Sunday, September 13, 2009

Green Tea Shortbread

It was my sister's bridal shower the other day, and as favours for all the guests, we decided to bake cookies. G baked some lovely chewy ginger cookies, and I yoinked a Martha Stewart Matcha Shortbread recipe. You'll notice these cookies are in a strange shape and it wouldn't surprise me if you've never seen such a shape. G said they looked like dog treats! Actually, they are supposed to be shaped like a section of a Japanese pine tree. I will have you know, G, the Japanese pine lives a really long time (don't ask me for a specific age, but I do know some of these trees have been around for centuries) and when you try to pluck a needle off of a pine tree, you'll always end up with 2 needles stuck together. So there.

I changed up Martha's recipe a bit by using 1 tbsp Japanese matcha powder, and 1 tbsp Japanese green tea leaves. These cookies are buttery and delicious. I used salted butter as well so omitted the extra salt that her recipe calls for. The saltiness of the butter and the slight bitterness of the green tea goes together very well. In a weird way, the bitterness almost brings out the sweetness of the cookie, too. Maybe that's the key to marriage. You've got to get through the bitterness to taste the sweetness, and then you become an old salt.

Martha Stewart's matcha Shoretbread Cookies:

Makes 3 dozen

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese green-tea powder (I used 1 tbsp Japanese Matcha powder and 1 tbsp Japanese green tea leaves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt (I omitted this)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (I used salted butter)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, or granulated sugar
  1. Sift flour, tea powder, and salt into a small bowl; set aside. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar; continue to beat until very light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add flour mixture; combine on low, scraping sides of bowl with a spatula if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers.
  2. Place a piece of parchment on a clean surface; dust with flour. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness; chill in refrigerator or freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Cut chilled dough with 2-inch leaf cutters. Using a wide spatula, transfer to baking sheets. Chill until firm. Gather scraps together, re-roll, chill, and cut shapes. Bake until firm and barely starting to color, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool completely on wire rack; store in an airtight container for up to 3 to 4 weeks.

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