What is matcha? Matcha is finely milled green tea powder — the staple ingredient upon which traditional Japanese tea ceremonies were built in the 12th century. I was fortunate to attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony during a business trip to Tokyo in the mid-1990s.
I learned that at the root of the tea ceremony is the notion of mindfulness and that every encounter in life is unique and can never be reproduced. While drinking the matcha tea we were taught that each particular life experience, including the tea ceremony, can never be replicated and should thus be treasured.
The matcha we know today is essentially processed green tea leaves that have been stone-ground into a delicate powder. Uses include hot tea, cold tea drinks and green tea lattes. My favorite use of matcha is to bake with it although matcha is little bit more expensive than other teas.
These light green matcha sugar cookies are not only tasty but also look inviting when served to family and friends. Enjoy them with a cup of tea and treasure the experience.
½ cup plus ¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons matcha powder
2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)
½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
1½ tablespoons honey
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons lemon zest (grated fine)
3 ounces white chocolate (chop course)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon of the matcha powder in a small bowl. Reserve this mixture to toss cookies in.
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons matcha in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed beat all of the butter, brown sugar, honey, and remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg, egg yolk, and lemon zest and mix until very pale, about 4 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to low and, with motor running, add flour mixture. Mix until no dry spots remain. Mix in white chocolate using a rubber spatula. Make a 2½ -inch thick log with the cookie dough. Wrap log in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Cut cookies into ½-inch rounds. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until bottoms and edges are barely golden and cooked (top will no longer look wet), for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove cookies from oven and gently toss cookies in reserved matcha/sugar mixture and place on wire racks to cool.