There has been a lot baking around here for the past two weeks. And a lot of cookies laying around for consumption.
While it's always good to have cookies around your kitchen, the reason for all this baking has to do with an exciting new project — a Cookies from Around the World kit I'm developing with my friends at GrubKit. We're launching the kit soon, and it's going to feature ingredients to bake cookies from four countries around the world, both from traditional recipes and with inventive modern takes. It's like a world tour via dessert.
The recipe I'm developing is a Japanese green tea shortbread cookie. While shortbread is traditionally Scottish, in recent decades green tea-flavored shortbread cookies have become pretty widespread around Japan, sold in bakeries and pastry shops alongside green tea cakes and mousses. And it's quite an addictive little snack.
Now if you want to make this from scratch, and have some green tea powder and vanilla bean on hand, read on!
The cookies are pretty easy to make once you have the right ingredients. You start out by creaming butter with powdered and granulated sugar, then add the dry ingredients until the mixture forms into a smooth dough. Like other traditional shortbreads, this doesn't require any baking soda or baking powder. And because you are cutting out the cookies with a cookie cutter instead of slicing from a log, you don't need to chill the dough at all.
The best type of cookie cutter to use is a 2-inch wide circle cutter, but if you have fun shapes around the same size, by all means use them!
They bake for just 8 to 10 minutes, and you end up with about 3 dozen small cookies for breakfast, afternoon tea, or dessert. They'll keep in an air-tight container for up to 4 or 5 days, but believe me, these cookies go very very quickly...
If you're interested in making these cookies and 3 other kinds with premeasured ingredients, check out our Cookies from Around the World kit when it launches on GrubKit. The kits also make great gifts, if you'd like to do your holiday shopping before the seasonal rush. Sign up for our mailing list at the top right of screen or like us on Facebook to be the first to know about the launch!
Green Tea Shortbread Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons matcha powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
Special equipment – round cookie cutter about 2 inches in diameter, or another cookie cutter about the same size.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the confectioners’ sugar and granulated sugar. Add the vanilla extract (if using instead of vanilla bean).
- If you’re using a vanilla bean instead, slit bean down the middle with a pairing knife and scrape out the black seeds from both sides of the middle. Discard the outer shell or save for another use.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour, matcha powder, vanilla bean seeds (if using instead of vanilla extract), and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar butter mixture from step 2. Mix until a smooth dough forms.
- Flour a clean working surface and a rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it is between 1/4″ to 1/3″ thick. Use a 2” wide round cookie cutter to cut out circles. (You may need to reroll the dough once or twice more to use up the remainder.) Place the circles on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the black sesame seeds on top of each cookie.
- Bake until the bottoms are just lightly golden, about 8 to 10 minutes, checking at the 8 minute mark. (Be careful not to overbake.) Transfer to wire racks and cool to room temperature.