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Green Tea Shortbread Leaves

Chinese green tea, which is sold as a powder, gives buttery shortbread a mild, somewhat exotic flavor, as well as a delicate tint. If using Japanese green tea, grind it first in a spice grinder.

  • Yield: Makes 3 dozen
Green Tea Shortbread Leaves

Source: Holiday Cookies 2001, Special Issue 2001


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese green-tea powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, or granulated sugar


  1. Sift flour, tea powder, and salt into a small bowl; set aside. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar; continue to beat until very light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add flour mixture; combine on low, scraping sides of bowl with a spatula if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers.

  2. Place a piece of parchment on a clean surface; dust with flour. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness; chill in refrigerator or freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Cut chilled dough with 2-inch leaf cutters. Using a wide spatula, transfer to baking sheets. Chill until firm. Gather scraps together, re-roll, chill, and cut shapes. Bake until firm and barely starting to color, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool completely on wire rack; store in an airtight container for up to 3 to 4 weeks.

Reviews (20)

  • lizzie424 15 Mar, 2013

    The green tea you want to use is Japanese matcha powder (also used in tea ceremony) available at a Japanese (some Asian) grocery store. I'd add a little more powder as another reviewer did because the flavor is delicate.

  • anlucacel 16 Dec, 2011

    *Read my below comment first* - I only baked these 10min and smoke came from my oven! They ended up being good but I would watch them VERY carefully. Let them cool a little before removing them from the sheet and lift the parchment paper off of the cookie sheet (to unstick it) before scooping off the cookies. Then rack cool them for about 20 min. ***I FOUND IT MUCH EASIER TO ROLL THE DOUGH, CUT OUT MY SHAPES, AND THEN REFRIGERATE THE SHEETS WITH THE SHAPES ON THEM! Unstick them before baking!

  • anlucacel 16 Dec, 2011

    Just made these for a christmas cookie exchange and they turned out so yummy! I doubled this recipe and then used an extra tablespoon of the match green tea b/c I love green tea and they came out a nice deep green! Made little christmas trees instead of leaves and then dipped the edges in white chocolate (for snow). A word of advice...make sure to cut the cookie pretty thick. My thinner cookies immediately fell apart (and they weren't too thin to begin with). ...continued on next thread

  • Principessa811 17 Jan, 2011

    I just made these delectable cookies. They are so easy to make and turned out beautifully. I used cookie cutters to cut them into different shapes and they were light, flaky, buttery with just the right amount of green tea flavor. Great for tea parties!

  • Jalila08 21 Dec, 2010

    @Anezh (or whoever else has this question): Absolutely do not skip the chilling! You also have to make sure that the dough doesn't get too cold, because it will shatter. But if you do not chill at all, it will be nearly impossible to roll out. Finicky dough, but well worth the effort.

  • Shimmer 18 Jul, 2010

    A great place to buy leaf-shaped cookie cutter is a website called Fancy Flours. They have about any cookie cutter shape ever made.
    To buy macha, we go to a local Japanese grocery story, not generic Asian. They always have it in stock.

  • Anezh 15 Jul, 2010

    Is it okay if I don't chill it? My fridge is broken right now.

  • TheDailyCookie 14 Jul, 2010

    @ijustlovemyapron, where does one buy matcha green tea powder? I haven't noticed it in the grocery store. Would it be with the tea, in the baking section, or health food or specialty store...? Thanks.

  • Toni-Maree 2 Mar, 2010

    Where do I buy the leaf shapes? Cannot find on MS site! thnx Toni-Maree

  • cuznvin 3 Jan, 2010

    Vegetarians dont always eat butter!

  • ijustlovemyapron 12 Nov, 2009

    I agree that matcha green tea tastes more delicate than regular green tea. I'm searching for a good green tea shortbread/cookie recipe. I'll have to try this one. Just one quick question, I heard that we shouldn't use table salt because it tastes no good, but I saw this recipe has table salt. I'm wondering if it makes any difference in terms of flavor. Can anyone help?

  • enjoliewoman51 18 Mar, 2009

    I thought it was a FAB recipe. I made it with Matcha which worked beautifully. I used a clover cut out. I would have added a bit more macha as I didn't really taste the lovely flavor of green tea. I also didn't chill the dough and it worked perfectly. The kids and adults loved it!

  • Okinawa_Otter 15 Mar, 2009

    just adding my two yen's worth - I agree that maybe this should have said Japanese green tea. matcha is VERY common over here - that's what they use for their tea ceremony :) I know someone else already said that - I just wanted to use the phrase "two yen's worth" :)

  • EibhlinBean 15 Mar, 2009

    I have made cookies with tea before and simply used tea from teabags (grind with a mortar and pestle if necessary)--it worked well. Try chai sometime in a cookie!

  • cgarnell 15 Mar, 2009

    I feel that the recipe meant to say Japanese Green tea.It is common to bake with Japanese pwdered green tea. The internet is perfect for ordering this type of product instead of driving around. Just type green tea japanese grocer in a search bar and save yourself the driving around.

  • tiffanyburns 26 Jan, 2009

    I went to 3 Asian grocery stores and could not find powdered green tea. I ended up grinding gunpowder green and sifted it to remove bigger pieces. I used the leaf cookie cutters from Williams Sonoma and they turned out beautifully. These have a nice mild flavor and will go great with our Chinese New Year Party tonight!

  • jemetha 26 Jun, 2008

    Japanese green tea comes is readily available in powdered form, usually called matcha ("green tea" in Japanese), which is used in the Japanese tea ceremony.

  • pastrymama 20 Feb, 2008

    These shortbread cookies are really good. Especially if you like the flavor of green tea. They are also very pretty.

  • steph 28 Jan, 2008

    These are really yummy. They were easy to make and I can serve them to vegetarian friends.

  • earlstjohn88 4 Dec, 2007

    this is great something unique to the taste

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