Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is there anything more Southern?

Than Sweet Tea?
So why not sweet tea shortbread?
The idea came to me as I was lying awake in our motel on our second day into the trip from Brooklyn to Nashville.  The kid was lying in the "H" position between us, and while my husband was privy to little feet in his face, I had the kid's sweaty head nestled into my neck.
For some reason I couldn't sleep.
I had had the idea for a food blog for awhile.  The idea was cemented on a recent trip to visit family in Arizona, and my excitement akin to a 2-year-old on Christmas morning when I found some chorizo verde.
Maybe I should be doing something with food...
So, back to sweet tea.  Sweet tea is about as Southern as you can get--as an oft-quoted movie says, "It's the house wine of the South!"
And so I decided to try my hand at a cookie that would embody that classic southern libation.

Sweet Tea Shortbread
(inspired by SheSimmers recipe for Thai Tea Shortbread)

This was my first attempt at this cookie.  While satisfying, the tea flavor was very subtle, and on my next try I might up the amount of tea.  I also think the cookies could benefit from a pinch of salt.  The crunch on the outside of the cookie from the turbinado sugar was excellent, and also added that extra punch of sweetness that I usually associate with Sweet Tea.

3/4 cup GOOD unsalted butter, left to soften at room temperature
Loose tea from 2 tea bags (preferably Luzianne, according to my Mother-In-Law)
3 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup turbinado sugar for rolling dough in before baking

Allow the butter to soften at room temperature.
Cut open tea bags and pour into small bowl with 2 tablespoons of water.  Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. In mixing bowl fitted with paddle attachment cream butter, sugar and tea.  In a separate bowl combine flour and cornstarch. Slowly add flour and cornstarch to the butter until just combined.  Turn out dough onto plastic wrap and form dough into log about 2 inches wide.  Place dough into fridge to chill for about an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Take dough out of fridge and unwrap from plastic.  Pour about a cup of turbinado sugar onto cutting board or large plate.  Roll dough in sugar until completely covered in sugar.  Slice log into cookies about 1/4 inch round.  Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 20 minutes, rotating sheets about half-way through cooking time.

Let cool on sheets and try not to eat the entire batch in one sitting!

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