Considering that the word "cookie" is actually in the title of my blog, I have not posted much at all about cookies--so, I guess it's fitting that I'm (finally) writing about what I consider to be my "signature" cookie. I mean, if I have to choose a favorite, of course :D Plus, this cookie recipe got me onto the Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC to chat with Leonard and Ruth Reichl during his Christmas cookie show. You can still listen to the clip here, although I sound like a complete dork because I was about to collapse from nervousness. (As an aside, you should all listen to Leonard Lopate. He's great.)
Like all shortbreads, this is a good "keeper" cookie and will remain fresh and delicious for at least 3 weeks, if you keep them in an airtight container. It is very quick to put together and consists of only 5 ingredients; as is true for all shortbreads, using the freshest butter you can find is very important. If you use stale butter, you won't taste anything but the inside of your refrigerator. (Please for the love of all that is delicious, don't use shortening or margarine.)
Besides the butter, your other most important ingredient is going to be your matcha (also spelled maccha). This is essentially green tea ground into a fine powder and it's sold in Japanese and most Asian groceries; I buy mine at Mitsuwa Market in Edgewater. The current brand I'm using (above) is Yamashiro Ujji Maccha. If you can't find any in your area, then pick a good quality loose leaf green tea and grind it yourself!
I made this batch for my friend Jack's birthday, but as you can see, I snuck a few. One must perform quality control, right?
2 C all purpose flour
2 Tb good quality green tea powder (matcha)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 C powdered sugar and 1/4 C granulated sugar
Sift flour and green tea into a bowl; set aside. Beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Sift in the two sugars (and actually you could use all powdered sugar) and salt and continue to beat until well combined and paler in color; this should take another 2 minutes. Add the flour and green tea mixture and mix just until everything is combined and the dough sticks together; don't overmix or you'll have tough cookies. Form the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for an hour.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" and cut into shapes. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and chill until the cookies are firm (15 minutes or so). Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies are set; don't let them brown or you'll lose the nice pale green color. Repeat with the remaining dough.