Afternoon Tea for Two…

… Asian American style, that is! Li Shan tea from Taiwan (the “King of Teas,” some say) served with strawberry jam filled almond shortbread cookies, Chinese honey almond squares, and these dessert dumplings I made up when I was trying to figure out what to do with leftover dough.

Manufacturing for the alpha collection is out of my hands for now, which means this weekend I was very idle, so I surprised Hubby with sweets. I sketched for several hours, got nowhere with that, and decided I wanted to have afternoon tea.

Two yolks, a stick of butter, a small teacup of sugar, honey, and a pinch of salt with flour slowly mixed into the batter until a relatively firm dough is formed; roll balls of the dough in finely chopped almonds, and fill with your favorite farmer’s market fruit preserves. Hubby prefers strawberry, so that’s what I used. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes and you’ve got the most delicious jam-filled shortbread cookies ever.

The almonds are home-grown on my aunt’s farm. She also keeps bees, and the honey I use is from her bees.

There was excess dough, so I threw in the rest of the almonds, rolled it out, cut a square, and then cut that square into even smaller squares, brushed with a wash of egg whites and honey, sprinkled on sugar, and baked at 400 degrees F until golden brown and crispy. The egg white wash and sugar gives the squares a glossy almost candy-like coating. Yum.

After I cut out the square to cut into little squares, I still had that tiny ball of leftover dough, so I rolled it out into two dumpling wrappers, filled with a spoonful of sugar (which will melt into a gooey center after baking), and pinched the dessert dumplings shut with the rest of the egg white wash.

Hubby and I spent a lazy afternoon filling up on calories, the best green tea ever, and conversation. We are both individuals with strong sociopolitical opinions, often divergent opinions, and so we have a lot to talk about. Lately it’s been Arizona Senate Bill 1079 and the BP oil spill. I know…not exactly the lightest discussion to accompany afternoon tea, but that’s how we roll.

I haven’t entirely thought through why I’m posting photos of cookies, probably because I’ve been reading too many food blogs and I feel inspired.

Just so this post is somewhat related to Taryn Zhang, I conclude with a photo of swatch test pieces currently sitting on my desk:

And here is where I do all my design work:

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