This is a simple and traditional cookies Japanese recipe. They are slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. These cookies come together only 6 ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and cocoa powder. And all you need to do is place all ingredients in a food processor and mix together. (There is also an alternative method of mixing by hand.) You will love this delicate and melt-in-the-mouth texture.
What are the traditional cookies in Japan?
I think there are 2 types of standard Japanese cookies below.
I often see them at souvenir stores, and at baked snakes corner in every grocery stores. The cookies of this picture is the one from my regular convenience store.
Some people might recognize it as homemade cookies rather than purchasing one. Because you can easily cut into beautiful shapes with cookie cutters. I recently enjoyed making cookies with kids at the house party.
Cat’s tongue cookies (Langues de chat)
The second one is cat’s tongue cookies. Yoku Moku and Shiroi Koibito are very familiar brands in Japan. Cat’s tongue cookies are more buttery and crunchy. My new favorite is soft served ice cream in this cookie. (Here is more about.) You can find them in shopping malls or highway rest area on rare occasion.
The company specializes in cookies
However the most famous Japanese cookie brand would be Aunt Stella. A founder of this company is a man from Pennsylvania back in 1980. He made cookies with his relative Stella’s recipes. Now Japanese president runs the domestic company. They cover around 30 different Japanese styled cookie varieties. In addition, they uniquely have all-you-can-eat-cookies for an hour in some cafe style stores. (If you are interested, continue to read this article.) When you see a lady logo on a cookie shop sign in Japan, please remember the delicious cookie brand.
Let’s talk about this recipe. Firstly, I should mention about my university friend. When we were during the time, she gave me her delicious butter cookies for my birthday every year. It’s unforgettable taste and lately I asked her about her recipe. Then I simplified the recipe with the same ingredients into food processor version that works very well. A hand blender also can be used. I’m very happy to share the best ever butter cookie recipe.
Authentic Easy Japanese Butter Cookies
- 240 g cake flour
- 100 g powdered sugar / caster sugar / granulated sugar (only for food processor method ) add 1-2 tbsp more sugar if you'd like it sweeter
- 120 g butter diced
- 1 egg well beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Making by food processor
- Place the flour and sugar into a food processor and pulse until blended. If you use granulated sugar, firstly pour the sugar only into a blender or food processor. Blend the sugar until it is a fine.
- Add the butter and pulse until sandy. Then add the egg and the vanilla extract. Pulse until the mixture until a dough forms. Scraping down sides as needed.
- Take the dough out. Then knead and form into a ball.
- Divide the dough in half, and place one of the dough in a bow. Add the cocoa powder and well combine with hands.
- Pat the plain dough into rectangle shape. And put the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll out the dough to 5 mm (3/16-inch) thick. Repeat with the remaining cocoa dough.
- Wrap the 2 sheets of dough in plastic wrap. And refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 160 C / 325 F / gas mark 3.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the dough with a knife or cookie cutters into desired shapes and arrange on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 17 to 20 minutes until edge of the cookies slightly brown. Then cool on the baking sheet until firm.
Making by hand
- Sift the flour and leave the butter at room temperature until soft and beat until creamy with a rubber spatula.
- Add the sugar and mix until well blended.
- Add beaten egg little by little. (for 4 times) After each addition, well mix to combine. Then add the vanilla extract to blend.
- Add the shifted flour and incorporate until a dough forms.
- Remaining step is the same as food processor method. So follow from step 3 of the instructions above.
Note: the recipe was updated in January 2020. Specifically, I deleted cup measurement and added more detailed instructions for non-food processor users.
Would all-purpose flour instead? or is the cake flour a must?
I haven’t make it with all purpose flour but it should be no problem!
idk how to make these in cups lol
So i enjoyed the recipe but i do not understand how much to use instead of grams..
They were perfect, Me and my classmates loved them. Then so did my mom dad and sis. Nice & soft, perfect flavor and even my teacher loved them.
these we perfect. I was testing if I could make them for a cheesecake recipe but standing alone these cookies are perfect for tea time and snacks. the dough was a little sticky but nothing a little flour couldn’t fix.
Should I use salted butter or unsalted butter?
Hi, it’s unsalted butter!
Made this recipe today! Delish! Easy, quick and fun! I made a batch with matcha checker pattens and Another batch with black sesame seed powder checker patterns. Before cutting it into square I put in the the freezer for 20 mins and it was enough for the cookie batter to stay put so that I can cut it precisely.
Thank you for trying the recipe and letting me know the useful tips to make checker pattern cookies! The flavor of your choice, matcha and black sesame seeds, sounds so good. I want to give it a try!
Very nice recipe! Not too sweet and had fun with it. Mine turned out just a tad too sticky but still workable. 🙂
Thank you for your kind feedback! Appreciate it and I will check the stickiness of the dough. I’m glad to hear that you had fun with the cookie.😊
How sticky is the dough suppose to be? Can you put flour down when kneading the dough so it doesnt stick to your hands?
You can put flour lightly on the surface if needed. Once the ingredients are evenly incorporated, the dough is ready. So be careful not to knead for too long. If you feel too wet or sticky, I recommend letting it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling out. I hope this will help!
How many cups of flour for 240 grams?
Thank you for stopping by my blog! It’s 2 cups in case of 250 ml cup. If your cup is 240 ml, 2 cups + 1 tbsp is 240 g of cake flour. Make sure not to scoop the flour out of the bag directly or pack down the flour in the cup. It may cause more flour than the recipe calls for. Use a spoon to scoop the flour into your cup. I’m sorry for being so fussy. The sweetness of the cookies is modest, so it’s important to measure ingredients correctly.
Thanks been looking for this. Cookies made in Asian country are always less sweet but are a taste all their own
Thank you for your kind comment! I recently realized that Japanese Western-style sweets tend to contain a lot less sugar than its Western counterparts.
Cookies were very bland and not enough sugar basically very disappointing.
I appreciate your feedback. And I’m very sorry that you didn’t enjoy the cookies from my recipe. I will address the issue as soon as I can.
have you never had Japanese sweets- they tend to be more delicate
Have you never had butter cookies before??? If you expect lots of flavor try something else, also she literally says add more sugar if you want it sweeter 🤦♂️ There’s a reason why Japan isn’t full of obese people lol