Taking afternoon tea simply never goes out of style. There is just something extra special about celebrating a moment with a tradition that has stood the true test of time. Yes, the custom originated in Europe, but this drink has ties around the world. And that is exactly what our new book Tea Parties Around the World by the editors of award-winning TeaTime magazine is celebrating.
I just adore the story of how afternoon tea began. Dinner was typically served after 7:00 p.m. A lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, Lady Bedford, reportedly called for tea and a light snack around 4:00 p.m to subside hunger pangs—it sounds to me like Lady Bedford had the right idea. Soon enough, her friends joined her and the ritual was born!
What I love about this book is the lens it gives into the remarkable lives and cultures of those around the globe. It inspires me when I see recipes and customs that are artfully developed as a result of someone’s passion and dedication. This book features 10 menus from different countries, each one its own little adventure.
I wanted to share something with you today that, like tea, is classic and globally adored—Lemon-Vanilla Shortbread. This recipe comes straight from the Scotland menu. Shortbread is considered the crown jewel of Scottish baking, and with the delicate crumb and teeming lemon and vanilla flavor in this cookie, I can see why!
- ½ cup salted butter, softened
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray an 8-inch shortbread pan* with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, beat butter with a mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add confectioners' sugar, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract, beating to blend. Add flour and salt beating until incorporated.
- Firmly press dough into prepared pan. Prick dough with a fork.
- Bake until shortbread is light golden brown, approximately 35 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out shortbread onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges to serve.
- *We used an 8-inch hexagonal Scottish thistle ceramic shortbread pan from Brown Bag Designs, shorbreadpan.com. Shortbread can also be baked in an 8/inch round cake pan.
Whether you are an expert who can identify the aromas and origin of tea with one sip, or simply someone who enjoys elegant celebrations and dainty hors d’oeuvres, this global-inspired book is sure to surprise and delight.