matcha shortbread squares

I’ve long been itching to try a matcha-flavored confection, not only because I’m exceedingly fond of the tea itself, but also due to the fact that I currently live in the very heartland of green tea and tea-flavored sweets. Of all the various possibilities of matcha treats–cookies, tiramisu, puddings, trifles, to name a few–I settled on a more simple but classic method: shortbread. It had been far too long since I’d made a batch of the crisp, flaky, buttery cookies, and having prized upon Clotilde’s own especially tempting sugar-rolled recipe over at C&Z, the call of the tea leaves summoned me to my kitchen, irregardless of the fact that it was already past nine on a Monday night.

A pile of greened, dirty dishes and prayers of thanks to my freezer for firming up the impossibly soft dough later, I had perfect squares of bright green shortbread awaiting a brief go in the oven. The aroma of baking butter and matcha wafting through the air created the most wonderful sensation of inhaling a rich green tea latte. The most delightful touch, however, was the glittering sugar-coated edges of each cookie that gave each a satisfying crunch and lending a sweetness to offset the bitterness of the tea. Of course, having eaten one fresh out of the oven without a thought to the time, I was able to ponder their sublimity all night long in a caffeine-induced sleepless fit! Be warned, then, that these do contain substantial amounts of caffeine due to the matcha content :)

Matcha Shortbread
very slightly adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini

100 grams (7 Tbsp) butter, softened
pinch salt
50 grams (5 Tbsp) powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
90 grams (3/4 Cup) flour
40 grams (1/4 Cup) almond meal
1 1/2 tsp matcha (green tea powder)

2 Tbsp granular sugar

Cream softened butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy; add in egg yolk and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, almond meal, pinch salt, and matcha powder. Add flour mixture to butter, sugar, and egg mixture, and stir with a spatula until dough comes together in a ball. The dough will most likely be very soft and unworkable, so place dough on a sheet of parchment or wax paper and cover with cling wrap to store in the fridge for a couple of hours, or the freezer for 30 minutes. (At this point, the dough was still extremely soft for me, so after about an hour in the refrigerator, I took it out and gently rolled it into a log, put it back to firm up for another hour, and then patted it into a square shape before freezing it for another 30 minutes before baking.)

Preheat oven to 180 C (360 F) and line a baking sheet with oven paper. Remove dough from freezer, and on a clean work surface, sprinkle the granulated sugar in a neat line. Carefully unwrap dough and press each side of the log into the sugar, carefully but firmly so the sugar sticks. With a sharp knife, cut the log into 1cm pieces and arrange cookies on the baking sheet roughly 2-3 cm apart, as they will spread only minimally. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cookies are firm in the center and just slightly colored on the edges. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely. These can freeze easily, or be kept in an airtight container for a few days.


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