Matcha Chip Biscotti

I normally like the texture of my baked goods to be chewy and soft. The exception to this is biscotti, a twice-baked and crisp cookie that’s destined for dunking. A soak in some tea, milk, or even coffee, and this rustic cookie yields a bulky yet tender bite–a slightly healthier version of milk and cookies!

I’m always looking for ways to use my best cocoa powder. I love that cocoa powder has relatively few calories, and yet it’s packed with robust chocolatey flavor. In this recipe, the cocoa powder meets Matcha Chocolate Chips, made from mixing white chocolate with beautiful matcha tea powder. Slightly bitter flavors from both the cocoa and matcha powders help to tame the sweetness of the white chocolate, making the biscotti rich and decadent without tasting overly sweet. 

I like to pair my Matcha Chip Biscotti with a cup of soothing matcha milk. It sounds like a fancy drink, but there’s nothing to whipping some up. In a small glass, simply stir a teaspoon of matcha powder in with a small splash of hot water, then top off the concentrated tea with your favorite milk. I prefer almond milk, but you can use regular milk, soy milk, or even light coconut milk in the same way. Matcha milk is delicious warm or cold, and goes perfectly with sweetened baked goods, especially these Matcha Chip Biscotti! 

If stored in an airtight container, Matcha Chip Biscotti will taste great for up to two weeks. Proper drying during the second round of baking will help them to keep their incredibly crunchy texture. It seems ironic to bake them so crisp just to soak them back into a liquid, but contrasting textures make this tea and cookie combination fabulous.

Matcha Chip Biscotti are perfect in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up snack. Be generous when adding those Matcha Chocolate Chips and finish the cookies off with a few gulps of matcha milk. The unique pairing will leave you zipping through your day like nobody’s business!

Matcha Chip Biscotti

Makes 15 biscotti.

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup best-quality cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbsp butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup matcha chocolate chips

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Equipment:

large bowl or stand mixer with paddle attachment

medium bowl

large baking sheet fitted with parchment

large cutting board

serrated knife

Directions:

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Mix in egg and extracts until throughly incorporated.

2.)  In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add this mixture to the butter mixture until it is all added in. You can use the stand mixer (on low speed) or a large spoon to do this. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds.

3.)  Shape the dough directly on the baking sheet into an 11″ by 3″ log. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the biscotti log is firm and dry to the touch. Remove from oven, then let cool for 10-15 minutes, until you can use your hands to handle it onto a cutting board.

4.)  Using serrated knife, cut out diagonal slices of the biscotti, about 3/4″ thick, until you get 15 equal cookie pieces. Place the cut biscotti on the original baking sheet and return to oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes until the cookies are hardened and crisp. Remove the baking sheet from oven and transfer the cookies to cool on a cooling rack. Pack the biscotti into an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Lemon Matcha Mints

A few years ago I came across green tea flavored mints. At the time, I remember thinking “Wow, how fancy!” Of course, I had to get a box, but after trying them I was disappointed…where was all that promised earthy green tea flavor? With some gumpaste leftover from my cake projects and good quality matcha on hand, I decided to take a shot at making some tea mints of my own today.

Why would you bother making mints at home? The simple answer is that these are a perfect treat for the matcha enthusiast. You’ll be able to use only the best quality tea here, and it’s an added bonus that these portable matcha mints make it easy for you to enjoy the refreshing taste of matcha anywhere you want!

Today I’m using Mizuba Tea’s Daily Matchaboth in these mints and also to coat them. It’s not the cheapest to use drinking quality matcha in a recipe, but because the matcha here is eaten straight up in a peppery mint, it’s flavor can be fully appreciated. The moment the mint hits your tongue, you’ll taste pure powdery matcha, just the ingredient you need to give your mints a clean, bright tea flavor.

The hardest part of this recipe is punching the mints out. Since you have to do this one at a time, the task can feel quite mechanical, but it’s also relaxing (and faster) once you get a good groove going. The best part of the mint-making process is dusting them with a small bowl of fresh matcha powder in the finishing step. No sifter needed here, just use your fingers to shake of any excess matcha from the mints…the more matcha that clings on to the candies, the better!

Once the mints have dried completely hard, you can place them in small metal tins. I found these round tins in the wedding favor section of my local craft store, where you’ll find many other shapes and sizes of tins choose from in addition to these. A tie of baker’s twine around a clear tin filled matcha mints creates an instantly charming and colorful little party favor.

Remember to make these Lemon Matcha Mints with only the best matcha you can find! When your taste buds need a bit of freshening during the course of the day, these mints deliver a bright and lively pop of pure tea flavor.

Lemon Matcha Mints

Makes 1 cup of mints.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. gumpaste

4 tsp matcha powder (I used Mizuba Tea’s Daily Matcha)

2 tsp lemon juice powder or a few drops of lemon oil

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Equipment:

small bowl

rolling-pin

mini fondant cutters or sharp knife

straw

work surface

parchment paper

Directions:

1.)  Knead 2 tsp of matcha and 2 tsp of lemon powder into the gumpaste. If the gumpaste is too stiff, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it. Knead until the powders are evenly incorporated into the gumpaste.

2.)  Add the extract to the gumpaste, then knead it in thoroughly. If the gumpaste gets too stiff, you can again place it in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften.

3.)  Roll the gumpaste out with the rolling-pin on a work surface lighty dusted with matcha. Roll the gumpaste to a thickness of 1/4″. Place the other 2 tsp of the matcha in a small bowl. Dust each cutter into the matcha. Punch out mints from the rolled gumpaste. If the mints stick to the cutters, use the end of a straw to push them out. You can also cut the mints out with a sharp knife into 1/4″ squares.

4.)  Place mints into the small bowl with the matcha and roll them around. Remove the mints from the bowl, shaking off any excess matcha back into the bowl. Place the mints on a sheet of parchment to dry until completely hardened, preferably for at least 12 hours or overnight before packing.

Matcha Mojitos

I don’t normally drink many alcoholic beverages, but when I do mojitos are my drink of choice. I like that mojitos taste light and crisp without tasting overly sweet, and I also like that the ingredients used to make these cocktails are not the least bit fussy or hard to get.

There’s really nothing to making a mojito, which makes it perfect for a Monday evening wind down. It’s typical to use a muddler to mash up the mint and lime wedges of this drink, but since I don’t have one of those I’ve taken a shortcut to extract the flavors out of the ingredients. In the first step of the recipe I use hot water to create a smooth honey simple syrup. I then use the residual heat from the water not only to brew my matcha but also to help wilt and release flavor from the mint leaves. It’s an untraditional method that does a great job of melding all of this mojito’s refreshing flavors together.

The matcha in this recipe will give the mojito more body and a gentle bitterness which is balanced by the sweet honey. As always, an added benefit of the matcha is that it will give you a bit of extra pep to get you through the rest of your day (or evening). Matcha Mojitos are the drink to have when your day has been tireless and exhausting. Smooth and crisp with just a bit of edge to it, this simple cocktail is a refreshing finish to any hot and busy summer day.

Matcha Mojito

Makes 1 drink.

Ingredients:

2 tsp honey

1 Tbsp hot water

1 tsp matcha powder, sifted

1 sprig of mint (5 leaves)

1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

6-7 large ice cubes

3 Tbsp rum, chilled

6 Tbsp club soda, chilled

Equipment:

large glass

sifter

spoon or muddler

Directions:

1.)  Pour the honey into a large glass (the one that you plan on serving with), then add 1 Tbsp of hot water and stir until you get a thinned honey water. Add the sifted matcha, then mix with spoon until the matcha is thoroughly incorporated and there are no lumps.

2.)  Squeeze the juice from each lime wedge into the mixture, then throw 2 of the wedges into the mixture (discard the other 2). Add the mint leaves to the matcha honey mixture, then slightly crush the leaves and lime wedges with the back of the spoon.

3.)  Add the rum, then mix again. Add the ice cubes, then top off with club soda and give the Matcha Mojito one last mix before serving.

Smoked Salmon Spring Rolls

For me, the best of summertime eating always involves making plenty of spring rolls.  In hot weather, there’s nothing better than enjoying a light, fresh meal that won’t leave you feeling heavy or guilty.

This Matcha Monday, I’ve created Smoked Salmon Spring Rolls with a savory Matcha Dipping Sauce.  A few weeks ago, I created a recipe for Rainbow Spring Rolls served with an oolong tea-based Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce.  Today’s recipe highlights the umami flavors of matcha green tea in another spring roll recipe.  Where my oolong dipping sauce is fruity and bright, today’s matcha dipping sauce is earthy and rich.

When you think of smoked salmon you might be thinking about bagels or tea sandwiches, but it’s actually perfect for using in spring rolls too.  With its brilliant orangey-pink color and salty flavor, it can transform your everyday spring roll into a unique delicacy.  An added bonus is that it’s ready to use straight out of the package.  In today’s recipe, smoked salmon adds savory richness the same way that fish sauce does when you make Vietnamese Spring Rolls the traditional way.

What I love most about these Smoked Salmon Spring Rolls is their texture.  When you bite into these rolls, you’ll sink your teeth into a variety of soft textures first.  The rice wrapper, mung bean noodles, and salmon give the rolls a tender, bouncy bite.  After you’ve gotten through the softer layers, you’ll reach the thin, snappy stalks of haricot vert, otherwise known as French string beans.  These stalky, bright green veggies basically taste like less-starchy green beans. Here, they add an unexpected fresh crunch to the rolls and help to balance out the saltiness of the smoked salmon.

If you want to mix the dipping sauce up using proper culinary technique, you’d want to drizzle the olive oil into the other ingredients slowly, using a wire whisk.  The lazy way is throw all the ingredients into a jam jar and shake away.  The dipping sauce won’t be as thick and emulsified as if you had done it the correct way, but if fast and easy is the name of the game (hey, it’s Monday) this is the way to go.  Any fan of smoked salmon will love these spring rolls.  Feel free to play around with the proportions of the dipping sauce to make sure it’s just the right balance of flavors to suit your palette.  The sauce should be light, bright, and slightly thick, just like a good cup of matcha is.

Smoked Salmon Spring Rolls with Matcha Dipping Sauce

Makes 16 spring rolls.

Ingredients:

{Spring Rolls}

8 oz.smoked salmon, sliced

4 oz. mung bean noodles

8 oz. haricot vert, rough edges trimmed

16 large basil leaves

16 spring roll wrappers

{Matcha Dipping Sauce}

2 Tbsp olive oil

few drops sesame oil

juice of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp mirin

1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 Tsp low-sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp water

1 tsp matcha powder

1/4 tsp salt

cracked black pepper to taste

Equipment:

work surface

large casserole or deep, large dish

medium pot

medium bowl with ice-cold water

wire mesh sieve

strainer

small bowl and whisk or jam jar

Directions:

1.)  Fill a medium pot with water, then bring to a full boil.  Boil the noodles for 2 minutes, then remove from hot water with wire mesh sieve.  Place in strainer, rinse with cold water, and set aside.  Blanch the haricot vert by throwing them into the same boiling water for 1 minute.  Remove the haricot vert with a wire mesh sieve, then plunge into another bowl filled with ice-cold water.  Drain the haricot vert and set aside.

2.)  Fill a large casserole or deep, large dish with about 1″ of warm water.  Submerge 1 spring roll wrapper in the water completely, wait for it to soften for about 10 seconds, then place the sheet on a clean work surface.

3.)  Stack 3-4 stalks of haricot vert in the lower 1/3 section of each sheet, towards the center. Add some mung bean noodles on top of the haricot vert, then top with a piece of smoked salmon and one basil leaf.  Roll up spring roll and fold right and left sides of the wrapper in towards the center of the roll.  Continue rolling upwards (away from you) until you get a completed roll. If you prefer visuals, please check out Andrea Nguyen’s instructions on how to wrap rice paper rolls.  Repeat this step for the rest of the 15 rolls.

4.)  In a small bowl, mix all of the dipping sauce ingredients together, except the olive oil.  Use whisk to stir the ingredients together, then gradually add the olive oil in a stream.  Alternatively, throw all the sauce ingredients in a jam jar and shake well.  Serve the dipping sauce along with the rolls.

 

Banana Matcha Protein Shake

There’s no better drink to get you though a busy Monday than my Banana Matcha Protein Shake.  I used to think of protein shakes as strange concoctions that only body builders tolerated for the sake of vanity.  Trying to stay open-minded while looking for a fast and filling way to get though my mornings, I gave protein shakes another chance.  I soon discovered that I was wrong–protein shakes can actually be both nutritious and tasty.  And the vanity bit?  Well, I suppose a bit of vanity can sometimes be a good thing.

The best thing about protein shakes?  They help to keep you full for hours.  For a foodie obsessed with bites and treats like I am, protein shakes are the perfect way to keep my diet balanced without having to think too much.

Vanilla protein powder is my favorite because it’s plain and takes well to a variety of ingredients.  My secret ingredient in this shake are freeze-dried bananas, which pack some natural, not-too-sweet, concentrated banana flavor into the mix.  An added bonus is that freeze-dried bananas are convenient to use in the AM when time is of the essence.

Banana and matcha aren’t used together as much as they should be.  There’s something about the slight bitterness of matcha and the tropical sweetness of banana that makes them naturally delicious partners.  The only thing that I don’t prefer about blending the two together is how the brilliant color of matcha gets muddled.  The solution?  Adding few leaves of dark green kale or spinach in!  Added nutrition and good looks–what’s not to like?

Whirl up one of these shakes for breakfast, right before hitting the gym, or anytime you need an energy boost.  Let’s be honest…protein shakes are practical–they serve a very specific purpose.  My Banana Matcha Protein Shake is where practicality and purpose collide with wholesome yumminess.  Hey, if I’m going to eat healthy it might as well be with a treat like this! Happy Matcha Monday!!

Banana Matcha Protein Shake

Makes 1 shake.

Ingredients:

1 cup vanilla almond milk (I used the 30 calorie per cup kind)

1 cup crushed ice

1/2 cup freeze-dried bananas

1 tsp matcha powder

1 Tbsp almond butter

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

few leaves of fresh baby kale or spinach

extra matcha, for garnish

Equipment:

blender

Directions:

1.)  Blend all the ingredients together in a blender, pour into a tall glass, and sprinkle some matcha powder on top to finish!

Matcha Mango Mochi Rolls

Microwave and mochi may not seem like they belong in the same sentence, but yet here it is…Microwave Matcha Mango Mochi Rolls!  Could there be any more m’s in a recipe?

Traditional Japanese sweet rice cake is made from steamed glutinous rice, which is pounded into a paste and shaped to create the chewy, sticky mouthful referred to as mochi.  As authentic as it is to use a steamer to make mochi, there are many other more convenient methods you can use to make mochi, including the stove top, the oven, and even the microwave!  The microwave an ideal place to cook this treat, as any slight degree of overcooking is masked by the fact that mochi already has a characteristic chewiness about it.

These mochi rolls are the not-as-cold and not-as-sweet version of mochi ice cream.  What’s great about them is that don’t require any fancy filling techniques like those needed when making traditional filled mochi.  I make the Matcha Mango Mochi Rolls as I would cinnamon rolls–just spread a cooked mochi sheet with a layer of mango cream, then roll up, chill, and cut with a sharp serrated knife.  If you’ve allowed the roll a proper amount of time to set up in the fridge, you’ll end up with beautiful mochi slices with specks of fresh mango studded throughout.

I love that something as traditional as mochi can be made so simply in the microwave, within minutes.  For the whipped cream filling, feel free to substitute any fruit that you love…strawberries, peaches, or even bananas will work well.  And if you can’t find the freeze-dried fruit, just add more of the fresh fruit.  The filling can also easily be replaced with canned smooth red bean paste, which results in a much more traditional tasting mochi roll.

Matcha Mango Mochi Rolls

Makes 12 pieces.

Ingredients:

{Mochi Sheet}

4 oz. sweet rice flour (mochiko)

3/4 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp matcha powder, sifted

non-stick vegetable oil spray

1 cup dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut

{Mango Cream}

1/2 cup cream

2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 cup freeze-dried mango, ground to a powder in spice grinder

1/4 cup fresh, firm mango, peeled and diced into pea-size bits

Equipment:

microwaveable 9 x 13 rectangular casserole dish

2 medium mixing bowls

rubber spatula

hand-held mixer or whisk

spice grinder

peeler

work surface

large rectangular dish or baking sheet

serrated knife

Directions:

1.)  In a medium bowl, combine mochiko, baking powder, and matcha powder.  Add in water, sugar, and vanilla and mix in thoroughly until you get a homogenous batter.

2.)  Pour batter into casserole dish evenly sprayed with non-stick vegetable oil spray, distributing the batter evenly.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until the mochi sheet is set and a toothpick comes out clean.

3.)  Let the mochi sheet dry to room temperature, then carefully ease out of casserole dish using a rubber spatula.  If it is easier, loosen one half of the mochi sheet, then the other half.

4.)  On top of a work surface, scatter 1 cup of desiccated coconut.  Distribute the coconut evenly into a 9 x 13 rectangle so that the mochi sheet will lay on top of it without making contact with the work surface.  Lay the sticky side of the mochi sheet on top of the coconut. The stickiness of the mochi will cause the coconut to adhere, creating the outer covering for the mochi rolls.

5.)  Make the mango cream by first whipping the heavy cream.  Add the sugar and whip until you get stiff peaks.  Fold in the dried mango powder and the fresh mango bits.

6.)  On the dry side of the mochi sheet, use a rubber spatula to apply an even 1/4″ thick layer of the whipped cream atop the entire sheet of mochi.

7.)  Like you would making cinnamon rolls, take one long side of the mochi sheet, then gradually and tightly roll up until you get a finished, long mochi roll.  Set the roll on a large rectangular dish or baking sheet seam side down, then cover with plastic wrap and set in fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

8.)  After the roll is properly chilled, remove from the fridge and use a serrated knife to cut out 12 equally-sized pieces of mochi.  Store airtight in the fridge, where the mochi will last 2-3 days.