Matcha Crinkle Cookies
Crinkle cookies offer a beautiful contrast of textures and tastes, but these Matcha Crinkle Cookies take the dramatic contrast to the next level with emerald green veins of matcha peeking out through the crisp snow-white crust. The festive color combination makes them the perfect addition to a holiday cookie box, and they’re also a fun holiday baking project to take on with the kids.
Why This Recipe Works?
- Rolling the cookies in granulated sugar before rolling them in powdered sugar gives the cookies a crisp crust that makes for a nice contrast to the soft, chewy interior.
- Because there’s a lot of sugar on the outside of the cookies, I’ve cut back on the amount of sugar in the dough. This makes for a nice contrast between the bittersweet matcha cookie and the sugar crust.
- The flavor and color of the matcha cookies are entirely dependent on the quality and freshness of the matcha you use. I’m using culinary matcha from D-matcha, a small family-run farm in the mountains of Kyoto that grows and processes its own green tea leaves for matcha.
Ingredients for Matcha Crinkle Cookies
- Flour – This recipe just uses ordinary all-purpose flour. It will probably work with other types of flour, such as gluten-free all-purpose, but I haven’t tested it with other flours.
- Matcha – Matcha is made from green tea leaves that have been dried and ground into a very fine powder. Because powdered tea tends to oxidize quickly, it’s essential to use fresh premium matcha to get the best color in the cookies. I get mine from a farm near Kyoto that ships worldwide.
- Baking Powder – Unlike chocolate, matcha is alkaline, so there is no acid in the dough for baking soda to react with to help the cookie rise. That’s why I use baking powder in this recipe, which includes an acid and a base to produce a reaction that helps leaven the dough. This rising action creates the cracks in the surface of crinkle cookies.
- Salt – I like adding a tiny bit of salt to help temper the sweetness. I don’t want my sweets overly salty, so this is much less salt than most cookie recipes will call for. Also, if you’re using salted butter, you’ll want to skip the salt.
- Eggs – Eggs are the primary liquid in the dough, and they also play roles in leavening and setting the dough. I used large eggs, which were about 60 grams (2.1 ounces) each in weight. This is important as the dough will be too firm if your eggs are too small and too loose if your eggs are too large.
- Granulated Sugar – The granulated sugar in this crinkle cookie recipe is used to sweeten the cookie and produce a crisp crust. I usually prefer using evaporated cane sugar in most of my cooking, but it’s important to use white sugar here to preserve the matcha’s vibrant green color.
- Butter – Cookies need fat to make them moist and tender, and I like using butter because it also adds flavor. My recommendation is to use cultured unsalted butter, but if you can’t find it, unsalted sweet butter will work as well. I generally don’t recommend using salted butter because it tends to make the cookies too salty, but if you’re going to use it, be sure you omit the salt in this recipe.
- Powdered Sugar – The powdered sugar (a.k.a. icing sugar) forms the outer layer of the cookie that cracks, revealing the emerald green cookie inside.
How to Make Matcha Cookies
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl to eliminate any clumps of flour or matcha. This ensures your cookies end up uniform in color.
Beat the eggs and sugar together until they’re pale yellow in color. I did this using a stand mixer, but a hand mixer, egg beater, or whisk will also work.
Melt the butter and slowly beat it into the egg mixture until it’s uniform in color.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir them together until the dough is uniform in color and has the consistency of frosting. Use a spatula to scrape down the side of the bowl and be careful not to overmix the dough, or your cookies will end up tough.
The matcha cookie dough needs to chill in the refrigerator to make it firm enough to scoop. This takes a minimum of one hour, but you can also prepare the dough the night before and refrigerate it overnight.
When you’re ready to bake the cookies, line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat and prepare bowls of granulated sugar and powdered sugar for dusting. You’ll also want to set your oven rack to the middle position and preheat it to 320°F (160°C).
Scoop golf-ball-sized balls of matcha crinkle cookie dough into the granulated sugar and roll the balls of dough around to give them a coating of sugar. Once they’re evenly coated, roll the balls between your hands to give them a spherical shape.
Roll the sugared balls of cookie dough in the powdered sugar to give them an even coating, and then transfer them to your prepared cookie sheet. These don’t spread as much as chocolate chip cookies, so you can space them a little closer together, but leave at least two inches of space between each cookie, so they don’t stick together.
Bake the cookies until the surface has cracked and they’re slightly puffy. You want the centers to still be a little undercooked when you take them out of the oven; otherwise, the residual heat will cause them to overcook and get dry. This took about eleven minutes in my oven.
Once the cookies are cooked, remove the pan from the oven and let the Matcha Crinkle Cookies cool for a few minutes in the pan before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. I usually just slide the parchment paper straight onto the cooling rack with the cookies, but you can transfer them one at a time as well.
Other Matcha Recipes
Crinkle cookies are holiday cookies made by coating soft cookie dough with powdered sugar before baking them. As the dough softens, it flattens out, and as it cooks, the leavening puffs up the cookie, which cracks the outer shell. Crinkle cookies are most commonly made with chocolate, but these are made with matcha powder to give them the flavor of green tea and a beautiful emerald green hue.
Matcha Crinkle cookies have a relatively high moisture content, so they should be eaten within a week for the best texture. It’s also worth noting that the green of the matcha oxidizes relatively quickly, so the outer surface of the cookies won’t stay green for more than a few days.
Matcha is made by grinding high-quality green leaves in a specialized stone mill. Spice grinders and blenders will not get the tea leaves ground fine enough. I’ve also tried using a stone mortar and pestle and wasn’t successful in getting the tea ground finely enough.