Before I bake, I always scour the internet to make sure I am making the best version of a recipe possible. I’m that way about most things, though. I look at every “best of” list I can find before picking a book. I have fallen down an Amazon black hole looking for the best-value baking sheets (Okay, this happens pretty much every time I buy something on Amazon). And this scene from the first season of Master of None was a little too close for comfort.
Two years ago, I got this idea in my head: I want to make matcha-flavored cookies. I started my search and had a bit of a Goldilocks situation. I found tons of shortbread recipes, but that isn’t what I wanted. Shortbread is great and all, but if I’m being completely honest, I rarely crave a shortbread cookie. No, I wanted a soft, chewy cookie. One that tastes like the kind you could buy at the grocery store, but don’t because you know you could just bake some (but then buy anyway because you want them now.)
The other issue is that I just don’t like white chocolate. I find it unbearably sweet. Even when I was a child and could handle the most sugary of desserts, white chocolate was just too much for me. But every soft, chewy matcha cookie I could find had white chocolate in it. WHY.
Anyway, I gave up pursuit and completely forgot about it until I was reading through Stella Park’s new book, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts. In her snickerdoodles recipe, she provides some variations you can experiment with in the sugaring phase—adding matcha being one of them. Genius! I thought.
Then I remembered my matcha cookie dream. The snickerdoodle texture was exactly what I had been imagining. Instead adding it to the sugar, I decided to put it in the cookie base. And to add some crunch to the outside, I decided to coat them in sugar and black sesame seeds (Bonus: it happens to just look really cool).
Side note: If you’re wondering how great BraveTart is, it is quite honestly one of my favorite baking books in recent years. The thoroughly-researched histories she provides are just so entertaining and the recipes are classic, but with unexpected twists.
MATCHA COOKIES with BLACK SESAME
Note: You can really play with the flavor profile for these cookies. When I originally made these, I added some lemon extract to the mix, but I think these would also taste AMAZING with almond extract. These cookies would also make great sandwich cookies. Maybe a lemon curd or buttercream? Or plain vanilla or almond buttercream? Or, if you’re feeling extra adventurous: passion fruit cream! (That last one was my sister’s suggestion)
Adapted from BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks
Yield: About 26 small cookies (using 1 tbs. scoop) or 13 big cookies (using 3 tbs. scoop)
Active Time: Around 30 minutes
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup refined or virgin coconut oil
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons matcha powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (See note)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 granulated sugar
- Optional: 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (or try a mix of black and white sesame seeds!)
- Set oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Whisk flour in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine butter, coconut oil, sugar, salt, baking powder, matcha powder, vanilla extract, and lemon extract in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low to moisten ingredients. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape bowl after mixing. Or, halfway through beating if your stand mixer, like mine, thinks the bottom ingredients don’t need to be incorporated too.
- With the mixer running, add the egg and continue beating until smooth.
- Reduce speed to low and add the flour. Mix to form a stiff dough.
- Using a cookie scoop (or your best eyeballing skills), divide the dough into 26 (1 tbs.) or 13 (3 tbs.) portions.
- Mix sugar and sesame seeds, if using, in a small bowl. Roll each dough ball in the sugar mixture until fully coated.
- Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 1/2 inches apart. Flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. Now get those cookies in the oven!
- Bake until the cookies begin to spread, about 6 minutes. Rotate baking sheet and reduce oven temperature to 350°F. For small cookies, bake for another 5 minutes. For large cookies, bake for another 7 minutes. The edges should be firm, but still puffy in the middle.
- Cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes.
- Enjoy! The cookies should last up to 2 days in an airtight container.