1 cup butter, unsalted or semi-salted, at room temperature
2 cups flour
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp loose Earl Grey tea (optional)
Cream the butter (never margarine for shortbread) and set aside. Now sift together the flour, sugar and salt. (Don't skip the sifting)
Stir in the loose Earl Grey tea if using it.
Other options for flavour are lemon zest, chai tea or mini chocolate chips. Plain shortbread is perfectly fine too if you are going for traditional.
Add the dry ingredients by small additions to the butter. It will look a little coarse and crumbly.
Mix very well, then knead together. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill slightly.
If you are using a shortbread mold you should make this little powder puff. Take a piece of cheesecloth, put some icing sugar in the middle and gather up. Secure with an elastic band. Tap to dust your mold. If you are not using a mold simply form the dough into a disk, score partway through and poke with a fork all over.
Take some of the dough out of the fridge, leave the rest to chill. Form dough into a circle and lift into mold.
Press and slice off excess.
Turn over onto parchment, tap and you might have to stick the point of a knife into the edge to help it come away from the mold. Here it is........my very first attempt at a molded Scottish shortbread!
I actually had a couple of others crack. I just laid them on the cookie sheet and pressed gently together. That worked out fine. Remember to keep the bowl of dough in the fridge. If the dough warms you will lose some of the detail after baking. As you pop them out of the mold and onto the baking sheet keep them in the fridge as well, again to preserve the details of the mold.
Makes 7 - 4" cookies
Other shortbread cookies you might like: