I love to bake my way through the cold weather. There is nothing more comforting and endearing than the warm smell of spices and biscuits wafting through the house. Be it a special occasion or just a relaxing cup of afternoon tea; buttery, flaky shortbread makes the best accompaniment. Not just any shortbread but Masala Chai Shortbread, delicious biscuits that are kissed with the magic of spices and black tea blend.

The story of shortbread goes back to the medieval “biscuit bread” and is attributed to the Scottish cooks. Initially leftover dough from bread making was dried out in a low oven until it hardened into a type of rusk, called “biscuit” which meant “twice cooked”. Gradually the yeast in the bread was replaced by butter, and biscuit bread developed into shortbread. It was considered an expensive luxury for ordinary people and was baked only for special occasions such as weddings, thanks giving , Christmas and New Year.

I have added a local twist to these buttery delights by adding masala chai flavour to them to suit our love for salty, spicy snacks with the evening tea. If you are familiar with Masala Chai then you would instantly know what I’m talking about, if not…then you reeeeally need to try that comforting hot beverage from South Asia. It’s like a loving hug from a friend or a soft and warm wrap of a pashmina shawl.

This simple recipe for Masala Chai Shortbread is a fusion of flavours and technique that sums up the comfort of masala Chai in each bite and makes perfect gift for friends and family this holiday season that speaks volumes about how much you care.

Ingredients:

1+1/2 cup plain flour
2 cloves
1/2 inch piece cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 black pepper corns
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon black tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar
10 tablespoons butter, softened

This Is What You Do:

Grind all the spices with tea leaves in a dry mill.

Mix the spices, salt and ginger powder with flour in a big bowl.

Beat together sugar and butter till light and fluffy. Add to the flour and mix till the dough resembles wet sand.

Add two tablespoons chilled milk and just mix enough to bring the dough together. Do not over work the dough.

Flour a work top. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Roll on the work tops to make two logs ( almost one and a half inch thick rounds).

Wrap the dough logs into plastic sheets and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat oven at 175 degrees C. Remove the dough from fridge, unwrap and cut into 10-12 discs from each log.

Lightly grease an oven proof tray and place the shortbread discs on it with a gap of at least an inch between them.

Prick them with a fork so that they don’t puff up.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or till the edges are golden. Cool for five minutes before removing from the tray.

Makes 18-22

Serves 6

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