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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Matcha Shortbread Cookies

I was a weird little kid. I loved all sorts of sour or bitter things, like kumquats and coffee. I definitely still loved sweet things, but even then my favorite candies would be the sour ones like warheads or sour patch kids. The waitresses used to think I was very strange to order coffee (decaf of course) and drink it just like my dad with cream and sugar.

This is all funny, because I didn't immediately love green tea, which has definitely eclipsed coffee in my book. It wasn't until I was probably around ten years old that I really appreciated green tea.

I love the popped rice in genmaicha!
I love pretty much all green tea, from toasty-roasty hojicha to mellow and sweet genmaicha. I love a hot cup of tea with a rowdy group of friends at Honda-ya, and I also love it curled up with a good book on a night in.

Of course, I also love to cook with it.

Most recipes you see that say "green tea this-or-that" are made with matcha. Matcha is made by taking the finest tea leaves that are grown in the shade and then drying and grinding them into a powder. It is much sweeter than normal green tea, and is a beautiful vibrant shade of green. Traditionally it is used primarily for tea ceremony, but nowadays I happen to think more people make sweets and baked good with it than actually drinking it with hot water.

This recipe is no exception, I borrow the sweet and bitter taste of matcha along with its gorgeous color. I also use genmaicha as a decorative garnish, and the roasted grains of rice add a pleasant crunch.

Matcha Shortbread Cookies

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbs matcha
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
2 egg yolks (reserve one egg white)
genmaicha for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour and the matcha. Cream together the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined. In three batches, mix in the flour. When combined, roll the dough into two logs. I made two different sizes (approx 1.5" and 1"), and I preferred the 1" because of their daintiness.

Chill the logs for at least an hour, or until you are able to make clean cuts through the log without smashing it. Alternatively, place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Cut into 1/4" rounds and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. These will not spread very much, so you can place them 1/2" apart. 

Beat the reserved egg white and brush over the tops of the cookies. Sprinkle with the genmaicha if using. The egg white will give the cookies a shiny surface, if you prefer a matte surface, omit the egg white and press down on the genmaicha slightly to make it adhere to the cookie dough. Bake for about 15-18 minutes if making the smaller cookies, 20 if making the larger cookies, until just barely browned on the edges. Let cool on a cookie rack.

See Also:
Coconut Icebox Cookies
Sriracha Bar
Cranberry Bliss Bars


  1. These look great! I was looking for a good shortbread recipe to use my cookie cutters on. Do you think you could adapt this same recipe and replace the matcha with cocoa?

    1. Absolutely, that sounds like a delicious idea. I'd use probably a little more cocoa, perhaps a 1/4 cup, because I'd want them to have a rich cocoa flavor and matcha is much stronger so you use less.

  2. Oh, great minds think (almost) alike! Love your idea of using genmaicha for garnish.