Go Back
+ servings
Sakura shortbread matcha cookies on a pink plate with a side of matcha latte.
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Sakura Shortbread Matcha Cookies

Elevate your teatime with buttery, melt-in-your-mouth Sakura Shortbread Matcha Cookies.  These semi-sweet Japanese butter cookies let the fresh flavor of Matcha (green tea) shine through.  Easy to make, only 6 ingredients, and the cookie dough can be made in advance! 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Refrigerator Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Japanese
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 34 cookies
Calories: 67kcal
Author: HWC Magazine

Equipment

  • mixer or food processor
  • Rolling Pin or wine bottle
  • baking sheets lined with parchment paper or baking liners
  • cherry blossom cookie cutters optional

Ingredients

  • 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 to room temperature and unsalted
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 tablespoon matcha (green tea) We used Fraser Tea Ceremonial Matcha Organic Green Tea.
  • decorating products optional (ie; royal icing, decorators frosting, Edible Sakura wafers, sprinkles, sesame seeds, edible pearls, etc.)

Instructions

Dry Ingredients

  • Sift the dry ingredients; cornstarch, powdered sugar (icing sugar), flour, salt and Matcha (green Tea) into a large bowl and stir to mix. (Hold the salt if you plan on using salted butter in your recipe.)

Wet Ingredients

  • Place the softened butter into the mixer bowl or food processor and mix until light and fluffy. FYI - Do NOT use melted butter! You want your butter to be at room temperature so that when you poke your finger into the butter, it leaves a dent.
    If you forget to soften your butter you can put it in the microwave at 50 percent power for 10 second intervals until just softened and you can put a dent easily with your finger).

Mix Dry Ingredients to Wet Ingredients

  • Add your dry ingredients (cornstarch, powdered sugar (icing sugar), flour, salt and Matcha (green Tea) a little bit at a time into the whipped butter (wet ingredient) and mix well. You can do this with a mixer or with a food processor.
    Please note that your mixture will look like just powder at first but with more mixing it will finally start to pull together and turn a bright green as the butter mixes in with the dry ingredients. It will still look a little crumbly when it is ready.
  • Next, form the matcha shortbread cookie dough into a ball and then into a round disk. Do not overwork the dough or it will make your cookies tough. The less touching the dough the better.
    Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. (We have also made our dough up to 3 days in advance and as long as it is wrapped really good and refrigerated, it will be fine.)
    Alternatively, you can just roll your matcha shortbread dough into a log and wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Then, you can cut into round disks and bake and call it a day.
  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F or 150 degrees C.

Sakura Flower Cut Out Cookies

  • Take your dough out of the refrigerator and remove plastic wrap for at least 15 to 20 minutes or until soft enough to roll out.
    Flour your work service area and rolling pin and roll out your shortbread dough to about ¼ inch thick. If your dough is cracking add a teaspoon of water or so until softerned and then roll out the dough. Alternatively, your dough should not be sticky. If you dough is tacky to touch, add a little bit (1 teaspoon) of flour to the dough and work together and then roll out.
    Lightly dust your cookie cutter and cut out cookies. Place the cookies on a lined baking sheet with parchment paper about 2 inches apart.
    Repeat the process for the rest of the dough. We used a spatula to move the cookies from the counter to the parchment lined pan. Repeat the process for the rest of the dough. Sometimes, the dough will be soft. 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. Then roll flat and repeat the process.

Sliced Round Rolled Cookies (No Cut Out Cookies)

  • If you do not want to bother with making cut out cookies, slice the rolled chilled matcha shortbread cookie log into about ¼ inch thick slices. Place sliced cookies on a lined baking tray about 2 inches inches apart. Your cookies should not expand.
    Really you can shape the dough in any form you like. Sometimes, we 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.

Pre-Baking Decorations

  • Optional decorating hacks! 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, first brush on a little egg white and then dip into sprinkles. Or you can wait and decorate them after baked and cooled or skip decorations all together. It is up to you.
    FYI: To make sure that our cookies did not expand, we put the cookies on the cookie tray in the refrigerator for just a few minutes before baking. You probably can skip this step. They did not expand for us. However, if you are living in a very warm and humid climate, we would advise that you do so.

Bake, Cool and Decorate

  • Bake sakura shortbread matcha cookies for 15-18 minutes or until the edges are slightly tan. The baking time depends on how thick you rolled out your cookies. Start checking on them at the 13 minute mark.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Decorate cookies with royal icing, sprinkles, and decorations as desired.
  • Enjoy Sakura Shortbread cookies with a nice matcha latte, 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.

Video

Notes

Baking Tips
  • For optimal results, use real butter to make the best matcha cookie recipe. If you try to use margarine or some of those other non-dairy butters your results will not be as good. 
  • Using a Ceremonial Grade Matcha Organic Green Tea is preferred for the best tasting and bright green color in the cookies. However, you can also use a culinary grade matcha but your cookies will not be as bright green.  
  • Matcha (green tea) should be used according to the directions. A little goes a long way. However, with just enough there is a subtle matcha taste that balances nicely with the powdered sugar. If you are uncertain of you like matcha, start out with a little less like 1.5 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons instead of 2.5 tablespoons. 
  • It is best to refrigerate your dough for at least a few hours or even overnight. I know it seems absolutely pointless. (You first make the dough and it is nice and soft and supple so why would you want to refrigerate it?)  It is all to do with the glutens in the dough.  Don’t miss this very important step.  If you do, your cookies may spread while baking.  
  • 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. 
  • Eggless butter cookies, unlike regular sugar cookies, will remain beautiful straw color and will not brown. You can show off the gorgeous green color of matcha without browning. 
  • When working with your shortbread cookie dough, it is best to use a scale for weighing.  However, you can also use cups and teaspoons but your effects may vary. I have included both for your convenience. If you do use cups, be sure to level it out with a butter knife.  
  • 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 Japanese cookie 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. 
  • Our cherry blossom cookie cutters are about 2 inches in diameter. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 67kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 41mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg