Matcha Tea Cookies
These buttery matcha sugar cookies are just the treat to enjoy with afternoon tea. They have toasted pine nuts in them for a bit more texture and some nuttiness as well. The original recipe calls for adding white chocolate chunks to the cookie dough but I opted for dipping some of mine into white chocolate ganache and making the rest into sandwich cookies filled with the white chocolate ganache. In hindsight I think there is definitely room for the chocolate chunks in the dough and also melted into a ganache for dipping or filling the cookies with.
This recipe comes to us via Kim Thúy’s most recent book Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen. I was offered a choice of cookbooks to review and cook from and I chose this one which was then sent to me by Penguin Random House. I made an excellent choice as the recipes in this lovely book are very simple to make with clear directions to follow. I chose this book hoping that would be the case. One thing my husband and I can always agree on is our love for Vietnamese food. That is one cuisine along with Mexican that we constantly missed having while we lived in the Caribbean. I always had this idea that Vietnamese recipes were too complex to make at home with way too many ingredients that I couldnt locate in Trinidad, and to fuss over and find substitutions for them would just be too much work. This book kind of demystified a lot of things about Vietnamese cooking and if I had this book while living there I definitively could have enjoyed Vietnamese cuisine at home.
My first experience with Vietnamese cuisine was when I first moved to Toronto from Hamilton about 15 years ago. On Sunday afternoons a group of us would go to a tiny little spot on Gerard street east called Mi Mi and I would order the same thing every time I went. A large bowl of Bún - a large bowl of vermicelli noodles, julienned fresh veggies, sprouts, stir fried shredded pork and crispy spring rolls with a delicious sauce to dip the spring rolls in and to drizzle over my noodles. I still order the same thing from the Vietnamese place me and hubby order out of once a week here in Hamilton. It’s one thing I never tire of and always feel up for. I think it’s all the fresh veggies and herbs and the combination of flavours with the flavourful pork and that delish sweet tangy fish sauce. Guess what? Now I can make it at home - sauce included plus many other delicious Vietnamese dishes that I cannot wait to make and enjoy!
Let’s talk about the book. If you didn’t know Kim Thúy is an award winning writer, you would after reading this cookbook. She is a natural storyteller. She shares anecdotes about her family growing up and short stories describing the woman in her life that had a great culinary influence and otherwise on her. She shares sweet short stories from her previous writing which were a joy to read especially the one of the woman day laborer. Clearly I need to pick up her other books. The book itself is split up into chapters by family member. In South Vietnam ones identify themselves by the number that represents their birth order in the family and that is how the chapters in her book are titled by the number that represents that particular family member. In this book Kim features the woman in her life which she calls her Many Mothers. From the very basics of Vietnamese cooking to soups, bowls and stir- fries, to vegetables, grilled and fried things, slow cooked food and desserts, you get a very well rounded taste of Vietnamese cooking and flavours.
I was extremely happy with the photography. The fresh flavours herbs and ingredients in Vietnamese cooking stand out as important features for me and that is why I was drawn to the photography. The beautiful shots of these fresh ingredients, and the Vietnamese street scenes and market scenes really give you a sense of the flavours. The colours in the photography really draw you in. There’s nothing curated here - it’s all effortless with beautiful stills and street photography which include the feeling of motion - which I absolutely love. I have a ton of recipes bookmarked including the dressed vermicelli bowls I mentioned and a few of the soups, the tamarind crab, eggplant pork and shrimp, caramel pork, ground pork meatballs in rice paper rolls, lemongrass beef stew and the caramel flan just to name a few.
Another thing I loved about reading this cookbook is how familiar I was with a lot of the fruits and veggies she mentioned. Living in the Caribbean exposed me to plenty of the same tropical fruits and veggies and that made me a bit nostalgic for Caribbean life - (this whole week I have been feeling nostalgic for some reason)- the cuisine is not really similar but some of the raw ingredients are. Is there anything better than the scent of a guava tree or what about the vibrancy of a shiny Pomerac or love Apples as they are called in the book. Anything sweeter and more delicious than a scoop of soursop ice cream? Just a few of the fruits mentioned in the book that had me nostalgic for the Caribbean. These cookies are a sampling of the book and one of the recipes we were encouraged to share. If you love matcha tea like I do you will love them cookies!! Enjoy!
Natalie’s Matcha Tea Cookies by Kim Thúy
Makes about 48 cookies
Prep time: 20 minutes + 2 hours resting
Cook time: 9 to 12 minutes
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp (5 g) baking powder
- ½ tsp (2 g) baking soda
- 2 Tbsp (6 g) matcha tea powder
- ⅔ cup (150 g) salted butter, softened
- 1 cup (220 g) brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup (70 g) toasted pine nuts
- 7 oz (200 g) white chocolate, chopped
- Wax paper or plastic wrap
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and matcha tea powder together. Set aside.
- Cream the butter using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.
- Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and beat to combine.
- Mix in theflour mixture in three batches, beating well after each addition.
- Add the pine nuts andchocolate and stir just to incorporate.
- Divide the dough into four portions and set eachportion on a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap.
- Shape the dough into 2-inch (5 cm) diameter rolls. Wrap well in the wax paper or plastic wrap, twisting both ends to seal shut.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
- Slice each roll into 10 to 12 cookies. Place the cookies on parchment paper–lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, depending on whether you like a softer cookie or a crisper one.
White Chocolate Ganache
- 8 ounces white chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- Pour milk in a saucepan and warm it up over medium heat so it’s hot but not boiling. Then remove it from the heat.
- In a mixing bowl put chocolate chips and powdered sugar, and pour over the hot milk.
- Using a whisk or a spatula, mix it together until smooth consistency.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit on a counter for a couple of hours
- To assemble cookies, scoop a tablespoon of chocolate ganache on a flat side of a cookie and sandwich with the other cookie.
- Or you can dip or drizzle the cookies with ganache and sprinkle some sesame seeds on the glazed parts for extra garnish and crunch. Allow the ganache to set before serving