Matcha Almond Shortbread Trees

Naturally green Matcha Almond Shortbread Trees are buttery and delicately flavored with green tea. They’re finished with a dark chocolate drizzle and a pinch of coarse sea salt.

Shortbread – what’s not to love? It might be my favorite cookie of all time. The ingredients are so few, with butter being the star ingredient. Here it shares the spotlight with matcha green tea. If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, then you know I was an earlier adopter/enthusiast of using matcha green tea in baked goods. It’s so beautiful, and the flavor pairs well with almond. I discovered this back in 2009, with my favorite Matcha-Almond Genoise Layer Cake.

Matcha + Almond = ♥.

This recipe is a riff on my favorite shortbread formula, which is from the Sprinkle Bakes book. A little of the AP flour is replaced with almond flour. Whip up this un-sticky naturally green dough until just combined. If you overwork the dough the cookies will be cardboard tough. Your restraint will be rewarded with tender, crumbly goodness.

Roll the dough to the desired thickness. I rolled these cookies (pictured below) a little thinner than 1/2 inch. However, I also rolled some at 1/4 inch thickness, and they were wonderfully crumbly and so buttery tasting. There’s room for both in my cookie jar.

Chill those trees! Shortbread will inevitably relax a little in the oven, but if you freeze the shapes first the edges will stay sharp.

They come out of the oven looking almost the same as they went in. Except – the edges are ever-so-slightly golden. I am truly impressed by color and flavor imparted by the Suncore Foods matcha I recently tried for the first time. You can find it here for purchase.

Matcha Almond Shortbread Trees

The flavor of these cookies are a little grown up. But altogether, the delicate green tea, dark chocolate, and sea salt create a nice balance of flavor.

Matcha Almond Shortbread Trees

A kiss of salt.

After the cookies are drizzled, sprinkled, and set, turn them over and tap off the excess salt. Nobody wants an over-salted cookie. But be careful! These cookies are require gentle handling. The almond flour in the recipe makes the texture of these cookies even shorter, which gives them a tender, delicate crumb.

Matcha Almond Shortbread Trees

These Matcha Almond Shortbread Trees are so beautifully flavored and perfect for the gourmand or tea connoisseur in your life! I’ve formulated the recipe to impart delicate green tea flavor. Because, I’ve often tried recipes that use too much which can make confections too bitter. Along with the dark chocolate and sea salt garnishes, this cookie is a real treat!

Matcha-Almond Shortbread Trees

Heather Baird
Naturally green Matcha Almond Shortbread Trees are buttery and delicately flavored with green tea. They're finished with a dark chocolate drizzle and a pinch of coarse sea salt. I use and recommend Suncore Premium Midori Jade Matcha Supercolor Powder for the most intense green hue. See the blog post for shopping links.
The yield will depend on the size cookie cutter you use and the thickness of the dough. You’ll average about 36 cookies with 3-inch cookies rolled to 1/4 inch thickness. My cookies were larger, at 4 inches and just shy of 1/2 inch thickness. My yield was about 26. Be careful when re-rolling cookie scraps. Don’t overwork the dough or the cookies will be tough instead of delicate and crumbly.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
50 minutes chill time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 36

Ingredients
 
 

Matcha almond shortbread

  • 2 cups unsalted butter softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons matcha tea powder sifted
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract

Toppings

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or semisweet chips melted
  • 1 teaspoon coarse grey sea salt or other coarse sea salt

Instructions
 

Shortbread

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the sifted matcha tea powder. Mix again until well dispersed. Scrape down the bowl and mix again.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, and salt. Add half of the flour to the creamed mixture and mix until a dough forms. Add the almond extract; mix to incorporate. Then, add the remaining flour and mix again on low speed until a stiff dough forms.
  • Gather the dough together with your hands and place on a lightly floured surface. Divide into two pieces. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each piece of dough until flattened to the desired thickness (slightly less than 1/2 inch for thick soft cookies, 1/4 inch for thin, crisper cookies with browned edges).
  • Wrap the dough pieces in plastic film and place on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. The dough will firm quickly because of the high butter content.
  • Remove dough from the refrigerator, unwrap and cut shapes from the dough. Transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheets and freeze the shapes on the cookie sheets for at least 10 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Bake until lightly golden around the edges: 7-10 minutes for small cookies, 12-15 minutes for medium cookies, 17-20 minutes for large or thick cookies.
  • When cookies are lightly golden around the edges and fragrant, remove them from the oven and let cool on the pans completely. These are tender cookies, and they will break if you try to move them while still hot.

Toppings

  • Place the melted dark chocolate in a piping bag and cut a small opening in the tip. Pipe the chocolate onto the cooled cookies still on the parchment paper in the pans. Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of coarse salt. Let stand until the chocolate sets, about 10 minutes, or refrigerate them to speed setting.
  • Remove the cookies from the pans and tap off excess salt – do this gently, as these cookies are delicate. Place cookies in an airtight container, or plate them and cover with plastic wrap.

Notes

What to expect: This shortbread has mild matcha tea flavor. The matcha gives the dough an herby note that underlies the buttery flavor. It’s not overt, or bitter. The almond extract takes the edge off of the matcha’s grassy flavor, but it is mostly undetectable as a flavor. Almond flour makes the shortbread’s texture delicate and crumbly, just as good shortbread should be. 
Be sure to sift the matcha tea powder before using. It can have a little static cling sometimes, and it will clump and ball together.
You may not use the entire teaspoon of coarse salt as called for. Grey coarse sea salt (I like Celtic Sea Salt) has a mixture of large and small granules, which is nice on these cookies. Use the salt sparingly, and tap off the excess. To gauge your taste for the salt, test a pinch of salt on a cookie. Add more or less to taste for the remaining cookies. 
Keyword all purpose flour, almond extract, almond flour, coarse sea salt, dark chocolate drizzle, matcha green tea
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Beverly
Beverly
6 months ago

I’ve been looking for a great sugar cookie with an almond undertone. Could I make these and just leave the matcha powder out or do I need to add back in a couple of tablespoons of flour? Thanks.

Beverly
Beverly
6 months ago
Reply to  Heather Baird

Thanks. Yes, shortbread, not sugar cookie. They sound delicious.

Tatyana
Tatyana
6 months ago

5 stars
👍👍👍👍👍

Allegra
Allegra
6 months ago

I made these with a biscuit/doughnut cutter and called them wreaths, and the inside cutouts make the perfect little two-bite shortbread rounds. Delicious! If I were more talented at chocolate I’d try piping cute decorations but I just did the drizzle. Considered leaving it off for time’s sake but it really does enhance the whole cookie without making it feel like a Chocolate Cookie. Don’t skip a single step, it’s worth it. My dough was very stiff & sticky and I was sure I’d over mixed it, but I think it was just my cold kitchen making the butter stiff.… Read more »