This post is part of a larger series: An Asian Twist on a Traditional Holiday Meal. Other posts in this series include Chinese Oven Roasted Duck, and Totoro Cookies.
I was obsessed with Keroppi when I was in school.
I loved going to Sanrio stores to see what cool new Keroppi stuff I could buy. My sister and I owned dozens of plush green Keroppis, along with T-shirts, totes, pens, notebooks, etc.
When Bryan first met me in college, he even told me I looked like Keroppi because of the huge glasses that I wore at the time. Hmm . . . looking back, was that really a compliment?
Sadly, Keroppi seems to have fallen out of favor these days. Hello Kitty, who is actually older than Keroppi, is still going strong as ever. Keroppi, on the other hand, can hardly be found. These days I'm thrilled if I even see one or two Keroppi items in the Sanrio stores.
As a nod to those characters we loved as kids, I decided to bake Keroppi cookies for the GLAD Cookies for Kids Cancer cookie exchange, offered by Foodbuzz's Tastemakers Program.
Matcha is finely milled green tea often used in sweets such as green tea flavored ice cream, cakes, and cookies. Because matcha is made from high quality tea buds and requires more time for grinding, it is usually more expensive than other teas. For example, the little 1.0 oz tin that I bought costs $12.
I took a simple butter cookie recipe from The Joy of Cooking (my go-to basics book!) and modified it by adding matcha (Thanks Talida for the inspiration!).
Similar to the Totoros, you also need two "colors" of dough - a green tea matcha one and a plain white one.
If you have concentric circular cookie cutters, you should be able to make these Keroppis pretty easily by picking out the right sizes. Since I didn't have any of that, I used portions of random cookie cutters I had in order to cut out a rough circle. I used a spray bottle cap to cut out white eye balls as well as cut out half-circles from the green dough. Keroppi is not exactly round, so I usually reshape each one by hand a bit to get it to the right shape.
Using black round sprinkles or nonpareils, place one at the center of each eye ball. You can use tweezers if necessary.
Using something small and flat, make indentations to draw out the characteristic V-shaped mouth. Of course, feel free to give Keroppi any sort of expression you desire. I made just one of my Keroppis sad - can you find him?
Finally, add a tiny bit of red food coloring to a tiny piece of cookie dough. Roll tiny little pink balls and manually pressed them onto each Keroppi.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies seem to be done and let cool on a wire rack. I did not want the Keroppi cookies to brown (since I didn't think it would look good if their eye balls were singed), so I took the cookies out a bit earlier to ensure they would stay green.
Hee hee, aren't they cute?
These were a lot easier to make than the Totoros, maybe because I didn't have to make such small eyes!
I hosted the cookie exchange at my house over Thanksgiving (where we also enjoyed lots of other yummy food). I sent my sister's family home with a GLAD container full of Totoros and Keroppis. In exchange, I was rewarded with lovely whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.
If you want to help GLAD raise money for GLAD will donate $.10 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer for each virtual cookie sold, exchanged or given this November and December 2011 – up to $100,000! Check out their website here for more details.
Keroppi Green Tea (Matcha) Cookies
3 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
20 T (2 ½ sticks) butter (softened!)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 T milk
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
2 T matcha powder
1. whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Add egg, milk, and vanilla to the "wet ingredients" bowl. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until everything is well blended and smooth.
3. 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. Place each section between two sheets of parchment or wax paper and roll out the dough into a ¼ inch thickness. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes.
4. Position oven rack to the center and preheat oven to 375. Grease cookie sheets if they are not nonstick!
5. Peel away the wax paper for one portion and put the dough between fresh sheets of wax paper. [Note, since this is a labor intensive cookie, I would cut the chilled dough in half and leave the other half in the refrigerator until you are ready to cut that one too. The dough becomes harder to handle once it's warm]
6. Cut the cookies with a cookie cutter. Roll the dough scraps together and continue cutting out cookies. If it gets too soft, just re-roll it out, chill in the refrigerator, and cut once it's cold.
7. Make Keroppis according to the detailed instructions above. Decorate accordingly.
8. Bake until cookies are just done, around 10 minutes depending on how large the cookie is. Try to avoid any browning of the edges, since it won't look very good.
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