This was my second lot of baking for the All About Dads round for Baking for Hospice.
My dad absolutely LOVED shortbread. I could never understand why. I mean, I like shortbread: you can't really beat it for its buttery crumbly goodness but it was never my first choice out of those Assorted Biscuits tins we used to always get for Christmas from relos. I'm all about the glamour cookies - the chocolate coated ones, the choc chippies, the ones with the creamy filling, the malt ones. But there was no other cookie as far as my Dad was concerned. It was shortbread or nothing. He could mow through whole bags of Farmbake shortbread all by himself. Even when he was staying at the hospice, a piece of shortbread dunked into a milo was his daily afternoon tea.
So seeing as the theme was All About Dads, I just had to bake shortbread. No two buts about it. I knew that a couple of other bakers were making shortbread for the B4H round (perks of doing the organising :P), so I thought I'd mix it up a little and make Matcha Green Tea Shortbread. I'd seen recipes for Matcha Sables or Green Tea shortbread doing the rounds on tastespotting and I just couldn't resist trying a batch myself.
I used the Matcha Sables recipe from Okashi Treats by Keiko Ishida that I found on the beautiful Evan's Kitchen Ramblings blog, which a number of blogs have raved about. I really like green tea ice cream and matcha mochi so the idea of a green tea flavoured shortbread cookie sounded pretty amazing. Matcha is the powdered form of green tea. I bought mine from the Japanese supermarket in Newmarket but I'm sure you can find it in other asian supermarkets too.
The recipe was, well, easy peasey japanesey. Pretty much everything in the bowl, chill, cut and bake. The colour of the cookies was gorgeous - a beautiful deep green colour. No food colouring needed, it was all the matcha!
Matcha powder is pretty expensive, around NZ$8 for a tiny wee tub and I used the whole cannister in this recipe. But I have to be totally honest, I wasn't a massive fan of the taste of the cookies. As with any tea, too much and it can be bitter. Perhaps I was a bit green (da dum chi) and used too much matcha powder, or my matcha powder as on the bitter side becuase the cookies were really, a bit too bitter for my liking. And the herbaceous flavour of green tea, which to me goes so well in ice cream and mochi, just didn't taste quite right in a buttery cookie.
Since matcha is so expensive I'm not sure I'd make these again but if you are a massive matcha fan you might want to give them a go. If I was to make these again, I would definitely put in less matcha powder and up the icing sugar. They are a really pretty olive green colour and would make pretty gifts for matcha fanatics!
Matcha Green Tea Shortbread
slightly tweaked from Okashi Treats by Keiko Ishida
makes around 30 - 35 cookies
240g plain flour
15g matcha powder
1 tsp vanilla
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
130g icing sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
extra icing sugar for coating (~1/4 cup)
1. Sift flour and matcha powder twice and set aside.
2. Cream butter, icing sugar and salt. Add egg yolks and vanilla and mix well.
3. Add flour/matcha mixture and fold in with a spatula. The dough will be quite crumbly. Line a bowl with a piece of plastic wrap big enough to hold the all the cookie mixture. Transfer mixture into the plastic wrap and wrap up. Chill in the fridge for around 15 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into two portions, wrap with plastic wrap and roll into two logs around 3 cm thick (squeezing the dough together will help it bind). Chill for a further 20-30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 150oC. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
6. Cut the logs into slices around 1cm thick and place on the tray around 2cm apart. Bake one tray at a time for 20-25 minutes - try not to let them brown. Also make sure the try is cool before you put the next lot on...I usually hurry the process up by waving the cookie tray around like a fan to cool it off. While the cookies are baking, put about 1/4 cup icing sugar into a small bowl and set aside.
7. Cool on a wire rack until they are just cool enough to touch (but still warm) and coat in icing sugar in the bowl. Place cookies back on the wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.