Almond Green Tea White Chocolate Bars

Check out this sweet screen shot.  You see that awesome muffin photo?  Yeah, I took that.  And now it’s on a website that doesn’t belong to me.  Living the dream.  (Oh, and thanks KA!)

Yesterday Luke called me from work to tell me his boss had just brought in some parsley for our little Izzy.  Goodness knows that rabbit would eat her weight in parsley everyday if she could.

I told him to keep it in the work fridge then bring it home with him.  Upon his arrival at the apartment, he promptly dropped a supermarket sized paper bag in my lap.  It was half full of parsley.  Packed parsley.  Oh my, the rabbit will feast well.  Even though I had just fed her, we gave her some anyway.  Seeing her chomp on a big sprig of parsley is just about the most adorable thing ever.

Watching me eat these bars, however, is not so adorable.  Like Izzy, I’d very much like to eat my weight in these bars…if I could figure out how many times I’d have to make the recipe to accomplish that.

Or maybe I’ll just make them over and over and over. This is the second time I’ve made them, and I swear they taste better this time around.  Green tea, almonds and white chocolate is one of those interesting, but amazing combos.

The flavors are distinct, yet complimentary, and meld together in your mouth like nothing else.  I’m definitely going to try playing around with these flavors more in the future.

Green Tea Almond White Chocolate Bars

Adapted from Hungry Rabbit 

Makes one 8X8” pan

For the almond batter:
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

For the green tea batter:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp matcha (green tea) powder
1 large egg
1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang and grease.

Whisk together flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl, set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracts; mix until combined. Add flour mixture, and mix carefully, scraping down sides of bowl, until well combined. Fold in white chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, granulated sugar, butter, flour, green tea powder, egg, and extract until fully incorporated.

Pour half of the almond batter into prepared pan, and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Spoon 3/4 of matcha mixture on top, and spread evenly. Pour remaining batter on top and spread slightly. Top with dollops of remaining matcha batter, about 1 inch apart. Run a knife through layers to create a swirl pattern.

Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, 45-55 minutes. Cool bars in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes, lift bars from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.


Matcha Pancakes

So how does someone get tricked into going on a date?  It’s simple really.  I had auditioned for the Chinese Music Ensemble in college, and happily, had made it in.  I had met Luke a few weeks before, and when I told him the good news, he suggested we go out and celebrate.

That sounded great to me, I thought Luke’s roommate would be coming too, as I met Luke through him.  At the last minute, however, he said he couldn’t make it.  That had been their plan all along.

Of course I wasn’t going to back out, and to this day Luke keeps saying that if I didn’t think it was a date, why did I dress so nicely?  I always dress nicely when I go out to eat, sheeeesh.

So that’s our first date story.  My first time making matcha pancakes story is not as lovely.  The first time I made matcha pancakes, there were thin, dry little disks of sadness.  I thought to myself, well maybe you can’t put matcha in everything…

But I was wrong!  And I’m so happy about it!  I came across another recipe that uses sour cream to give the batter more body, and desperately wanting my pancakes to be matcha flavored, I had to try it.

Happiness is a warm, fluffy, green tinted pancake.

Matcha Pancakes

Adapted from Kirbie’s Cravings

Makes about 12-14 pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons matcha (green tea powder)

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, matcha powder and salt in a bowl.   In another bowl combine sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix only until combined.
Don’t overmix the batter, or your pancakes will be chewy, dense and tough!

Grease pan/skillet.  Using a ladle or large spoon, pour the pancake batter into the skillet and cook until bubbles appear on top and the bottom turns a light brown color.   Flip the pancakes over and cook for another minute or so.  Serve warm with your choice of toppings/sauces.  Trader Joe’s creamed honey was my favorite spread for these pancakes.

Green Tea Financiers

I have something to confess.  I have a green tea powder (matcha) addiction.  I love the silky stuff and its earthy scent.  I love it in a teacup by itself, or in a plastic mug accompanied by tapioca pearls.  I love it in puddings, cakes, cookies; you name it, I’ve probably had it or would be very willing to try.

While I was in Japan, I had the pleasure of eating a green tea white chocolate bagel.  Note to self: figure out how to replicate it.  Unlike some sweets I burned myself out on while in Asia, like red bean paste or mochi, my love for green tea flavored baked goods has never wavered.

Maybe it’s because I invested in a one-pound bag of the powdery stuff, or maybe it’s because it is a timeless flavor that transcends cultural divides and is making its way into mainstream American baking culture.  At least, I think it is.

When I saw this recipe in Ready for Dessert, I was elated.  I am always hunting for more green tea recipes, more ways to incorporate that magic powder into my life and stomach.  Sadly, Luke is not really a green tea fan, so I have to limit myself.

These little cakes are perfect with tea, or as an afternoon snack or light dessert.  Or breakfast.  Or anytime really.

Green Tea Financiers

Adapted from Ready for Dessert

Makes 24 mini muffin sized cakes

2 teaspoons sesame seeds (white, or a mix of black and white)

1/8 teaspoon flaky sea salt

2/3 cup sliced almonds

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons green tea powder (matcha)

¼ teaspoon baking powder

big pinch of salt

grated zest of ½ lemon

4 large egg whites

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin.

In a small bowl, mix together the first two ingredients and sprinkle the muffin cups with two-thirds of the mixture.  Set the rest aside.

Pulverize the almonds, sugar, 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, the flour, green tea, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a food processor until the nuts are finely ground.  Add the egg whites and butter and pulse until the mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed to ensure that the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared mini muffin tin, then sprinkle the tops with the remaining sesame salt mixture.  Rap the muffin tin on the counter once or twice to release any air pockets and level the batter.  Bake just until the financiers feel firm when gently pressed with a finger, about 12 minutes.

Let cool completely, then remove the financiers from the tin and enjoy!


Green Tea Ice Cream

Yesterday I had a major kitchen flop.  It happens to the best of us I suppose.  Now, this was not an, oh, the cookies are a little burnt on the bottom-flop.  I’m talking about a, wow, the cookies spread out in the oven and turned into large cookie puddles that taste like a puddle-flop.  And it had nothing to do with cookies.  Well, kind of.   I was making my first attempt at fudge, and I picked chocolate chip cookie dough fudge: 1. Because it sounds amazing and 2. Because Luke loves all things cookie dough, so it was promised to him as a late Christmas present.

Oh well.  I did try my best to make it work, but sadly that fudge was having none of it.  What should have been firm, solid bricks of fudge turned out looking and feeling like moon sand.  It does taste good though, so my thought is to attempt to salvage it by stirring it into vanilla ice cream.  It makes a good ice cream topping, I know that much for sure, but what else can you do with cookie dough flavored moon sand?  For the record, I’m always ok with a flop as long as it tastes good.  I don’t care how awful it looks if it makes my tummy happy.

However, I’m not so sure if failed cookie dough fudge sand would taste so great on green tea ice cream.  This flavor definitely stands on its own, though maybe so chocolate syrup would be good. I do enjoy the chocolate/green tea combo.  I once made a chocolate-green tea swirled bundt cake for a dinner party.  One of the people at the party called it “dirt.”  It still tasted good though….

Anyway, this ice cream is one of the loveliest shades of green I’ve ever seen.  It’s smooth, creamy and has the wonderful tastes and nutritional benefits of green tea…plus cream and sugar.  A detail.  I always seem to order green tea mochi ice cream at sushi restaurants, so I was so pleased to finally make my own!  Luke wouldn’t touch this, as he’s not a fan of green tea, so I got it all to myself 🙂  But you can make it to share.


Green Tea Ice Cream

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
4 tsp. green tea powder (matcha)
6 large egg yolks

Combine the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until warmed through.  Meanwhile pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and whisk in the matcha.  Set a fine mesh sieve over the bowl.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.  Whisking constantly, slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks.  Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and continue to cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens slightly (it will register 170-175˚ F on an instant read thermometer).   Immediately remove from the heat and pour the mixture through the mesh strainer into the bowl with the cream mixture.  Whisk the mixture vigorously to dissolve the green tea powder.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

Once the mixture is thoroughly chilled, transfer it to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.