As I ditched packaged tours and experienced the world on my own terms, I experienced many things outside the protective cocoon of the tour bus. The world opened up before me, and I realized how unsophisticated and uninformed I was in the things of the world.
Especially food. Shortbread, to be precise.
Take Scottish shortbread, for example. I have no idea how the Scots got involved with this delicious biscuit. Nor why it is 'short' when it is rather longish. How could it be a bread when it is more biscuit instead ?
Luckily, not all things need to go through a serious academic discourse in order to enjoy it, all thanks to my food loving intrepid better half.
Now, to me, shortbread will always be the Lake District, longish bars of buttery biscuits and hot English tea and running brooks.
Makes 64 cookies
1 tablespoon matcha powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature. Microwave at high for 10s if it is chilled.
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Stir matcha powder with the boiling water, and set aside to cool.
Beat the butter. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the vanilla and matcha. About 5 minutes.
Add the flour to the butter, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Do not overwork the dough.
Prepare a big sheet of parchment paper and lay it on a glass chopping board, 12x16 inches. This will become your worktop.
Transfer the sticky dough to the side of the parchment that is on board.
Fold the other side of the parchment over the dough, like a book. Using another flat board ( I used another chopping board ), depress the dough for even thickness. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.
Even out any kinks created by the parchment by pulling the paper outwards.
Transfer parchment wrapping the dough, together with the chopping board, into the fridge.
Preheat the oven at 160C . Line a baking tray with a fresh parchment.
Peel open the parchment covering the dough. Use the chilled glass chopping board as your work top. This helps keep the work surface cold while you cut out the cookies.
Using a very long knife and cut squares out of the dough with the aid of a ruler.
Prick each cookie with the tines of a small fork all the way to the tray. You may need to flour your fork and fingers for easy handling. Chill them again if the cookies get too soft to handle.
Transfer the squares to the baking sheets, using the blade of your knife. This reduces handling by hand which warms up the cookies and causing unwanted finger prints.
Bake for 18 minutes . The shortbreads should be pale coloured. Cool the cookies on a cookie rack.
Credits : Inspired by <http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/12/espresso-chocolate-shortbread-cookies/>