Recipe: Earl Grey Shortbread

September 30, 2011 § 4 Comments

I recently made a thank-you package of cookies to send to the gracious couple who hosted us in Atlanta during Dragon*Con (thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Davis!) and while I was at it I thought I’d post the recipes for the cookies that I made! I made three types of cookie, and I’ll do a post for each recipe, starting with….

Earl Grey Shortbread

Many people believe that nothing is more pleasant than a cup of tea and a good book, but I have to confess that it’s difficult to feel enthusiastic about hot tea when it’s 100F+ every day for months! Fortunately these little cookies make an excellent alternative. They melt in your mouth and they’re easy to make–the dough comes together in minutes. Just be careful not to get crumbs on the pages…

This is an adaptation of a Claire Robinson recipe from the Food Network. The original recipe calls for loose tea leaves and a food processor—I eliminated both by using the contents of tea bags, and I don’t think it hurt the recipe at all. I still got a delicious cookie with a light tea flavor.  The original recipe also calls for rolling the dough into a log and slicing off cookies, but I scooped out cookies with a teaspoon, rolled them into balls, and then pressed them between my palms.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 Tablespoons or the contents of 2 to 3 bags of Earl Grey tea (to taste)

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

sugar (if desired)

Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend together the flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is just spotted throughout the flour. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and butter. Mix together at medium speed, just until a dough is formed. Use a teaspoon to scoop up dough and roll each scoop into a ball, then press it flat between your palms OR roll the dough into a log in plastic wrap, chill for half an hour, and then slice off cookies about 1/4 inch thick.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, 1 inch apart, and sprinkle with sugar (if desired). Bake until the edges are just barely brown–about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks (just slide the entire piece of parchment paper off of the cookie sheet and onto the wire rack) and cool to room temperature.

Makes about four dozen.

Store in an airtight container–these cookies keep very well! Not that they’ll last long, unless you hide them…

Serve with a cup of tea, a sunny corner, a comfortable chair, and a good book.

Keep Calm and Carry On: A Bag

September 17, 2011 § 3 Comments

I keep promising myself that I’ll do more crafts, and take more pictures, and then post more, and maybe even get caught up on that craft project that I was doing….

….but I don’t. Because I am a bad blogger. On other hand, this blog is an exercise in vanity to a certain extent–it’s not like I have an audience depending on me for inspiration. So I try not to worry too much. And I’ve been working so many hours that it’s a miracle whenever I do any crafts at all, so. It’s an even bigger miracle when I take some pictures of my crafts, especially since I habitually make things in the middle of the night, when the lighting is terrible.

Oh well. I will just post bad pictures! Because I can, and I want to show you what I made. I made it at 2am, the night before I left to drive to Atlanta for Dragon*Con (I got an hour and a half of sleep–thank goodness that I didn’t have to drive at all! I had fourteen hours to sleep in the car on the way), because I was determined to have an appropriate bag to carry over the weekend.

And here it is:

If you aren’t familiar with Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog…well, 1) why are you here instead of watching it? and 2) you don’t get this bag. But in short, it’s a quote from Dr. Horrible, styled to reference the famous Keep Calm and Carry On poster.

Which, by the way, is a thing that I love. In fact I loved it before it was cool (/hipster).  Not only do I love the original poster, I love the many variation on it, as you can see by the poster hanging over my bed, behind the bag (it says ‘Keep Calm and Don’t Blink’, a reference to a Doctor Who Episode). There are three more in my room (the original, ‘Now Panic and Freak Out’, and ‘Keep Calm and Carry Yarn’). So when I saw this t-shirt I had to have it. Unfortunately it looked awful on me! It was designed to be displayed on a flat surface, which is something that I am…not. I have too much curvature to be a good display surface, so of course I had to find another use for my awesome shirt.

I actually have a whole stack of t-shirts that I want to make into bags, so I’ll try to make a tutorial next time–it was surprisingly simple! Except that I couldn’t find the cutting mat, and it was 2am, and I was using a cardboard box (which was just not the same), so it was actually difficult and frustrating, but it didn’t have to be. And it turned out okay!

It's 3am, I have my bag, my suitcase, and my real-clothes-that-feel-like-pajamas road trip outfit on...I wonder what I should do next?

And it coordinates with the patch on my bag! After much searching I found the perfect suitcase for me–almost. I wanted it to have a splash of color, something that would make it distinctive and easy to spot, and after glancing around my room, I knew what would be perfect.

It’s a Keep Calm and Carry On patch on a carry-on suitcase. It’s so brilliant that I will be laughing at my own joke forever.

The awesome patch came from the wonderful SteamPatchCompany, where the quality is high and the service excellent. Thank you so much, SteamPatchCompany!

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