Classic shortbread cookies will never go out of style. Their rich, buttery flavor and irresistibly crumbly texture are incomparable. Shortbreads are also very simple to make and lend themselves easily to variations. The leaf-shaped cookie cutter I use for this recipe is a playful nod to that fact that these contain leaves—tea leaves. Matcha is Japanese green tea that is finely ground into a powder and used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. It’s very concentrated in flavor and color. As with all teas, there is a huge range of quality and prices. (Ito En is a Japanese tea company that offers many matchas from which to choose. For baking, I like their Kiri No Ne matcha, which not only has a lovely color and flavor profile, but also happens to be less expensive than many.)–Dede Wilson
LC How Much Matcha? Note
In the recipe below, author Dede Wilson suggests a varying amount of matcha. In her words, “I offer a range as it has a distinct flavor that some might prefer on the nuanced side. If this is the case, use the lesser amount. If you’re a matcha fan, use the more generous proportion.” Makes sense. She also notes that the optional coarse sanding sugar can be ordered from Beryl’s.
Matcha Tea Leaf Shortbreads
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 5 M
- 2 H, 25 M
- Makes eighty 2-inch cookies
Special Equipment: 2 x 1-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutter
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
- I used a “rose leaf” cookie cutter that is just shy of 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, which you can find at Beryl’s. You can certainly use a larger cookie cutter, or even a different shape, but the yield and baking times might change.
Recipe Testers Reviews
Here’s a case where my first batch of cookies looked every bit as beautiful as the picture-perfect cookies in the recipe photograph. The cookies are light and tasty, and they are delicately pretty, with the green of the matcha lovely and appealing. (To be certain to achieve that lovely green color, I used the full two tablespoons of matcha powder, the top of the specified range on the ingredients list. Because the matcha flavor is subtle, this ended up being an excellent idea!) They are a melt-in-your-mouth cookie, perfect in the size specified, and the batch makes plenty to have and to share. I had no difficulty locating a leaf cutter to match the one in the photo.
Note that while the recipe states it makes eighty cookies, my yield was fifty cookies.
Definitely top with the sugar: it adds the perfect finish to this cookie. Top them all, not just half! The sugar-topped cookies looked more festive and special than those left plain. I substituted raw sugar for the coarse sanding sugar, which worked just fine. Make these to serve with tea, after a Japanese meal instead of green tea ice cream, or whenever you’d normally make shortbread, or a sugar or butter cookie. They are very simple to make and the results look more impressive for the same amount of work as other similar cookies. They look extra-special with the leaf shape, though they’d certainly work with a round cutter, a heart or star, or any of the more standard shapes in the cookie cutter repertoire. Note that it was a good idea to refrigerate the cookies before baking, in order to help preserve the precision of the shape, though it was not necessary. Even the ones that were not refrigerated looked terrific.
Refrigerating overnight is a tempting option for the future, so they could be baked off right before serving. Being able to store them for up to two weeks creates another advantage: Either way, they can be made, in whole or in part, in advance.
These would make a beautiful hostess gift. They are sturdy enough to pack and travel a bit and visually impressive: a little bag or box of these would surely make the recipient feel loved and appreciated!