With just five ingredients, this simple Earl Grey shortbread features sweet citrus flavour with a hint of black tea. Just right for an afternoon treat! This is an easy recipe but the dough needs to be chilled, so be sure to plan a bit in advance.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Icing: dip in melted white or dark chocolate instead of using the icing sugar icing.
- Topping: we topped with lavender buds for the pictured cookies, which is a great flavour combination with the tea. Use sprinkles for a nice substitute.
- Make it vegan: use a good dairy free butter for vegan cookies. We like Miyoko's or Naturli (in block form).
Step 1: blend the flour and tea to grind the tea. You can use a mortar and pestle for this (see below).
Step 2: cream the butter, then add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Step 3: add the flour mixture and sugar to the butter and mix.
Step 4: use your hands to form a rough dough ball.
Step 5: divide the dough in half and form two logs. Chill.
Step 6: slice the dough into small cookies and transfer to a baking sheet.
Step 7: bake until lightly golden and cool fully.
Step 8: top with the icing recipe provided here or another icing you like.
- Serve without icing: they're excellent plain, too. Don't use the icing sugar frosting if you don't like very sweet cookies.
- Go plastic-free: beeswax wrap can be used instead of plastic to wrap the dough for chilling.
- Don't over-mix: this goes for mixing the dough and for shaping it – make sure you don't knead it, but work with quick, light hands.
While we usually add flavourings to the butter or fat to ensure the best carry-through in the bake, in this case the tea is blended with the flour instead. It's still noticeable in the cookies and you don't want to be overwhelmed by what can be a too-strong taste if you're not careful.
For the icing, simply mix 1 cup of icing sugar with enough milk to make a thick icing can be drizzled. Add the milk a teaspoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you'd like. To change things up, add some vanilla to the icing, or substitute orange juice in place of the milk.
How to Store
Storage: let the icing set completely before stacking or placing into containers. We recommend storing with pieces of parchment between layers to prevent icing sticking to any other cookies. These will keep for about a week at room temperature but the icing might get runny if it's humid.
Freezing: freeze cooled cookies without icing in an airtight container for up to three months.
What is the key to good shortbread?
Don't over-mix, because you want the cookies to stay short (crumbly) and over-mixing will make them tough. Choose good quality butter, don't reduce the amount of butter used, and be sure to chill the dough.
What country invented shortbread?
It's generally accepted that shortbread comes from Scotland, but it's made extensively in the UK and associated commonwealth countries now. Similar short cookies are made in other European countries too.
Should shortbread be crunchy or soft?
Shortbread should be neither crunchy nor soft, but solid until you eat it. Shortbread should melt in the mouth and feel tender, not crunchy or chewy.
If you make this Earl Grey Cookie recipe or any other cookie recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies
- Blender or coffee or spice grinder
- Mixing bowl
- Electric beater
- Parchment paper
- Bees wax wrap or plastic wrap
- Wire rack
- 2 cups white all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons Earl Grey tea
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup icing sugar
- Add the flour and tea to a blender and blend until the tea is very finely ground and well combined. Alternatively, grind the tea in a coffee or spice grinder and then mix with the flour.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter on high speed to cream, 4-5 minutes. It should be fluffy and lighter in colour.
- Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
- Beat in the sugar, starting on low speed and increasing to medium until all of the sugar has been incorporated.
- Mix the flour and tea mixture in, beating on low speed until combined. The dough will look crumbly.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and use your hands to shape into a rough ball. Divide into two equal pieces.
- Shape each half into logs about 7 inches (18 cm) long. Wrap in bees wax wrap (or plastic wrap) and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Remove the bees wax wrap and slice each log into ¼-inch (.5 cm) thick cookies and place 1-inch (2 cm) apart on prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are lightly golden.
- Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before removing to cool fully on wire racks. Top with a simple icing sugar glaze if desired.