Tuesday April 15, 2014 | 2 comments
Kiss Me Organics sent me an offer I couldn’t refuse: four ounces of culinary grade matcha. I love green tea ice cream, and I cannot go into the Asian Market without coming out with a green tea sponge roll cake and green tea mochi. As an unapologetic kitchen chemist, I couldn’t wait to get a quarter pound of primo matcha in my pantry.
Within 48 hours of ordering, the matcha was on my doorstep. The hoarder’s psychological game began: once I open it, it will never be unopened again. I spent several days admiring the unopened package while I searched online for green tea sponge cake recipes. Intimidated is putting it mildly. The recipe not only called for “red bean jam,” but also for a special jelly roll sheet pan. Red bean jam is readily available at Asian markets some sixty-five miles west of me, but not right here right now, and I cannot imagine an acceptable substitute.
As for the jelly roll sheet, painful memories of single-use utensil purchases fill a shelf in my pantry, and a guilty little corner of my mind. As a retired teacher on a fixed income, I no longer indulge myself in the culinary equivalent of a one-night stand.
Matcha sponge roll cake scratched.
Whatcha gonna do with all the matcha? The label on Kiss Me Organics lists “lattes/smoothies/baking” as primary uses. For me, it was forget the lattes, postpone the smoothies, and wait for an invitation. (Decades of practice as a household of two has taught that making desserts from scratch is reserved for dinner parties. Two of us simply cannot consume an entire pie, cake, batch of cookies, or flan.) As luck would have it, we were invited to a friend’s for dinner last Friday night, and the host requested that I bring dessert. Back to the internet for a dessert recipe using matcha, and the usual utensils.
Green tea cupcakes with green tea buttercream icing popped up after the second try. With all the ingredients on hand, it wasn’t long before the beautiful envelope of matcha was opened – tablespoons of matcha powder were leveled and sifted with cake flour and organic cane sugar. Egg whites, vegetable oil and water were blended with the dry ingredients to make a light green batter. Twenty minutes of baking, an hour of cooling and the frosting – basically unsalted butter creamed with powdered sugar and matcha – fluted onto the cupcakes using a leaf tip.
Knock-out hit! The cupcakes were gone before the table was cleared. Flavored with almond extract, the taste of the green tea was complimented, but not overshadowed, allowing the cake to stand on its own as Kiss Me Matcha Gotcha!
Next day, I added a half teaspoon of matcha powder to my morning smoothie. Again, the subtle and pleasant taste of matcha blended with the banana, coconut milk, yoghurt and fresh strawberries, resulting in a delicious morning kick start. Three mornings later, Kiss Me Matcha is heading toward a habit!