As promised in my last post, another rye recipe...I have actually made that marbled rye bread twice since posting it, it is so good!
I've been eating marbled rye bread sandwiches for lunch every day and I haven't had enough of it yet! I made something a little sweeter this time though - rye shortbread biscuits flavoured with masala chai. If you haven't heard of masala chai before, it literally translates as mixed spice tea, and it is exactly that - black tea brewed with a blend of spices.
The exact blend of spices used varies quite a lot so I went for a mixture of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and star anise, you can adapt the mixture depending on what spices you have/like; it is also common to use black pepper so add a pinch of that if you fancy as well.
I also added some ground black tea leaves to my shortbread, this is entirely optional but seeing as chai means tea I figured there should be some in there!
The shortbread itself is very quick and simple to make, I used the basic 3-2-1 ratio (three parts flour, two parts butter, one part sugar), replacing some of the flour with rye; the texture is crisp, buttery and melt in the mouth, and the spices are perfectly balanced - warm and flavourful but not in your face.
It only takes a few minutes to make the dough, and the biscuits only take ten minutes or so to bake, but I do recommend freezing them before baking, this helps to stop them spreading and keeps them crisp, they only take about 15 minutes to freeze, although you can leave them in there until you are ready to bake if you want to make the dough in advance.
I also have a giveaway for you today, one of the worst parts about doing so much baking is all the cleanup you have to do afterwards, and I certainly wouldn't win any awards in the tidiest baker category...
However, it is a necessary job so Dettol are giving away a bundle of cleaning products including surface cleanser, hand wash and antibacterial wipes to help keep your kitchen clean and hygenic; just fill in the easy competition form at the bottom of the post. I've also scoured the web to come up with some cleaning hacks for you.
1. Cover your work surface with clingfilm before rolling out pastry or biscuit dough, this saves you from getting flour everywhere as you don't need to use any - the pastry will peel right off the clingfilm, which also makes it easier to lift it; and as a bonus, because you don't need to use flour to stop it from sticking, you are less likely to end up with tough pastry.
- Dry out metal biscuit cutters in a warm oven that has just been switched off to stop them from going rusty (source).
- After making caramel or toffee you often end up with a pan shellacked with solidified sugar, the best way to clean it off is to fill the pan with hot water so that it covers all of the sugar residue then just leave it to soak - the sugar will dissolve in the hot water. If it is particularly stubborn you can simmer the pot of water on the stove until it dissolves.
- You can use bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and vinegar to unclog a blocked sink (source).
- When you are measuring out sticky substances like honey, golden syrup or treacle, either dip the measuring spoon in hot water or coat it in a bit of oil so that the sticky stuff slides right off the spoon and you don't end up with sticky fingers trying to get it all off the spoon.
If you have been inspired to give masala chai a try, you should also check out these awesome Masala Chai Macarons by Patisserie Makes Perfect and if you want to try making your own masala chai tea here is a recipe.
For more biscuity goodness (to enjoy with your tea), these Nutella and Hazelnut Palmiers are super simple to make but look amazing; you can't beat a selection of home-made Classic British Biscuits; or for a slightly more indulgent treat, Salted Caramel and Wild Hazelnut Chocolate Shortbread - yum!
Masala Chai Spiced Rye Shortbread
- 100 g (¾ cup + 1 slightly rounded tbsp) plain flour
- 80 g (⅔ cup) rye flour
- 120 g (½ cup) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 60 g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp ground star anise
- the contents of 1 English breakfast tea bag
- demarera sugar for sprinkling
- Combine the flours in a large bowl and add the butter, rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, spices and tea then bring the dough together, kneading very lightly until the dough is smooth, don't overwork it. You can also use a food processor if you prefer.
- Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper or silicone liners. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface or between a couple of sheets of clingfilm to roughly 5mm thick. Cut out your desired shapes, re-roll any trimmings and cut out more biscuits. If the dough becomes too soft, wrap it in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge to chill for a bit.
- Place your biscuits slightly spaced apart on the baking sheets, sprinkle with demarera sugar, then place the trays in the freezer for 15 minutes or so while you heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
- Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes until slightly golden, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.