Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about matcha + a matcha-spelt biscotti recipe…
My first encounter with matcha was in the Japanese city of Niigata. Studying abroad for the summer, I was given the opportunity to participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, an opportunity that I absolutely did not pass up. Brought to Japan by Chinese Zen Buddhists in 1191, the ritual of preparing powdered matcha tea involves whipping the green powder together with hot water using a bamboo whisk and tea bowl. Adopted by Japanese Zen Buddhist monks, the ritual has lived on in Japanese society, and spread the world over as green tea has gained popularity throughout the past several decades. Vibrant green, slightly frothy, with a flavor far removed from the packaged, steeped green tea I was accustomed to, matcha was unlike anything I’d ever tried before and I was immediately enchanted with the emerald green mixture. Years after my first experience, matcha is in the mainstream spotlight more than it ever has been before, and for good reason. Brimming with antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals, shade grown matcha is more potent than regular green tea and boasts higher levels of chlorophyll and amino acids. Ready to learn why you should be drinking matcha? Read on to get the scoop.
What is it? Matcha preparation can begin up to 20 days before harvest, when the plants are shaded from direct sunlight. Shading the plants increases production of amino acids — like theanine — and chlorophyll. Once they’re harvested, the leaves are dried, de-stemmed and de-veined before being stone ground into fine, powdery matcha. With a flavor deeper than regular green tea, matcha gets it’s unique taste from the amino acids it contains and, besides it’s use in ceremonies and drinks, matcha lends it’s flavor and color to everything from green tea ice cream to noodles.
What are the benefits? Chock full of antioxidants, which aid in everything from brain to skin function to disease prevention, matcha is an especially rich source with one bowl offering up to five times as many antioxidants as any other food. Matcha also contains high levels of amino acids, especially theanine, which reduces stress, boosts memory, and improves concentration.
How do I use it? Besides drinking it traditionally, matcha’s rich, green flavor lends itself well to a variety of drinks and dishes, both sweet and savory. Try it mixed into smoothies and smoothie bowls, added to baked goods, or whipped into homemade desserts. Matcha can also be added to noodle dishes and sauces.
Almond Matcha Spelt Biscotti
2 cups spelt flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup almond slivers
2 tbsp matcha
1 + 1/4 cups coconut sugar
1/2 cup room temperature coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. While the oven pre-heats, toast the almonds by spreading them on the baking sheet and baking for 5-10 minutes, checking frequently.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, coconut flour, salt, matcha and baking powder. Stir in the toasted almond slivers.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, vanilla and coconut oil until fully combined. Set the mixer on low and add the eggs, one at a time.
Slowly incorporate the dry mixture with the wet and mix until just combined — be sure to not over mix.
Form the dough into two balls and shape each ball into a long rectangular log, about 9 inches long, 3 inches wide, and 1 inch thick.
Bake for 20 minutes or until firm. Remove baking sheet from the oven and allow the dough to cool for 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, slice logs on the vertical into 1 inch thick pieces.
Arrange slices flat on the cookie sheet and bake for another 10 minutes.
When cookies are lightly toasted and crispy, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving with the matcha latte below. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.
1-2 tsp matcha powder
6 oz filtered water
2 oz almond or coconut milk
Rinse out your mug with warm filtered water before adding the matcha powder. Bring the water to just before boiling, and pour a small amount into the mug. Whisk together the tea and water using a bamboo tea whisk or a small whisk. Add the remaining water. Heat the almond or coconut milk on the stovetop before adding to the tea. Enjoy!
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