After trying matcha for the first time this past weekend, I found myself with a monster craving for it. There’s just something about that earthy, plant-like flavor that had me wondering how it tastes in and with other things. I’ve seen all sorts of matcha-inspired foods, from ice cream to cheesecake to chips. What made me most curious was the pairing with sweet things. I mean, I’m a fan of sweet and salty. I love salt-covered fries dipped in ice cream. Pretzels and chocolate? Yes! Bacon and chocolate? Even better! But chocolate covered…plants? Ehh…I wouldn’t put it on a green bean or broccoli. I wouldn’t mix spinach in my cake batter or icing. I could only imagine matcha with sweets being something too similar.
The first thing I considered was the most important: How can I possibly pair it with things I love? Of course, the first thing had to go with a nice cup of tea, and I have certain ‘go-to’s’ for that. I grew up drinking tea and eating ‘biscuits’ or ‘digestives’ (what we Americans would refer to as cookies) with my Scottish grandmother. When we’d spend the night as kids, we’d always have an after-dinner cup of hot tea, usually with some sort of cookie. It’s something I always looked forward to, just like having a morning cup of coffee with my other, southern-born grandmother. Our usuals were pretty narrow, but always yummy: Walkers shortbread cookies, Hit Chocolate Sandwich cookies, or something Cadbury.
Although I still love a Hit cookie, my favorite tea-dipping cookie is a Cadbury Digestive. They’re kind of like graham cracker cookies, and the bottoms of them are dipped in milk chocolate. They soften up quick in tea, and they soak up just the right amount to give you that cookie-tea hybrid flavor with every bite. This, I decided, had to be my first sweets plus matcha test drive.
The easiest ways to pair the two using a pre-made cookie were (1) through a coating, similar to the one-sided chocolate, or (2) by making cookie sandwiches. I had everything laying around to make a buttercream matcha filling, so I figured, why not? I’d only be out a few ingredients if it went south.
I pulled out the ingredients for a buttercream-cream cheese icing, along with my matcha. After letting the butter and cream cheese soften to room temperature, I mixed them until smooth. Then , I added my powdered sugar a little at a time, followed by vanilla and matcha powder.
As soon as my mixer stopped spinning, I dipped my finger in the icing, and to be truthful, I was amazed. The pairing of sweet and vegetal-flavored worked really well! The sweetness did not overpower the matcha, and the matcha didn’t make it taste like I’d covered my green vegetables in buttercream icing, which was my fear.
I immediately put the matcha icing in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to help it stiffen. Then, I put together a cookie sandwich and dug right in.
The chocolate might have been overpowering if I hadn’t used more matcha than the teaspoon I originally intended; however, it provided a good balance. The first taste gave a good matcha flavor as the icing hit the tongue, and then the chocolate wrapped it up in a nice bow. Did I mention it tasted even better dipped in some of Teavana’s Joy tea? In my opinion, the best part is that it’s not too rich; the matcha helps balance the chocolate, and it helps that the cookies themselves aren’t super sweet to begin with.
Try it for yourself with the recipe below!