Matcha is finely ground, bright green, powder made from specially grown and processed green tea leaves. The green tea plants used for matcha are shade grown, and stems and veins are removed during processing. Matcha is more pricey than regular green tea, and in US you’ll find a couple different “grades”, indicating quality. Premium grade matcha contains young leaves from the top of the plant and has a fresh, subtle flavor. Culinary grade matcha is less expensive, but has a slightly bitter taste due to the use of leaves from lower on the tea plant.
The matcha powder I used for these is the stuff I had on hand that I use in my banana matcha protein breakfast smoothies. I am definitely not a matcha expert, so I read reviews for a bunch of different brands, and other customers had done full-on side-by-side taste tests and given this stuff the best reviews, so that’s what I ended up purchasing.
These cookies have green tea in 2 forms: matcha, and finely ground green tea leaves, that give these fragrant, floral notes, and gently tint the cookies a soft green. As far as the green tea leaves I used, it was just from some green tea bags I got from the grocery store, and I used 4 bags to get 1 tablespoon. If the leaves aren’t finely ground, or if you are using loose leaf green tea, grind up your leaves using a spice grinder, cleaned coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle.
If you would like more info on my preferred ingredient brands, tips and tricks, FAQs, and a little cookie science, I cover all of that in my No-Spread Lemon Shortbread Sugar Cookie Recipe.
Are these technically shortbread or sugar cookies?
They’re kind of both. It’s fine to call these either “decorated sugar cookies” or “decorated shortbread cookies.” But I’m going to refer to any of my cookie recipes that can used as a base for cookie decorating as “shortbread sugar cookies.”
- 2 parts flour to 1 part fat
- No eggs
- No leavening agent
- Dense and crispy
- 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat
- Contains eggs
- Contains a leavening agent
- Light and Chewy
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes don’t rise or spread, can be used for cookie decorating, have egg, but no leavening agent, and have a 2 ¼ parts flour to 1 part fat. Which makes them fall somewhere between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. They’re both shortbread and sugar cookies, and neither shortbread or sugar cookies, at the same time. They’re Shrodinger’s cookies!
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes can be used for slice-and-bake cookies as well!
Matcha Green Tea Shortbread Sugar Cookies
- measuring spoons and cups
- mixing bowls
- cling wrap
- cookies cutters
- large knife
- mortar and pestle
- If green tea isn't finely ground, grind with a mortar and pestle.
- Whisk dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, matcha and green tea) together and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugars with paddle attachment, on medium-low speed, until fluffy and pale in color (about 5 minutes).
- Add egg, extract, and vanilla bean paste, and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the paddle with a spatula, and then continue to mix on low speed for another 30 seconds to ensure everything is fully incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients, all at once, and mix on low speed just until dough starts to come together and no dry bits remain. Do not overmix.
- Turn dough out onto cling wrap, tightly wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
- Knead, roll, cut out cookies, and return to fridge or freezer until firm. Leave a couple inches between cookies.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for another 1-5 minutes until edges are starting to turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to fully cool on cookie sheet before handling.
- The reason for adding 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to your dough is to prevent your cookies from shrinking or spreading during baking.
- If making slice-and-bake cookies, split dough in half, roll into logs, wrap tightly in cling wrap or parchment paper, and refrigerate before slicing and baking.