What is Thai Tea?
Thai tea (and technically this is Thai iced tea as there are other types of Thai teas) is a black Ceylon tea with spices like star anise, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla. If you enjoy Chai – like I do, you may notice there is a bit of overlap with the flavors of these. While I don’t think they taste all that similar, I do think that if you enjoy Chai you will also enjoy Thai iced tea. One big difference is the color though, which food coloring is added to the tea, so when the cream or milk is added it turns into a lovely orange color it is famous for and what makes these Thai tea shortbread cookies that amazing color!
If you’d like to try a Chai inspired bake I recommend my Chai Spice Zucchini muffins
I usually buy this brand of loose leaf Thai tea. From what I’ve read, this is the type used in a lot of Thai restaurants. Which, it does taste pretty much the same, depending on the restaurant. It comes in a large bag that will last quite a long time. I usually will make a large batch of this when I make it and just store it in mason jars in my fridge. For the Thai tea shortbread cookies, you only need a tiny bit of tea though.
Now, I could enjoy one of these Thai iced teas daily. However, if there is a flavor I love I will always see if there are other ways I could enjoy it. A cookie was my first thought for a vehicle because they are sweet and it’s a tea best enjoyed sweetened. I decided on shortbread as the main flavor in a shortbread is kind of a buttery vanilla, which wouldn’t take away from the flavor of the tea. Something like a chocolate chip cookie base would probably have too many competing flavors and muddle them all.
The result was perfect. You could both bite into one and know it was definitely shortbread, and also definitely thai tea. Perfection if you ask me.
Additionally, these cookies are so gorgeous in color. If you have friends who enjoy tea, these will be a must bake!
- Thai Tea – Traditional Thai tea is what I used to make these. You probably could attempt making them with black tea and spices but I don’t think they would have the exact taste you are expecting if you are familiar with the drink.
- Butter – As always with shortbread, butter, and good butter at that, is key!
- Powdered sugar – So my previous recipe for this cookie used granulated sugar, and while it was good, this powdered sugar version I feel like has a much better texture that leads to that more melt in your mouth texture.
- ½ cup Unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup Powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp Ground Thai Tea
- 1 tbsp water
- 120 g AP Flour
- pinch table salt
- Take loose leaf Thai tea and grind with pestle and mortar down to a fine powder. Use a fine mesh strainer to remove any larger pieces. Do not skip this, you do not want these big bits that are hard, as they will get stuck in your teeth or add an unpleasant texture to the cookies.
- In a small bowl add your sifted tea and water and mix together.
- In a small bowl, measure out flour and salt and mix together. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add softened butter and powdered sugar and cream together until combined using a hand mixer.
- Add in your tea with water and vanilla to your butter and sugar mix, and mix in until combined.
- Add in flour and mix until dough just comes together. Remove dough and place on parchment paper. Shape into a log form, either cylindrical or squared off (or any shape really). Using the sides of the parchment can be helpful in getting shape. Once dough is formed, wrap in plastic wrap (I wrap the plastic wrap around the parchment as well). Chill dough for at least one hour, but up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Remove dough from refrigerator and slice into quarter inch slices. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes for slightly softer (but still firm) shortbread or 15 min for more crisp shortbread.