Not long ago I flew to Boise. It was a quaint city that felt more like a town than a metropolis. The mountains seemed to spill into the city streets. Cars actually stopped for pedestrians. Shop owners smiled when I walked through the door. Back alley pubs sported large patios. Graffiti was less teenage tagging and more artist confusing brick with canvas. It was the kind of spot where you expected to get whisked into the air and kissed by someone tall and handsome. Don’t worry. I knew the man doing the whisking.
Garrett and I were there visiting Gran and Gramps (his grandparents on his father’s side). They spoiled us – me in particular. There were niçoise salads and steak in a cream and mushroom sauce. There was ice-skating and a trip to Sun Valley. There was chocolate – oh, how there was chocolate. There was conversation and naps and one morning there were hot air balloons – a whole sky full of them just a few city blocks away.
I bought a hat and fell asleep multiple times in the car. Most nights we had a drink and Gran almost always had some sort of tea. Together, we watched movies and Garrett and I sat at their kitchen counter sipping wine and scotch while Gran and Gramps cooked dinner.
Like I said, they spoiled us.
Just two weeks ago, something happened that made me think of Gran again. What was it? I received FRESH, the Darigold magazine. Has anyone else been getting it? This is the second one I’ve received. I’m not sure how I ended up on the list of lucky recipients, but let me tell you, I’m glad I did.
Why? Because there was a recipe for Duke of Earl Cookies. This recipe. These shortbread babies are flavored with a hint of citrus zest and a touch of Earl Grey tea. They’re simple and elegant with a dusting of fine sweetness. They’re sturdy enough to stand on their own and plain enough to welcome a good dose of chocolate.
I can just picture Gran nibbling one or two of these with a cup of tea. Can’t you?
Duke of Earl Cookies
By Kristen (Kir) Jensen, founder of Sugar Cube Bakery (As seen in FRESH Volume 6)
Makes roughly 40 cookies
1½ cups flour
½ cup rice flour
½ tsp sea salt
2 TBS finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1 heaping TBS grated orange zest
¼ cup superfine sugar*
Whisk together flour, rice flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add tea and whisk until blended.
In a stand mixer, beat butter and powdered sugar until blended but not fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and citrus zest, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
With mixer on low, add dry ingredients gradually, mixing until just combined. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball.
Roll into a 12-inch log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, twisting ends to seal. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place superfine sugar in a small bowl. Cut the log into ½-inch thick slices. Toss each slice in the superfine sugar and place them on the baking sheets evenly spaced.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the edges are lightly golden and the cookies are firm. Let cool at room temperature for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool. Store in an airtight container.
*Superfine sugar is available at most stores. It can also be made by processing granulated sugar in a food processor until very fine.