Wednesday, November 23, 2011

silk dragon jasmine tea shortbread

I woke up this morning to a wonderful present - the first snowfall of the season! What an excellent excuse to bake shortbread - you know, Christmas and all. I've lately been toying with the idea of different scented shortbreads (this may or may not have something to do with The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011...) and suddenly it hit me: jasmine shortbread. Though jasmine tea and shortbread come from totally different parts of the world, it's a perfect marriage of flavours and textures - the floral notes are subtle, but there. The tea adds a little bit of texture to the otherwise melt-in-your-mouth characteristics of shortbread.

I used the organic silk dragon jasmine tea from DavidsTea - why? Because, as they say, its scent is magical. It's lovely, delicate and smooth. It's instant relaxation in a mug, especially on a snow day. Feel free to use whatever jasmine tea you have on hand, but if you live near a DavidsTea, I recommend you pick some up... and not just for the cookies!

Tips: I pulverized my tea using a mortar and pestle. This is easy and probably the best way to do it - it ensures a serious grind, but also leaves enough textural variation to keep things interesting. I'm not sure if it would work in a coffee grinder. If you have a food processor, you can throw the first six ingredients in there to break down the tea, but I haven't tried this myself (it worked well with lavender, though next time I'd use the mortar and pestle for that too). If you have any suggestions for those who don't have a mortar and pestle, feel free to leave them in a comment!

I've also now fully converted to adding the full 1/4 cup of cornstarch to my shortbread. You might recall that this made me nervous when following a recipe for lavender shortbread. Well, they were right and I was wrong. It really does make for a lighter cookie!

silk dragon jasmine tea shortbread

1 1/2 tablespoons DavidsTea organic silk dragon jasmine tea leaves, pulverized in a mortar and pestle
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 tablespoon pieces 
1 tablespoon very strongly brewed DavidsTea organic silk dragon jasmine tea, chilled
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
granulated sugar for sprinkling (optional)
  •  Put butter in a medium bowl.
  •  Combine tea leaves, cornstarch, icing sugar and salt in a small bowl, then add to butter. Using a pastry blender, work the ingredients until they are well distributed. Pour in brewed tea and repeat.
  • Add flour and cut in with the pastry blender. Once it begins to take shape, work the dough with your hands. On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a log, wrap with cellophane and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 325ºF and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Cut your dough log into 1/2 inch pieces and place on the baking tray. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. 
  • Cool on a cooling rack before eating. Enjoy with a cup of silk dragon jasmine tea!

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