I no longer remember why my friend Michelle and I settled on late November for our trip to New York. It seems a bit nuts looking back. Sure, the week of Thanksgiving is a great time to go to New York if you want cheap flights and low hotel rates. But you will soon discover why there are less than average number of tourists per square meter: it is bloody cold!
Walking around all day in sub-zero temperatures while worrying about the forecast snow meant frequent coffee breaks were needed just so we could escape the cold for a bit, warming up with our hands wrapped around multiple mugs of coffee and our winter coats draped over our knees like woollen blankets. It also meant that a bowl of ramen for dinner one night at Ivan Ramen in Clinton Street totally hit the spot.
The only reason I decided to wash down my steaming bowl of ramen with iced (!) tea was that Ivan Ramen’s drinks menu offered a new to me tea: Iced Roasted Barley Tea. I knew that roasted teas are very common in Japan. There is Genmaicha (a green tea flavoured with roasted rice). Then there is roasted Buckwheat Tea. And, Hojicha – roasted green tea. Apparently, there is also a Roasted Barley Tea (also known as Mugicha). Made from roasted barley grains (sometimes with the addition of roasted corn to offset the barley’s slight bitter flavour), Roasted Barley Tea is popular year round not just in Japan, but also in China and Korea.If you want to make your own Mugicha: here is a recipe.
If you like Genmaicha and Hojicha over ice, then I reckon you will like Roasted Barley Tea as well. It has quite a concentrated flavour, malty and chocolatey, and absolutely delicious, even without any milk and sugar. The more I drank my tea, the more I became intrigued by its flavour. So much so that when I spotted some barley flour in the supermarket on my trip to Copenhagen in December, 1kg of it immediately went into my carry-on with future plans for these Barley Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Barley Chocolate Chip Cookies
Note: Chocolate chip cookies really do improve with the age of the dough. So if you can be patient, try and let the dough rest at least overnight. If you have more willpower than I do (which, to be fair, isn’t all that much to begin with), you could even try and let the dough rest for 24 or 36 (and up to 72) hours.
Makes 24 cookies
125g butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
125g rapadura (or light brown sugar)
225g barley flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
200g 70% dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
Optional: a pinch of sea salt flakes to sprinkle on the cookies before baking
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with the caster sugar and the rapadura sugar until light and fluffy (this should take ca. 5 minutes). Add the egg and beat to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the barley flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into the wet ingredients. Lastly, fold the chopped dark chocolate into the cookie dough.
Wrap dough in cling film and place in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 72 hours.
When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 24 equal-sized chunks and roll each chunk into a ball (I like to weigh my cookie dough to ensure I get similar sized cookies and can ensure they bake evenly – here each cookie weighed approx. 35g).
Place 6 cookies on the sheet pan. If using, scatter some extra sea salt flakes on each cookie. Bake for ca. 6-8 minutes until the cookies are puffed up in the middle and have just started to colour. Leave to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes before carefully removing them with a spatula and placing them on a cookie rack to come to room temperature. Repeat with the remaining batches of cookies.