Now that we’re officially immersed in all things holiday, it feels like the proper time to test those cookie recipes I’ve been holding on to. I’ve collected several cookie recipes recently but never gotten around to making them for whatever reason, yet I keep adding to it like some bucket list. There’s an oatmeal raisin cookie with olive oil and cashew butter, a rebel of chunky chocolate chip cookie studded with potato chips; there’s one more chocolate chip cookie, it’s salty with some tahini swirled in, I want to try it badly.
I thought about making these matcha cloud cookies back in the summer when a friend gave me packet of matcha during a move. I made note of the expiration date and kept it in the back of the cupboard. In that cupboard, I also unearthed a half-empty tin of custard powder that I hadn’t used in years, I think I used some in these Christmas Custard Cookies – yeah, that’s how long it’d been around.
Hoping to give the matcha a better destiny than my poor custard powder, I started this year’s holiday cookie bake-a-thon with a simple recipe that includes matcha. It’s an adaptation of a popular holiday favourite; the polvorón, the Mexican wedding cookie or Russian tea cake, it has a few other names as well. I try to make a variation of it each year, and I added a sprinkle of matcha this time.
One look at them out of the oven, pale and fluffy-looking, I knew they had to be called matcha cloud cookies. I truly love them, there’s a fine simplicity and delicacy about them that speaks to me. A combination of the subtle flavours of ground almonds, matcha, vanilla and cardamom creates a delightfully airy shortbread cookie. They’re simple, easy to throw together and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or time. Vanilla and cardamom adds a delicious, decadent aroma that is quite exquisite.
If you’re not a fan or unsure of matcha, these cookies would be a good kick off point. The matcha isn’t overpowering, it’s restrained enough to meld into the fold, but there’s that perfect hint in every bite.
The texture notes are nutty, buttery and crumbly. I’m being a tad dramatic but I do feel like these are the epitome of holiday/Christmas cookies, there’s just something festive about them.
Also, this batch makes enough cookies for sharing; we had a couple for breakfast with steamy mugs of hot cocoa and I took about a dozen to a cookie swap, another dozen went off to my friend, the matcha gifting fairy.
- 8oz (1 cup/2 sticks) non-hydrogenated plant-based butter
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (icing/powdered sugar), sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal/flour (or any other type of nut meal)
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder (or 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons for a deeper matcha flavour)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 – 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar + 1/2 teaspoon matcha, mixed (for dusting cookies)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
- Using a stand mixer, a hand mixer or elbow grease, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar (in a large mixing bowl if not using a stand mixer) until light and fluffy
- Add vanilla extract and beat for a few seconds to combine
- Slowly add in flour, almond meal, matcha, cardamom and salt, mix on low speed until just combined, (use a spatula to mix, if not using a stand mixer), then increase speed and gradually mix until flour is mixed in and a dough is formed.
- Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour, or until dough is firm
- Using your hand, shape dough by the tablespoonful into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet, placing them about 1-inch apart
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until tops of cookies are set but before they begin to brown
- Transfer cookies into a cooling rack, and dust with the sugar and matcha mix, using a sifter or fine sieve