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I saw a recipe for green tea shortbread cookies with white ganache filling and fell in love with it. But here, it is quite hard to get any matcha, the few Amazon marketplace sellers have very high prices.

Now I want to use this as an inspiration to create a new recipe. I want to have a shortbread cookie which has a light, summery flavor added to the dough. As I can't get matcha, I don't think I can do something else from the grassy corner, but a fruity taste would be good enough.

The problem is that this recipe works because the matcha is a dry powder. I know of other recipes which include a dry powder, such as mandelkipferl, but I can't think of a fruity powder to use. And I am afraid that adding fruit-based ingredients will make the dough too liquid. My current best idea is to proceed like making raspberry leather, but after I have reduced the strained raspberry juice, to add it to the dough instead of letting it dry. I am not sure if it will work.

My questions:

  • Do you think the raspberry idea will work, and why (or why not)?
  • If you think that raspberries will work, what is the best form of incorporating them? How to get the product as dry as possible without it hardening?
  • How much raspberry juice/syrup can I add before it changes the dough too much?
  • How should I change my dough working methods after the addition of raspberry juice/syrup?
  • Can you think of any other method which will give me a fruity or grassy tasting cookie dough?

My constraints:

  • The taste should be incorporated in the dough itself. Not in the filling, and not be present as chunks in the dough (the way scones have raisins, etc.).
  • The taste should be of summer fruit or herb(s). Not maple, almond, nutmeg, chocolate, etc. - I know these are easy to incorporate, but it is not what I want to do right now.
  • The taste should come from the plant itself. I know I can get powder intended for flavoring water or milk, consisting of dextrose and synthetic aromas, but I don't want that.
  • The taste should pair well with the white chocolate ganache.
  • I don't insist on keeping the texture absolutely the same as a shortbread cookie. After all, I will be adding wet ingredients where there were none. But I still want it to be close enough to be recognized as a shortbread derivative, I don't want to create a baked pancake or a chewy cookie, or something else.
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    Have you considered using freeze dried fruit? That should be dry enough to powder and not give you any of the issues fruit leather might. – yossarian Mar 26 '12 at 19:55
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    lavender shortbread is a fairly classic cookie, and summery too. – Kate Gregory Mar 26 '12 at 21:19
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    Why not use another finely ground Japanese green tea from loose leaf? Granted, it is definitely a hack relative to actual matcha powder, but it is reasonably effective. – mfg Mar 27 '12 at 19:51
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    @rumtscho Any good bakery product supplier should stock freeze dried fruit powders. They can be expensive, and some don't taste that great. You don't re-hydrate them, you just use them in your dry mix, or as a topping. Typical source in NZ fresh-as.com, or kiwicakes.co.nz/kiwi/index.php?cPath=290_450, there should be some suppliers in Germany too? – TFD May 31 '12 at 5:01
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    I noticed that there isn't any mention of the blog post inspired by this question so I thought I can post a comment here to maybe indirectly direct traffic to the blog in case people haven't seen the blog post yet. The article can be found here: cooking.blogoverflow.com/2012/05/cookies-meet-flavor/#more-213 – Jay May 31 '12 at 5:07
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Three things:

-You can flavor the sugar by mixing aromatic herbs into it and leaving it sit for a week or two. Rosemary pairs well with sweet desserts, as would lavender or basil. Sift out the herbs once you're ready to use the sugar.

-You can try replacing the butter in this recipe (or half of it) with some very good olive oil, as in this recipe from the NYT:

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/07/recipe-of-the-day-olive-oil-cookies-with-red-wine-and-rosemary/

That recipe isn't for shortbread cookies, but the technique may still be valid. No guarantees that it will give you the texture you want, but great olive oil has all of the grassy and fruity characteristics that you're after.

-I'm not terribly familiar with matcha, but couldn't you just take some regular green tea leaves and powderize them in a spice grinder?

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My local high-street tea shop sells lots of instant fruit-tea powder (I'm thinking of Whittard's, in England). If you can find an equivalent where you live you'll have a whole range to pick and choose from.

Alternatively, as I suspect they are full of nasty additive, look out for other instant fruit tea powders, perhaps from organic or local (i.e. home made) sources. Or the internet.

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    If I can find actual dried and milled fruit sold as tea, this is an interesting option. If you mean "instant tea", it runs afoul of the "I know I can get powder intended for flavoring water or milk, consisting of dextrose and synthetic aromas, but I don't want that" condition. – rumtscho Jul 30 '12 at 20:00
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My favorite summertime beverage is a cucumber-lime aqua fresca...cucumber, lime and mint, separately in in combination are great summer flavors. True-Lime lime crystals are available at my local grocer and Amazon.com--or just squeeze some limes and zest. Spearmint extract or leaves are usually everywhere also. Make a lime cookie with the Lime, and then save the cucumber for the glaze, by juicing a cucumber and adding the juice to powdered sugar.

You could candy some mint leaves and put one on the top of the glazed cookie.

  • also chamomile is a great summer flavor. Sort of green apple and pineapple combined. – user23768 Mar 13 '14 at 19:08
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This might be considered cheating but I borrowed the flavors of fruit pastilles such as Ricola and Cavendish & Harvey by replacing a small amount of a recipe's sugar with the crushed/ground candy.

This worked beautifully in a truffle filling but haven't tried baking into shortbread. Little crunchy sugar crystals are lovely; grinding finely and sifting would give perfectly uniform flavor.

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Herbs may well get you the grassy, green flavors you're looking for.

You might look at available green herbs (I thought of (summer) savory, sage, thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley) to see if any catch your fancy - just sniff and think whether it will match what you're looking for, with a bit of sweetness. It should be possible to powder dry herbs for a fairly good result (though sifting may help keep the powder smooth, instead of including not-quite-ground bits.) Fresh herbs might be a little trickier, but many have little moisture and would be fine minced and added to the dough.

For more fruity flavors, you might look into rosehip or hibiscus (sold as teas), or add lemon or orange zest.

Many teas, herbal or fruit or even green or white tea can be ground up to powder if you like their scent or flavor - though it would be a good idea to look at ingredients of fruit teas to make sure the flavoring is natural. Again it will depend on what's available, you might (depending on where you are) find chamomile, or pandan, or lemongrass, or lavender, or orange blossom, suits your taste - it all depends on what's to hand, or what you think will be good.

Random addition - you might look at date sugar, I've often thought the scents in drying grass or hay can have a heavy sweetness reminiscent of dates. Or honey, which can have floral or fruity aromas (varietal honeys usually have stronger, more distinct flavors than mixed or wildflower honeys - and orange blossom at least seems fairly common even when others can be harder to find). These might be easier to use if you start with a recipe that is adjusted for them, instead of planning on a white-sugar-shortbread recipe with their substitution, since sweeteners can change the structure a lot.

Random example, here's a herbed honey shortbread recipe that I found that sounds kinda similar to what you're looking for.

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