Naturally green Matcha Almond Shortbread Trees are buttery and delicately flavored with green tea. They’re finished with a dark chocolate drizzle and a pinch of coarse sea salt.
Shortbread – what’s not to love? It might be my favorite cookie of all time. The ingredients are so few, with butter being the star ingredient. Here it shares the spotlight with matcha green tea. If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, then you know I was an earlier adopter/enthusiast of using matcha green tea in baked goods. It’s so beautiful, and the flavor pairs well with almond. I discovered this back in 2009, with my favorite Matcha-Almond Genoise Layer Cake.
Matcha + Almond = ♥.
This recipe is a riff on my favorite shortbread formula, which is from the Sprinkle Bakes book. A little of the AP flour is replaced with almond flour. Whip up this un-sticky naturally green dough until just combined. If you overwork the dough the cookies will be cardboard tough. Your restraint will be rewarded with tender, crumbly goodness.
Roll the dough to the desired thickness. I rolled these cookies (pictured below) a little thinner than 1/2 inch. However, I also rolled some at 1/4 inch thickness, and they were wonderfully crumbly and so buttery tasting. There’s room for both in my cookie jar.
Chill those trees! Shortbread will inevitably relax a little in the oven, but if you freeze the shapes first the edges will stay sharp.
They come out of the oven looking almost the same as they went in. Except – the edges are ever-so-slightly golden. I am truly impressed by color and flavor imparted by the Suncore Foods matcha I recently tried for the first time. You can find it here for purchase.
The flavor of these cookies are a little grown up. But altogether, the delicate green tea, dark chocolate, and sea salt create a nice balance of flavor.
A kiss of salt.
After the cookies are drizzled, sprinkled, and set, turn them over and tap off the excess salt. Nobody wants an over-salted cookie. But be careful! These cookies are require gentle handling. The almond flour in the recipe makes the texture of these cookies even shorter, which gives them a tender, delicate crumb.
These Matcha Almond Shortbread Trees are so beautifully flavored and perfect for the gourmand or tea connoisseur in your life! I’ve formulated the recipe to impart delicate green tea flavor. Because, I’ve often tried recipes that use too much which can make confections too bitter. Along with the dark chocolate and sea salt garnishes, this cookie is a real treat!
Matcha-Almond Shortbread Trees
Matcha almond shortbread
- 2 cups unsalted butter softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons matcha tea powder sifted
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or semisweet chips melted
- 1 teaspoon coarse grey sea salt or other coarse sea salt
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the sifted matcha tea powder. Mix again until well dispersed. Scrape down the bowl and mix again.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, and salt. Add half of the flour to the creamed mixture and mix until a dough forms. Add the remaining flour and mix again on low speed until a stiff dough forms.
Gather the dough together with your hands and place on a lightly floured surface. Divide into two pieces. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each piece of dough until flattened to the desired thickness (slightly less than 1/2 inch for thick soft cookies, 1/4 inch for thin, crisper cookies with browned edges).
Wrap the dough pieces in plastic film and place on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. The dough will firm quickly because of the high butter content.
Remove dough from the refrigerator, unwrap and cut shapes from the dough. Transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheets and freeze the shapes on the cookie sheets for at least 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake until lightly golden around the edges: 7-10 minutes for small cookies, 12-15 minutes for medium cookies, 17-20 minutes for large or thick cookies.
When cookies are lightly golden around the edges and fragrant, remove them from the oven and let cool on the pans completely. These are tender cookies, and they will break if you try to move them while still hot.
Place the melted dark chocolate in a piping bag and cut a small opening in the tip. Pipe the chocolate onto the cooled cookies still on the parchment paper in the pans. Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of coarse salt. Let stand until the chocolate sets, about 10 minutes, or refrigerate them to speed setting.
Remove the cookies from the pans and tap off excess salt – do this gently, as these cookies are delicate. Place cookies in an airtight container, or plate them and cover with plastic wrap.
Be sure to sift the matcha tea powder before using. It can have a little static cling sometimes, and it will clump and ball together.
You may not use the entire teaspoon of coarse salt as called for. Grey coarse sea salt (I like Celtic Sea Salt) has a mixture of large and small granules, which is nice on these cookies. Use the salt sparingly, and tap off the excess. To gauge your taste for the salt, test a pinch of salt on a cookie. Add more or less to taste for the remaining cookies.