16 February 2016

To prolong the time

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We spent our Valentine's weekend surrounded by blankets, the space heater, delicious food, and lots of time. It was hopefully the first and last Vortex of the metro area followed by blanket of snow. If I had any other plans, they were quickly forfeited for the neccesity to nest. As soon as it all passed, I found myself thinking of Spring and the colors it brings. Greens and yellows. So I turned to my newfound affinity for the lightly vegetal matcha. One bite of these matcha sables, taken this afternoon on our windowsill, and I knew it'd be the one I'd share with you here. Sliced by the centimeter, they offer a nice thick crunch that isn't so much snappy as tender, and the lightly grassy dough, cut with confectioner's sugar for softness and ground almonds for warmth, is just perfect. Not to mention the color : )

I tried out a few different matcha shortbreads over the past few weeks, and they were all pretty good, but this one was different, it's the keeper I've landed on. First, you'll need matcha, culinary grade. You'll want a nice bright green, that will be the strongest. I know that matcha lattes are all the rage, but I don't find them too economical to make at home alongside matcha cookies. One bright green item on the palate is enough...These cookies are best enjoyed with a light green or white tea, or even a light black. Something to sip and linger on alongside, something to prolong the time. Shortbread is so simple to throw together, 1-2-3 in the mixer, and the rewards are nice. They'll last a few good days in a tin, too.

Matcha Almond Shortbreads
Adapted from Popsugar
Notes: *My swaps were to add the vanilla, just because, and to sub in about a Tbsp or two of whole wheat flour for the all purpose, just enough to make the 3/4 c. I think it enhanced the nuttiness. I also made my almonds by grinding whole lightly toasted ones in the processor, which made them not super fine as purchased almond meal, and I thought that was fine. I aged the dough log overnight. 

7 Tbsp/100 grams good unsalted butter, room temp
6 Tbsp/1.5 oz confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 egg yolk, room temp
1/8 tsp vanilla*
3/4 c/ 93 grams all purpose flour*
6 Tbsp/ 1.5 oz ground almonds/almond meal*
2 tsp matcha tea
1/4 tsp sea salt
Turbinado to sprinkle

Sift the flour into a bowl and set aside.

Sift the sugar and matcha together into the bowl of a stand mixer, with the butter and salt. With the paddle on medium, beat until light and fluffy and evenly creamy green. Add the egg yolk/vanilla and mix until no egg streak remains.

Add the ground almonds, mix just to incorporate, and add the flour in two additions, mixing on low just to incorporate, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. When the mixture forms a mass that is just sticking together, remove the bowl. Scrape onto a sheet of parchment and form into a log about 2 inches thick. Wrap and refrigerate a few hours or overnight (or freeze).

When ready to bake, oven to 360 degrees. Line a pan with parchment and roll the log into a little turbinado so the sides are slightly peppered. Slice 1cm/ 1/3inch thick coins. Place on tray and bake 12-15 minutes until undersides and edges are just evenly golden and top is firm to touch. Let cool completely on the sheet pan on a wire rack.

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