Here is my first contribution to Kalyn’s Kitchen Weekend Herb Blogging.
I love chamomile. The plant itself is easy to grow in pots, and has cute little daisy-like flowers that are harvested for tea. It is known for it’s calming properties, and I do find that a cup makes me feel a bit less harried. Chamomile tea straight can be bitter unless it is sweetened or mixed with other teas. I usually drink it unsweetened in a mixture by Tazo called Calm.
I thought that the sweetness of a cookie might be just the right balance for straight chamomile’s bitterness. I modified a classic lemon square recipe, figuring if it worked for the bitter lemon, it would work for chamomile. And it did.
This cookie is actually quite sweet – maybe a bit too sweet for my tastes, though my hubby and kids liked it just fine, thank you. (I’m the one looking for the pucker on my lemon cookies, so you know where my tastes stand.)
Next time, I might use a little less sugar in the filling and I might also use this crust, which is less sweet. I noticed that some lemon square recipes call for baking powder in the filling, and wonder if that would give me a firmer middle without having to bake it so long.
So consider this a work in progress, though not bad for a start.
Chamomile Tea Squares
Vary the strength of the tea depending on how much you like chamomile. Next time I am going much stronger – not everyone could taste that the chamomile. You can really make these with any tea. I want to try Earl Grey next.
Add one chamomile tea bag to ½ cup boiling water in a pyrex glass measuring cup. (For stronger, use 2 bags and 2 cups of water, steep and then boil it down to 1/4 cup) Let steep. Remove tea bag, pressing against side of cup as you remove it. Discard tea bag. Let tea cool. (You will only be using ¼ cup of this tea, so dilute what’s left over with some hot water and have a cup..).ADDENDUM: neighbors and eldest daughter’s friend could not taste the chamomile, though they loved the cookies. So I recommend making the tea even stronger – Maybe make two cups using 3 bags and then boil it down to 1/4 cup)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup chamomile tea
Sifted Confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
Combine flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is pebbly. Press evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Whisk together sugar, flour and salt. Add eggs and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the tea. Pour over crust. Bake until filling is just set, about 2o minutes. Cool completely. Dust with confectioners sugar and cut into squares.