Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cocoa and Matcha Cookies

When I saw the black and white versions of these cookies in Francois Payard's Extraordinary Desserts, I immediately wanted to give them some color with matcha. The first time I made them, my rectangular logs of dough did not have sharp corners, so the cookies did not look as I expected. Some even had holes in the center. The second time, I spent more time shaping the logs --equipped with a scale, sushi mat and a ruler-- than preparing the dough. The cookies were fun to make, but let me warn you that the preparation was somewhat lenghty with several waiting periods.

  • 17 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 c flour
  • 1 1/3 c confectioners' sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp matcha
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
Beat the butter, flour and confectioners' sugar for about 30 seconds or until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add the vanilla extract, matcha, lemon zest and egg; mix until just combined. Remove about 1/3 of the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts. Shape each into a 9" long, 1/2"-diameter rectangular prism. (The book refers to it as a log; but it really isn't.) Put the prisms on a baking tray and rest them in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile add cocoa powder to the remaining cookie dough. Mix only until you obtain a uniformly brown dough. Now divide this into two more-or-less equal, and one larger pieces. Divide the large piece into two equal pieces. (Am I confusing you, yet?) Roll each of these into a 9"x5" rectangle between two sheets of parchment paper. Remove the top sheets of parchment, and transfer the rectangles to a baking tray. Refrigerate until needed.

Divide the two equal pieces of cocoa dough into two equal pieces each, and shape each of the 4 pieces of dough thus obtained into a 9" long , 1/2"-diameter rectangular prism. Put them next to their matcha friends in the freezer and let them harden a little bit.

Now, remove the prisms from the freezer. Take a pair of different colors and put them next to each other. Brush the tops with beaten egg white, and place another different-colored pair on top, making sure that the matcha prism rests on top of the cocoa one, and vice versa. Repeat with the remaining dough forming 2 cocoa and matcha stacks. Trim the ends if necessary.

Brush one of the cocoa rectangles with the egg white. Wrap it around one of the stacks, removing the bottom parchment as you do so. Try to overlap the ends of the rectangle, and press gently from all sides so that you do not end up with holes in your cookies like I did the first time. Repeat with the remaining rectangle and stack. Wrap your prisms in plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. At this point, they will be ready to bake, but you can also store them in the refrigerator for another 3 days.

When you are ready to bake, unwrap them and slice into 1/4" slices. Place the cookies 1" apart on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 16-18 minutes, or until set but definitely not colored. You can store the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.