Can baked goods be multi-cultural? Why yes indeed, they can. Meet my latest Celtic-Japanese cookie creation. What makes them Celtic? Well, they ARE green, and we ARE nearing Saint Patrick's Day. The matcha Green Tea is Japanese and, if you count the pistachios, originally grown in Persia (Iran), then they're the ultimate tri-cultural confection.
This cookie is a variation on the old-fashioned vanilla and chocolate pinwheel cookie that I first learned to make under my Irish grandmother's tutelage. It's essentially a refrigerator sugar cookie (the dough has to be chilled because it's so sticky) that's been around for eons. But since I bought this matcha tea powder, I've been thinking about how to incorporate it into baked goods. My friend Sylvie M. sent me a whole bunch of matcha green tea recipes from France that I plan to try, but today, I decided to give my grandmother's old fashioned cookies a cultural up-date...after all, this is a blog that explores food from around the world.
So, you're wondering about the flavor. Honestly, I can only barely taste the matcha green tea in the cookie, but the powder colors the dough so beautifully, that it doesn't really matter. The flavor is buttery and rich and the crunchy pistachios add both texture and toasted nuttiness. Perhaps next time I'll add a little more tea and see if I can bring the taste up. Until then, however, as I close my eyes and take a nibble, I swear I taste Ireland, Japan and Iran, all happily co-mingling and getting a long just fine. I doubt the world's complex problems could ever be solved with cookies, but since nothing else seems to be working, these might just be a good place to start. Peace.
Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and eggs - pretty basic cookie dough ingredients
Matcha Green Tea and Pistachio Pinwheel Cookies
(Makes About 5 Dozen Cookies)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp. matcha green tea
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, unsalted
1. In large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition; add vanilla. Add flour mixture and beat on low until just combined.
2. Divide dough in half. Form 1 half into 4 in. by 4 in. square; wrap in plastic wrap and set aside. Return other half to mixer; add matcha green tea to dough in mixer and beat just until combined. Form matcha green tea dough into 4 in. by 4 in. square and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate both doughs at least 30 minutes.
3. Very lightly, dust a large rectangle of parchment paper, roll vanilla dough into a 16 in. x 12 in. rectangle about 1/8 in. thick. On another sheet of parchment paper, roll matcha green tea dough into a 16 in. x 12 in. rectangle about 1/8 in. thick. Place green tea dough over onto vanilla dough; peel away parchment. Cut dough horizontally in half. Roll each half into a tight log. Roll in chopped pistachios to coat, applying just enough pressure to ensure they stick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. .
5. Slice logs into 1/4 in. pieces. Space 1 in. apart on cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until vanilla dough is lightly golden.
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