Since the new school year began in April, I have been joining my school’s cooking club after school on Wednesday afternoons. Their favorite dishes to cook are sweets and spaghetti. In preparation for School Festival they were baking cookies almost every week. I am looking forward to trying some new recipes with the club soon. However, summer vacation starts next week, so cooking club will probably be on break until late August.
One cookie recipe that we tried that I really liked was “Matcha Balls.” The cookies remind me of Mexican wedding cookies, but less sweet, and with matcha and almonds instead of cinnamon and pecans. They have a lovely pale green color, which contrasts nicely with a dusting of powdered sugar. The recipe is really small so that you can fit the whole batch in a tiny Japanese oven, which is just slightly larger than a toaster oven, but with two shelves instead of just one. Following the original recipe, the cookies weren’t very sweet, so I increased the amount of sugar from 20 grams to 30 grams (that’s just shy of a quarter cup). If you have an American-sized oven, you could probably comfortably double or even triple this recipe. One note, make sure to bake the cookies for the full 20 minutes. Although they shouldn’t brown at all, they should be dry all the way through. If they are undercooked the texture will be a bit pasty in the center.
The recipe calls for hakurikiko, or weak flour that is available in Japan. This is probably similar to cake flour in the US. The cooking club actually uses all-purpose flour and the cookies are fine that way too. The cooking club also tried a version that omits the almond dice, and those are delicious as well.
makes about 20 small cookies
Adapted from いつでもクッキー、どこでもクッキー
60 grams butter, softened at room temperature
30 grams powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon matcha
90 grams hakurikiko (low-protein flour, weak flour), sifted
30 grams almond dice (or chopped almonds)
additional powdered sugar for sprinkling
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 160° C (320° F).
In a bowl, mix butter and sugar with a whisk. Use a small strainer to sift the matcha into the mixture. Mix until the matcha is evenly distributed.
Stir in the almond dice. Then stir in the flour. Use a rubber spatula to gather the dough together.
Roll the dough into 2 centimeter balls. Place the balls on the baking sheet about 1 to 2 centimeters apart.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven and cool.
When cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar.