Thursday, August 12, 2010

Friends, Hawaiian Tea Biscuits, and Brewing the Perfect Cup of Tea

This time of year, as the daylight is becoming shorter, I think about all the things I will do once Fall and Winter settles in.  I know I might be jumping the gun since we really haven't had much of a summer here in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm a planner!  And, an email from a dear friend this morning, who was listening to her Nana's tea kettle whistle, made me think of planning today's baking with her in mind; wishing we were close enough to share a cup of perfect tea, reminisce and plan our crafting around the weather.

The other inspiration was from a telephone call from my husband, who is in Hawaii, telling me how much he's enjoying macadamia nut pancakes, cookies, and candy.  We talked of the time we enjoyed these treats in the summer of 1987, when we took our first trip to Hawaii with our daughters.  My mother had told me stories of her time there as a child, in the late 20s, when my grandfather was stationed at Pearl Harbor and I couldn't wait to see paradise for myself.  I have a cherished photo of my mother in the first grade in the Territorial Normal School in Honolulu, Hawaii and as I gaze at the photo this morning, I notice how much Kelly reminds me of her, with her brown eyes and sweet smile.

These tea biscuits, made with ground macadamia nuts and filled with a coconut cream, and the perfect cup of herbal tea this evening was just the thing to finish a day full of projects and getting ready for "So You Think You Can Dance" finale!

Hawaiian Tea Biscuits

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. Hawaiian Vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups ground macadamia nuts
2 cups all-purpose flour

Coconut Cream Filling:
6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 T coconut milk powder
1/2 tsp. coconut flavoring
1-2 T heavy cream

In a KitchenAid, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy.  Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl with a spatula.  Add the egg and the Hawaiian Vanilla extract.
Beat to combine.  I used a nut mill to grind the macadamia nuts; alternatively, you can do this step in a food processor, being careful not to go to far and make "butter".
Add the ground macadamia nuts and flour to the batter and stir to combine.  Tear off two sheets of plastic wrap and divide the dough in half.  Use the plastic wrap to "shape" the log: 9"x 2 1/2" x 1" thick. Wrap tightly and refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven 325F-degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Remove one of the rolls and slice in 1/4-inch slices.
Space about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.  Bake a total of 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 6 minutes for even baking.  You're looking for the edges to be a golden brown.  Let rest a few minutes, then, remove to a baking rack to cool.

While the cookies are cooling, mix up the filling. You can use a hand mixer or the KitchenAid with the whisk attachment (you want fluffy filling).  Start with the butter and confectioners' sugar and beat well.  Add the coconut milk powder, coconut flavoring, and heavy cream (1 tablespoon at a time).  Add an additional tablespoon of cream if needed.

Use an off-set spatula or you could pipe the filling to the underside of the cooled cookie.  Top with a second cookie.
Repeat with the remaining cookies, matching the sizes.  You could roll this dough out and use a cookie cutter if you want to have exactly the same sizes.  My Irish genes like the natural look, although my English genes says try the cookie cutter next time.  Once you have the cookies iced, make a pot of perfect tea and call a friend to share it.

There is a video, at the beginning of this post, to watch to brew the perfect tea.  I made an herbal blend so I brought the tea kettle water to 170 to 180F-degrees as specified for this blend.
 Add 1 tablespoon of loose tea to the basket and pour the water over.  Let steep 3-4 minutes.

Even though our temperature was in the 80s, a nice cup of tea tasted good and was very relaxing.  My daughters would have added milk to their tea, but I like my plain.  Enjoy!


  1. You do know I have tears in my eyes now : )
    Of course I loved this post, I look forward to the day we share that cup of tea and cookies too and get right down to crafting!
    Your photos are beautiful Susan! Now I will go put the kettle on feeling inspired from you as always xoxo

  2. Nicole~Oh, how I wish I was sharing these cookies and tea with you and planning all the things we would create with the kids. Soon, dear friend.