Top Pick Of The Week

August 5, 2008
Revised March 2009

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Blueberry Biscottea Shortbread

Blueberry Biscottea shortbread cookies made with white tea and blueberry juice. We’re not going to jump on the bandwagon and call them “antioxidant cookies”—just enjoy them for the novelty and fine flavor.

WHAT IT IS: Traditional Scottish shortbread in five flavors, plus three gluten-free varieties, that include finely-ground organic tea leaves.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: The buttery shortbread has “something different”—in this case, some tea leaves that add a catchy bit of flavor to the general appeal of the shortbread.
WHY WE LOVE IT: These “tea biscuits” earn their name. The subtle tea flavorings are charming, and they do pair with their corresponding teas, hot or iced. Serve mint shortbread with mint tea, honeybush shortbread with honeybush tea, etc. They’re good eating and a fun gift.

Stylish Shortbread

CAPSULE REPORT: At a recent coffee and tea fair, what excited us most was not any of the fine coffees or teas, but Biscottea, a line of all-natural shortbread cookies baked with organic teas—just a touch, to provide interest. The buttery Scottish shortbread without the tea inclusions would have been good enough to accompany any cup of tea. But Laurance Milner has created a delightful line that, apart from adding a good general-purpose cookie to the specialty shelves, allows tea lovers to pair different tea-flavored shortbreads with different teas. Have some Earl Grey Biscottea shortbread with your Earl Grey tea, mint Biscottea shortbread with mint tea, and so forth.

Some might find this gimmicky, but gimmicky is a blessing when it tastes good: The large (two-inch) squares of shortbread certainly satisfy. These tea biscuits (biscot-tea, in case you missed the pun or want to confuse them with Italian biscotti) are available in individual packages of two as well as full boxes of ten. Flavors include African Honeybush Tea (a red tea) Shortbread, Blueberry Shortbread with Organic White Tea, Chai Shortbread with Organic Chai Spices, Earl Grey Shortbread with Organic Darjeeling Tea (infused with Earl Grey’s signature bergamot orange flavor) and Mint Tea with Organic Peppermint & Spearmint Leaves. The Blueberry, Chai and Earl Grey flavors are also available in gluten-free varieties. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by Orthodox Union.

The company says that Biscottea are “created with real tea for real tea lovers.” But anyone will enjoy them, even if there’s no cup of tea in sight. Read more about this elegant and fun selection of cookies in the full review below. Put them on your stocking stuffer list. And buy some now, for your favorite tea lovers.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.


Enjoy Tea With Your Biscottea

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Biscottea: Stylish Shortbread


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Shortbread History

Shortbread is a type of cookie with a high butter content: The traditional recipe is one part sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour. It has been called the ancestor of all butter cookies. The original shortbreads were made with oatmeal; the more elegant white flour came later. The addition of rice flour gives shortbread a grainy, crumbly texture, while cornstarch (corn flour) gives it a more dense texture.

Shortbread originated in Scotland (where cookies are called biscuits) in medieval times. According to, Scottish shortbread evolved from medieval biscuit bread, a twice-baked, enriched bread roll dusted with sugar and spices and hardened into a rusk. Eventually, butter was substituted for yeast, and shortbread was born. Today, butteriness is an important quality in shortbread—so much so that in 1921 the British government legislated that a product called shortbread must get at least 51% of its fat from real butter. Outside of the U.K., however, there is no such requirement. Check the label to ensure yourself of an authentic shortbread experience; hold out for 100% butter.

Honeybush Biscottea Shortbread
Those who avoid caffeine can enjoy Honeybush Biscottea, made with an herbal red tea from Africa.

There are two different explanations for the name of the cookie. Some sources cite the crumbly or “short” texture of the product. Others attribute the name to its high percentage of shortening, or butter (the word “shortening” refers to any fat). But why “bread?” Don’t believe the explanation that early Scottish bakers fought to prevent shortbread from being classified as a biscuit (cookie) to avoid paying a government tax on biscuits. Read the detailed history of shortbread and see photos of the different shapes of shortbread.

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