Sparkling sugar-coated green tea trees topped with yellow sprinkle stars and supported by chocolate chip trunks; it's a holiday forest pleasing to both the eye and the taste buds. My favorite part about them is that they actually do stand by themselves. And I know that Christmas is over, but even so, you can just skip the star sprinkles and just make a regular forest... of tree-shaped green tea cookies :).
Green Tea Sweets
adapted from Lovescool
3/4 cup powdered sugar
5 oz butter, cut into cubes
1 3/4 cup flour
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 T matcha
1 cup sugar (for coating)
Mix the matcha and powdered sugar together. Cream the butter into the matcha/powdered sugar mixture until pale green and evenly mixed. Then mix in your flour until incorporated. Add the 3 egg yolks, mix until a dough forms, and gather the dough in a ball.
[If you'd like to make flat cookies instead of trees, at this point, place your dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll the dough out 1/2-inch thick. Refrigerate the sheet of dough for 30 minutes. Once firm, take out the dough and cut it out with a cookie cutter of your choice, maybe a leaf-shaped cutter or a diamond-shaped cutter. Coat each leaf in sugar and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Then bake as instructed below.]
metal piping tip
Take your dough and shape bits of it into little cones 3.5 cm tall and 2.5 cm in diameter (the cones will get shorter and fatter while baking, resulting in cones 3 cm tall and 3 cm in diameter). A trick to getting nicely shaped cones is to take a large metal piping tip and line the inside with a small piece of plastic wrap. Then fill the plastic lined tip with dough. When filled, pull out the plastic wrap along with your dough and you'll have a nice cone (you might have to make the tip a bit pointier with your fingers).
But you could also make the cones by hand. Place them upright on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Then, take a chocolate chip and make a dent in the bottom of each cookie so that the chocolate chip tree trunks can be attached after baking. Now refrigerate your cones for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Once chilled, remove the cones from your fridge. Pour the 1 cup of sugar on a flat surface. Roll each cone in the sugar, coating the sides, and replace on the cookie sheet. The cookies can be relatively close together on the baking sheet because they don't spread much in the oven. Carefully stick a star sprinkle in the top of each cookie. Then bake them in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the tips and bottoms start turning golden.
Let the cookies cool on the tray. When cool, melt some chocolate chips in the microwave or on a double boiler over the stove. Take a chocolate chip, dip it in the melted chocolate and press it into the dent on the bottom of one of your cookies. Then stand the cookie on a flat surface and hold it up for a few seconds until it can stand on its own. Repeat with the rest of your cookies. Enjoy!
[*Edited 12/27/10: Makes ~50 cookies.]