Matcha Shortbread and Matcha Apricot Cobbler

Green tea is probably almost as good as chocolate. Have you ever had a mug of matcha? It’s thick as melted ice cream without being the least bit gritty. It shocks you with bitterness, and sooths you with velvet soft texture. A good dark chocolate will do just the same. But I will admit, like very dark chocolate, it isn’t for everyone. It needs to be tempered, sweetened, given a symphony of flavors in which to play, for the uninitiated to fully appreciate it.

If you don’t drink thick koicha tea, if even the weaker usucha is too much for you, use less matcha than I did. Because I am a matcha fiend, just as much as I am a chocolate fiend. And just as the less insane among the chocoholics would probably never eat a flourless chocolate cake made with 99% cocoa bars and only a scattering of sugar to temper it, so too the less insane among tea-lovers would not love this shortbread. It is intense, as much so as a mug of koicha. I will not think less of you if you want to hear the symphony.

The shortbread recipe, minus the tea, is taken pretty much exactly from Baking by James Peterson. I love this book. Cobbler ever so loosely based on Smitten Kitchen’s breakfast apricot crisp. only hers is better for you, and honestly tastes better as a breakfast. But it doesn’t have tea in it, So I win. It was a contest, right?

Ingredients (makes an 8″ diameter 1″ tall round of shortbread cookies plus two single-serve cobblers)

For the shortbread:

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 t salt

1 cup (1/2 pound or 16 T or 2 sticks) butter, cut into 16 slices

3/4 cup sugar

1 T matcha powder (this will give a subtle matcha flavor. I used 3 T for a great wave of matcha flavor.)

For the cobbler:

1 pound fresh apricots (about 8)

1/4 cup sugar

1-2 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups matcha shortbread dough

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the flour, salt, sugar, and matcha powder in the bowl of a food processor

Pulse briefly to mix.

Add the butter and pulse until a dough ball forms out of the sandy mass. Turn the dough out onto the counter.

Pinch off about 1 1/2 cups of the shortbread dough for use in the cobblers. I didn’t measure, because a cobbler can afford to be a little fast and loose. Press the remaining dough into a pie tin, or just roll it into a 1″ tall circle on a sheet of parchment paper

Score the cookies however you choose, to make them easy to break into proper shapes

I made big wedges with pretty stars. Aww.

Bake for 15 minutes or so, then cut along the score lines while still hot to keep the cookies from brumbling when you cut them.

What a pretty slice. But while that’s baking, don’t you have cobblers to make?

Slight boggy cobblers. They taste better than they look, I promise.

Press a layer of shortbread dough into the bottoms of two 1-cup ramekins or 4 muffin tins.

Tear the apricots in quarters, discarding the seeds.

Toss the apricots with sugar and chocolate. They will become sticky messes instantly upon touching the sugar. Don’t worry. It’s supposed to do that.

Plop the filling into the ramekins, interspersed with about 2 teaspoon pinches of shortbread dough.

Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes. The filling should be viscous and bubbly and the top edges of the shortbread bits will be just a tad browned.

The apricots, even with all that sugar, are sour and mean. the tea pushes them back, and the buttery shortbread brings a creamy sweetness to the whole thing. Plus, there’s fruit in it, so it’s a healthy breakfast, right?

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