Do these cookies look familar?If you’re a long time reader of this blog (and I mean several years long), you maybe recognize this because I made another version of them back in 2011 (has it already been that long??).
For some reason, shortbread cookies have been on my mind a lot lately. Surprisingly, I’ve been baking a lot more than normal. I’ve been experimenting with this particular cookie recipe lately, trying out different types of natural food coloring. While the results have been mixed (fruit pulp most certainly changes the texture!), it’s been an interesting experiment.
I’ll report the results once I get a handle on what are the best options.
Meanwhile, playing with all this colored dough has inspired me make all sorts of multicolored cookies. Here’s a super cute one – Totoro heart cookies!
These cookies are made with matcha (green tea) “bodies” and plain shortbread “bellies”. I pretty much used the same overall technique as I did in the original Totoro Matcha Cookies post, so I would definitely refer to that post if you want more detailed instructions and more step-by-step photos.
After making the two different colored doughs (see this post or recipe below for full details), refrigerating it for at least 30 minutes, and rolling it out, cut out hearts from the pink dough.
Don’t have a heart cookie cutter? Don’t worry, you can easily make your own out of simple plastic packaging and a little bit of tape or a stapler, like this.
Cut out Totoros (I used a tulip cookie cutter), and then using the heart cookie cutter, cut out a heart shaped belly from the Totoro. Fill the bellies with the pink hearts.
Using tweezers, gently put on a black sprinkle for the nose.
Totoros are ready to be baked!
Bake at 375°F for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your cookie. Definitely keep an eye on it. The moment it starts to brown slightly at the edges (like in the photo above), take it out and let it cool on a rack.
Use tweezers to add eyes, such as using white chocolate and sprinkles or a food-coloring marker. See the original post for more instructions on how to decorate the Totoro.
Totoro Valentine Cookies (Matcha)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar (optional*)
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 T matcha powder
coloring (artificial or natural, such as beet juice)
Cream butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed. Add egg and then vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add in flour until just combined.
Divide the dough in two sections, with one section roughly twice as large as the other section. Mix in matcha powder into the larger section. Mix pink coloring into the smaller section.
Place each section between two sheets of parchment or wax paper and roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch thickness. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F, placing the two racks on the upper third and lower third of the oven. Working with one batch of dough at a time, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
Use either a well floured surface or a Silpat liner and plastic wrap. Cut out the totoros from the green dough and then cut out a heart inside each one. Cut out hearts from the pink dough. Put the pink hearts inside the green heart shaped space in the green Totoros.
Take remaining dough, reroll it, and cut again. The dough should only be re-rolled out once.
Bake until cookies are slightly golden brown at the edges, around 8-10 minutes depending on how large the cookie is. After baking, immediately transfer to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
*If you want to use superfine sugar, you will get a more delicate, crispy cookie. To make superfine sugar, just put sugar in a food processor and pulse it a few times.
*Note, I simplified this recipe and slightly modified it from the original for simplicity’s sake. I reduced the butter to 2 sticks (versus 2.5 sticks) just because I didn’t want to deal with having a half stick lying around. I also omitted the milk, which seems to be OK.
Of course, you aren’t limited to Totoros with this dough.
Feel free to make flowers with green matcha stems and leaves (oops, clearly I overbaked these a bit; the stems are ideally green).
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