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 sablé, 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.