Posts Tagged matcha

Matcha Shortbread and Matcha Apricot Cobbler

Green tea is probably almost as good as chocolate. Have you ever had a mug of matcha? It’s thick as melted ice cream without being the least bit gritty. It shocks you with bitterness, and sooths you with velvet soft texture. A good dark chocolate will do just the same. But I will admit, like very dark chocolate, it isn’t for everyone. It needs to be tempered, sweetened, given a symphony of flavors in which to play, for the uninitiated to fully appreciate it.

If you don’t drink thick koicha tea, if even the weaker usucha is too much for you, use less matcha than I did. Because I am a matcha fiend, just as much as I am a chocolate fiend. And just as the less insane among the chocoholics would probably never eat a flourless chocolate cake made with 99% cocoa bars and only a scattering of sugar to temper it, so too the less insane among tea-lovers would not love this shortbread. It is intense, as much so as a mug of koicha. I will not think less of you if you want to hear the symphony.

The shortbread recipe, minus the tea, is taken pretty much exactly from Baking by James Peterson. I love this book. Cobbler ever so loosely based on Smitten Kitchen’s breakfast apricot crisp. only hers is better for you, and honestly tastes better as a breakfast. But it doesn’t have tea in it, So I win. It was a contest, right?

Ingredients (makes an 8″ diameter 1″ tall round of shortbread cookies plus two single-serve cobblers)

For the shortbread:

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 t salt

1 cup (1/2 pound or 16 T or 2 sticks) butter, cut into 16 slices

3/4 cup sugar

1 T matcha powder (this will give a subtle matcha flavor. I used 3 T for a great wave of matcha flavor.)

For the cobbler:

1 pound fresh apricots (about 8)

1/4 cup sugar

1-2 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups matcha shortbread dough

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the flour, salt, sugar, and matcha powder in the bowl of a food processor

Pulse briefly to mix.

Add the butter and pulse until a dough ball forms out of the sandy mass. Turn the dough out onto the counter.

Pinch off about 1 1/2 cups of the shortbread dough for use in the cobblers. I didn’t measure, because a cobbler can afford to be a little fast and loose. Press the remaining dough into a pie tin, or just roll it into a 1″ tall circle on a sheet of parchment paper

Score the cookies however you choose, to make them easy to break into proper shapes

I made big wedges with pretty stars. Aww.

Bake for 15 minutes or so, then cut along the score lines while still hot to keep the cookies from brumbling when you cut them.

What a pretty slice. But while that’s baking, don’t you have cobblers to make?

Slight boggy cobblers. They taste better than they look, I promise.

Press a layer of shortbread dough into the bottoms of two 1-cup ramekins or 4 muffin tins.

Tear the apricots in quarters, discarding the seeds.

Toss the apricots with sugar and chocolate. They will become sticky messes instantly upon touching the sugar. Don’t worry. It’s supposed to do that.

Plop the filling into the ramekins, interspersed with about 2 teaspoon pinches of shortbread dough.

Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes. The filling should be viscous and bubbly and the top edges of the shortbread bits will be just a tad browned.

The apricots, even with all that sugar, are sour and mean. the tea pushes them back, and the buttery shortbread brings a creamy sweetness to the whole thing. Plus, there’s fruit in it, so it’s a healthy breakfast, right?

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The Baked Brownie with Matcha Chips

I shared my matcha chip recipe yesterday. Maybe you were wondering what to do with them. Sure, you can eat them by the handful while messing around on the Internet, but honestly that’s a lot less fun than brownies.

These brownies. If you have this book, you’ll notice that my version of their brownie is heavily modified. If you don’t have this book, for goodness’ sake get it. I never think someone else’s recipe is perfect when I first make it. So as much as I drool over the pictures in Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, I couldn’t help thinking that the granulated to brown sugar ratio should really be 1:1, that it needed a touch more chocolate, and of course some matcha chips.

The results blew the original out of the water. The bitterness of tea and dark chocolate combine with the earthy sweetness of dark brown sugar and a touch of malt for brownie perfection. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still more of a blondie girl, but if I’m going to eat a brownie it will forever be a variant on this. Maybe next time I’ll kick up the malt powder and throw in a pile of Whoppers. Malt makes everything better. Except Passover.

Anyway, these brownies are more of a hassle than most (and more of a hassle than blondies. Just sayin’.) but still under twenty minutes of active kitchen time even if you’re fussing with your sad, slow camera the whole time. (Seriously. I need a new camera. Recommendations?) The results are so rich and chocolatey that you will temporarily swear off cake. Don’t worry, though. That side effect last approximately two and a half minutes, at which point someone at work will remind you that you forgot to make his lemon birthday cake a month ago and you’ll be all over that idea.

Ingredients (Makes two dozen brownies in a 9×13 pan. People will want seconds.)

12 ounces dark chocolate (I used 8 ounces Baker’s semi-sweet and 4 ounces Scharffen Berger 99% dark chocolate, because that’s what I had on hand.)

2 sticks (1/2 lb, 16 T) butter

1 T matcha powder

1 C granulated sugar

1 C dark brown sugar

5 eggs

2 t vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup flour

1 t salt

2 T cocoa powder

3 T malt powder

Directions

Step one: use a bigger double boiler than I did. Seriously, use a nice big mixing bowl and set it over a big pot of simmering water. I used the smaller of my two fondue pots (no, I was not around in the seventies; I just really like fondue) and had to stir very carefully at the end.

Heat the oven to 350°F and butter a 9×13 pan.

Once your double boiler is simmering, toss in the butter and chocolate.

I made these immediately after the matcha chips, and I didn’t see any point in washing the chocolate melting pot in between because the next step here is to add matcha to the chocolate and butter.

Stir the mixture as it melts. Make sure it’s completely smooth.

Remove the chocolate from the heat and add the sugars.

Stir the sugars in and set the mixture aside to cool a bit.

Sift your flour, salt, cocoa powder, and malt powder into a separate bowl.

Go back to the chocolate mixture and add the eggs and vanilla.

Stir the eggs in. This was the hard part for me and my tiny fondue pot. I’m shocked that I didn’t get chocolate and egg everywhere.

If you used a good-sized pot for the chocolate, dump the dry ingredients on top and fold them in. Don’t over-stir. Fold in the matcha chips as well, and pour the batter into your prepared 9×13 pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes at 350°F. Now, with matcha powder in the batter, and matcha chips dotting the brownies, there’s only one logical serving choice.

Matcha ice cream. Just a bit. After all, we wouldn’t want to overdo it.

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Matcha Chips for Matcha Desserts

I saw these almost a month ago and proceeded to forget about the idea for all this time, until I found myself sneaking a tablespoon of malt powder into my matcha tea one morning. The idea of a baked matcha dessert came back in force, and I had no choice but to make my own. You would not believe how easy these are, and how fun! Okay, so I didn’t make most of them very pretty or chip-like. How am I supposed to bypass the allure of the star tip for the humble round?

So easy. So full of bitter tea flavor, sweetened beyond all reason with the creamy tang unique to cocoa butter. I dare you to resist.

Ingredients

 

5 ounces white chocolate (I used Callebaut, because yum.)

1 tablespoon matcha powder

That’s it.

Directions

Bring water to simmer in a double boiler*. Chop white chocolate (because greater surface area to volume ratio leads to more efficient heat transfer into the chocolate) and scoop it into the double boiler.

Stir the  chocolate as it melts until it is nice and smooth.

Get out the gorgeous green powder. . .

. . . and dump it on top.

Stir it together. The green of the matcha will remain surprisingly undiluted by the chocolate.

Scoop the melted chocolate into a piping bag or one of these fun doohickies.

Pipe in itsy little bursts onto a parchment lined sheet. Most of mine came out sideways or too big or too small, but that’s okay; they’re getting put into brownies, anyway. No one will know. Unless you tell them on the Internet.

Put the sheet of matcha chips in the refrigerator or freezer to set while you make whatever cookies or brownies or quick bread you want to add matcha to. I made brownies. Banana bread would be unbelievably fantastic with tea in it, though, don’t you think?

*Alright. I know everyone and their mother, including my mother, uses the microwave to melt chocolate. I don’t. The reason I usually give for this is that I find the process of stirring delightful aromatic stuff and things relaxing. This is true. I like making polenta and risotto, too.

But there’s another reason.

When I was eleven, there was an incident with the microwave. I was for some reason left home alone. With most eleven-year-olds, this is probably safe behavior. With me, probably not. You see, I found myself alone in the house with a microwave and a bag of marshmallows.

Maybe you already know where this was going.

I put a marshmallow on a paper plate and nuked it. It expanded. It melted. It was delicious.

So I decided to go a little further.

I piled eight or ten marshmallows on my plate, and set the microwave again. For a long time. I think I decided that if one marshmallow needed X seconds to melt, then ten marshmallows would require 10X seconds. This is untrue in nearly all culinary situations, and disastrously so in this one.

Of course I left the room at this point, and of course when I returned to the kitchen and my brilliant creation, I found the microwave filled with a steaming substance I can only describe as marshmallow concrete.

I spent the next two hours alternating between chipping at the mess with a fork and scrubbing it with a very wet sponge to melt it. I somehow got the thing clean before my parents got home, which is especially shocking because as a young corvid I had the attention span of a grouse in a field full of grasshoppers, and usually had to be yelled at about half a dozen times before I would clean my own room. The intense focus of this instance came from utter conviction that my parents were going to eviscerate me or at the very least sell my organs to pay for a new microwave.

And I’ve never told them until now.

And yeah, I’m still worried I might be in trouble.

That is why I do not trust microwaves. I use them as little as I can get away with.

Sorry about the microwave, Mom.

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