Are you a matcha fan? Do you know what it is? It’s a wonderful ingredient to use in baking. These green matcha madeleines are little cakes with attitude. They’re flavoured with Japanese green tea powder (matcha) for complexity and lemon for freshness.
Chocolate can be found in our house at pretty much any time of the year, but chocolate at Christmas is an absolute must. I try and make at least one new festive chocolate recipe each year to give to friends or family and this year I’m delighted to have come up with this Christmas chocolate bark. It’s a layer of dark chocolate covered with a swirled mix of matcha and cranberry white chocolate. It’s delicious.
I was innocently having a quick catch-up on Facebook before getting down to the more serious business of writing up a recipe, when I noticed a scone post from Johanna, at Green Gourmet Giraffe. She alerted me to the fact it was International Scone Week. Well really, I couldn’t let another year go by without marking the occasion. The post I was going to write has now been put on hold so that I can get the the recipe for spelt scones with health giving kefir, matcha green tea & honey published before it’s too late. As the old saying goes: here today, scone tomorrow.
It’s been a while since I made anything with matcha and when CT bought me a tin of it for my birthday I reckoned it was time to do more than just drink it. This easy recipe for matcha green tea cheesecake pots with blueberries popped into my head and before I quite knew what I was about, they were made.
Pancakes are always a treat, but I have a particularly soft spot for savoury pancakes. My dinner time treat, when I was a child, was wholemeal pancakes with cheese sauce – utter bliss. These pea protein pancakes include matcha for flavour and colour and are served with a spicy peanut sauce. They are vegan, gluten free and most importantly, tasty.
As some of you may have noticed, since trying matcha in baking a few years ago, with this matcha, rhubarb and chocolate cake, I’ve become rather a fan. Matcha, which is somewhat bitter with umami notes offsets the sweetness of the sugar nicely. I was recently overtaken by a craving for something sweet and I realised I’d never made matcha blondies. Game, set and matcha.
Christmas is traditionally a time for baking biscuits and I usually make the most of it. I tend to make an old favourite or two, but also use the occasion to try out a some new recipes. One of them, this time, was to be Christmas Butter Biscuits.
As some of you may know, I’ve been drinking matcha for the last few days. I’m taking part in the teapigs #MatchaChallenge which involves consuming half a teaspoon of this amazing green tea every day for two weeks. High time to have a change from just drinking matcha and get baking with it too, I reckoned. I wanted to make something that was portable, would fit in a lunch box and was not too unhealthy. Matcha biscuits with spelt flour and dark chocolate chips were my solution to this conundrum. Rather than incorporate chocolate throughout, I chose the chips so the beautiful green colour could shine through.
As soon as I started creaming the butter and sugar, I realised I should have used coconut oil and rapadura instead. This would have given an even healthier and no less delicious new year matcha cookie. Oh well, next time.
The biscuits turned out just as I’d hoped, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle with a lovely green hue to them. Annoyingly, I couldn’t get this to show in the photographs. There was no mistaking the matcha flavour which went well with the dark chocolate. The spelt gave a slight nuttiness and bizarrely the biscuits almost tasted of peanut butter. Manageing to eat two and half large cookies to get my required half teaspoon, was a little much, even for me; a hot cup of matcha tea remedied the situation.
Tea Time Treats has gone off piste this month and is actually all about lunch boxes rather than a groaning tea table. These biscuits (or cookies if you prefer) work well, both in a lunch box and for tea. CT can attest to both. Hosted this month by Janie over at The Hedge Combers, Karen of Lavender and Lovage will be taking a keen interest too.
With matcha to the fore, I reckon these qualify for this month’s Treat Petite, which is all about Healthy Treats. This is hosted by Cakeyboi alternating with The Baking Explorer.
Innovation and Discoveries is the theme for The Biscuit Barrel this month. Having felt rather forlorn last month when I baked something for this challenge, only to find it wasn’t there, I am now super excited to find that Alexandra over at The Lass in the Apron is holding the fort whilst Laura from I’d Much Rather Bake Than … finishes off her degree. Very sensible.
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 100 g golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
- 1 large egg (I used a duck egg)
- 100 g light muscovado sugar
- 150 g flour (I used half wholemeal spelt, half white)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of Himalayan pink rock salt
- 3 tsp matcha
- 75 g 70% dark chocolate buttons (or chopped)
- Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and matcha. Stir until just combined.
- Stir in the chocolate.
- Leave in a cool place to firm up a little.
- Place tablespoons of batter onto a lined baking tray (I made 15) and form into a rough circle.
- Bake at 180°C for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are firm. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
January is the traditional time to follow through with good intentions and try for a healthier lifestyle. I am always full of New Year’s resolutions and sometimes I actually manage to pull them off. This year I have set myself a tough one, but as it doesn’t involve food or drink, I was happy to take on the teapigs #matchachallenge as well.
I’ve had a love affair with matcha ever since CT brought some back from his Japan trip in 2007. I’d never heard of it before then, so it was a real novelty. Green tea was my tea of choice, so once I got used to the idea, it wasn’t such a big step to drinking matcha: it’s a very finely ground Japanese green tea with a distinctive flavour. Because you are ingesting the whole leaf this way, it provides a concentration of all those healthy nutrients that green tea is renowned for. It’s very high in antioxidants, has plenty of betacarotene and contains vitamins A, B and C. It’s said to boost energy levels for four to six hours after drinking it as well as raising metabolism and relieving stress. Teapigs matcha is organic and comes in 30g packs, normally costing £25. There is currently a 20% discount.
As well as a great drink, matcha lends itself very nicely to baking, not only giving a distinctive flavour, but also an interesting green colour. I have made a number of cakes and biscuits using matcha, but was particularly pleased with matcha shortbread, matcha and white chocolate cupcakes and chocolate matcha battenberg.
Much as I like matcha, it’s not something I’ve had every day, so I was interested to see if drinking it regularly made any difference to my flagging post flu energy levels. The teapigs #matchachallenge is to drink ½ tsp of matcha a day for a fortnight. It’s early days yet as I’m only on Day 5, but I have been enjoying finding different ways to drink it. I have so far made two different kefir matcha smoothies, drunk it as normal in a mug of hot water and tried it as a matcha shot in a glass provided by teapigs. Today I made a frothy matcha white hot chocolate. I used white chocolate so I could retain the beautiful green colour.
This is how I made:
Matcha Hot Chocolate
- Warmed 150ml of milk to just below boiling.
- Poured it into a mug containing 2 heaped tsps of white chocolate powder (I used Mortimer’s) and ¼ tsp matcha powder.
- Used an electric milk frother (kindly provided by teapigs) to mix and froth the drink.
- Sprinkled a little matcha powder over the top.
It was delicious. The frothing gave it a really light texture and the white chocolate was creamy, but the matcha cut through the sweetness with strong refreshing notes.
If you fancy entering the Matcha Challenge there is a chance to win a year’s supply of matcha from teapigs and a pack of matcha is being given away daily via instagram. The challenge runs throughout January and it’s a nice easy way to get your New Year off to a healthy start.
Thanks to teapigs for providing a pack of matcha green tea, a shot glass and aerolatte frother in exchange for blogging about the challenge.
I am sending the matcha hot chocolate off to Nayna for her event, Let’s Cook/Create Hot Drinks over at Simply Food.
Have you eaten matcha marmalade cakes before? No? They’re well worth trying. These little bites are flavoured with healthy green tea powder and marmalade. They’re not only delicious but also quick and simple to make.