Crystalized Ginger Shortbread Cookies

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Ginger Shortbread Cookies

This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe with some very minor modifications. There were only 6 reviews and two were negative on the Food Network site but 6 reviews isn’t enough to pay attention to. We love ginger and I had ordered some diced crystalized ginger from Nuts.com and I love their stuff, the flavors are always great and everything is fresh. It’s really important to get good ginger so that you get that fresh, spicy aroma and taste. (No, I’m not selling or profiting from mentioning their stuff, I just use it and like it, so I might as well let you know!)

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Lighter bake means a chewier inside… yum!

We loved these cookies. These shortbread are crumblier when the edges are darker, and chewier when baked lighter. Plus a little chew from the ginger. They had excellent flavor, even right out of the oven (Chris can never wait, he says he’s doing it for scientific purposes). They were very good after they had time to cool (the ginger bite is more subtle but comes up at the end) but they are even better the next day when the ginger permeates the cookie with more flavor and chewiness, so make these cookies 1 day ahead and you’ll be glad you did.

Makes about 36 cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup diced crystalized ginger (dry, not the stuff in syrup)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Im medium bowl whisk flour and salt
  • In bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment beat the butter and 1 cup of sugar but don’t whip it, you just want them combined. Whipping the butter will ruin the cookie texture and the cookies will spread.
  • Add vanilla and 2 tsp water and mix just until combined
  • With mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture to the butter mixture until the dough starts to come together
  • Add the ginger until just incorporated
  • Dump it onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat disk
  • Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes (if you chill it longer you will need to let it sit out a bit so that you can roll it out but keep it cool and it will keep it’s shape)
  • Roll the dough to 3/8 thick (mine were closer to 1/4″ but probably somewhere in the middle) and cut out the cookies with a round cookie cutter (mine was a 2 1/2 inch round)
  • Place cookies on parchment on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar
  • If you are baking two trays of cookies at once then bake the for about 20 minutes, until the edges just start to get golden – a single tray will brown faster so shorten the time. We like them on the lighter side so that they are chewier.
  • Cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container. Best served the next day for great flavor.

 

 

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Thai Iced Tea with Boba [Thai Bubble Tea]

Chris and I love the Thai Iced Bubble Tea that we get at Hanco’s in Park Slope but the 45-minute trip isn’t always possible. Since we are snowed in tonight I decided to make some.

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Preparing the Boba (bubbles) takes a little over an hour but it’s worth it since you can prepare it ahead and keep it in a mason jar or storage container in the fridge for a few days.   Note 1/21/17: I’ve made it twice since then and it looks like you can’t make it ahead of time and store overnight, the boba lose their gummy chewy consistency and regain the grainy tapioca feel.

This is absolutely delicious and sweet and creamy. It’s really strong so be prepared to miss out on some sleep if you have it late at night! You can cut the ratio of tea to water and also shorten the steeping time if you prefer.

I get my Thai tea mix (actual tea leaves, not a powder mix) on Amazon, it’s Pantai Norasingh – Thai Tea Mix (Net Wt. 16 Oz.). It’s our favorite but I wish they made one without so much food coloring! We tried some organic brand but it just didn’t taste like Thai tea at all, more like chai spices. Thai iced tea has rich flavor, and almost a hint of chocolate flavor to it. It’s so good.

I get the boba (black tapioca pearls) from Nuts.com and the only unusual tools that you’ll need are a tea sock strainer and bubble tea straws.

Serves 6 (large glasses) or 8 (small glasses).  

Boba (Bubble) Preparation (can do this ahead)

  • Boil 8 cups of water (in a pot on the stove) for 1 cup of black tapioca pearls; if you like a lot of bubbles in your bubble tea then double this. I prefer it doubled; 12 cups of water for 2 cups of black tapioca pearls
  • When the water is boiling stir in the pearls (gently, the pearls are fragile before you cook them!)
  • Allow to boil for 25 minutes, uncovered, stir occasionally
    • While the pearls are boiling away you can make the simple syrup (to sweeten the boba and for storage)
      • Simple Syrup:
        • 1 cup granulated sugar
        • 1 cup light brown sugar
        • 2 cups water
        • Put water and sugars in saucepan and bring to boil
        • Turn off heat and let sit [we will come back to this after the boba are ready]
  • Back to the boiling boba pearls. When 25 minutes are up, turn off the heat on the boiling boba and cover the pot and let it sit for 30 more minutes
  • When that’s done gently pour boba into a strainer to drain the water
  • Pour the pearls into the simple syrup and let them soak for 15 minutes
  • Now the boba are ready for use or, if you’re making the pearls ahead of time, you can pour the syrup and boba into mason jars to store in the fridge for a few days.

Thai Tea Preparation (strong)

You’ll need:

  • 3/4 to 1 cup Pantai Norasingh – Thai Tea Mix (Net Wt. 16 Oz.) – depends on the strength. Note 1/21/17: They called for 1.5 cups and it was like a drug, we couldn’t sleep at all and felt crazy jittery! I think I prefer 3/4 cup but I have also tried 1 cup and that is good too. 
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1 tea sock strainer
  • 2 pitchers (2 quart size)
  • 1  14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • Boil 6 cups (48 oz.) water in a kettle
  • Put 1.5 cups of Thai Tea Mix in a large pitcher (it will just fit in a 2 quart pitcher) and pour in boiling water. PLEASE be careful! Don’t use a glass pitcher unless you have one that is made to withstand extreme temperatures. If you don’t want your tea to be strong you can cut it down to 1 cup of tea mix for the 6 cups of water.
  • Allow it to steep for 5 minutes
  • Get a second pitcher (for serving) and a tea sock strainer (it catches even the tiniest pieces of tea leaves) and, while holding the strainer up in the new pitcher, pour the tea into the strainer.
  • Discard tea leaves
  • Pour in the full can of sweetened condensed milk and stir
  • Allow to sit and cool for a bit

Assembling the Bubble Tea

  • Put ice cubes in 16 oz glass (about 1/3 way up)
  • Strain prepared boba and scoop about 1/4 to 1/3 cup into each glass (the bubbles are my favorite part!)
  • Pour tea over ice and boba
  • Put a Boba Straw in the glass (they are thick enough to allow the boba up)

Enjoy!