Yield: 24-30 cookies
2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter (room temp.)
1 cup sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
1 t. salt
2 1/2 cups of flour
egg white (slightly beaten for binding all colored blocks together)
1 1/2 t. Matcha Green Tea powder **available at most Food Co-ops, and specialty markets
Red gel coloring
1-2 drops of Cherry flavored oil
1-2 drops of Pina Colada flavored oil
1) In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar well. Add the egg, then the vanilla. Slowly stir in the salt and flour until the dough is formed.
2) Divide the dough equally into thirds. Make each colored dough on a clean, floured surface.
For the "white" dough: you can either leave "as is", or add in 1-2 drops of Pina Colada flavored oil, or a coconut extract. Mix to incorporate the flavoring, and set aside.
For the "green" dough: simply sprinkle the Matcha Green tea powder over the dough, and mix with your hands until the powder is evenly distributed throughout the dough, and set aside. (No need for any green food coloring, as the green tea powder colors and flavors it- all in one!!
For the "red" dough: place about 1/8 t. of red gel in the middle of the dough, along with the Cherry flavored oil. Mix well by hand, until the dough is uniform in color. Adjust with more gel color if necessary.
3) Take a sheet tray, and place a large piece of saran wrap over it. Ultimately, you will be using 4 colors per level, and alternating to achieve the checkerboard effect. (You should end up with a total of 16 cookie "ropes" stacked on top of each other to form a square when sliced.) To make this go faster and easier, take each color of dough, (1 at a time), and on a floured surface, simply form each one into a rectangle, and slice into sections that are about 1/2in. thick, and about 10in. in length. Place each dough section(s) in refrigerator to chill until ready to assemble checkerboard.
4) To assemble: On a piece of saran wrap, starting with the bottom, place 4 sections along the bottom- alternating colors. Lightly brush on some egg white to the top of those sections. For layer 2: repeat, starting with the next color in the pattern, etc. Continue the process of the egg wash, and layering, until you have a completed rectangle of 4 layers (with 16 separate sections). Carefully run your hand along the top and sides to smooth and shape. Wrap the entire "log" in plastic wrap, and place in freezer. If you have additional dough remaining, take all 3 colors, lay next to each other on a floured surface, flatten, and roll out about 1/4in. thick. Take the log out of the freezer, unwrap, and place in center of rolled out dough. Brush the sides of the log with egg white. Carefully wrap around entire log- making sure it is tight around all sides. Remove excess on the very bottom, and sides. Re-wrap the entire "log" in plastic wrap, and place in freezer on a flat surface, until ready to bake. (If freezing for more than a few days, place in a gallon sized freezer bag as well.
5) Preheat oven to 350F. When ready to bake, remove the log from the freezer, unwrap. Simply slice, placing the cookies on a parchment or silpat lined tray. (About 12 to a tray.) Bake at 350F for about 10min. (You do not want to brown these!) Remove, and allow to cool on a rack. Serve "as is", or to make them a bit extra special, dip the corners in white or reg. chocolate, or pipe a festive design on the tops!