Chinese new year, for me, has always been about my late grandmother’s pineapple tarts.
The buttery cookies topped with sweet home-made pineapple jam are so firmly connected with the holiday that all other cookies simply cease to exist whenever the lunar new year rolls around.
As much as I love them, I don’t quite have the equipment at hand to make them this year, alas. One must still celebrate, nonetheless. So, in a pinch, I whipped together a batch of buttery shortbread cookies flavored with green tea powder I’d picked up in Singapore and had never used in baking before.
The result? A delicious springtime treat that I may just have to include in my new year cookie rotation in years to come…
First off, this isn’t my recipe. In my recent writing hibernation, there hasn’t been much time to cook up new inventions in my little kitchen. (I did, however, find the time to share my mother and Auntie Alice’s recipe for chap chye, a lucky lunar new year stir fry, in the New York Daily News food section.)
While perusing Twitter late one night for ideas, I came upon a little gem from a blogger in Colorado. This doesn’t require many ingredients and once you have them, the process is super easy. Within a very short time, the sous chef and I were inhaling these green tea butter cookies — cut into festive spring flowers — and thinking, “Pineapple what?” (I kid — about the last bit, anyhow.)
So in the spirit of sharing this season, I give you this recipe for green tea cookies — the color of which turns out to be perfect for the Dragon year ahead.
Here’s wishing you and yours prosperity, health, happiness and good luck in the Year of the Dragon!
Green Tea Butter Cookies
Yield: Approx 25
3/4 cup (2.25 oz) Confectioners sugar
5 oz Unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 3/4 cup (8.5 oz) All-purpose flour
3 Large egg yolks
1.5 TBS Matcha (powdered green tea)
1 cup Granulated sugar (for coating)
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and green tea together in a bowl.
- Add the butter and green tea/sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth and light in color.
- Add the flour and mix until well combined.
- Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms.
- Form the dough into a disk and chill in the refrigerator until firm (about 30 minutes).
- Roll the dough out to ½” thickness.
- Cut the dough with a leaf cookie cutter.
- Toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat.
- Place the sugar-coated cookie on a parchment lined pan. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.
Baker’s Note: You can purchase Matcha (powdered green tea) from Asian grocery stores or specialty tea shops. In NYC try McNulty’s Tea House, Ito-En or you can order baking grade matcha online. The higher quality matcha you use, the brighter green the cookies will be. Store the cookies in a tin or other container that blocks out sunlight to preserve the color. The green color will fade when exposed to sunlight.