Matcha checkerboard ombre cookies

I love checkerboard cookies. I feel like in almost any Asian bakery you go to, checkerboard cookies are always on display. I appreciate the fact that you’re getting more than one flavor in them, since the color contrast usually comes from differently flavored doughs. I won’t lie, they can be finnicky to make, since you basically have to make multiple doughs, shape, then freeze, then assemble them, but the end result is always so satisfying. With my recipe, I went with matcha and vanilla for my main two flavors, and wanted to make a gradient with the matcha, like an ombre in a way. I used 4 different quantities of matcha in 4 batches of vanilla shortbread dough, which for the most part, gave me 4 shades of green. I enrobed the cookie with more of the vanilla, just to add more visual contrast. I feel like if you don’t like green tea, these cookies are a surprisingly good way to get into it, because it introduces the green tea in different concentrations, and it helps your palate adjust to the grassy bitterness that you might not initially be used to if you did not grow up on green tea ice cream. Truthfully, these cookies look like rice fields to me. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it was hilarious to see the end result pan out that way. But if you love matcha and green tea, these cookies are absolutely perfect for that. I also just love how they almost look like clovers in a way, but more than that, you can totally tell that all four shades of green are distinctly different!

For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp matcha powder, in 4 parts
1 egg white

Mix all of the ingredients besides the matcha and egg white together to form your dough. Portion out a fifth of the dough. Then mix one part of matcha into the larger chunk of dough. Portion out 1/4th of the matcha dough, then add another part of matcha into the larger chunk. Repeat again, then again, so that you have 4 different matcha doughs and 1 uncolored vanilla dough. Press the green doughs to form individual rectangles, making sure all of the rectangles are the same size. Roll out the vanilla dough on a nonstick surface, preferably a silpat, to 1/8th an inch thickness and to a rectangular shape. Brush the surface with egg white, then place on the rectangles of matcha dough, brushing them with egg white between stacking them together. Wrap the matcha dough with the vanilla dough and press to seal. Refrigerate the dough for at least 20 minutes before cutting into 16 individual cookies. Refrigerate the cookies for another 20 minutes before placing between two lined sheet trays and baking at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

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