These Christmas tree cookies are made with matcha shortbread for a fun holiday cookie. They have a crumbly, buttery texture with green tea flavor which also gives the cookies a natural green color.
I’ve been making a lot of Christmas cookie recipes, and I have one more recipe to share with you: these matcha green tea-flavored shortbread cookies, built to look like Christmas trees. They are easy to make with flower-shaped cookie cutters of varying sizes and have a crumbly texture that melts in your mouth.
I’ve been making the matcha shortbread cookies for years, but last year was the first time I tried to shape them like trees. This year, I tried to improve upon them, by also decorating them with “ornaments” and also adding a chocolate bottom layer for the tree trunk. I’m pretty excited about how these came out. And just for fun, I sprinkled some confectioner’s sugar snow on top.
I’ve used a similar method to make chocolate pinecone cookies, too.
I love the flavor of matcha powder, but I also love that you can make green cookies without using any food coloring.
For baking recipes, I always recommend using Maeda-en Gold matcha powder* which gives cookies, cakes, and other desserts a beautiful green color. I bake with matcha powder a lot and have found this brand to be the best.
Matcha Shortbread Ingredients
- All-purpose flour
- Softened butter cut into small pieces
- High-quality matcha powder
- Granulated sugar
How to Make Them
Cream the butter, sugar, and matcha powder together until light and fluffy. At low speed, add half of the flour. Once blended, slowly add the rest and mix until a crumbly dough forms. It’s ready when you can squeeze the dough and it holds together.
Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper to ¼” thick. Peel off the top piece of parchment and then cut out your shapes. I recommend using four cookie cutters of the same shape that are graduated sizes – flowers or stars* work best.
For my trees, I cut three large stars, one medium, two small, and one tiny star for each tree. Reroll your dough scraps and cut as many shapes as you can.
Bake the cookies in batches based on size (small ones all together, etc). If you want your trees to be decorated, you can add sprinkles, nonpareils, or dragees. The smallest cookies will take 6 minutes to bake at 350°F and the largest will take 11 minutes.
Fully cool the cookies before assembling. Once they’ve cooled, place a small dollop of frosting on the bottom of each cookie and stack them to create trees.
If you want to make tree stumps (as seen in the photos) you can make a half batch of chocolate shortbread, cut them into small squares, and attach them to the cookies with frosting once cooled.
To finish the cookies, dust them with powdered sugar so it looks like snow.
Shortbread keeps well for up to a week in an airtight container. You can make and bake the cookies and assemble and decorate them later.
To store the Christmas tree cookies, I recommend using a container that is deep enough to hold the cookies upright and still be able to secure a lid. Keep them in a single layer.
More Matcha Christmas Cookies
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Matcha Shortbread Christmas Tree Cookies
for the cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup butter softened to room temperature and cut into small pieces
- 2 1/2 tablespoons high quality matcha powder (see note)
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
For the decorations
- sprinkles or dragees
- powdered sugar
- store-bought chocolate frosting or homemade
- 1/2 recipe for double chocolate shortbread cookies (see note)
- Beat butter, matcha powder and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add half of the flour to the butter mixer and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just until blended. The mixture should look crumbly, but if you squeeze it between your fingers, it will come together. Gather the dough into a large ball.
- Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll dough with rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick. Make sure you use parchment paper, otherwise, the dough is too soft and sticky to roll out.
- Use four cookie cutters of the same shape but with graduated sizes (stars and flowers work best) to cut cookie shapes. I ended up doing three of the biggest, one medium, two small, and one tiny one for each tree. Re-roll dough scraps and cut more cookies until no more dough remains. Decorate cookies with sprinkles that resemble ornaments. I used dragees and nonpareils.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake pieces of same size together. Bake until cookies puff up slightly and edges start to turn a light brown. I baked 11 minutes on the largest ones and 6 minutes on the smallest.
- After cookies are finished and have cooled, add a small dollop of frosting to the bottom, then stack the cookies, deliberately not aligning them, to resemble trees.
- Optional: If desired, you can also make chocolate shortbread cookie for the tree bottoms. Cut to small squares before baking, then attach to bottom of trees with frosting. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar before serving.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.