Friday, May 11, 2012

Eating Green Tea

This recipe couldn't be simpler to make--and the flavor couldn't be more complex to taste.

Take your favorite shortbread recipe (or use the one below) and add two tablespoons of green tea powder. (If you can't find Chinese green tea powder, which I couldn't, just take two tablespoons of regular green tea leaves and grind them in your spice grinder into a powder.)

The result is a delicate cookie, in texture, color, and flavor, a subtle combination of sweet and umami, the least know of the five basic flavors (in addition to sweet, sour, salty, and bitter) which is often associated with foods like shellfish, seaweed, cabbage, mushrooms, and Asian cuisine in general.

The recipe I used suggested rolling the dough thin and cutting it into leaves like these. Not having a leaf-shaped cookie cutter, I did thin moon shapes, and then larger and thicker heart shapes, and I found both sizes and thicknesses delicious.

Green Tea Shortbread
(adapted from Martha Stewart)


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 tablespoons Chinese green-tea powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


Sift flour, tea powder, and salt into a small bowl; set aside. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar; continue to beat until very light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add flour mixture; combine on low, scraping sides of bowl with a spatula if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers.
Place a piece of parchment on a clean surface; dust with flour. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness; chill in refrigerator or freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Cut chilled dough with 2-inch leaf cutters. Using a wide spatula, transfer to baking sheets. Chill until firm. Gather scraps together, re-roll, chill, and cut shapes. Bake until firm and barely starting to color, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool completely on wire rack; store in an airtight container for up to 3 to 4 weeks.

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