This shortbread is simply a lovely take on a sweet biscuit to have with tea (or coffee). Whenever I set out to make these treats I always start to conjure in my mind this elaborate themed tea party with a handful of my friends. I'll set the scene for you. First the table is adorned with branches and boughs of all sorts of greenery, big pine cones gathered in the forest from a Sugar Pine, some woodland mushrooms made of meringue are scattered across the table and huge platters made of cross sections of trees are plated with:
I'm not sure why this daydream always pops into my head. Maybe it's the woody rosemary and soft sage that reminds me of the Fall/Winter and the delicious braises and stews I love to make in the colder months. Maybe it's the rustic quality of the shortbread being made and shaped by hand. Or maybe when I see my boys snacking on these biscuits, I'm reminded of a sweet children's novel, where a Faun may have served these with tea to a little girl he met in the snowy woods. They are perfect, delicate and magical.
Then you have to consider the tea. My favorite tea of all time is Dammann Freres, the most beautiful, aromatic, mind blowing tea. Whether you're a purist at heart and just want a smooth Earl Grey or you like something with a little flavor this tea is so will blended it hits all the right notes. They have several varieties and my go-to's are the Gout Russe and Fleurilege. Seriously if you want to make someone feel pretty special make them a pot of this tea to serve along side these biscuits.
Herb Tea Biscuits
Adapted from Gourmet
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon superfine granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each finely chopped fresh sage, rosemary and thyme
1 stick (1/2cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 egg white, lightly beaten
16 small fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
16 very small fresh sage leaves ( 1/2 inch)
16 fresh rosemary leaves
16 (1 inch) fresh thyme sprigs
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Stir together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and chopped herbs in a bowl, then add butter and stir with a fork until mixture forms a dough. Divide dough in half and pat each half into a 6 1/2 to 7 inch round on an ungreased baking sheet. Crimp edges of rounds and cut each into 8 wedges with a sharp knife. Lightly brush with egg white and arrange 1 leaf of each herb on each wedge. Brush herbs lightly with egg white and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Prick each wedge with once fork. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Bake until golden, 15 to 17 minutes. Recut wedges while shortbread is hot, then cool completely on sheet on rack.