Sunday, March 20, 2011

Green Tea Shortbread Cookies

I baked these sweet heart shaped green tea shortbread cookies with hopes of creating a cheerful contrast to the gloomy and blustery weather I have experienced lately where I live. I had three packs of Japanese green tea powder left in my cupboard and thought I would give the idea a shot.

As soon as the batch came out of the oven, I impatiently plucked one off the cooling rack, gently tossed it back and forth between my hands in an attempt to cool it down more, and then devoured it. Although I felt foolish for stuffing a hot cookie into my mouth (my slightly scorched tongue didn't let it go), I was very pleased with the perfectly sweet, crisp and buttery flavor that preceded delicate notes of green tea with a finishing crunch from a sugary crystal coating. These green tea shortbread cookies were a definite success and provided a burst of brightness into the house on a rainy day.

Green Tea Shortbread Cookies

makes about 2 dozen (using 3" heart shaped cookie cutter)

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp Japanese green tea powder (found in Asian markets; Matcha green tea powder may also work)

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cold and cut into small cubes

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 large egg yolks

1 cup course granulated sugar or turbinado sugar

1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt, green tea powder, and powdered sugar until well combined. Add the cubed butter and pulse a few times just until the mixture resembles small pebbles.

2. In a small bowl, gently whisk together the vanilla and egg yolks; add the egg mixture into the food processor and pulse until the dough starts to form. Take out the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead all the bits together a few times until a mass of dough comes together. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and allow it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. While the oven is warming up, take out the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and on a rolling-pin. Roll the dough out until it is about 1/3-inch in thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the dough and then gently toss it in the sugar to coat boat sides. Place the cut cookies on prepared baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 13-15 minutes. When the baking is complete, place the cookies on a wire rack and allow them cool.

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