Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies and British Afternoon Tea Party

Italians don’t drink tea, I’m sure we all know that. We prefer strong, black espresso.

However, ever since I met Alex, who is the most British person I’ve ever known, he has tried to introduce me to the world of afternoon tea.  Soon after we became friends he invited me to the Westin Hotel and offered me a delicious cup of earl grey together with some shortbread cookies. Then he showed me how I was suppose to hold up the cup and how I WAS NOT, by any mean, supposed to add any sugar or milk to my tea…That last part was the one I liked the least as I could not see how on earth I was going to enjoy some “lightly flavored hot water” without any sugar in it…

Slowly tho I’ve learned, which has made possible for me and Alex to enjoy afternoon tea without having him rolling his eyes every time I was reaching out for a bag of sweetener.

When he got back from London, where he spent Christmas, he brought me a pack of exquisite Earl Grey and to thank him for his kind gift, I decided to invite him over last Saturday for a proper British afternoon tea party

afternoon tea

I looked up online everything I could find about British tea etiquette, sent him a formal invite, bought nice tea cups, fresh flowers, baked some shortbread cookies and made some cucumber-ham sandwich.

To give the shortbread an extra flavor I decided to incorporate into the batter some tea leaves and orange zest. I found them to be very tasty and unique. Here is how you can make them.

P.S. If you want the recipe for making the cucumber and ham sandwich just inbox me and I will send you instructions.

Ingredients (makes 25 small cookies):

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tbsp Earl Grey tea leaves (from about 2 bags)

In the bowl of your elextric mixer combine butter, sugar, and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.


Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes


Grab some earl grey tea bags


and add it to the dough with the flour


Mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Transfer dough to a piece of plastic paper; shape into logs. Roll it up. Refrigerate until firm, about an hour.


Preheat oven to 180 C (350F). Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.

DSC_0105Bake cookies until edges are golden, about 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racksDSC_0110

Then enjoy them with a nice and warm cup of tea.DSC_0112


– LittleDani

About the author:

An Italian living in China with a strong passion for cooking! Browse my 'left-overs' session for many tasty grub!. Follow her on Twitter / Facebook.