Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's Tea Time!

I love tea. I'd prefer it any time over soft drinks or juice. I love drinking many types of tea, from the slightly bitter Chinese Pu-erh tea after dinner, Japanese green tea (Matcha) whilst eating sushi, or a rich, creamy mug of Hong Kong milk tea. The post title refers to my two most recent bakes - Earl Grey Tea cookies and Matcha Chiffon Cake.


These cute little cookies are of the shortbread variety, but the method of making this is different to the pinwheel ones I made previously. I really love these cookies because when you take a first bite, it might seem that the tea flavour is not strong enough, but after a second, third bite, it tastes just like drinking a cup of milky Earl Grey Tea. They do not have a strong orange-y flavour either. You really can't resist munching on one...then another one...until the whole plateful is gone!



I first tried making chiffon cakes last year. At first I was really scared of whipping egg whites, but after making countless of these cakes (my mum loves them because they're not too sweet, and because of the soft and cottony texture), I think I've mastered the art of making a perfect chiffon. This particular matcha chiffon has a fresh and clean fragrance, and the ever-so-slight bitter aftertastes balances the sweetness perfectly. I've included some of my humble tips on making chiffon cakes below.


Both of these treats are great for snacking, and of course perfect consumed with a cup of your favourite tea during a relaxing afternoon! What is your favourite type of tea to use when baking?

Early Grey Tea Cookies
Adapted from Vanlily's blog (Original recipe in Chinese)
Makes 16-20 small cookies

1 teabag Earl Grey tea (I used Twinings)
1tbsp Milk
70g Butter, at room temperature
30g Icing sugar
Pinch Salt
120g All purpose flour
1/4tsp Baking soda

1. Put the milk into a small microwavable bowl and nuke it for around 10 seconds to warm it up. Cut open the tea bags, put the leaves into the milk. Cover and leave to infuse for around 30 minutes.
2. Beat butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy, beat in the tea-milk mixture
3. Sift in the salt, flour and baking soda. Gently fold into the mixture with a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30mins.
5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Gently flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out the dough gently until around 5mm thick, use cookie cutters to cut our shapes and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet, cookies and all into the freezer for around 5 minutes.
6. Bake for around 15-20minutes until pale golden. Remove and cool on a cooling rack, where they will crisp up.

Matcha Chiffon Cake
From Chiffon Cake Book by Junko Fukada (Original recipe in Chinese)
Makes one 17cm cake (plus some extra batter)

3 Egg yolks
80g Sugar
50ml Vegetable oil
60ml Water
80g Cake (low-protein) flour
10g Matcha (green tea powder)
4 Egg whites

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Whisk egg yolks, 1/3 of the sugar, oil and water together.
2. Pour in sifted flour and matcha, whisk until totally incorporated and no lumps remain.
3. Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until foamy. Pour in half the remaining sugar, beat for 2 more minutes, add in the rest of the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
4.Place 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the flour mixture. Use a whisk to quickly mix everything together.
5. Add in the rest of the egg whites, incorporate gently but quickly. When some white streaks remain, swap to a rubber spatula and fold gently until the mixture is homogeneous.
6. Pour the mixture into the chiffon cake tin (you may need to slightly grease it beforehand to prevent sticking, but I skip this step). Rap the tin against the table a few times to get rid of large air bubbles.
7. Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
8. The cake must be cooled upside down; stick the tin on a tall heavy bottle, leave until cake is completely cool before removing it from the tin.

Tips for making chiffon cakes
- When mixing the yolk mixture, ensure that no lumps remain to ensure a smooth batter after adding egg whites. You don't want to be deflating the mixture whilst attempting to get rid of those lumps!
- An indication as to when the whites are ready, a small 'peak' will form when you pull up your beaters. After reaching that stage, whip for another minute on low speed to stabilise the air bubbles.
- Mix gently when incorporating the two mixtures. Usually, just to be on the safe side, I use a spatula upon the second addition.
- If your cake is being stubborn and refuses to leave the tin, use a thin sharp knife or thin offset spatula and run it around the cake. it should pop out really easily.





11 Responses to “It's Tea Time!”

Celine said...

Wow!

I've ever baked chiffon cakes, I think I'm doing one soon. I keep preciously your recipe, chiffon cakes chief :)

I was planning to make some matcha cookies for a friend's birthday, but I don't know if she will like it... (even if she told me she likes tea)
Let's make some Earl Grey Tea cookies instead! :D

Justine said...

Wonderful recipes. I made chocolate earl grey sorbet once and have been looking for ways to incorporate tea into other treats!

Anh said...

I love the color and idea of matcha chiffon. Yummo!

Elissa said...

The cookies look wonderful! Definitely something I would try to make.

The chiffon looks lovely too. My mom is Asian and she likes chiffon cakes for the same reasons as your mother. My mom's personal favorite is lemon, but I'm sure she'd adore matcha too!

Out of total curiosity, do you have any idea what you're going to write your extended essay on?

Wendy said...

Re: Celine
Chiffon cakes are really easy to master! Good luck! I'm sure your friend will love your cookies :)

Re: Justine
Wow, chocolate earl grey sorbet - sounds very exotic and must be delicious!

Re: Anh
Thank you, do try it!

Re: Elissa
I guess all asian mums don't have much of a sweet tooth! My mum likes banana and earl grey too.
Yes actually, I've started planning out my EE already. I've chosen geography, and my topic is gentrification/urban renewal in an old area in Hong Kong. BUT I wish I chose a topic on biology instead :(

Celine said...

Re : Wendy

I made them yesterday, they were good but the flavour of the tea wasn't strong enough.. I think it's because of the shape of my biscuits (they were small, in the shape of a music note)
But they were still good, my friend liked it :)

I'll do them again soon, hoping the taste will be stronger! Thanks again for the recipe!

(I made a post on my blog :))

Elissa said...

Geography is so unusual! At my school we were discouraged from picking things like geography, psychology, film, etc because we never took classes on those subjects. My essay ended up being about history.
Best of luck on the EE!

Ean said...

For the matcha chiffon cake, can i use self raising flour?

Wendy said...

Re: Ean
Unfortunately no, because self raising flour contains baking powder as well, which would affect the rising of the cake and the results would be very different.

Sheri said...

Oh my Gosh! I am so excited trying your recipe since I got a long weekend here. I love cookies and chiffon cake. So thankful that you shared this recipe. Your the best! ;)

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