I’m no gourmet chef, so any recipe involving more than four minutes and a microwave is usually a no-go. It takes something major, like throwing a picnic, for me to really get with the spirit of the endeavor, especially when a recipe involves refrigerating something for an hour or more before you even put it in the oven. Like, pick a temperature, dough! It isn’t that hard!
It takes a real game-changer of a recipe to get me buying ingredients that can’t be eaten on their own, but this cookie recipe from The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket fit the bill. I was initially intrigued by it because it made use of matcha, the grassy-tasting, finely ground type of green tea that we Sporkers love. Plus I’d never tried a shortbread cookie recipe before and anything that had that much butter in it couldn’t be ALL bad. Sure enough, this recipe was delicious, smooth and sweet and melt-in-your-mouth, but the matcha powder also gave them a slightly bitter aftertaste. Plus, best of all, these cookies turned out as green as the illustration in the book and looked awesome on the plate. Impress friends, family, and random strangers with these at your next gathering (just make sure to turn the tube of dough into a worm or dragon like we did before you start slicing and baking).
Chocolate-Dipped Green Tea Shortbread
(Makes 50 cookies)
1⁄2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup rice flour
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon matcha
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1⁄4 cup shelled and peeled pistachios, finely chopped
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, on medium-high speed until pale yellow. Mix together the flours, salt, and matcha in a separate bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar and mix on low speed, or by hand, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Dump the dough onto the center of a sheet of parchment paper (or plastic wrap). Using the parchment paper, pat and roll the dough into a cylinder about 11⁄2 inches in diameter. Roll it up tightly in the paper and twist the ends closed. Refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days before baking, or wrap tightly in plastic and freeze for up to 1 month.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 200°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Unwrap the dough and cut it into 1⁄4-inch rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared cookie sheets at least 1 inch apart and bake until the bottoms look dry and the cookies are slightly crisp, rotating the pans halfway through, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Gently melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or in 30-second increments in a microwave, whisking occasionally, until the chocolate is shiny and smooth.
Dip the cooled cookies about a third of the way into the melted chocolate, then sprinkle each with a generous pinch of pistachios over the wet chocolate. Return the cookies to the parchment paper to cool and harden. Once cooled, layer them between sheets of parchment paper in a portable container. The cookies are freshest when eaten within five days, but even a stale cookie is better than no cookie at all.
Post by Bailey James. Recipe excerpted from The Picnic by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2015. Illustrations by Emily Isabella.