Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas and Procrastination - Green Tea Shortbread

It's not that I don't have a loving family, wonderful friends, amazing boyfriend and sweet, crazy, perpetually energetic dog.  It's not that we don't have a full celebration despite not really being Christian (we regard Christmas as an excuse to throw lots of color around and give lots of people presents).  It's not that I don't, you know, finally have some free time.  Free time?  What's that?  Oh, it's not very rare, but I've heard myths about it.  It's when you, heaven forbid, don't have work.  Don't have work?  What?  Impossible!

Indeed, truly impossible.  Of course, that's not the reason that I made these cookies two days before Christmas, making extra so I could decorate them.  It's not the reason that a mere 5 remain in the box, still undecorated, on the last day of 2011.  But, you say, it's winter vacation!  You've been on break a whole two weeks!  Heh.  Heh.  Heh.  What have I done with this delightful burst of "free time?"  Let's see, get four hours of paid work done, a half a homework problem, go running twice, see my high school friends a record of three times, bake up a storm yet forget to photograph half of them (I'm a terrible bloger >_<) and oh, read lots and lots and lots of Pioneer Woman.  She's awesome, and hilarious, and I've spent too much time reading her archives since March 2006.  Oops.

My original intention was to bake these cookies, then pipe lines of white icing on them to decorate the trees, then dot the icing with dried cranberries.  Cute, huh?  Yep, that never happened.  Kirbie's original recipe called for leaf cookie cutters, and she rolled them somewhat thicker.  The first time I made these, I used different cookie cutters, but my dad really liked them.  It was also before I started this blog, last summer.  I figured, enough of a reason for a repeat, since I'm pretty fond of them, too.  The dough is surprisingly malleable; it starts out crumbly, then as you knead it gently, forms into a perfectly rollable dough.  The plastic wrap is also a very big help.  Overall, I loved these cookies, green tea-flavored and delicate.  Even my mum, who dislikes green tea in baked goods, enjoyed the texture of these and ate a few.  I usually make half a batch, and the instructions below are for that amount.  

Mmmm, cookies... Balanced on the lid of a steamer :)

Green Tea Shortbread from Kirbie's Cravings (also, she has step-by-step pictures!)
Makes around 36 cookies, depending on the size of your cutter

½ cup (1 stick) butter (I used unsalted, because...that's what my family had)
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon matcha (green tea) powder
Tiny pinch of salt 
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 large mixing bowl
1 sturdy butter knife (to cut the butter into chunks)
Either 1 wooden spoon or 1 electric mixer (to cream the butter and sugar)
1 rubber spatula
¼ cup dry measure
1 tablespoon measure
1 rolling pin
1 large cutting board/hard flat surface for rolling
Plastic wrap for rolling (2 sheets, size dependent on size of rolling surface)
Cookie cutter/s
Cookie sheets
Parchment paper for cookie sheets (I reused mine for each batch)


1. Place the parchment paper on the cookie sheets.  You can use butter to help the paper stick to the sheet.

2. Cube the butter and toss it into the mixing bowl, followed by the sugar.  Using either the wooden spoon or the mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the matcha powder and cream again.  Add the flour and salt and mix thoroughly.  It'll be crumbly at first, but you should be able to form a soft ball with the dough.

3. Between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll out the dough.  Placing them as close as possible, cut out cookies and place on prepared cookie sheets.  Refrigerate the cookies for about an hour, although I found no difference between those refrigerated and those simply left to sit for an hour (I ran out of fridge space, which is saying something).

4. Preheat the oven to 325°F and bake the cookies for anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.  I'd check the sheets at 10 minutes and see from there.  The cookies should be dry to the touch, although some browning is okay.  The cookies just won't be  Enjoy!

It's a small forest of delicious cookies :)  Even the one on the far left.

 Postscript:  I ran downstairs to get the image from my camera.  I'm nibbling on one of the last cookies as I type.  These keep for quite a while, it seems, as it's still delicious.

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