Matcha is a finely milled, high-quality green tea common in Japanese culture. Used not only to flavor various foods and beverages, this form of tea is also utilized as a dye because of its rich green color. It is produced by first growing tea plants under the cover of shade. These plants take longer to grow which causes their leaves to turn a darker shade of green. Once the desired point of maturity is reached, the leaves are stripped away and laid flat to dry. They are then de-stemmed, de-vained, and finally, stone ground to produce the powder known as matcha (source).
These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are fashioned after the ever-popular Russian Tea Cakes, also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, Butterballs or Snowball Cookies (source). With the addition of matcha and coconut, these green beauties boast an exciting flavor and various health benefits, and are an excellent St. Patrick’s Day treat.
Due to a high amount of Epigallocatechin gallate (an antioxidant), matcha helps protect against cancer and HIV, and is said to protect against bad breath and assist with weight loss. In addition, matcha is a good source of the amino acid L-theanine, which is said to provide an anti-stress and relaxing effect (source).
Green Tea Coconut Cookies
Yields 24 (1-1/2 inch) cookies
1/2 cup vegan buttery spread
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil (not refined)
2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
1/4 cup + 1/2 cup powdered sugar, divided
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut (optional*)
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Cream together buttery spread, coconut oil, green tea powder and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Add shredded coconut and flour and mix until combined. Mixture will be somewhat crumbly but should stick together.
Roll dough into 24 balls, approximately 1-1/2 inches in size. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or just until set.
Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a wide, shallow dish; set aside.
Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Roll each cookie in powdered sugar and set aside until completely cooled.
* If you prefer to use unsweetened shredded coconut, increase ¼ cup powdered sugar to 1/3 cup and proceed with recipe as directed.