Indulge in the sublime flavors of our Puerh Tea-Infused Cookie Bars, a delightful confection from our teahouse in Telluride. With its irresistible combination of buttery shortbread and the delicate essence of Puerh tea in the caramel, this sweet treat has become an instant classic. So beloved were these bars that eager visitors would be waiting for the teahouse to open just to get some of these bars before we sold out each day. Now, you can recreate this cherished recipe in the comfort of your own kitchen, and experience the same unparalleled joy with each heavenly bite.
Puerh Tea-Infused Shortbread Bars
(If you don’t have carob pieces, you could use this carob glaze.)
Makes 18 squares
Preparation: 20 mins
Baking: 25 mins
Cooling and setting: 3 hours
⅔ cup/100g pecans
115g (about 7) plump pitted Medjool dates
¾ cup/105g superfine brown rice flour
¼ cup/30g tapioca starch
¼ tsp fine rock salt
6 Tbsp/85g cold vegan butter or coconut oil, cut into ½-inch pieces
⅓ cup/90g canned full-fat coconut milk
⅓ cup/90g melted virgin coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
⅛ tsp fine rock salt
240g (about 13) plump pitted Medjool dates
2 tbsp powdered shou puerh tea (use a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle)
150g finely chopped unsweetened carob or chocolate pieces (70%)
1 tsp coconut oil
½ cup + 2 Tbsp/60g toasted pecans, pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp raw sesame seeds
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp dried rose petals (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place the pecans in one pan, and the topping mix of pecans and pistachios in another pan, and toast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Meanwhile, grease the inside of an 8-inch square pan with coconut oil and line with baking paper, letting some hang over thes sides. Set aside.
- To make the date-nut crust, combine the pecans, dates, brown rice flour, nuts, tapioca starch, and salt in a food processor and pulse ten times until the dates and nuts are pulverized. Add the butter and pulse 5 times, until the dough becomes a dry crumble, and sticks together when pressed. If it feels dry, add a tsp of ice cold water.
- Firmly press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, making sure it is evenly spread. *Use an extra square piece of baking paper to place over the top, run a flat bottomed cup over to even out. Use the edges of the baking paper, to fold over and run your finger along to create level sides and corners.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes, until golden. Remove, and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the layers.
- To make the date caramel, in a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, powdered shou puerh and dates. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
- Let the dates steep in the coconut milk for 10 minutes, then purée in a food processor. Be patient- it will take 3 – 5 minutes to puree to a fine and creamy texture. Scrape the date caramel onto the cooled crust and spread evenly. See above*.
- To make the carob glaze, in a medium heatproof bowl, add the carob/chocolate pieces and coconut oil. Fill a small saucepan with one-quarter full with water and bring to a simmer. Place the bowl on top and stir until melted. Pour over the date caramel and spread evenly.
- To make the nut topping, oven medium heat, place the toasted nuts and sesame seeds in a small pan, add the maple syrup and stir until all are coated and maple syrup is absorbed, 1 – 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
- Sprinkle the nuts and seeds, rose petals over the top of the carob. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator for 2 hours, or until the carob and caramel hardens. This is important, otherwise it will be difficult to cut.
- Lift the shortbread from the pan using the baking paper, and cut it lengthwise into 4 equal pieces, then cut each piece into quarters. Once cut, store them in the refrigerator.