My recent trip to Tokyo has left me with a deeper love for all things Japanese, more specifically, all foods Japanese. I came back craving ramen, sushi, Japanese curry, udon, Japanese cheesecake; shortcakes, all things matcha and more... I think I have a problem.
I am currently scouring the website for more Japanese dessert & baking blogs, and hopefully I'll be able to find the time to bake + update in the next few weeks! Kind of relieved that rag this Friday has been cancelled due to Hari Raya, just for the extra day to myself (heh). But I actually quite like rag, despite the increasing levels of commitment. Dancing is fun, albeit difficult - I'm still trying to get the hang of it. Conditioning's painful but necessary. I'm so thankful that everyone's very encouraging and that people are willing to help you when you need it. Everything's also starting to come together, which is always a lovely thing to see. The NUS Student Union people in charge of rag came to watch us perform yesterday to determine which slot we would get to perform in on the day itself, but thanks to them rehearsal extended for another hour and a half. But I guess people bond through hardship, as one of my friends said - if this can be considered hardship. Fun hardship? Heh. Needless to say, we were all pretty tired by the end of it - some of us had been dancing since 9, with a shortened lunch break because of the Golden Years pro bono briefing.
The thought of going back to school is something that I keep putting off, but at the same time I feel as though it may not be all that bad. I'm even kinda excited for matric week! Mostly because I get to stay in my OG, which I'm very thankful for. I have my medical checkup on one of the mornings though, because I booked my slot at UHC just before I flew to Tokyo. I think I'm missing station games :-) / :-(
I was supposed to go for the CRU FOC camp today after missing Monday and Tuesday due to rag but I didn't really feel up to it. Think I'm still tired and sleep-deprived from the past few days. I haven't been able to sleep lately, which is weird and honestly kind of sucky. Instead, I made breakfast and watched a bit of orange is the new black and then dragged myself to Queenstown to return my overdue library books. Came back, made these matcha beauties and watched even more OITNB.
I got a netflix account yesterday and I plan to watch all the shows I can before school starts, which just happens to be around when my free trial ends. Perfect timing! The first show I started with is OITNB. It's alright, I guess. It all feels a bit awkward. But I do like how they reveal each characters' backstories bit by bit, just at the right moments. I'm trying to get into it, though - I watched it whenever I had a pocket of time while baking these cookies. During the chilling, the baking, the cooling... Yup.
The recipe I used was largely adapted from Leite's Culinaria! I found a number of matcha shortbread recipes online but I read an article about how the flour:butter:sugar ratios should be 3:2:1, and this was the one that came closest to it (and felt the most reliable). It's a simple recipe, no frills involved.
Matcha Shortbread Cookies
✦ 113g butter, softened
✦ a dash of vanilla extract
✦ 0.5-1 tbsp matcha powder (I used a heaping 1 tbsp and they turned out on the bitter side, so I would recommend it in moderation)
✦ 50g granulated sugar
✦ 140g all-purpose flour
✦ a pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
1. In a standing mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high for about 3 minutes, until creamy.
2. Add a dash of vanilla and the matcha powder and beat at the same speed until creamy, and the mixture should be the same shade of green throughout. With the mixer still on medium-high, gradually pour the sugar in, and mix until light and fluffy.
3. With the mixer on low, pour in the flour bit by bit. The mixture will be crumbly, but it should stick together when pressed together with your fingers.
4. Dump the dough out on a sheet of parchment paper, and roll it up into the shape of a log. Refrigerate for at least one hour. While the dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius.
5. Take your chilled dough out of the fridge and cut the dough into round pieces. Each piece of mine was about half a cm thick. Alternatively, you could just skip the log-rolling and simply chill the dough, roll it flat onto your kitchen table and use a cookie cutter to make shapes.
6. Bake for about 20-24 minutes (mine took 24). Let it cool!
7. (Optional!) I found that my shortbread cookies were too bitter due to the amount of matcha powder I used, so I tried melting some white chocolate and put it on top and sifting some icing sugar over them to help offset the bitterness.