19 October 2013

Butter, Baby.

I was commissioned by the mister to bake for his colleague's baby shower. Totally awesome; I am always happy to quantify my love in flour and butter, even if for a roomful of strangers. Since the context was a high tea, I settled on shortbread. Bummer. (Not.)

Following my tradition of joining flavors in ambrosial matrimony, I went with three, hoping at least one would be exactly what the almost-mama was craving: glazed lemon + earl grey, double chocolate, and pumpkin topped with gingered chocolate.

I neatly arranged and wrapped 75 cookies and, in the evening, was presented with an empty platter, which is the clearest of compliments. And, of course I made a double batch of everything and froze the extra dough. The problem? Even the surplus was eaten before I could prepare this post, so I spent the last few hours re-creating the array. Completely for you, of course. I really, really hated pairing this trio with coffee this morning. 

You can find the lemon recipe below. The pumpkin one lives over at Cookies and Cups (I followed the shortbread recipe exactly but swapped the glaze for melted dark chocolate mixed with a pinch each of grated fresh ginger and coarse sea salt). The double chocolate shortbreads reign, unaltered, from BBC Good Food.

Eat up, people; the early bird gets the biscuit.

glazed lemon + earl grey shortbread rings
only slightly adapted from Twigg Studio's glorious recipe
  • 110g (1/2 c) butter, room temperature
  • 60g (1/3 c) icing/powdered sugar
  • grated zest from 2 1/2 lemons
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • contents of 1 Earl Grey tea bag
  • juice and zest from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 300g (2.5 c) icing/powdered sugar
  • contents of 1 Earl Grey tea bag
  1. Zest the lemons over the sugar (the powdered sugar will absorb any escapee lemon oil), mix in the tea leaves and butter until crumbly, then the egg yolks and vanilla extract until just combined. Do not overwork. Form the dough into a ball, split in half, then form each ball into a slightly flattened disc (this will help when you roll it out). Cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (the dough is too delicate to work with when warm). 
  2. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  3. Roll out one disc of dough very thin (1/3cm or 1/8in) on a floured surface and cut into rings (I used two different sized cups to get the rings), leaving the other disc in the refrigerator. Place the cutouts on a parchment-lined cookie sheet/baking stone and refrigerate again for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Prepare the glaze: Juice half a lemon into a bowl, add the zest, and whisk in the icing/powdered sugar until smooth.
  5. Bake the cookies straight from the refrigerator for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to change color. After 5 minutes, gently transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  6. Use a pallet knife to spread the glaze and quickly sprinkle a pinch of tea leaves over the wet glaze. Note: It dries very quickly, so it's best to do the sprinkling right after the spreading, cookie by cookie. Another note: If your glaze begins to clump, just stick in the microwave for ten seconds or a hot water bath for a couple minutes, and whisk until smooth again.