Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jasmine Lychee Green Tea Shortbread

Tea is not just for drinking anymore. It makes a great flavoring for baked goods of any kind and goes exceptionally well in shortbread cookies, which, of course, are also the perfect accompaniment for a fragrant cup of tea.

As I flew from Dubai to Boston on Saturday, I walked the cabin of that 777, looking at the faces of my fellow passengers, many asleep in the usual awkward way we sleep on long haul flights, in the back of the plane. And I choked up. All these people, people like many I know and love: With families and friends and dreams and lives to lead. What must it have been like to be on that MAS flight? Did they cling together, those strangers? Did they pray or cry or scream in fear? Did they know what was happening? As I walked the aisle, I prayed for them, for their families, for answers and closure, and row by row, I prayed for my own fellow passengers, that they would have safety and God’s protection, all the way to their final destinations. It was a very emotional experience, 35,000 feet in the air, being held aloft by the laws of physics and, I firmly believe, the angels around us. If you don’t believe in angels, I hope you at least believe that we can be that for each other, supporting and uplifting, bringing joy and light whenever and wherever we can.

As I mentioned yesterday, this week I am visiting an old friend in Michigan., someone who has been a source of inspiration and unabashed giggling for many years. We met in Malaysia back in 2001 and she is one of my closest friends in all the world. Naszreen was raised in her home country of Sri Lanka, then Saudi Arabia, finally finishing her education at boarding school in the UK. She married an American and has two wonderful children. Together we have been through years of PTA work, including two exhausting years on the executive committee, chaired two fundraising galas for the American Association of Malaysia, braved through and won a vigorous fight for her health. These days she is fulfilling a dream she has had for many years, with the opening of a teashop in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods. I am inspired by her courage, the way she has worked steadily and with purpose to make her dream come true. She’d deny it forever but she is one of those angels I mentioned, for me.

Today’s cookie is flavored with one of the hundreds of teas she sells. As I browsed her little shop (If you'd like to see some photos, scroll to the bottom of this post.) yesterday, opening bulk tins and reading labels and inhaling the fragrance of everything, she regaled me with her wealth of knowledge about the various teas, their properties and uses. I finally settled on a flavored green tea because it smelled so fabulous. The shortbread turned out wonderfully as well.  Bake a batch for someone you want to lift up.

This recipe was adapted from Food Network.

2 cups or 250g flour
2 tablespoons loose tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 95g powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup or 225g butter, at room temperature

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is chopped up fairly small and it's well distributed throughout.

Add in the sugar, vanilla, and butter and pulse again until a soft dough forms.

Pour your dough out in a line on a big sheet of cling film. Roll the dough into sausage and wrap it tightly in the cling film.

Put the dough into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill. I left mine overnight and it was lovely and firm.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Use a sharp knife to slice the log into circles. If you prefer a thicker, soft cookie, cut them about 1/2 inch or a little thicker than 1 cm. For a crispier cookie, cut them about 1/3 inch or 8mm thick. Line your baking pan with parchment paper and place the dough slices about two inches or five centimeters apart.

Bake in your preheated oven until the edges are just brown, about 9 or 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool in the pan for several minutes.

Use a spatula to remove them to a serving plate.


The Creative Cookie Exchange challenge this month was to create a cookie using tea or coffee for flavoring and the group has some great recipes to share. Many thanks to our host this month, Laura of The Spiced Life.

If you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
If you are a blogger who would like to join us for future Creative Cookie Challenges, send an email to Laura (at) thespicedlife (dot) com with your blog URL and she will add you to our private Facebook group where all the planning and logistics take place.

You are also invited to follow our Pinterest board where you will find links to loads of Creative Cookie recipes from all of our members and Like our public Facebook page.   Happy baking!

The store front. Isn't it adorable? You can like her Facebook page here. Thanks! 

Tea on offer.

Teaware on offer.

Tea in wooden boxes and personally branded tea mixtures.

Black teas with fruit.

More teaware.


  1. You are an angel Stacy! God Bless You for your compassion and praying for your fellow passengers...The news stories can only make us appreciate those shared cups of tea and giggles even more precious <3 Speaking of which your green tea shortbreads look divine. Love that you use loose leaf tea! And if ever in Michigan, I know where to go =)

  2. You are so sweet, Kim! If you are ever in the neighborhood, you need to stop by. My friend has an amazing selection of loose teas, over 180! Plus all the packaged ones. It's been fun to hang out in her shop all day and smooze with the customers. :)

  3. Hello my dear friends, I wish I was there with you both, as I would have two of MY angels together in one place.

  4. If you were here with us, that would be absolute perfection, Jane! Miss you so much!

  5. It's so unbelievably horrifying, can you imagine even after 11 days, nobody knows what happened to that plane? After what your friend Naszreen has been through, she deserves all the happiness in her life. I hope with this venture of hers, she gets all the success..her shop is very pretty. I absolutely just loved loved the kettles. Your cookies look great too :)

  6. Your cookies are lovely but what strikes me more is your writing today. I share your feelings and prayers for those on that flight; it is unimaginable. I wish your friend the best of luck with her new tea shop venture-- what a beautiful selection she is offering at her shop.

  7. Thank you, Deepti. It is horrifying. I can't even imagine what they must have gone through. I sincerely hope that somehow they didn't know or at least had little time to be afraid. Naszreen is a strong, special wonderful woman and she does deserve all happiness. Thank you for your good wishes! I'll pass them on!

  8. Such a great and passionate post. I do look at others on a plane and think the same thing if we were to be in peril. Thank God that has never happened. Your cookies are so gorgeous and I am sure so delicious, thanks for sharing this great post!!

  9. I always learn something new from your posts! Never heard of matcha until now! Green tea flavored EVERYTHING is huge in Seoul - I wonder if that's what they use?

  10. I really like the look of your cookies. My husband is off to Detroit next week I will see if he has time to go to the tea shop.

  11. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be on a plane last week and especially a 777. Goosepimply stuff. I hope the families get some resolution soon - any answer is better than none at all.
    I have liquorice tea in the kitchen I wonder if I ground it down a bit I could put it into shortbread? Hmmmm I'll have to give it a try.
    Your friends shop looks beautiful - friendships like yours are to be treasured x

  12. Gosh, what a beautiful post. There's not a lot I can say except, you really touched me.

  13. I love all the teapots! My daughter is a huge hot tea drinker - something I never enjoyed however, I DO love cookies so I'm thinking that this recipe would marry both our loves into one nice little package. I'm glad you were able to make it from Dubai to the US without incident - I don't know if I would have been as brave as you, flying so quickly after this incident and while the plane is still missing. I hope you are enjoying your visit with your old friend!

  14. That would be great, Jill! It's in a suburb about 20 minutes away from downtown Detroit in a neighborhood called Grosse Pointe Woods. The address and phone number are on her Facebook book page. https://www.facebook.com/TheRendezvousWithTea I'm helping her set up a website while I'm here but it's not quite ready for public unveiling yet.

  15. I've always wanted to go to a tea shop, but there aren't any where I live! What a passionate post. The cookies sound wonderful! Great job. :D

  16. Such a great idea for cookies! I love shortbread that can be made in a food processor! I am a total tea fanatic so I probably would have bought so many kinds at that cute shop! Very lovely and compassionate post.

  17. I too hope that the families get some closure on this tragic event.
    Your friends tea shop is beautiful, and I love spending time in stores like this and would love to add some of those teapots and teacups to my collection. The tea you chose to use in the cookies sounds so floral and delicate, and they would make the perfect addition to an afternoon tea.

  18. It is the easiest recipe, Sophia! I think it's going to be my new favorite go-to for shortbread. Thank you for your kind words.

  19. There weren't any around here either, Miranda, which is why this location is perfect. Maybe you need to find a partner. You could do the baked goods and he or she could sell the tea. :)

  20. It wasn't a matter of bravery at all, Kelli. Flying is still the safest mode of transportation so I didn't even consider canceling. But suddenly it hit me when I was on it. When I was actually inside that same aircraft with sleeping PEOPLE. Real people. Doing real people things. This is how it started for them too.

    Do make these for Holli! The tea flavor is very subtle but that's what makes it delicious.

  21. Thank you, Rebecca! Each day I keep waiting to hear that they have found the plane. It is incredibly sad.

  22. Thank you, Karen. That is the best compliment.

  23. I'll bet liquorish tea would make a delightful shortbread, Nancy. If you don't have a food processor, you can grind it first with a mortar and pestle and then make the dough by hand.

  24. Me too, Felice, to hoping for closure and spending time in tea shops! I have been taking photographs for her of all her products and I just have to stop and smell the teas as I go along. They are all so wonderful!

  25. Your generous compliments are making me blush, Nancy. Thank you so much. I can't tell you how much they mean to me.

    I'm with you. It doesn't seem possible in this age of technology that we could lose something as large as an aircraft that can hold 239 people. Those suckers are huge!

  26. Thank you, Tara. If only no one had to go through that ever again! I just wish they could find them and find out what happened.

  27. I LOVE the idea of going shopping in a tea store for the best flavor to bake with. i don't know why that has never occurred to me to do. I am totally doing that next time I am near one of my favorites! Great cookies!

  28. Wow. It must have been interesting to take such a long flight after the one that was lost. At least you had a good trip and was able to connect again with your friend. And what a lovely shop she has and great inspiration for your cookies.

  29. Wow what a great combo of flavors.

  30. These look great - I don't think I have heard of Matcha before however, I want to try it. I also want to have a beautiful ?azalea? bush like yours as well!


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