By Cindy Yuong, AOS Baking & Pastry
March 24, 2016
One of my favorite ingredients to bake with is matcha. Matcha is green tea in powder form, but with a lot of special benefits included. All tea leaves come from the same plant but are harvested and processed in different ways. Matcha leaves are a very high quality variety. About a month before the leaves are picked for matcha, the plant is grown in shade in order to slow growing, concentrate and darken the green color, and to develop flavor. The tea leaves are hand picked, steamed, and dried before they get ground up very fine, making it into the vibrant green tea powder we usually see. Usually found in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, matcha is showing up in cafes as lattes, cakes, ice cream, and more.
The health benefits of drinking green tea are pretty well known, but it is even better as matcha. This antioxidant rich tea is known for stimulating metabolism and is often cited as a dietary aid. One serving of matcha tea is equivalent to about 10 cups of brewed green tea. As opposed to brewed tea, matcha is dispersed throughout the liquid and the leaf gets ingested rather than steeped and not literally consumed. Matcha does not dissolve, it is traditionally mixed into the water with a bamboo whisk in a large cup before serving.
My favorite thing about matcha is that as a powder, it can easily be incorporated into most recipes, much like adding cocoa powder to a mix. A simple tablespoon or so added to home recipes gives the rich, vibrant green of matcha and imparts some of the flavor. Matcha is naturally slightly bitter, but balances well for those who do not like overly sweet desserts. Cakes such as castella, sponge, and cheesecake are easily flavored with matcha and absolutely delicious.
This may very well be my last article as a freshman at the CIA, but the many moments at the school and writing for La Papillote will not be lost. One of my favorite matcha recipes is the Matcha Melting Moments cookies. This bittersweet cookie carries the flavor and color of matcha well. The soft cookie will melt in your mouth like the name suggests due to the addition of starch in the dough and remind you of the good moments in life.
Matcha Melting Moments Recipe
- 125 g salted butter, room temperature
- 40 g powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
- 125 g potato starch (preferred) or cornstarch
- 80 g cake flour
- 2-3 Tbsp matcha powder, plus more for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar until creamy, light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and stir well. Fold in the potato starch, cake flour and matcha powder and mix well until a soft dough is formed.
- Divide the dough into 2 rounds. Use your palms to shape them into small balls. To make the pattern on the cookies, use a fork and press gently onto the top of the round cookies. Dip the fork in water after each press to prevent the cookie dough from sticking to the fork.
- Place baking sheet in the bottom part of the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies turn very slight brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Dust some matcha powder over cookies before serving.
Matcha Melting Moments Cookies