It’s been about nine months. That’s how long, off and on, that I’ve worked on perfecting these dairy and gluten-free Matcha Almond Shortbread. With my Flavors of Japan cooking class in a few weeks the pressure was on. Three experimental batches in the same number of days with unfortunate results. But today, I’m so pleased to share my successful recipe with you. May you enjoy these rich, tender and slightly crumbly Matcha Almond Shortbread Hearts for Valentine’s Day and beyond.
You’ll love the crunch from the ground almonds, the richness from the coconut oil, the just-right sweetness from the bit of honey, and the appealing flavor and color from the nutrient-rich matcha tea. Plus, these shortbread cookies are quickly and easily made in a food processor or with an electric mixer.
Matcha (pronounced “MA-cha”) is the finely ground green tea powder used for centuries in Japan. Traditionally, matcha has been used for ceremonial purposes (Japanese Tea ceremony), in medicinal preparations and for dyeing and flavoring foods. It is said that Zen Buddhist monks consume matcha to facilitate their meditation and to ensure their vibrant health and longevity.
Matcha’s benefits greatly exceed that of typical green tea which itself is considered a superfood. Matcha’s importance comes from the special care with which it is grown, harvested and processed. As a result, this extra care enhances matcha’s flavor and increases its health benefits and nutrition manifold.
Cooking with matcha
Containing 10 times the antioxidants of just about any other food on the planet, matcha is one extremely healthy food. Instead of the usual steeping of tea and discarding the leaves, with matcha you consume a hundred percent of the leaf along with all of its nutrients as well.
Already ground into a powder, matcha is easy to incorporate into recipes. People add it to lattes, smoothies, ice cream, sauces and soba noodles. Matcha can also be added to baked goods, such as these Matcha Almond Shortbread Hearts.
Good for the heart
BTW, as it’s almost Valentine’s Day, you might like to know that matcha has been shown to strengthen and support the heart. ♥ ♥ ♥
Gluten and Dairy-Free. Rich, tender and slightly crumbly.
Bake the shortbread on an insulated cookie sheet or a double-sheet pan to keep the bottoms from browning too quickly. To create a double-pan, use two half-sheet pans with rolled edges. This way the pans sit on top of one another with a layer of air between them.
Makes 18 two-inch cookies Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 ¼ hours, including resting and baking time
½ cup whole almonds
½ cup coconut oil at room temperature
3 tablespoons light, local honey
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla
1 tablespoon matcha, or more to taste
Large pinch Himalayan salt or sea salt
1 cup brown rice flour
2-3 tablespoons organic sugar, optional
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the almonds for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the oven off. When the almonds are cool, finely chop them in a food processor. Set aside.
- Use either a food processor or an electric mixer to cream together the coconut oil, honey, vanilla and matcha until well mixed.
- Add the salt, rice flour and finely chopped almonds. Mix until the dough comes together in a ball. Cover the dough and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes to make it easier to handle.
- Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough ¼ -inch thick. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper then place it back on the dough. Turn the dough still enfolded in the parchment paper over. Remove the top sheet of parchment and put it aside.
- Sprinkle a tablespoon of organic sugar evenly over the top of the dough to add a bit of sparkle to the finished cookies. Cut out your cookies. Place them on a pan. Refrigerate the cookies for at least 15 minutes. (This firms up the dough so the cookies will retain their shape when baked.)
- Reform the scraps into a ball. Repeat the process of rolling between the parchment paper, sprinkling with sugar and cutting into hearts with all the remaining dough scraps.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cookies on a parchment paper or silpat-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the pan 180 degrees and bake another 5 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool before removing them from the pan.
- Matcha Almond Shortbread will keep about a week in an airtight container.