Enjoy your afternoon tea with these crisp and buttery Matcha Cookies. The unique flavor combination of matcha and white chocolate 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 are preferably not overly sweet. When comes to flavoring in the sweet department, my absolute favorite is matcha (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 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 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 balances 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 Chilling 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 the dough into a large disk, chill, then roll it out again before cutting it out into shapes.
I hope you enjoy making this Matcha Cookie recipe. They are perfect for a cozy afternoon snack or for your cookie swap during the holiday season!
More Cookie Recipes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour) (weigh your flour or use the “fluff and sprinkle“ method and level it off)
- 2½ Tbsp matcha green tea powder (1 Tbsp matcha is 6 g)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (softened, at room temperature)
- 1 pinch Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 130 g confectioners’ sugar (1 cup + 2 tsp)
- 2 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
- ¼ cup white chocolate chips
Before You Start…
- Please note that this recipe requires a chilling time of 2 hours. Gather all the ingredients. I highly encourage you to weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale for this recipe. Click on the “Metric“ button at the top of the recipe to convert the ingredient measurements to metric. If you‘re using a cup measurement, please follow the “fluff and sprinkle“ method: Fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle the flour into your measuring cup, and level it off. Otherwise, you may scoop more flour than you need.
To Make and Chill the Dough
- Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour) and 2½ Tbsp matcha green tea powder in a large bowl.
- Sift the flour and the matcha powder.
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat ¾ cup unsalted butter until smooth and creamy. Tip: It’s important to soften the butter ahead of time. Leave the butter out on the counter for 1 hour or microwave it in 5-second increments until it‘s softened.
- Add 1 pinch Diamond Crystal kosher salt and blend.
- Add 130 g confectioners’ sugar (1 cup + 2 tsp) and beat well until soft and light. As you blend, stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl occasionally.
- Add 2 large egg yolks and mix well until combined.
- Gradually add the flour and matcha mixture and mix until just combined.
- Add ¼ cup white chocolate chips and mix until just incorporated.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a cylinder about 1½ inches (4 cm) in diameter and 7 inches (18 cm) long.
- Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours. Tip: You can place the logs on a bed of uncooked 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 Freeze for Later: 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 the cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap the plastic wrap. Use a sharp knife to slice the dough into rounds about ⅓ inch (7 mm) thick. If the dough is too hard to slice, wait 5 minutes or so before slicing. Place the sliced dough on the baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space between the rounds.
- Bake the cookies at 350ºF (175ºC) for about 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies start to get slightly golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes; then carefully transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack and let them cool completely before serving.
- 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.