'The true cook is the perfect blend, the only perfect blend, of artist and philosopher. He knows his worth: he holds in his palm the happiness of mankind, the welfare of generations yet unborn.'

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Matcha green tea biscuits (and a latte)

Matcha craze

For the British people, tea is the tipple to turn to in times of crisis. Not that I've been experiencing any crisis personally, but there's definitely something hovering in the air this week as so much of the east coast of America is being affected by the Frankenstorm Sandy. Ohio state barely escaped from a direct onslaught by the storm, nevertheless the weather turned icy cold in the past few days and and has been unpleasantly damp, grey and depressing. I'm sure the sudden change in weather has got something to do with the hurricane that is wreaking so many people's lives right now. My thoughts are with those families out there whose lives are being turned upside down by this calamity.

Maybe I'm deluding myself, but I feel like it's because of the depressing weather that I got myself into a green tea craze lately. I revisited my green tea butter cake, made lots of green tea biscuits, and am sipping a cup of green tea latte right now as I'm writing at 2am. It's really comforting - I just hope that I will be able to fall asleep tonight!

The green tea biscuits that I make are the kind that you'd want to nibble on quietly with a cup of tea or whenever you want. They're not the kind of moreish baked goods that you want to stuff into your mouth until your stomach explodes, but they have a quiet presence and a pure taste of tea that lingers on your tongue subtly.


Green tea biscuits

Again, I refrain from calling them green tea cookies because they're not loaded with 'bits' and the texture is not chewy enough to qualify as American-style cookies. I like to use vegetable shortening so that there's no butter to interfere with the taste of matcha. Use butter by all means if that's your preference. For the same reason, I've substituted milk for egg which is more commonplace in cookie/biscuit recipes - egg tends to dull the flavour of green tea in baked goods. These are a cinch to put together compared to other fancier cookies.

If you like green tea, check out my matcha butter cake too - I just updated the post and added more photos.

115g (1/2 cup) vegetable shortening
75g (5 tbsp) sugar (preferably caster or superfine sugar)
1/4 tsp salt
15g (3 tbsp) matcha powder
50ml (3 tbsp plus 1 tsp) whole milk, at room temperature
180g (1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder with a whisk to combine and loosen the mixture.

2. In a separate large bowl, add the vegetable shortening, sugar, salt, matcha powder and milk (yes, you don't have to sift the matcha powder). Easy right?

Sorry, I did use butter this time. Don't worry about the clump of matcha powder, it'll smooth out during the creaming process.
3. Starting on slow speed, mix everything together until it turns a homogeneous bright green. Increase the speed to medium-high until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

4. Add the flour mixture in a few additions (with a spatula) until you have a cohesive dough.

5. Scrap the dough onto a large sheet of clingfilm/plastic wrap, press down firmly and use the clingfilm to help you form it into a cylinder. Roll on a flat surface to smooth it out.

6. Chill for at least 3 hours till firm. Do take the trouble of re-rolling the dough after 45 minutes or so in the fridge since the bottom would have flattened out and you want to re-roll it to a roundish cylinder before the dough gets too hard.

7. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 150C/300F, and line two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I have an ultra-large baking sheet, so I baked mine on one sheet rather than two.

8. Cut thin slices from the cylinders with a sharp knife and place them 2-3 cm apart on the lined baking sheets. It's up to you how thin you want your biscuits - I cut 0.75cm slices which yielded 24 biscuits.

9. Bake for about 30 minutes until the biscuits are baked through. Rotate the baking sheets top to bottom halfway through baking. The centre should be firm when you touch it, and the edges should turn a light brown in colour. The precise baking time depends on how large and thick your biscuits are.

10. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

P.S. Did you know that you could actually make green tea latte at home? Yes, you don't have to and shouldn't be paying a few bucks/quid for a simple cup of oversweetened green tea latte at Starbucks. Domestic happiness like this is far too important to be left to half-hearted coffee chains.

Scald a cup (250ml) of whole milk in a saucepan till almost boiling. Meanwhile, mix 2 tsp matcha powder with 1 tsp sugar in your favourite mug. When the milk is nice and hot, pour a little of the steaming milk into the mug and stir with a spoon vigorously to make a thickish green paste. Gradually add the rest of the milk and mix with the spoon until you have a nice and warm green tea latte. That's it. Or you can tip everything into a blender and let it do the work for you. One of the nicest drinks on earth, I think.


  1. You mean like a cookie when you say biscuit, right? A biscuit to me means something you can slice in half and do some butter.
    Love the color!

    1. Haha! I meant 'biscuits' in the British sense - kind of like cookies in America. :)

  2. My thoughts are with those families out there whose lives are being turned upside down by this calamity. powder green tea perth

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