I’m so excited to share my first Japan-inspired recipe with you all today. For those who didn’t read yesterday’s entry, I tasted a huge variety of delightful tea-flavored sweets in Japan. Inspired by my favorites, I developed today’s recipe!
The tea I’ll be using today is hojicha, a Japanese green tea that’d been roasted to a deep dark brown. Hojicha has less caffeine than matcha and is slightly less astringent, but it offers a roasted bitter flavor that compliments sweets incredibly well. It has a wonderful depth of flavor that makes it a real delight to drink plain or as a latte.
Shortbreads are a wonderful item to flavor with tea, and since hojicha benefits from being accompanied by sweet milky things, I created a shortbread sandwich filled with a creamy white chocolate ganache.
These cookies are super rich in flavor and very satisfying. I hope you love them!
HOJICHA SHORTBREAD SANDWICH COOKIES
100g powdered sugar
375g all-purpose flour
25g corn starch
1 tiny pinch salt
20ml soy milk
1.5 tbsp hojicha tea leaves
300g white chocolate, finely chopped (use good quality chocolate!)
75ml heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. clear rum or vodka (optional)
1. Grind the hojicha into a very fine powder using either a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Set aside. In the microwave, gently heat the soy milk (5 seconds at a time or so) until steaming and almost boiling. Combine it with the finely ground hojicha and stir together. It will form a paste.
2. Sift together the corn starch, salt and flour and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream together the powdered sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the hojicha paste and mix to combine. Finally, add in the flour a tablespoon or two at a time to avoid it flying everywhere. Once all the flour is incorporated and the dough has just begun to clean the sides of the bowl and come together, stop mixing.
3. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat it into a disc. Cover it with the plastic wrap and regfrigerate it for 2 hours.
4. While the cookies chill, make the ganache: Combine the white chocolate and heavy cream in a double boiler and warm until melted together. Whisk until smooth. Finally, add in the liquor and whisk to combine. Fit a piping bag with a large round tip, then twist the bag and push it into the tip as shown below. Fill the ganache into the bag, twist the end to seal it, and let the ganache cool to room temperature in the bag.
5. Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F and line a quarter-sheet pan with parchment or a silicone mat. Remove your dough from the fridge and begin shaping.
6. On a flour-dusted surface, roll your dough out to no more than 4mm (or just over 1/8″) thickness.
7. If you’re using cookie impressions, go ahead and use them now. I used a letter impression mold I got from Daiso. I simply popped in the letters I wanted and then pushed the mold very gently into my dough.
8. Using a 2″ round cookie cutter, cut out cookies and transfer them to your baking sheet. You can combine scraps and re-roll them to use all of the dough. Pop the cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm them up. Bake for 14-17 minutes, or until set and slightly browned around the bottom edges.
9. Flip half of your cookies upside down. Untwist the tip end of your piping bag and pipe a small dollop of ganache onto each cookie (no more than half a tablespoon or so). Sandwich the cookies together. Store cookies in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
NOTE: If you really want to go all-in on the hojicha flavor, add a tsp. of the finely ground hojicha to the ganache.
WHY THE LIQUOR? Even good quality white chocolate can have a tendency to be cloying. Adding a shot of strong, clear alcohol lightens the ganache without interrupting the flavor of the chocolate. You don’t have to use super pricey liquor, but don’t use something so low-level that it could impart a funky taste.
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