Recently a local tea shop offered a matcha green tea tasting. Being a lover of all things tea, I attended and brought along hubby so we could experiment together. We learned that he is not a big fan of matcha, being a coffee aficionado. But I left with the inspiration to bake with the green tea powder. The challenge was to make it palatable for hubby, so I found a matcha cookie recipe and used a matcha / cocoa blend to appeal to his taste for chocolate. The result was a light, not too sweet cookie that we both enjoyed.
To veganize the recipe I replaced the butter with vegan margarine. My high altitude adjustment was to introduce a little non-dairy milk to counteract the dryness. You may think that adding tea to a recipe would make the cookie gritty, but matcha is powdered, not ground. If you find that your matcha is a little chunky, then sift it before measuring out the amount. These cookies are an eye catching green, but I couldn’t resist getting artistic and drizzling them with chocolate.
Cocoa Matcha Shortbread based on Matcha Green Tea Shortbread Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBS matcha with cocoa powder blend
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 cup vegan margarine, at room temperature
1⁄2 cup organic powdered sugar
2 tsp non-dairy milk
chocolate chips, for garnish
Sift flour, matcha, and salt into a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat margarine and powdered sugar until fluffy. Add non-dairy milk and beat again. Add flour mixture to mixer bowl and mix slowly until dough just comes together. Form dough into a log that is 2” in diameter. Wrap dough log in parchment paper and place in freezer for 30 minutes or until dough has firmed to the touch.
Preheat oven to 325F. Slice dough into 1/4” rounds and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, 1” apart. Alternatively, take dough from freezer, pinch off round balls, place on cookie sheet, and flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes (or until cookies are just starting to turn golden around the edges), turning pan halfway through baking time. Remove cookies immediately from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler on the stove. Decorate cookies with melted chocolate. Store in an airtight container.
Today, December 4, is National Cookie Day. In honor of that glorious day I had to bake cookies. It’s a busy time of year, so to make things simple I found a cookie that bakes in a pan. This eliminates the need to spoon out dough and keep shoving trays into the oven. So hurrah for Cookie Day and easy cookies.
To make the recipe vegan I used vegan sugar and vegan chocolate chips. To adapt for the dryness at altitude I added some milk. The last change I made was to make the cookies a bit healthier by using half all purpose and half whole wheat flour. The trouble was they were so healthy my husband and I finished off most of the pan in one sitting. Maybe not so healthy after all, but oh so good.
Chocolate Chip Shortbread adapted from Earth Balance’s website
1/2 cup Earth Balance® Original Buttery Spread
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp non-dairy milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. In a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer beat together the buttery spread and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and milk. Add in flours and salt. Stir in mini chocolate chips. Press dough into ungreased 9×9” baking pan. Bake for 15-17 minutes until edges are golden brown. Let pan cool. Slide a spatula around the edges and turn cookie out onto a cutting board. Cut cookie into bars or triangles.
I ran across a recipe for shortbread and thought it sounded good, but a tad boring for this chocoholic (you must have realized by now that I have a passion for chocolate). Let’s see… raspberry jam, chocolate, sprinkles… now we’re getting somewhere.
To adapt them to high altitude I added flour. I decided to use a shot glass as a cookie cutter to make a more suitable size for sandwiches. After I concocted a chocolate dip I was set.
These cookies are more labor intensive than the average cookie I bake, but they appealed to my creativity. After I tasted them they appealed to my stomach, too. Sorry, there were none left for the freezing experiment.
Shortbread Cookie Sandwiches adapted from Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson cookie dough
1 cup vegan sugar
1/2 cup vegan margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, softened
2 cups + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder chocolate dipping sauce
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 tsp vegan shortening filling
2 TBS seedless raspberry jam topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a food processor, combine sugar, margarine and cream cheese, and process until smooth and well blended. Add flour and baking powder and pulse until well combined. Do not overmix. Put in a bowl and place in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
Transfer the cookie dough to a flat work surface between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to 1/2″ thick. Using a shot glass, cut the cookies and put them on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden, for about 12 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheets then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Place the chocolate chips and shortening in a small saucepan on low heat. When melted, stir and remove from stove. Take a cooled cookie and place a small amount of jam on the underside. Top with another cookie to form a sandwich. Dip half of the sandwich in the chocolate sauce, decorate with sprinkles, and place on a sheet of waxed paper to set.
You can leave some cookies un-dipped or un-sandwiched or un-sprinkled. Or you can fully dip them and coat them with sprinkles. Let your imagination run free. They will all be delicious.
I hereby declare that March is National Vegan Cookie Month. I just made that up, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?
My plan is to spend March making cookies. That’s a whole bunch of cookies, so I may freeze some. I’ve never had to worry about freezing cookies before as they don’t last that long in my house. But, that will be a new twist on my experiment. I will adapt recipes for high altitude and vegan (if needed) and then freeze them and see how they come out. If I have any left over. Uh, not likely.
The recipes start with the deadly Chocolate Mint Cookies with crushed candy canes from a mystery (with recipes) called Candy Cane Murder. Then we move on to shortbread cookies that I will dress up by dipping and sandwiching with jam. Next are Peanut Butter Agave Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. (Viva la invasion). Our final delicious tryout is a classic – Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
I drool as I think of the fun and aromatic baking to come. Do you have a cookie recipe that you would like to see me adapt to be vegan and high altitude? Let me know and it may become part of the celebration of National Vegan Cookie Month.