Purple Sweet Potato, Matcha and Houjicha Stamped Cookies

Baking these cookies reminded me of some great memories of my Japan trip- wondering about on my own in the supermarket lost in my own baking world as I marvelled at the whole array of Hokkaido flours, matcha powder and baking ingredients; the bus driving past vast open lands dotted with mountains and small houses; exploring the streets, the trains and historical sights; chowing down super delicious tempura bowls and sitting in the middle of the crowd eating a bento box for lunch. As simple as these might sound, the trip was a real getaway for me, and I've learnt so much from it. Baking these cookies reminded me of all these- I was so so happy and excited to find houjicha powder in the department store and purple sweet potato powder at the baking section of Tokyu Hands- I only wished I'd bought more of these haha. And I have yet to use my pickled Sakura flowers and black cocoa powder too! 

Aside from the sentimental value I have with these cookies, they're super easy to make and are really crisp, buttery and delicious. My favourite one is the houjicha cookie- the roasted green tea flavour works really well in here! The taste of the purple sweet potato isn't really very prominent but I think it looks quite pretty, right? And matcha is of course, good as usual. And it's a really versatile cookie because you can add any flavourings you like- maybe some black sesame powder, pumpkin powder, cocoa powder, or even some lemon/orange/lime zest. Be careful when adding liquids though, because the dough won't crisp up as well in the oven. A couple of drops of flavoured extract is fine, though.

These cookies contain only a few ingredients- butter, sugar, egg and flour, and the great thing is that they don't spread out in the oven much so you can use to make cut outs our stencil them! Here I stamped them out with alphabet stamps from a dollar store in Japan (so worth it!)- the prints faded slightly after baked so I pressed the stamp in again once it was out of the oven and still soft enough to work with so the patterns are more obvious, but really just do it to your liking! I love how the alphabet stamps really personalises the cookie and makes it great for gifting- downside is that the stamps are so tiny it's really hard to find the letters I need haha but I think it's a great investment to turn something really simple into a very special treat. 

Stamping cookie recipe 
Makes about 25-30 small 2 inch cookies 

1 cup butter, room temperature 
1 cup superfine sugar 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 egg yolk + 1 egg 
2 tsp vanilla 
2 1/2 cups plain flour 
Optional add ins: 2 tsp lemon zest / 1 tbsp matcha or houjicha powder / 1 tbsp purple sweet potato powder / 1 tbsp black sesame seed powder 

Cream butter, sugar and salt till fluffy. Stir in eggs and vanilla, fold in flour and optional add ins. 
Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour or up to a few days. 
Roll cookie dough to about 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut out cookies and stamp as desired. 
Bake in a preheat 180 degrees Celsius oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or till lightly golden on the edges. 

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