Why is it that at certain times of the day we just crave a cup of tea and biscuits? Elevenses, morning tea, coffee break, tea break or afternoon tea…whatever you may call it, it is almost ingrained into us that (not only) once it hits a certain time of day we must have a little something to snack on and of course must have some form of hot beverage alongside it. Being both Chinese and English, I definitely indulge in a quintessential quality of both nationalities – that is to say, I am a tea F.R.E.A.K: English breakfast in the morning; Earl Grey pretty much at any time of the day; Chamomile to help me relax; Peppermint to aid digestion; Rose to give my body a bit of a detox cleanse; Guava to keep the blood-sugar down; Green tea…also pretty much any time of the day; Jasmine is always a favourite (actually pretty much most Chinese tea) and it doesn’t even stop at tea – I love a hot drop of coffee from time to time and (being a local Hong Konger) some hot Ovaltine always goes down nicely.
Snacking isn’t my best attribute, however, neither is it my downfall. That being said I love having something with a cup of tea, (as much as I love tea – it can get monotonous on its own) whether it’s a cranberry scone, toasted teacake, chocolate digestive or even a simple slice of bread and butter. Recently I’ve been attempting my Ladurée cookbook, which has so far taught me the art of good pastry. A problem however with baking a tart a week – aside from the heartburn, cloying throat and increasing wobbly bits; is that there’s always leftover pastry but never enough to make an entirely new, albeit mini tart. Although, after some careful further reading of said cookbook yesterday afternoon, I tried out their suggestion of cutting rounds out of the leftover dough and baking “shortbread-ish” type biscuits. As it turns out – pastry dough can make pretty decent (and decadent) biscuits!
A couple of months ago I read a very cool and girly afternoon tea recipe for mini “diy” strawberry tarts in a Martha Stewart magazine. Basically you bake the tart shells first and serve it with some homemade strawberry jam, therefore people can help themselves to as little or as much (for the gluttons amongst us) as they want. Using this as inspiration and remembering how much I love old school jam biscuits (I’m thinking Jammie Dodgers or M&S Strawberry Puff Pastry biscuits) I decided to incorporate a bit of the two. In the end – it was a lovely little snack paired with a cracking cup of tea.
Homemade “Shortbread” biscuits:
- Preheat the oven to 180°c
- Roll out whatever leftover dough you have from the Sweet Almond Pastry recipe to about 3-4mm thickness
- Using a round (or whatever shape you’d like – heart-shaped for Valentines Day perhaps?) cookie cutter – cut out a many biscuits as you can
- Place the biscuits on a sheet of baking paper and place in the oven for 10-13 mins (depending on how crumbly you like it)
- Serve with some vanilla clotted cream (mix some vanilla paste/ fresh vanilla seeds with a few spoonfuls of clotted cream) and your favourite jam.
- Hot cup of tea is essential!
What’s your favourite snack to have with a cup of tea?