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Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies

Ummah 엄마 - that's what mothers are called in Korean. And I love my ummah and she loves me like crazy (well... most of the time :P). When I lived at home before college, I wanted to get out of the house as soon as possible. My mum was one of those tiger mum types. If I slept at midnight, she'd yell and tell me that while I was sleeping there were other kids up way past 2am with bleeding noses because they were studying so hard. My mum expected us to use encyclopedias as pillows and to study until the crack of dawn. Every night, she would camp out on the living room sofa and my sister and I would come out of our rooms to study on the living room table so she could keep an eye out on us. Of course, by 11pm she'd be fast asleep on the couch, except you could never tell because she sleeps with her eyes open!

Sometimes, we'd take turns to wave a hand in front of her face and make sure she's sleeping. If we were lucky, we would hop straight into bed and then hear our mum a few hours later waking up groggily and walking back to her room :P. We'd hold our breaths until we heard the squeak of her mattress sink under her weight. Sometimes, we weren't so lucky in our endeavors... And when you have a mother who sings soprano at a Korean community church, you can be sure you'll be hearing that voice for miles. Thinking about it, my sister and I probably really needed an iron fist when it comes to studying, because we were such lazy kids haha...

Despite the draconian studying, our mum was always looking out for us. Every summer when I left Hong Kong for Houston, I lugged two very full suitcases; one filled with my clothes and another filled with all my favorite home-cooked foods. She was always so worried I would starve myself even if I was already on a meal plan in college. Needless to say, my suitcases were always overweight or needed extra time in security, because I was carrying stinky things like kimchi (scared the sniffing dogs) or suspiciously dense frozen blocks of Korean rice cakes. By the time I was going to graduate, I had enough food left over in the freezer for a zombie apocalypse. But, now I'm so grateful that she can still cook and pack food for me :D
Mum - I love you and thank you that you've always been there for me.
Happy Mother's Day!

Matcha Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies

1-1/4 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup flour
1 pinch salt
3 tsp PANATEA matcha

  1. Beat softened butter until light and fluffy. Cream together powdered sugar, yolks and vanilla. Mix flour and salt to the butter mixture until a lumpy dough starts to form. Using your hands, press the lumps and knead until dough is smooth.
  2. Separate dough into 2 balls. Knead matcha into one ball until it is uniformly green. Separate each ball in half again.
  3. For each ball, roll/pat into a long cylinder about 12" and then pat to make 4 sides (like a long square). Arrange them on top of each other to make a chessboard and pat lightly together.
  4. Wrap firmly in seran wrap and pat lightly on a flat surface to make the dough log more square.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 360F. With a sharp knife, cut out 1/4" cookies and lay on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 9-12mins or until slightly browning on the edges.
  8. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.


  1. These cookies are stunning! I'm obsessing over the checkerboard pattern. Thanks for sharing the recipe, as well as the sweet and humorous tribute to your mother!

  2. Thank you! I hope you do make them! annndd mother's are the best ;)

  3. Hi Mabel, thanks for the recipe! Just wondering - should I use salted or unsalted butter?

  4. unsalted butter! I hope you like the cookies!

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