
Storing tips: Keep the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.