Baking Gone Green

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Well, it’s been a long time coming and I couldn’t be more excited to announce that my kitchen and I have finally been united with none other than the smooth and vibrant aromas of Matcha! We’ve awaited this addition for far too long and now that it’s within reach I don’t know where to start. The list of recipes I’ve compiled for this wonderful powder is endless and now I have to pick just one to start with?! Can’t I just take like a week off and hide in my kitchen with my new best friend, pretty pleeaasssee?

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Okay, back to reality. At this point I’m just experimenting so I figured something simple would be best to get a feel for what working with matcha powder was like. Shortbread cookies seemed like a good starting point and i mean… cookies

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Matcha is traditionally prepared and served during the Japanese tea ceremony, but has recently been a trending ingredient in baking and now that I am fully equipped I am ready to hope on the matcha train!

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It took a few batches to get the color how I wanted it, but it was more than worth it! And just cause the color wasn’t right doesn’t mean they don’t still taste good ;) The green tea flavor is perfectly light and wonderful and the color is just really fun I think. It’s a nice contract to the traditional cookie. And it’s only natural to dip them in chocolate, right? RIGHT.

I needed something else to pair with this rookie recipe, so I dug into my recipe box and settled on a rather senior concoction of mine. Not a single wintery season passes by without at least one batch of my chai tea concentrate staining the air of my home with a warm and cosy spice.

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There are a lot of elements that make up chai tea and when you’re piling it all into your cart at the market you might find yourself questioning why you decided it was a good idea to make this in the first place ($$$$$). But I’ve found an economical way to gather the ingredients that will keep you making batch after batch.

Find a grocer that sells herbs and spices in bulk or by weight. If you’re a midwest local, the natural food section at Hy-Vee provides herbs and spiced by weight which I absolutely love and recommend to everyone. It’s a significantly better value than buying a packaged bottle and you have the option to buy only the amount you need. If you’re in an area with any ethnic food markets it’s likely that they sell a variety of packaged herbs and spices for a great price. By now you all know that I frequent the Kansas City asian market, but there are a handful of smaller shops (mediterranean, indian, african markets, etc.) that have great product of a reasonable price.

Star anise, nutmeg, coriander, clove, vanilla and cinnamon sticks are the things I try to pick up from the above places in town. The other ingredients I purchase close to when I plan to make the recipe and are things that are easier to buy at any time. Like fresh ginger, orange, honey, sugar, peppercorn and loose leaf tea.

I always have an abundance of tea at my house, so I usually just pick one that I have a lot of and use it, however a black tea or something that has a more mild flavor is preferred as to not interfere with the flavor of all the other spices. I usually hover between 4-6 cups of water and use around 10 tea bags or an equivalent amount of loose leaf tea.

After steeping all of the ingredients together in boiling water for 20+ minutes pour it through a fine strainer and it’s good to go. By this point the aroma is in full force and I simply can’t resist pouring myself a warm mug. Half concentrate, half milk.

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Matcha Short Bread Cookies

Ingredients :

– 3 C flour

– 2 sticks butter

– 1 C sugar

– 2 T matcha powder

– a splash of vanilla

– a pinch of salt

– half a bag of chocolate chips, melted

How – to :

– in a large mixing bowl combine sugar and butter and mix

– add vanilla mix until incorporated

– sift in the matcha powder and mix ** do sift it — it tends to be a bit clumpy

– sift in the flour a little at a time until all 3 cups are mixed in

** add more matcha powder for a greener cookie

– roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. I used the top of a drinking glass to cut out my matcha cookies, but use whatever fun cookie cutter want!

– bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 F for 20ish minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden

– dip in melted chocolate, place on a sheet of parchment and try to wait for the chocolate to harden before digging in :)

 

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