Turtle-Shaped Vegan Matcha Cookies (vegan, gluten free, wfpb)
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Turtle Shaped Vegan Matcha Cookies
These Vegan Matcha Cookies are naturally gluten-free and refined sugar-free, flavored with creamy sesame tahini, and shaped like adorable turtles for a tasty treat with charm.
You’re never too old to enjoy animal cookies. And the best part of these turtle-shaped matcha cookies is that no animals are harmed in the process! Not to mention their nutty, rich flavor from creamy tahini paste and almond flour.
Plus, this simple recipe calls for just seven ingredients that you’re likely to already have on hand, especially if you’re a matcha lover like myself. If you’re looking for a charming baking recipe with health benefits, this is the simple one-bowl recipe for you!
The recipe for these turtle cookies is based on my Maple Tahini Cookie recipe. There’s just something so perfect about the combination of maple syrup and tahini. And matcha powder gives these treats an easy upgrade with minimal effort.
How to Make Vegan Matcha Cookies
All you need to whip up these adorable little treats is seven ingredients and one bowl!
Here’s the list of vegan, gluten-free, and refined-sugar-free ingredients you’ll need:
- Oat flour. This light and airy gluten-free flour option keep the cookies soft and chewy. I like to bake with Bob’s Red Mill oat flour.
- Almond flour. Almond flour, on the other hand, adds a level of richness to the cookies thanks to healthy fats. In most baking recipes, you’ll need to cut almond flour with another kind of flour to ensure your baked goods don’t come out too dense.
- Tahini. Tahini is simply sesame seed butter. It has a luxurious texture and deep nutty flavor. For these matcha cookies, opt for smooth, runny tahini. Give it a good stir before adding it to the bowl.
- Maple syrup. To keep this recipe free of refined sugars and fully vegan, I love to use maple syrup. You could also use another liquid sweetener like agave syrup, for example.
- Baking powder. This leavener helps the little turtles rise to their full potential in the oven and gives the turtle shell a nice height.
- Vanilla. Choose pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. It adds a hint of warmth to the nutty tahini and herbal matcha.
- Matcha powder. Use a nice ceremonial grade matcha powder for this recipe. This is my favorite matcha for baking and drinking. It adds a hint of green tea flavor and the signature color you need for your turtle’s shells.
Shaping Turtle Cookies
Once you’ve mixed up the cookie dough, it’s easy to assemble your cute little reptiles. I’ve even made a simple diagram to help:
Each matcha cookie will need four small balls for the arms and legs, one larger ball for the head, and a cute tiny one for the tail.
Then use the back of a fork to press the green shell with a cross-hatch pattern. Finally, I use the tip of a chopstick to make eyes.
Because this recipe is oil-free, I highly recommend using a non-stick baking sheet. I use this reusable, silicone baking mat instead of single-use parchment paper. However, parchment will work too.
Alternatively, you can grease a baking sheet, but I like to make clean-up easier with my baking mat.
These cookies will firm up significantly as they cool, so keep an eye on the cookies and don’t be afraid to pull them from the oven even if they’re a little soft to touch. They should have just a light golden brown (use the head/arms of the turtle for reference).
Tahini is rich in healthy fats and natural oils, but sometimes the texture can vary, so use your best judgment when it comes to creating your dough. Start with my recommended flour measurements but add additional oat flour by the tablespoon if necessary to achieve a workable dough. You can also pop your cookies into the refrigerator for 10 minutes before baking.
Are Matcha Cookies Gluten-Free?
They sure are! This is a very allergy-friendly baking recipe. It just so happens to be:
- Refined sugar-free
What Kind of Matcha is Best for Baking?
I use Ippodo Tea matcha in almost all of my recipes. It’s the matcha I grew up drinking, and my Japanese grandmother grew up drinking in Kyoto.
The company is family-owned and has been around for over 300 years. They offer matcha at several different grades. I typically use a slightly lower-grade matcha for baking (save your top tier tea for sipping! You don’t want to use culinary as you won’t get that delicious herby green tea flavor in your cookies, and the colour won’t be as vibrant.
Serving and Storing
These cookies are so fun to make, they’re a perfect kid-friendly treat and a great opportunity to get the kids helping in the kitchen.
They also make great party snacks or homemade gifts. You can store fully cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days. Or, freeze the cookies for up to three months. Keep in mind that they will not stay chewy, so if you like a softer center cookie, enjoy them immediately!
More Matcha Baking Recipes to Try
If you love these vegan matcha cookies with tahini, then give these a try next:
- Matcha Monstera Cookies
- Matcha Dusted Chocolate Almonds
- Strawberry Matcha Sugar Cookies
- Vegan Matcha Rice Krispie Treats
Turtle-Shaped Vegan Matcha Cookies (vegan, gluten free, wfpb)
- First, pre-heat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or piece of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine maple syrup, tahini and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine until completely smooth.
- Next, sift in oat flour, almond flour and baking powder and use a spatula to mix until a dough forms. The dough should be workable and shapeable, so add oat flour by the tablespoon as needed (tahini texture will vary).
- Set aside a third of the dough (this will be used to create the head, legs and turtle tail) and sift in matcha powder into the remaining dough. Use a spatula again to incorporate evenly.
- Roll tablespoon sized scoops of your matcha dough into balls and pat down into cookie shapes on your baking mat. For each turtle cookie, roll small balls of plain dough to create a head, tail and arms/legs. Gently press together to bond. Finally, take a knife or the back of a fork to create a cross hatch pattern on the turtle shell. Use a chopstick or other tool to poke eyeballs into the head.
- Finally, bake for 8-10 minutes, keeping in mind the cookies will firm up after baking. Let cool before enjoying.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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