When it comes to working with Matcha, it being a powdered tea infinitely expands the ways in which you can use it creatively. One of our favorite ways has always been using it as an ingredient in recipes. So, we always do our best to work with and devise all kinds of new recipes, in order to spark our customers and readers into working with Matcha in other ways in addition to pure, hot tea. For this installment of Making Matcha Recipes, however, we would like to take a different approach and, rather than give a new recipe, we’d like to share three big tips on what to look for in a recipe that could work well with Matcha. If you think about it, there may already be many recipes you already make that fit some/all of these criteria.
Matcha tea has a fairly subtle flavor and, while it can work well in symphony with other flavors, it can also be easily overpowered by strong flavors. When considering adding Matcha to a prospective recipe, a simple vanilla recipe will almost always work. If the recipe involves spices (cinnamon, clove, etc), aromatics, or other assertive flavors, Matcha may wind up playing more of a supporting role than being the main flavor. If a recipe contains a strong ground or dry ingredient, you can try substituting Matcha for it entirely or in part, so if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of ginger, for example, try doing 1 teaspoon of ginger and the remaining 2 teaspoons as Matcha instead.
Possible Flavor Pairings: Vanilla (ice cream, custard), plain sugar (sugar cookies, pie), milks/creams (lattes, creme brulee), simple frostings (butter cream, cream cheese).
A secondary but very important aspect of working with Matcha is the natural, lovely green color it imparts on to whatever it is added to. When a person sees Matcha made into tea for the first time, they are usually taken aback by how green it is. Retaining this color is something Matcha recipes usually strive for so it is commonly paired with light ingredients such as white sugar, white chocolate, and milk or cream. Visual presentation of food, especially desserts, is very important, so always give consideration to how the deep Matcha green is going to combine with the other colors in the recipe. If a recipe makes an overly brown batter, the green color may not come through and instead make it have more of a muddy appearance. Even though delicious, there is the chance the color of a recipe can be a bit off-putting, as people eat with their eyes first.
Possible Ingredients to Avoid: Brown sugar, molasses, food coloring.
3. Baking Time and Temperature
If using Matcha for baking, the amount of time and the temperature to which you expose Matcha is just as important as the color and composition of the batter itself. Matcha, as an all natural powder, is somewhat heat sensitive and exposing it to high temperatures for long periods of time can make it brown and lose the brilliant green one aims for when working with Matcha.
Suggested Times and Temps: 10-20 minutes bake time, at anything lower than 400 degrees. If you exceed 400 degrees and bake the Matcha item for a long time, you will see a good deal of browning/yellowing and that may defeat the visual impact you are going for.
Tip: If something doesn’t turn out as green as you would like, you can always dust the finished product with some Matcha.
If you keep these three things in mind when working with Matcha in existing recipes, you can almost certainly make something new and delicious. With the holidays almost upon us, why not try adding Matcha to one of your usual holiday traditions? Green is always welcome at the holiday table!
And always remember, if (for whatever reason) things do not turn out delicious on the first go, don’t be discouraged! Keep trying and experimenting. Sometimes making a slight change in a recipe is exactly what it needs!
If you find a recipe that turns out particularly well, please let us know! Feel free to send us the recipe and pictures of the final product at firstname.lastname@example.org.