Enjoy your afternoon tea with these buttery, crispy Matcha Green Tea Cookies. The unique flavor of matcha in the cookies is surprisingly delightful!
I have always had a sweet tooth starting at a young age. As I got older, my taste bud for sweets has evolved and I’ve come to appreciate baked goods and confectionaries that have different tones of flavor and preferably not overly sweet. When comes to flavoring in the sweet department, my absolute favorite is matcha (Japanese green tea powder). The earthy, slightly bitter taste with a sweet hint of vanilla-like aroma of matcha is utterly dreamy and alluring, which makes it a delightful ingredient to work with. It is subtle but unmistakable.
And good news for matcha lovers! You can now find every imaginable snack and sweet available in matcha flavor. Specialty stores, mini markets, and even food courts at the departmental stores in Japan are offering matcha flavored goodies with an astonishing array of selections. Since I’ve been inspired to cook and bake with matcha, I’m excited to share one of my favorite butter cookies, Matcha Green Tea Cookies (抹茶クッキー) with you today.
What is Matcha
Before I begin talking about these cookies, let me share a bit of info on Matcha with you.
Matcha is a type of tea leaf powder that has a beautiful vivid green color. However, it’s different from the “green tea” that you drink with Japanese meals. That’s green tea too, but matcha green tea leaves are grown and harvested differently. The leaves are grown under shade.
For those of you who want to try this recipe, I hope you can find 100% pure matcha powder in your local Asian grocery store. The good quality ones should have very beautiful green, not dull green. Japanese grocery stores around my area sell Maeda-En matcha and you can also get it on Amazon. It’s a bit pricey but matcha is expensive in Japan as well.
Adding White Chocolate Chips
These cookies are really delicious even without white chocolate chips (if you’re not a fan of white chocolate). However, I highly recommend it as matcha brings its characteristic bitter flavor to the cookies, and the sweetness from white chocolate chips actually balance out the cookies quite well.
If you add regular chocolate chips, the milk chocolate can be too strong and it ruins the unique matcha flavor and fragrance so I don’t recommend it.
Instead of white chocolate chips, I’ve also tried rolling the chilled cookie logs over white sparkling sugar (large sugar crystals) before slicing the dough. This is a great way to add more sweetness to the cookies. The large sugar crystals will keep their shape and give a nice sweetness and sparkles to the cookies.
I’ve also seen JOC readers adding macadamia nuts instead of white chocolate chips. Great idea!
Buttery and Crispy Texture
This type of cookie is known as butter cookies or icebox cookies. They also go by shortbread cookies or sable cookies. They are unleavened cookies, which means that leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda are not used in the recipe.
The ingredients are simple: butter, sugar, and flour. They often include vanilla extract, but I omit it because it’s too strong for matcha flavor.
These cookies are crisp rather than chewy or soft. If you have tried and love shortbread cookies, you can expect a similar crispy texture.
Don’t Skip: Chill The Dough!
Chilling the dough intensifies the flavor of the dough and retains its shape in the oven (so the butter in the dough doesn’t melt fast). Hold tight for just 2 hours. You can clean up the kitchen and preheat the oven during this time.
If you like to cut out the cookie dough, roll out the dough into a large disk, chill, then roll out again before cutting out into shapes.
I hope you enjoy making this matcha flavored Matcha Green Tea Cookies recipe. They are perfect for a cozy afternoon snack or for your cookie swap during the holiday season!
Matcha Green Tea Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour) (If you use a measuring cup, follow this method: fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off. Otherwise, your flour ends up with more than 240 g.)
- 2 ½ Tbsp matcha green tea powder (1 Tbsp matcha is 6 g)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar/powdered sugar (1 cup + 2 tsp to be precise)
- pinch kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup white chocolate chips
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Combine 240 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour and 15 g (2 ½ Tbsp) matcha green tea powder in a large bowl.
- Sift the flour and the matcha powder.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat 170 g (¾ cup) unsalted butter until smooth and creamy. It’s important to soften the butter ahead of time.
- Add a pinch of salt and blend.
- Add 130 g (1 cup + 2 tsp) powdered sugar and blend until soft and light. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Add 2 large egg yolks and mix well until combined.
- Gradually add the flour and matcha mixture and mix until well-incorporated.
- Add 50 g (¼ cup) white chocolate chips and mix all together.
- Cut the dough in half and shape into 2 cylinders, about 1 ½ inch (4 cm) diameter, 7" (18 cm) long.
- Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours. Optional: you can place the logs on a bed of rice while chilling. It’ll keep the dough in a nice cylindrical shape, so your cookie slices won’t be flat on one side. To Store: You can also freeze the unbaked logs of dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 months. To bake, let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before cutting and baking. Do not let the dough fully defrost.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking liner. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap, and with a sharp knife, slice the dough into ⅓ inches (7 mm)-thick rounds. If the dough is too hard, wait for 5 minutes or so. Place them on the baking sheet, leaving about 1” (2.5 cm) between rounds.
- Bake the cookies at 350ºF (175ºC) for about 15 minutes, or until the edge of the cookies starts to get slightly golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes; then carefully transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
- You can keep the cooled cookies in an airtight container and store them at room temperature for at least 4 days.
Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on November 11, 2011. Since then the post has been updated with a new video, new pictures, and an updated recipe in July 2016.