Thursday, 3 October 2013

Green Tea, Apricot and Cocoa Nib Biscuits

I've wanted to bake with Matcha Powder for years, but have always been put off by the price, particularly when mail order 'post and package' costs are added, as I've never (knowingly) been anywhere near a shop selling it. However, I was lucky enough to spot some while wandering around the Public Market on Granville Island in Vancouver BC, Canada. $13.95 (Canadian) seemed a reasonable price to pay for 50g (a bit less than £10), and the small tin could be easily fitted into our suitcase. Fitting in two 500ml tins of maple syrup bought from another vendor was a bit trickier, but I always try to under-pack to keep a little of the weight allowance for souvenirs. Hopefully, I'll soon get round to using some of the maple syrup in a baking recipe.

I had the idea that biscuits would showcase the green tea flavour better than a cake, and I was looking for recipe ideas when the AlphaBakes October Challenge (to use an ingredient beginning with C) popped up. One of the things I was considering adding as a flavouring ingredient was cocoa nibs, so everything seemed to be falling into place. After reading this beautifully photographed blog post, I decided to add some finely chopped dried apricots too.

The recipe I used gives a similar result to shortbread recipes, but the addition of an egg yolk makes the dough easier to handle, and more suitable for cut-out biscuits, as the dough can be rolled out more easily and doesn't spread while baking.

300g plain flour
100g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
225g unsalted butter, cubed, a little above fridge temperature
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons Matcha (green tea powder)
60g dried apricots, chopped finely
40g cocoa nibs

Put the flour, sugar and butter into a bowl and rub in the butter as if making pastry. Stir in the green tea, apricots and cocoa nibs. Mix in the egg yolk with a table knife, then use hands to gather the dough into a ball and knead lightly until smooth. A food processor can be used to make the dough if preferred.

Roll out portions of the dough to about 0.5cm thick, cut into 2.5cm circles with a plain cookie cutter. Knead trimmings together and re-roll. Place the biscuits on baking sheets lined with parchment and bake at 180C for 12-15 minutes until just beginning to colour.

Cool on the baking tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. I made 26 cookies from this amount of dough.

I considered decorating the biscuits with a drizzle of glacé icing, but we dived in to start eating them before I had the chance to do so, and the idea just went away somehow!

The biscuits were a little crumblier than those usually produced by this recipe, so perhaps the green tea powder absorbs a lot of liquid. The apricots and cocoa nibs added contrasting chewy and crunchy textures, but all the flavours were very subtle. A little more green tea would not have gone amiss, but was unsure of how strong the flavour would be, so used it cautiously this first time. I'm not sure a deeper green colour would have been very attractive, either!

AlphaBakes (rules here) is a challenge based on a randomly chosen letter of the alphabet. The dish made must feature something beginning with that letter as one of the main ingredients or part of the name. It is hosted jointly by Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline at Caroline Makes. Ros is the host this month, with the letter C, and as usual will post a round-up of entries at the end of the month.


belleau kitchen said...

they look so incredible! such a glorious and unusual colour for a cookie but I bet they taste amazing x

Foodycat said...

Pretty! That colour is great.

Baking Addict said...

I love the colour of the cookies. I tried making green tea cookies previously but some were a little bitter. This recipe sounds amazing especially with the apricots and cocoa nibs. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.

Choclette said...

You've really gone for colour this month Suelle, these are just fabulous. As you know I'm a big fan of matcha, but the only biscuits I've made with it so far have been shortbread. These sound delicious. I would have thought 2 tbsp was plenty, so I'm surprised you couldn't really taste it.

Suelle said...

@Choclette - the tea flavour seemed to develop a little as the biscuits aged.