Green Tea & Almond Cookies125g / 4½ oz butter, softened 55g / ¼ cup caster sugar ¼ tsp vanilla extract ¼ tsp almond extract 1 egg 150g / 1 cup plain flour 2 tblsp self-raising flour 35g / ¼ cup cornflour 1 tblsp green tea leaves (approx 2 teabags) 60g / ½ cup ground almonds Royal Icing ¼ cup egg whites (need 2 eggs, approx) 225g / ½ lb icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar Squeeze of lemon juice
1. Beat butter, sugar, extracts and egg together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Sift in the flours; add the green tea and ground almonds. Stir to mix completely.
2. On a floured surface, roll the dough between your hands just to bring it together. Roll it between two sheets of non-stick baking paper to ½cm / ¼” thick. Refridgerate for 30mins.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F. Use your preferred cookie cutter to make shapes – I used a 3″ scalloped cutter, giving me 14 cookies. Grease two large oven trays and line them with non-stick baking paper. Arrange the cookie shapes on the trays and bake, one tray at a time, for approx. 15mins, or until the edges are barely golden. Cool on a wire rack.
4. To make the royal icing: sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, squeeze over the lemon juice and add the egg whites. Mix with a spoon to form a thick icing. When not in use, cover the bowl with a damp cloth or put a layer of clingfilm directly on the surface on the icing to prevent it drying and cracking.
5. To ice the cookies as I have done, you will need to use a large bowl or something with a wide mouth for dipping the cookies. Take one cookie and plop it face-down on the surface of the icing. Lift, gently twirl the cookie to shake off the excessicing and either use your finger or the edge of the bowl to gently scrape off (without touching the surface of the cookie) the excess icing. Lay them on a flat surface to dry. This could take at least two hours so be patient.
6. The coloured icing used for the lettering is coloured with blueberry syrup. Take a handful of berries and blitz them in a food processer. Put them in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with 1 tblsp sugar and 1 tblsp water. Bring to a gentle boil – feel free to mash the blueberry bits further with a potato masher. Stir continuously for about 5 mins, until you have a thick syrup. Use a muslin cloth, or another very fine-mesh cloth/sieve to separate the liquid syrup from the berry bits. Place the cloth over a bowl and spoon the berry mixture on top. Gather the cloth at the top, form a ball at the bottom and carefully squeeze the liquid into the bowl – mind your clothes, this stuff will stain! Put some of the white royal icing in a small ramekin and add a few drops of the berry colouring to get your desired colour. If you know how to make a cornet or if you have an icing bag with a very narrow nozzle, you can use it to pipe the icing directly onto your cookies. Otherwise, see if you can find a teeny paintbrush or an old liquid eyeliner brush