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There are those things we eat, make, read, and gush over that are just too good to keep to ourselves. Here, we resist the urge to use too many exclamation points and let you in on our latest crushes.
Today: A non-gimmicky green cookie for St. Patrick’s Day -- and every day.
At first glance, William Werner’s pastries at San Francisco’s Craftsman & Wolves seem like high-end, modernist works of art. They’re classy affairs: a scone spiced by green curry and candied ginger, cinnamon buns filled with crème fraîche and grains of paradise, a chocolate croissant that’s stacked rather than rolled. Dried flowers and herbs and other little doodads top some. If it sounds too fancy, let me repeat: a cinnamon bun with crème fraîche. Intriguing, luscious, possibly irresistible, don’t you think? Werner’s pastries are smart and complex, but that doesn’t mean they’re too highfalutin to dig into.
His matcha snickerdoodles have a vegetal freshness that’s reminiscent of a freshly brewed green tea but butterier and sweeter (that's the matcha). Then there’s this other layer of sweetness that’s not cloying but rather enticing: It’s white chocolate. (White chocolate in a cookie and it's not overly sweet -- like, what?) The combination is new and interesting and “fresh,” but that’s not the point. The point is that they’re really, really good. They’re pillowy, with a crumbly outside that’s coated in the messy fun also known as matcha-flavored sugar. Sugar ends up on your fingers and around your mouth in a vaguely familiar sort of way -- like you are eating snickerdoodles. Or maybe you are eating snickerdoodles.
Some would say don’t mess with the snickerdoodle. Don’t touch a classic. But back to that thing about Werner’s pastries: He takes inspiration from traditional baked goods and, instead of mashing them up or taking them for a spin or "fusionizing" them, uses them as jumping off points for his own visions. In another person’s hands, a matcha snickerdoodle would be called a matchadoodle and it would be gimmicky in its green hue and therefore only eaten on St. Patrick’s Day. Even if these cookies weren't green, and even if it weren't St. Patrick's Day, they would still be wildly exciting.
Makes 50 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons matcha, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Photos by James Ransom