Christmas baking is a biiiig thing for me, as you may know. I started baking cookies a week or two ago (of course I am concentrating on varieties of cookies that freeze perfectly) (freezing perfectly is defined as tasters can’t tell the difference between freshly baked and cooled versus frozen and thawed.)
No cookies freeze better than shortbread. You can also freeze the dough in logs and slice and bake it later, but I’m not doing that this year because suddenly realizing I need to thaw and slice and bake cookies before I can put together a cookie platter or box … No.
This is a new recipe for me. I got it from Michelle Muenzler, who is known as the Cookie Lady at conventions because she shows up with a neverending supply of cookies. This is undoubtedly an excellent way to meet people and make friends! I liked her Earl Gray Shortbread best of the ones she brought to World Fantasy, but these are the ones I chose to make myself:
Rooibos Shortbread Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
3 Tbsp loose Hibiscus Rooibos tea (“The Four Redheads of the Apocalypse’s Scarlet Women” from Tea Punk teas)
1/2 tsp salt
Put butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar into a large bowl. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, tea, and salt. Mix until a dough is formed.
Roll dough into logs (1″ thick or so) and tightly wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Slice logs into thin disks (2mm or so) and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
I didn’t take a picture of the finished cookies, but these from Food 52 are very similar. The cookies are thoroughly speckled little disks.
I made my cookies exactly according to Michelle’s recipe, except I accidentally ordered and thus used a different brand of Rooibos tea. I found them practically addictive. I will add that my brother said they were “too savory” for Christmas cookies. You should obviously make them and judge for yourself.
I have lots and lots of Rooibos tea left, and since I don’t care for tea, which tastes to me like very slightly flavored water, I expect I will use it to make … oh, scones, say. And cheesecake. It turns out there are many recipes using Rooibos tea.