It seems like all we’re eating over here is cookies, doesn’t it? To judge by my son — who gets up in the morning chanting cook-ee cook-ee cook-ee — that would be about right. In any case, we’re having lots of fun making them, which is what drove me to make these vibrant green matcha tea butter cookies.
I came up with this recipe after rereading parts of Michael Ruhlman’s book “Ratio,” which purports to break down “everyday” cooking into simple ingredient ratios. Actually, I’d say it breaks down some staples of American and French cooking into ratios, since it doesn’t really touch on many of the foods common in other parts of the world — the range of sweets, cakes and breads over here in the Middle East goes way beyond the pound cakes, muffins and biscuits dissected in the book. (How about a lahoh ratio? Filo dough? No? Actually, that’s a book idea right there …)
In any case, despite its limits the book offers some useful insights into the foods it does touch upon, including cookies. Based on the book’s guidelines, this is a variation of a classic shortbread cookie, which would have a 1:2:3 ratio of sugar, butter and flour. I used extra flour to make the recipe more workable and less sweet — we wanted something that could be rolled out and used with cutters (all about my cookie cutter collection) — and I tossed in an egg to make it softer. There’s no leavening, so that the cookies hold their shape better – note that the imprint from the cutters comes out perfect even after baking. The matcha powder and salt are for flavor.
The cookies are a little on the cakey side due to the extra flour, and they get softer a day or two after they’ve been baked, which I consider a good thing. We roll ours extra thin and make them very small, so that they make for little toddler servings.
Israel isn’t the best country to have a matcha craving, since the Japanese tea powder is rather hard to come by — it’s no longer being sold in health food chains such as Eden Teva, so I had to go straight to the importer, Ocha.
By the way, I swear we’re eating more than just cookies around here. We’re actually working on a great cracker recipe that also works with our fun cookie cutters, and I’ve been doing a lot of cooking in general, but I haven’t really been recording the recipes. Apologies.
For about 3 cookie trays’ worth of little matcha cookies:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (one stick), at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder, or to taste
1 cup flour
Cream the sugar and butter until fluffy — about 3 minutes on medium in a good stand mixer. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Mix in the salt, matcha and flour until just incorporated — my matcha is clumpy, so it needed to be sifted. Put the dough into the fridge in order to firm up (the dough keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks).
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit). Roll into a thin layer — about 2 millimeters/one-eight of an inch thick, flouring as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into shapes.
Top a baking sheet with parchment paper, arrange the cookies and bake for 7 minutes. They should not brown at all. Remove from the oven, let them firm up for a few minutes, and then transfer the parchment paper onto a cooler surface so the cookies can continue cooling.