Friday, October 7, 2011

#LetsLunch October edition: Brown Sugar Shortbreads for High Tea

Before I get to my post on high tea for this month's LetsLunch, I have two pieces of news to share!

First, I got married!
 (photo by Glen Stubbe Photography)

Which was then followed by two amazing weeks in Hawaii for our honeymoon:

(me, after our amazing dinner at Alan Wong's -- which we went to Cheryl Tan's recommendation!)

The second bit of news, is that I made my debut in the Star Tribune Taste section yesterday, with my piece about baking my friends' wedding cake in August (previous posts about my cake baking trials here, here and here). You can read the piece here.

But back to LetsLunch: this month marks my one-year anniversary of contributing to LetsLunch, after being invited by Cheryl late last summer. All of my LetsLunch posts are archived here.

I'm only an occasional food blogger, so I love coming up with a recipe and photographing it each month. This month I've been a bit busy (see previous two pieces of news) and we just returned from Hawaii last weekend.

The topic we picked for September, then slid into October, is High Tea. Who doesn't love a good cup of tea? Karyn, the recipient of the wedding cake baking, is the friend who first turned me on to looseleaf tea in college.

My boyfriend-then fiance-now husband (!) and I really got back into looseleaf tea last winter, leading up to the current moratorium on buying new teas.

(Our current tea stash and Teavanna tea maker)

When you drink a lot of looseleaf tea, you start to find out about how most tea really doesn't get brewed with boiling water and it really does matter how long you let the tea steep. I have little notes on all of my tea with the different specifics for herbal teas (tisanes -- there's no actual tea leaves in most of these blends), white teas, green teas, etc.

My LetsLunch to go along with the High Tea theme is a shortbread cookie with a dollop of pineapple-passion fruit jam -- both purchased at the Aloha Stadium swap meet in Honolulu.

RECIPE: Brown Sugar Shortbread (adapted from The Essential Baking Cookbook)
(makes one half-sheet pan of shortbread cookies)

8 ounces of butter, softened (two sticks)
3/4 cups soft brown sugar
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup rice flour, semolina or corn flour (I used instant masa flour)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp all spice

Preheat oven to 315 degrees F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes).

Sift together the flours. Add slowly to the sugar and butter, with a pinch of salt and the spices. Mix with a butter knife until the dough comes together. Gather and knead for 1 minute.

Chill the dough for about 20 minutes, then press into your pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool the shortbreads 10-15 minutes in the pan, then make slices with a butter knife. Spread a tiny dollop of jam on each (about 1/4 tsp-1/2 tsp). Cool completely before eating.

LetsLunch is a monthly meeting for food bloggers and I was invited by fellow AAJA-er, Cheryl Tan. Our group chooses a date and a theme, then we all post our recipes on the same day.

Our group is always growing! If you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you! send a Tweet to us using #letslunch (I'm @emmacarew).

See what everyone else made this month:

 High Tea at The Kitchen Trials
Tea and Kaya Toast at Spicebox Travels
Rich Tea at Grongar blog
Little Lemon Meringue Tarts at Monday Morning Cooking Club


  1. A Let's Lunch post with wedding pictures -- I LOVE it! Congratulations again, dear!! (And so glad you liked Alan Wong's!) Happy one year anniversary and here's to many more -- with us and with your DH! xx

  2. So much good news! I don't even know where to start! I can say that you looked gorgeous for your wedding and glowing during your honeymoon. Sending you lots of congratulatory hugs!!!

  3. Congratulations on the wedding and new job! I'm excited to join Let's Lunch and look forward to seeing all the goodies. The masa sounds like it would add a nice crunch to the shortbread.

  4. I'm new to LetsLunch and loving it! Congratulations on your wedding and the aloha style shortbread-- looks divine.

  5. I could've sworn I wrote a comment! Anyway, I'm so happy for your wedding and I"m glad you got some time to enjoy each other.

    Also the shortbread looks delicious and I can't wait to try the recipe.

    And happy #LetsLunch anniversary. Mine is next month. :) If it wasn't for you, I won't have gotten exposed to it!

  6. thanks for the pics - you look gorgeous & glowing! I read your article too - congrats!!!!

  7. Congratulations! You look stunning and blissful!

  8. Emmaaaa! Congrats! You are gorgeous, what a wonderful time. I LOVED Alan Wongs, oh so good. I'm intrigued by the rice flour in the short breads and will have to try these, they look so good. So happy for you! :D

  9. Wow! Congrats on two fronts. Sounds like things are going well for you. I too loved the pineapple passion fruit jam in Hawaii! I can't wait to try this and reminisce about our time there too.