Sunday, September 16, 2018

Almond Shortbread and Adagio Tea

I have loved shortbread ever since I tasted my first bite.  I've tried many different recipes and usually I end up going back to my tried and true Classic Shortbread recipe, which you can view here and here (I love them so much I've posted them twice!).  Also delicious are these Pecan Shortbread cookies from Dorie Greenspan.  But today, I bring you Almond Shortbread cookies from Taste of Beirut

These shortbread cookies are quite popular in the Chouf Mountain area of Lebanon. The almond tree is native to the Middle East and was eventually brought to the United States in the 1700s by Franciscan Padres.  Now California is the world's largest supplier of almonds! Deliciously flaky and filled with finely chopped, toasted almonds these cookies have a delightful flavor and aroma.  I actually prefer them without the powdered sugar coating as it's been quite humid here in the Midwest and the sugar didn't stay pretty for long.  

We all know that cookies are perfect with coffee, milk or tea in the afternoon and tea is another of my loves.  Now that there is a hint of fall here and there, I will be enjoying hot tea more often in the afternoon.  

When Ashley from Adagio Teas asked if I would like to try a sampling of their teas I couldn't say YES fast enough!  I was able to select a sample of five different teas and there was another sample of iced tea brew sent with my box.  I loved reading about the family-owned business and how their company began and evolved.  I picked my samples based on reviews of 95 of greater and they were all wonderful. 

The sample packs come in resealable heavy weight plastic bags with about 15 pyramid tea pouches per bag and the Master Teas come in a small tin.  I began my tasting with my favorite flavor, Citrus Mint Green tea.  

As I filled the tea cup with hot water, the color and aroma was immediate.  I loved this flavor and I was able to get 3 tea cups full of delicious tea with one pouch.  My second favorite flavor was the White Peach that you can see below.  

#1 Green Citrus Mint contains green tea, spearmint leaves, lemon grass, lemon verbena, orange peels, marigold flowers, lemon and orange flavor.  

#2 White Peach contains white tea from China, apricots, natural peach flavor and marigold flowers.

My next favorites were a tie between the Formosa Ali Shan which is a Masters Tea (meaning premium and rare select teas, unique outside of Asia, and entirely hand processed), and the Jasmine Silver Needle.  Much more delicate in flavor, they were both delicious.

#3 Formosa Ali Shan is an oolong tea and brews into a creamy cup of tea, with notes of honeysuckle and lilac.  It may be steeped several times.

#4 Jasmine Silver Needle is a white tea with young long tea leaves, hence the name silver needle.  It has a classic Jasmine flavor but soft and delicate.  The aroma of this tea is beautiful!

#5 One of Adagio's most popular teas, traditional black tea called Irish Breakfast tea.  Everything a 'cuppa' should be in the morning...spicy aroma with deep flavor.  Enjoy with or without milk!

#6 Blood Orange Iced Tea Brew is an herbal mix of blood orange peels, hibiscus flowers and rose hips.  Each pouch makes about 4 cups of tea.  It's caffeine free and very refreshing!

I hope you enjoyed my little evaluation of Adagio Teas!  If you are a tea lover, as I am, or know someone who is, I hope you will visit their site and try some of their lovely teas.  Although the samples were provided to me by Adagio Teas my tastes and opinions are my own.

Almond Shortbread Cookies

Printable Recipe

Adapted from Taste of Beirut 

Makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cutter.

1 cup unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour (or cornstarch)  I used Bob's Red Mill Brown Rice Flour
1-3/4 cups almonds, finely chopped in a food processor

1 cup powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a food processor, pulse almonds in short bursts until finely chopped (stopping to scrape the bottom edges frequently.  Don't over process or it will turn into almond butter! 

Place the finely chopped almonds on a small, rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes or so, until slightly golden and fragrant.  Remove and cool completely.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Slowly add in the AP flour and rice flour (or cornstarch) until incorporated, then add the cooled chopped almonds.

Cover dough and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

On a large sheet of parchment, waxed paper, or lightly floured surface, roll out one-third of the dough, using another sheet of parchment or waxed paper on top if the dough sticks to the rolling pin, to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.  Cut with a cookie cutter.  Incorporate scraps into next one-third of the dough and repeat.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 13-15 minutes or until light golden in color.  Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing. 

If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool enough to handle but still warm.  I preferred them without powdered sugar.