Years ago, when I was in Kentucky for my cousin Neal’s wedding — he is now a football coach at Texas Tech — his father took me on a tour of the area. One of the first sights was the Elmwood Inn in the tiny town of Perryville. In my travels throughout the Blue Grass and Knob areas, I saw Elmwood Inn teas for sale in every gift shop.
Naturally, being a tea lover and with ties to Kentucky, I purchased the “Kentucky Blend.” The tea is not only a perfect start to the day, but also, when I open the can, there is a pleasant aroma that reminds me of my grandfather’s home in western Kentucky.
When I returned to New Jersey, I had a stack of mail, including my Kappa Kappa Gamma alumni magazine. (I was a Kappa at Ole Miss.) There at the top of an article on books by Kappas was a blurb about the latest tea book by Shelley and Bruce Richardson, owners of the Elmwood Inn.
Another “Kappa Konnection” was enough for me to e-mail Shelley and ask for permission to use one of their recipes in my cooking column. Shelley not only said “Yes” but also kindly mailed me two of their books—The Tea Table, Soups, Savories & Sweets from The Elmwood Inn, and Teas in the City, New York with wonderful photographs by Bruce Richardson.
I marked almost every recipe in The Tea Taste to try, but finally, as someone who grows herbs, I decided on Rosemary Shortbread for my first attempt. The cookies were so good, I couldn’t just eat one. The unusual taste is exceptional! These make great homemade gifts for Christmas.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add salt and vanilla extract, mixing well. Add flour and rosemary, stirring until well-combined.
Roll out on a floured board to 1/4 thickness. Cut out with a cookie cutter. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Cookies should not over bake and should not brown. Cool after removing from oven.
This recipe could also be baked in an eight-inch round mold for 45 minutes at 300 degrees. After removing from oven and cooling, cut into eight wedges.
NOTE: I used my electric mixer to make this recipe, which is so easy. Also, the cookies will still be soft to the touch when you take them out of the oven. I baked my 14 cookies for 20 minutes.