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Posts Tagged ‘tea’

I’ll never forget the first (and last) time I made biscotti.  I was a budding young bakestress of 16, eager to whip up some of those exotic-looking cookies I’d seen at the new Starbucks in my town.  I slaved all afternoon, digging out the anise seeds from the pantry depths and laboriously stirring the thick dough, toasting almonds, baking, slicing, and baking again.

They were a disaster: dense, rock-hard, anise-heavy, floury, and altogether not very good.  At first, I thought it was me, but the store-bought variety were equally disappointing.  What exactly about this stuff was supposed to be appealing?

I’d given up on enjoying toasted treats with my tea until recently.  My colleague Elena brought in sukhariki, or “Russian Biscotti.”  I didn’t expect much, but hey, I’d skipped breakfast and couldn’t afford to be picky. 

Russian biscotti

What a revelation!  Light and crisp, the sukhariki were closer to super-toasted raisin bread than their doughy Italian cousins.  Elena explained that the name simply means “dried bread” in Russian, but these were something special.  Thin-sliced and toasted to an appealing dark amber, studded with raisins, and dusted with sugar, sukhariki were the perfect crunchy complement to breakfast tea. (more…)

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One of the perks of working in an international office is that interesting foodstuff is always turning up.  Today, I wandered groggily into the breakroom and found this:

rwanda-mountain-tea

Rwanda Mountain Tea…from Rwanda.  Just chillin’ in our D.C. office.  Alrighty then.  You know there’s an interesting story behind that!  Anyway, between the silverback gorilla and the promise on the package, (“Best Teas in the World are probably made in Rwanda the Land of a 1000 Hills.  The Best Teas in Rwanda are made by Rwanda Mountain Tea”), I could hardly resist.

rwanda-mountain-tea-ii1

Intrigued, I brewed a cup and settled down at my computer to browse the teamaker’s website.  More descriptive gems: Rwanda Mountain Tea is “a delicate flavoury liquors from the misty mountains, producing an invigorating cup of breakfast tea. Teas from Nyabihu tea garden are carefully selected in producing Rwanda Gold luxury which is of great value and taste.”

Those delicate flavoury liquors really hit the spot, let me tell you.  And they’re best served with milk and sugar.

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I love bergamot, and don’t these look amazing?  Although I rarely bake treats, these shortbread cookies from The Kitchn are going on the list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-1 c. all purpose flour
-1/4 c. sugar
-1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
-1 Tbsp. Earl Grey tea leaves (the pulverized stuff from a basic tea bag is perfect, you want finely ground tea)
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. vanilla
-1 tsp. water
-1/2 c. unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 375F. 

2. Pulse together all dry ingredients in a food processor until the tea leaves are well ground.

3. Add vanilla, water, and butter to food processor. Pulse together until a dough forms.

4. Shape the dough into a log onto a piece of wax or parchment paper. Wrap the paper around and roll the log smooth. Chill for at least 30 minutes.*

5. When chilled, slice the log into 1/3 inch thick pieces. Place on baking sheets and bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 min.

6. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

 Photo and recipe credit: Faith Durand.

*I’d love to know how they got these dainty floral shapes by “roll[ing] the log smooth.”

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