Tag Archives: Cookies

Green tea butter cookies

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while. Not for any good reason, since these little green tea shortbreads are wonderful. But it never quite felt like the right time to share them. First Thanksgiving, and then the start of real soup-and-stew season, and then, really, the world has so many sugary holiday goodie recipes already, why post this one, and, and, and…

But you know what? It’s almost Christmas, the perfect cookie time, and these are so simple and sophisticated and the perfect shade of festive green. So I’m sharing them now, and I’m pretty excited about it.

These are the second green tea cookie recipe I’ve tried so far, and like the chocolate chip cookies, they’re a real winner. They’re based on a French shortbread, or sabl√©, recipe, lightened up with cake flour and just a touch of baking powder. The resulting texture is sandy and rich like a good shortbread, but without the lingering graininess: these cookies really do melt in your mouth.

The matcha powder stains the dough a deep forest green, and if you taste the dough raw–which I cannot confirm or deny that I did–you might think the flavor is a little too intense. But in the oven, the color softens to a mossier green, and the green tea flavor becomes more delicate. Rolling the dough in coarse sugar is an optional step, but I highly recommend it, as the slight crunch around the outside of the cookies makes them even more elegant and lovely.

As I’m writing, I can’t help thinking that this is a terrific Christmas cookie recipe. The dough comes together in a matter of minutes, and once it’s been shaped into logs and chilled for a couple hours, you can simply slice off and bake as many cookies as you like. It also seems like a fairly kid-friendly recipe, since you could put small hands to work helping shape the bright green dough and roll it in sugar. And finally, like so many shortbreads, this seems at its best when eaten indoors on a cold winter day, possibly dunked into a mug of hot cocoa or–you guessed it–green tea.

green tea butter cookies

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Green tea chocolate chip cookies

My neighbor Jess is a total badass. By day, she’s an animator at a major motion picture studio; by night, she repairs bicycles and makes pots for her succulent plants out of concrete and old buckets. And as if that wasn’t enough, she’s also a talented baker, with a particular knack for delicate and sophisticated cookies. She makes adorable bite-sized macarons that could make you weep, they’re so perfect. (She showed me how. I tried. I can’t make ’em like she can.)

I will forever be indebted to Jess for two things. First, for introducing me to matcha, or finely ground green tea. I’d heard of matcha before, mostly in the context of making green tea-flavored sweets, but Jess was the one who finally inspired me to go out and buy some. It’s certainly pricey–mine cost $8 an ounce–but a little goes a long way. Traditionally, matcha is whisked into hot water to form a frothy, intensely green tea. I used some of mine this way recently when I was fighting off a cold, and the thick forested punch it gave seemed to knock the bug right out of my system. But really, I bought matcha to use it in cookies, which leads to the second reason I’m indebted to Jess.

A couple months ago, we got together for a lazy Sunday of baking, tea, and chitchat. We made a tomato tart, baked peaches, and then Jess started gathering ingredients for cookies. “Green tea chocolate chip,” she said. “I just use the recipe on the back of the Nestle bag, but I replace two tablespoons of the flour with matcha.” The dough mixed up bright green, almost alien-like; when it baked, the cookies took on an eerie moss-toned color. At first bite, I thought I was just tasting an ordinary¬† cookie–but then the flavor of the green tea slowly took hold, blossoming grassy and slightly bitter through the rich goo of the chocolate chips. It stunned me. I thought about those cookies for days.

I’ve since made these cookies for myself several times, tinkering a bit to find a balance I like. For me, that includes a dose of whole wheat flour to offset the grassiness with nuttiness, as well as almond extract in place of vanilla. These seem like an ideal Halloween cookie, green and spooky as they are, but with enough subtlety to please adults as well as children.

Thank you, Jess, for bringing these cookies into my life.

green tea chocolate chip cookies multiple

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Whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

So, um.

I have to tell you something.

I made you a cookie…but I eated it.

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Margarita. Cookies.

Shortbread. Lime. Tequila. Triple sec. With a sugar-salt rim.

Need I say more?

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