I have one more holiday cookie recipe to share with you: these matcha green tea flavored shortbread cookies, built to look like Christmas trees.
These cookies are buttery and melt-in-your-mouth tender. I love that they are naturally green, no food coloring needed.
Do any of you use a cleaning service? Normally, Mr. K and I do our own cleaning, but it’s been nearly a year since we moved in and some things were starting to build up, so as a gift to ourselves, we hired a cleaning service to give the house a good, deep cleaning. However, then I found myself spending most of the weekend cleaning in anticipation of the maid service coming over. Which just sounds wrong doesn’t it?
But I felt we had to tidy up enough so that they would have room to clean. Hopefully, I’m not the only one who feels the need for the house to look somewhat presentable before the maids come. And then I was home when they were here, which also felt really weird. Like, why am I sitting around while they are cleaning my house? Anyhow, it was all very confusing, but now our house is all shiny again and I don’t want to mess it up.
Back to the cookies. I’ve been making the matcha shortbread cookies for years, but last year was the first time I tried to shape them like trees. This year, I tried to improve upon them, by also decorating them with “ornaments” and also adding a chocolate bottom layer for the tree trunk. I’m pretty excited with how these came out. And just for fun, I sprinkled some confectioner’s sugar snow on top.
- 4 star or flower shaped cookie cutters of graduated sizes. While I did not use this particular brand, you want something like this*. (I used a combination of Wilton stars and some tiny flower ones from this set*.)
- Maeda-En Gold color canister matcha powder* (I recommend purchasing it at a Japanese grocery store for about $9)
*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).
Matcha Shortbread Christmas Tree Cookies
These shortbread cookies are buttery and melt-in-your-mouth tender. I love that they are naturally green with no food coloring needed.
for the cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup butter softened to room temperature and cut into small pieces
- 2 1/2 tablespoons high quality matcha powder (see note)
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
For the decorations
- sprinkles or dragees
- powdered sugar
- store-bought chocolate frosting or homemade
- 1/2 recipe for double chocolate shortbread cookies (see note)
Beat butter, matcha powder and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
Add half of the flour to the butter mixer and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just until blended. The mixture should look crumbly, but if you squeeze it between your fingers, it will come together. Gather the dough into a large ball.
Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll dough with rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick. Make sure you use parchment paper, otherwise, the dough is too soft and sticky to roll out.
Use four cookie cutters of the same shape but with graduated sizes (stars and flowers work best) to cut cookie shapes. I ended up doing three of the biggest, one medium, two small, and one tiny one for each tree. Re-roll dough scraps and cut more cookies until no more dough remains. Decorate cookies with sprinkles that resemble ornaments. I used dragees and nonpareils.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake pieces of same size together. Bake until cookies puff up slightly and edges start to turn a light brown. I baked 11 minutes on the largest ones and 6 minutes on the smallest.
After cookies are finished and have cooled, add a small dollop of frosting to the bottom, then stack the cookies, deliberately not aligning them, to resemble trees.
- Optional: If desired, you can also make chocolate shortbread cookie for the tree bottoms. Cut to small squares before baking, then attach to bottom of trees with frosting. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar before serving.
- For the matcha, I prefer Maeda-En gold-colored canister quality.
- You can make a 1/2 batch of my double chocolate shortbread cookies (omit the chocolate chips) and cut them to make bottoms for the trees as I describe in the recipe instructions.
- Shortbread cookie adapted from Project Foodie.