Let the Holiday Begin! Green Tea Cookies


I found the best green tea cookie recipe ever. Yes, E-V-E-R. After baking these little green heavenly morsels, courtesy of Kelli from Lovescool, it is no surprise that this recipe won the Pastryspoon.com’s Golden Scoop Awards in the “Best Bakery Recipe” category. I have no idea who Pastry Spoon is and how reputable this award truly is in the baking world but these cookies are true champions in the confectionery arena!

On a totally random note, did you know that the term that brings most traffic to my blog is, “calamari”? I don’t remember talking too much about the fried squid at the Time for Dinner blog, but apparently, people searching for either a photo or information on the dish ends up here. So far, this post has received the most traffic at almost 10,000 visits. The second popular search term is “green tea,” and the post I did about the Green Tea Cake has received more than 7,500 views. Compared to other high-quality, high-trafficked blogs, my daily hits are very, very low (at about 200 a day, and 3/4 of them are probably coming from my supportive sister and boyfriend), but I am so thankful for people who ended up at my blog and checked out my stories and photos. And big thanks to those who have decided to return to this humble place and become a regular reader. I am so honored that you’ve decided to share your precious time with me. 🙂

Back to the Green Tea Cookies. I am hosting a little Christmas get-together tomorrow afternoon at my place with my sister and two of her wonderful Japanese friends, who I’ve been fortunate enough to also befriend over the years. I don’t have that many Japanese friends around me so it’s always nice to be able to relax and speak in my native tongue. I think we’re going to enjoy each other’s company over holiday cookies and tea (and perhaps some wine, knowing us girls). While I love the idea of baking holiday-themed cookies, I am not too keen on making anything too colorful (I hate food colorings), chocolate-y (too messy), or overly elaborate (too tiring), so I decided to bake simple, everyday cookies, for the gathering. Sure, gingerbread cookies would have been more appropriate, but I’m confident that my go-to Cranberry Biscotti, this Green Tea Cookies, and fool-proof Chocolate Chip Cookies, would satisfy our Christmas sugar cravings!

I’ve already talked about the biscotti and the chocolate chip cookies, so I won’t bore you with the repeats here. Instead, I’m posting the recipe of this Green Tea Cookies. I hope you would try this recipe. If you’re a green tea fan like me, you won’t be disappointed!

Green Tea Sweets

Courtesy of Lovescool

Ingredients (Yield 2” leaf shape, Approx 25)

3/4 cup (2.25 oz) Confectioners sugar
5 oz Unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 3/4 cup (8.5 oz) All-purpose flour
3 Large egg yolks
1.5 tablespoons Matcha (powdered green tea)
1 cup Granulated sugar (for coating)

(Note: I love green tea so much that I doubled the amount of green tea powder to 3 tablespoons. Although I love how they came out, I don’t recommend it unless you absolutely love the bitterness of the green tea. Doubling the amount will really make the cookies bitter!)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and green tea together in a bowl. Add the butter and green tea/sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth and light in color.

Add the flour and mix until well combined.

Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms.

Form the dough into a disk and chill in the refrigerator until firm (about 30 minutes).

Roll the dough out to ½” thickness. Cut the dough with a leaf cookie cutter.

Toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat. Place the sugar-coated cookie on a parchment lined pan.

Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.

I cannot wait to get the holidays officially started.

A Sweet Culinary Playground: Green Tea Cake

One thing I regret to this day is not visiting Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki when I was in Paris a few years ago, to experience his famous Matcha Opera Cake, or any of his world-renowned green-tea inspired desserts for that matter. Ever since I read about him about five years ago in a Japanese fashion magazine, I’ve been smitten by his creativity and the ability to incorporate traditional Japanese ingredients such as matcha (green tea) and yuzu (citrus fruit) into authentic French pastries, and I’ve been inspired to include something similar to my own baking repertoire.

The thing that kept me from making any matcha desserts until now, however, was my inability to locate green tea powder, which is the key component of these desserts. I had tried several Japanese grocery stores in the past but all I could find were “green ice tea mix,” which already included sugar. And when I finally did find them, they were too expensive for me to afford. Then, when I was making my regular rounds to Teavana the other day, I ran into one that was reasonably priced at $16 an once so I snatched up a couple for my pantry. Now fully equipped, I was eagerly ready to enter the Franco-Japanese culinary melting pot.

While visiting Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit a few months back, I encountered this amazing recipe for Green Tea, Lavender, and Honey Cupcake Bombe. I had since filed it away in my baking “to do” folder hoping to someday bring it to life, and I was able to finally wipe off the dust and put this recipe to work! I thought about making the full-blown version of the bombe at first, but after contemplating I decided to just try the green tea cake recipe for more simple dessert.

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Would you like a cake to go with my butter?

I recommend this recipe to anyone who is interested in making a dense, moist, oh-so-heavenly matcha cupcake or a sheet cake as I did here. I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of butter and sugar that went into this beautiful pistachio-colored batter but you will realize when you take a first bite that all the fat and calories are worth it.  And because it is rich, a small slice will satisfy your sweet tooth. One mistake I made was mixing the matcha power with the dry ingredients when the recipe called to dissolve the powder with milk and incorporate it into the wet ingredients.  Oops (but the end result still came out perfect, thank goodness).

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Look how beautiful the batter looks!

My initial plan was to sandwich the sweet red bean (azuki) paste between two heart-shaped cake, but the cake was already pretty thick so I settled on placing azuki on the side, and finished off by sprinkling powered sugar on top. I matched the cake with steaming Japanese green tea, of course!

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I really like the simplicity of this dessert. Keeping everything beautiful yet clean and simple allow the flavors to take center stage, which is what makes Japanese and French desserts truly timeless.