Green Tea Shortbread

I failed dismally when I tried to come up with a clever name for this post. So instead of wasting any more time looking for something that isn’t ever going to appear, I’ll take the straight forward approach. Here’s a recipe I found on Martha Stewart, and have since located similar versions in a web search. I love the flavor of Matcha tea ice cream, so the idea of cookies with a similar flavor really appealed to me. I tried them twice. The dough is a vibrant green color, but it fades somewhat during baking. The first time I baked them enough to colour to slightly bronze, but the second time I shortened the baking time so the cookies just started to colour. Either way they were very tasty. If you like shortbread and you’d like to broaden your baking repertoire, I suggest you give these a try. Enjoy!

Green Tea Shortbread

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Matcha green-tea powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Sift flour, tea powder, and salt into a small bowl; set aside. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar; continue to beat until very light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add flour mixture; combine on low, scraping sides of bowl with a spatula if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers.
Place a piece of parchment on a clean surface; dust with flour. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness; chill in refrigerator or freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Cut chilled dough with chosen cutters.
Using a wide spatula, transfer to baking sheets. Chill until firm.
Gather scraps together, re-roll, chill, and cut shapes.
Bake until firm and barely starting to color, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool completely on wire rack; store in an airtight container for up to 3 to 4 weeks.cutting out cookies cookies ready to bake cookies in the oven baked cookieslots of cookies

Christmas is coming – it must be time to bake!

How did it get to be December already? Am I the only one who just noticed that Christmas is now less than a month away? Good thing I’ve started Christmas baking. First of all, let me share with you my big baking news for 2013. Every year for as long as I can remember, I have baked dark fruit cake for Christmas. I think the most I baked in one year was 70 cakes, and these were regular sized cakes – not Gulliver’s Lilliputian sized ones. However, this year, I am not baking cakes. As much as I think people enjoy them, I doubt that anyone will be too disappointed, and I will have saved myself days worth of work. Now, if I could only figure out where those days have gone…

But back to the baking. Every Christmas season I bake with my good friend, Lois. We bake a number of recipes which have become our family standards, and then try one or two different recipes as well. On a recent Sunday we spent about seven hours baking. We baked gingerbread snowflakes and stars, two types of biscotti and loads of magic toffee. It was a great day. Then the following Friday we baked for nearly 10 hours. This time we baked gingersnaps, mocha slices, pecan crunch cookies and some green tea shortbread. We still have one more baking day scheduled together, along with our special invited guest baker, Barb, from Just a Smidgen. I wonder if she knows what she’s getting herself into!

Here are a few photos of the baking so far.gingerbread snowflakes and stars magic toffee gingersnaps mocha cookies twice dipped pecan crunch cookies cookie assortment unbaked green tea cookies green tea shortbread cookiesMust point out a couple of thing. Note the sleeping cat in a box (supervisory position) above the cookie assortment. The green tea shortbreads were bright green before baking, but the color was more mellow and golden after baking. The recipe was for green tea shortbread leaves, but after struggling with 2 or 3 leaves, I decided that we should bake green tea shortbread coins. Much better. The taste of macha tea was subdued after baking and quite delicious.

I’ll post more photos after our last baking session. Perhaps I’ll arrange them on a pretty plate for the photo shoot. (Actually I will prepare a plate for an upcoming Christmas gathering.) I don’t like to do cookie platters until I have a full selection of baked goods to choose from. It just doesn’t seem right to put together a “partial” plate. Time to get back to work on some of the baking I do by myself. It’s not as much fun as baking with a friend, but I still love it!

oatmeal cookie time!

finished cookies

My son, Marc, made an unexpected visit home this week-end, and I wanted to send him off with a bite of home – oatmeal cookies. I started with a recipe that I was given about 28 years ago. My friend, Barb, gave me cookies when our second child arrived – a treat for his big sister. (I think I shared some with her.) I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years and continue to play and adjust. Here’s how I did the cookies this time:

cookies for a cause

Best get this posted as I’m getting a teeny bit tired of dealing with cookies. I love to bake them but it’s not as much fun getting the assortments packed up in various containers to give away. However, I did assemble and donate one plate of cookies for a charity auction that gave my ego a real boost. I should explain. I donated a plate of cookies to an unusual fund-raiser. It’s unusual because everyone who attends brings auction items, and everyone who attends also buys things.  Everyone is apparently very generous as this is a fund raiser for a good cause. If I understand correctly, the money raised is used to buy sewing machines for widows in a village in India, when the women graduate from a sewing program. This allows them the opportunity to support themselves. I think this is a good thing. Here’s what I sent, starting with a photo of the glass platter I used (it was probably about 16″ square):glass platter

cookies all arranged

platter all wrappedNow you can imagine my delight when I received a text during the evening telling me that my cookies had sold – for $550. I was so pleased, but already I’m trying to decide how to make something more spectacular for next year! All of the items at the auction are sold for ridiculous amounts, but I’m not letting that act as a reality check. Amazing how much more we value our work when someone is willing to pay for it!