You'll never believe where we are right now!
And if you're guessing London...
Nope! That's not it.
But you're pretty darn close.
Okay, I'm teasing you a little. We're actually sitting at the airport, waiting for our flight to be called. Yes, to London!
Scott and I are super excited to be heading across the pond to visit our daughter, her husband and, what we call, "the herd" - their four children, Annie, Ellie, Lilly and little Luke.
I decided to make some fun cookies to honor the occasion. While perusing though Pinterest several weeks ago, I spotted these London Fog Shortbread Cookies , and, being a hopeless sucker for shortbread, I knew they were a "must try". I could hardly wait to get started!
Are you curious to know out why they were given the name London Fog Shortbread? I was. What would make them different from other shortbread cookies? I was quite intrigued, as I've made lots of different versions of shortbread over the years, and I knew shortbread cookies have a super simple ingredient list. Butter, sugar and flour - that's usually pretty much it. A little salt and vanilla rounds out the flavor.
But tea? Earl Grey tea? Yup, that's exactly what makes these cookies so fun (and also uniquely delicious). Earl Grey tea has been around (especially popular in England) since the early 1800's. It's a black tea flavored with the oil from the rind of the bergamot orange, commonly grown in Italy. It was named after Earl Grey, a British Prime Minister in the 1830's.
It might sound a bit odd to have tea as an ingredient in cookies, but they're quite wonderful. The orange scented tea gives just a touch of a sweet fruity-floral essence to the simple butter cookies. And to me, just the name alone makes them worthy of pulling out the mixer!
We'll be out of the country for two and a half weeks but we've been busy photo shooting and stashing lots of new recipes into our coffers so you'll continue to receive posts while we're gone. In fact, I almost forgot to tell you - you'll actually be coming along! What? Yup, stay tuned - we'll be sharing our trip via the blog so it will be just like you're right there with us!
Oh, and while I'm spilling the beans, there's one other thing...
Scott and I will have known each other for 40 years this year. We'll actually be celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary but decided to commemorate the incredible blessing of 40 years together -with a week in Paris! Yup, in the middle of our London visit, we'll be hopping on the Eurostar and heading to France. We've rented a flat right in the heart of Paris and will be blogging our way through the famous "city of light". We've got some fun culinary adventures planned as well as lots of time to explore. So fasten your seat belts, you're coming along to Paris too!
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- 1 cup softened butter (2 4-ounce sticks)
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ¾ cup flour
- 1 vanilla bean split and scraped or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste*)
- 1 tablespoons Earl Grey tea (about 1-2 teabags)
- sandling sugar or turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper for easy clean up.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar till fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste, the flour and the tea leaves. Mix until dough comes together.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 mins.
Roll out the dough to about ½-inch on a lightlyl floured surface. I like to use two ⅜-inch dowels (mine are about 16 inches long) on the counter with my dough between them. When I roll the dough, the dowels keep it from getting too thin or uneven.
Cut out desired shapes with cutters. Place on prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with handling sugar or turbinado sugar.
Chill the cut cookies for 20 minutes before baking. This will help keep the cookies from spreading when they hit the heat.
Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until the edges are just barely brown. Cool on wire racks.
These cookies freeze well in an air tight container.
*I love vanilla bean paste and keep a jar of it in my pantry it at all times. It's so handy and it doesn't dry out like vanilla pods do. To me, it's also so... much cheaper than buying the vanilla bean pods and there's no scraping, just measure it and and pour it in.