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Sakura Shortbread Cookies/ https:www.hwcmagazine.com
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Sakura Shortbread Cookies

Sakura Shortbread Cookies are rich, tender and buttery sakura shortbread matcha and vanilla cookies shaped like a cherry blossom to celebrate Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing). 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Refrigerator Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 40 mins
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 34 cookies
Calories: 67kcal
Author: HWC Magazine


  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
    (icing sugar)
  • 1 cup flour all purpose and a little extra for rolling out the dough
  • ¾ cup butter
    (1 and ½ sticks) softened and unsalted
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    (add only if making vanilla shortbread cookies do not add to match shortbread cookies)
  • 2.5 tablespoon matcha (green tea) (Do not add if making vanilla shortbread cookies)
  • sesame seeds optional (Can use black or white and they can either be mixed into the vanilla dough or used on top as a cookie garnish)


  • Sift cornstarch, icing sugar, flour and salt into a bowl.
  • Matcha Shortbread Cookies :Add the 2.5 tablespoons matcha green tea now and sift into the mixture. Do not add matcha if you want to make vanilla shortbread cookies.
  • Vanilla Shortbread Cookies: Add the 1 teaspoon of vanilla after you have completed the sifting. Do not add if you want to make matcha shortbread cookies.
  • Place either your matcha green tea or vanilla flour mixture into a food processor and add the softened butter. You do not want you butter melted but just at room temperature, if you forget to soften your butter you can put it in the microwave at 50 percent power for 10 second intervals until softened and you can put a dent easily with your finger). Optional: If you want to add sesame seeds directly to vanilla shortbread cookie dough, you can add one tablespoon of either black or white sesame seeds at this time. Pulse together gently until a dough ball forms. Alternatively you can process your dough with your hands or a spoon.
  • Shape your dough into a round disk if planning on making cut out cookies and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Do not overwork the dough or it will make your cookies tough. The less touching the dough the better. If you want to just cut slices out of your dough form your dough into a log about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide and wrap tightly and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. (Refrigeration is a very important step)
  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F or 150 degrees C. Take your dough out of the refrigerator and remove plastic wrap.
  • a) If you are planning on just slicing the cookies from the log then cut into about ¼ inch thick slices and place on a greased baking sheet or one lined with waxed/parchment paper about a couple of inches apart. Your cookies should not expand. Really you can shape the dough in any form you like. My mom used to press the dough into a plastic lined baking dish and refrigerate and then cut them into rectangles and then decorate with fork holes before baking.
  • b) If you are planning on making cutout shortbread cookies with sakura flower cookie cutters, remove the plastic wrap from the circle dough and allow to soften slightly before trying to roll out the dough.
  • Generously flour your work service. Roll out your dough so that dough is about ¼ inch thick. The little bit thicker dough results in a lovely cookie. Flour your cookie cutters and firmly press into dough and repeat the process for the rest of the dough. I used a spatula to move the cookies from my counter to the parchment line or greased pan. Repeat the process for the rest of the dough. Sometimes the dough will be soft so just wrap it back up into a ball and cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for a few minutes until it firms up again, roll flat and repeat the process.
  • Decorate the cookies with sesame seeds or sugar confetti as desired. Press the sesame seeds down into the dough so they stick. If you want to ornately decorate the side of the cookies with sprinkles then first brush on a little egg white and then dip into sprinkles. (For an extra layer of security to make sure that my cookies did not expand I put the cookies on the cookies tray in the refrigerator for just a few minutes before baking. You probably can skip this step.)
  • Bake sakura shortbread cookies for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly tan.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Decorate cookies with royal icing, sprinkles, and decorations as desired.
  • Enjoy Sakura Shortbread cookies with a nice hot cup of matcha, tea or coffee. Store your cookies in a plastic sealed container and if for some reason your family does not eat them within 3 days put them in the freezer and they can be stored up to 3 months.


Just some hints while you are working with shortbread cookie dough.
You must use real butter and you cannot under any circumstances substitute with margarine or some of those other fake butters out there as your results will not be optimal.
You have to refrigerate your dough for at least a few hours or even overnight. I know it seems pointless as you first make the dough and it is nice and soft and supple so why would you want to refrigerate it and get it hard and then have to get it back out of the refrigerator and let it sit for a few minutes before working the dough. It is all to do with the glutens in the dough and you can miss this very important step as if you do your cookies will not stay in the orginal shape you formed but will end up like a big blob on the cookie sheet.
Shortbread cookies unlike regular sugar cookies will remain beautiful straw color and will not brown so this is an excellent medium for matcha cookies so you can show off the gorgeous green color without browning.
When working with your shortbread cookie dough, it is best to use a scale for weighing your measurements but you can also use cups and teaspoons but your effects may vary. I have included both for your convenience.
If your dough is really crumbly, you can salvage it by adding just a couple of drops of cold water and work into the dough. If your dough is too wet, then add flour as needed just until the dough starts to pull together.
Sometimes, depending on your climate and humidity levels you will have to adjust.
You can choose to just form your dough into logs, wrap tightly and put in the refrigerator for a few hours and them cut them and bake.
However, if you choose to roll out your dough and use cut outs you need to work quickly. Sometimes you may need to refrigerate your dough in between batches so the dough is easier to work.
In addition, I found putting the cut out cookies back into the refrigerator for just 15 minutes before baking ensures that the dough stays uniform in size.
If you want to add colorful sprinkles to your cut out sakura cookies, use a little beaten egg white brushed on your cookie before you bake and then dip into sprinkles and then bake.
If you want to add sesame seeds to your dough your can either mix 1 -2 tablespoons of black or white directly into the dough and mix or you can put sesame seeds on top of your cookies right before you bake them but just use a little pressure so they stick on the cookie.
Matcha (green Tea) should be used according to the directions as in high concentrations it can be bitter. A little goes a long way. However, with just enough there is a subtle matcha taste that balances nicely with the powdered sugar. You can obtain matcha from your Asian or Japanese market. In some places it may be difficult to come by and that is why the vanilla shortbread cookies are a nice option instead.
If you want to use Dr. Oetker daisy flower wafers then you add these after the cookies are baked and cool and use a little royal icing as glue. Here is my link to royal icing if you choose to drizzle your cookies with a little color or glaze.
Wilton's cake decorating supplies now has all the beautiful pastel colors out such as light yellow, green and pink to make all of your cookies look festive for the spring season. Beautiful cookie cutters, sprinkles and anything you need to make your sakura shortbread cookies beautiful.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 67kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg