I am not a baker. I will never be a baker. The closest thing to me being a baker is literally when I turn on the oven, set it to “Bake,” and just throw something in there. That being said, I have a deep respect and appreciation for those people who have mastered the craft because they harbor an insane amount of talent that I will never possess. They are the gods and goddesses of sweet treats, breads and the indulgences, and I am incredibly jealous.
Even though I will never be even a modest baker, every once in a while I come across a recipe that I absolutely can’t resist attempting. And while I know better, I just have to try it. These cookies are one of those recipes.
Looking at this picture, you’ll notice a couple of things – the cookies are pretty in a sort of ugly way, natural daylight really is the best kind of lighting, ….and I use those placemats as a background for damn near everything. The nice part about something being ugly/pretty is that you can slap a label on it like “rustic” or “homespun,” and suddenly the ugly of it turns into homemade charm. Anyone that has been on Pinterest knows exactly what I’m talking about, and I am definitely taking advantage of that for this one.
There have only been a handful of occasions where I have baked something, and it turned out pretty much exactly how it should have. Most of the time I end up over mixing the dough, baking it too long, not baking it enough, and a bunch of other stuff that I can’t quite figure out because – you guessed it – I AM NOT A BAKER. But even if something doesn’t turn out how you think it should or something doesn’t quite look as pretty as the recipe you are attempting, that doesn’t mean that it’s a failure at all. These were originally supposed to be shortbread cookies, with a dense texture and some kind of pretty detailing on top done with the back of a fork… but they turned into some kind of hybrid shortbread/butter cookie, with rough edges, dimples, some airy cracks and no kind of pattern whatsoever. And let me tell you that they are DIVINE.
They’re insanely light and delicate, with a slight floral touch from the lavender, and sometimes you get just a little crunchy nib from a tea leaf. Perfectly paired with a hot cup of Earl Grey, a simple glass of milk, or whatever kind of beverage you want, these cookies really are a knockout. And if there is anything to take away from this post, it’s that if even I can bake something that turns out this good by accident, then you absolutely can do it on purpose! Sometimes you get it wrong, and that’s just how the cookie crumbles. And when that happens, just scoop up the crumbs and throw them on some ice cream because there was never a cookie that didn’t get better with ice cream. (These are literally perfect smashed up on top of vanilla, btw – trust me)
Rustic Earl Grey Butter Cookies
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp good quality Earl Grey loose-leaf tea
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cold; cut into 1/2” cubes
- 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp sanding sugar; optional
- 2 Tbsp cocoa nibs, chopped finely; optional
- Add sugar and tea leaves to the bowl of a food processor; grind until tea leaves are finely chopped and mixture is very fragrant. Add the butter, flour and salt to the sugar mixture, and process for about 45 seconds. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, as the dough may stick.
- Mix again until a ball of dough forms, or there are large, shaggy looking clumps. Dump dough onto non-floured surface and gently knead a few times. Form into a log about 12 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Don’t add flour if the dough is sticky – simply wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, and then try again.
- If desired, take sanding sugar (or cocoa nibs if using) and spread out on the work surface next to the log. Gently roll the dough over the sugar or cocoa nibs to cover. Wrap log in plastic wrap tightly, and refrigerate for two hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 300° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and reshape into a log if needed. Cut into 1/4″ thick slices and place on the cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 22 minutes, and then check to see if tops are set and dry-looking. Bake a few minutes longer as needed, and then remove to a rack to cool completely.
- Serve with a glass of tea or milk, or crumbled on top of ice cream for a special treat. If not eating right away, cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.