I think I’ve been clear in a couple previous recipes about my obsession with matcha green tea powder. I’ve seriously never tasted anything like it (in a good way)! I was looking online for a recipe combining matcha with a typical American chocolate chip cookie recipe. No luck! All those wimpy recipes called for 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon of matcha. I want all the matcha flavor! You can tell that these cookies definitely have it by their odd seaweedy coloring. These thin cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside and packed with dark and green tea-flavored chocolate chunks.
I stopped by an Asian American supermarket near my work to pick up these ingredients at an extremely affordable price. You can expect to buy 5x the matcha at 1/4 the price of a regular grocery store. The store is a little insane compared to the hum drum Kroger I’m used to but it is so worth it! You’ll just have to be prepared to take a few elbows to the side and get some translation help from Google. Also green tea-flavored Kit Kats exist?
Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea plants. The green tea bushes are covered for about 3 weeks prior to harvest to prevent direct sunlight. This method slows down growth, stimulates chlorophyll production and causes the production of amino acids including theanine. (Due to the theanine, matcha offers an energy boost similar to caffeine but without the jitters or crash.) Only the best buds are handpicked for use in the final product. The tea leaves are laid out flat to dry, resulting in ‘tencha’. The tencha will then be de-veined, de-stemmed and stone-ground. This whole process makes for a bright green, slightly smoky sweet flavored and extremely fine, dusty powder. Traditional Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies center around ceremonial-grade matcha. Culinary-grade matcha is used to dye and flavor all sorts of foods, including mochi, dango, soba noodles, cakes and ice cream.
The price of matcha depends on its quality or grade. Grade is determined by many factors including the original location of the leaves on the tea bush, if the drying process took place indoors or outdoors, the quality of the stone grinding process, and oxidation. Oxidized matcha is less desirable as it will have a hay-like smell and a dull, brownish-green color.
The equipment required for traditional matcha preparation includes: a chasen or bamboo whisk, a chawan or bowl able to hold around 120ml of liquid, a chashaku or bamboo spoon, a natsume or container for holding the matcha and a chakin or small, cotton cloth for cleaning the tea ware. There are 2 main preparation methods for matcha: ‘koicha’ or thick and ‘usucha’ or thin. Koicha uses about 3.75 grams of matcha and 40 ml hot water per serving. This method is generally used for more expensive matcha from older tea trees (30+ years old) and produces a milder, sweeter tea. Usucha is prepared with about 1.75 grams of matcha and 75 ml of hot water per serving. It creates a lighter, slightly more bitter tea and is more likely to be foamy.
I also picked up a can of sweet red/adzuki bean paste to sandwich between some of these cookies. I highly recommend it but it is optional. I pureed the beans to a smooth paste because I just couldn’t get past the texture. These beans are surprisingly dessert tasting though. A million Asian grandmas can’t be wrong!
Other matcha desserts:
Matcha Matcha Chip Crisps
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup matcha
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ oz (about ½ cup) green tea chocolates, chopped
1/4 cup dark chocolate morsels
½ cup smooth adzuki/red bean paste, optional for filling
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Puree red bean paste for a smoother consistency, if desired.
Place red bean paste in freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Sift together flour, matcha, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugars.
Add vanilla and egg.
Combine wet and dry ingredients.
Drop dough by tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake 9-11 minutes.
Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes.
Remove to wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Spread bean paste between cookies, if desired.