Matcha-maker: healthy green tea treats

12th August 2021 | Eativity editors

We all deserve a treat once in a while. Especially right now, with so many of us either currently living in lockdown, or nervously watching the news as the threat of another lockdown dangles perilously over our heads like a virus-infested sword of Damocles.

When it comes to treats, cakes and pastries are right up there on the happy-making scale. The trouble is, they’re usually also super-high in refined sugar and unhealthy fats. But there’s no rule that says a mood-boosting treat can’t be both delicious and a little bit good for you, too. Take these baked beauties for starters. They don’t contain any refined sugar, they’re vegan and they feature organic matcha as a star ingredient.

The secret to a smooth, frothy matcha lies in using a fine bamboo whisk.

While green tea is definitely good for you, matcha is like green tea with superpowers. Both come from the same plant, but they’re grown and processed differently. While regular green tea is grown in the sun, green tea plants intended for matcha are grown in the shade for a few weeks before they’re harvested. This increases chlorophyll production in the plant, which boosts its amino acid content and gives the plant a darker green hue.

Once harvested, the green tea leaves are crushed into a fine powder, which is then whisked with hot water. Because you’re consuming the whole leaf when you drink matcha, you get more health benefits than you would from green tea, which is made by steeping leaves in hot water and then discarding them. And the health benefits are pretty impressive.

Research has found that antioxidant-rich matcha can reduce anxiety, boost liver and heart health, improve brain function, help with weight loss and even reduce bad breath. But it can be a tad bitter when you drink it plain, which is why using matcha in your baking is a far more palatable way to enjoy all the good stuff without having to pull a sour face.

The below recipes were created by The Nourished Chef in collaboration with X50 Lifestyle, which makes a range of green and herbal teas, high-performance coffees and snacks. Bake them up when you’re feeling blue, and you’ll soon be grazing on greener pastures.

Matcha glazed doughnuts

Makes 6 doughnuts
Vegan, refined sugar-free and gluten-free

You’ll need:

For the doughnuts:

1 cup gluten-free flour
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp X50 organic matcha tea
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ cup plant-based milk of your choice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
2½ tbsp coconut oil (melted)
½ tsp vanilla extract

For the matcha glaze:

1 cup powdered monk fruit sweetener
¼ tsp X50 organic matcha tea
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp plant-based milk

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C and lightly grease a mini doughnut pan with coconut oil spray.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until just combined. Allow batter to rest for 5 minutes, then stir again.
3. Spoon the batter into the doughnut moulds. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack for cooling.
4. For the glaze, add all ingredients to a bowl, whisk together until smooth. Dip the top of each doughnut into the glaze, place on the wire rack to set. Dust with matcha to serve.

Matcha brownies

Vegan, dairy-free and low carb

You’ll need:

For the brownies:

2 tbsp golden flaxseed meal
¾ cup coconut sugar or granulated monk fruit sweetener
½ cup coconut oil (melted)
⅔ cup plant-based milk of your choice (room temperature)
1 tsp pure vanilla bean paste or extract
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup almond flour/almond meal
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ cup vegan dark chocolate (chopped into chunks)

For the matcha frosting:

1 x can full fat coconut milk
1½ tsp X50 organic matcha tea
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
⅔ cup powdered monk fruit sweetener or ground coconut sugar

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a 20cm x 20cm deep baking dish with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, add flaxseed meal, sweetener of choice and coconut oil. Using a hand or stand mixer, mix until combined. Add plant milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
3. Add the almond flour, cocoa powder and baking soda to the wet mixture. Using a spoon or hands, mix until fully combined. The mixture will be quite stiff.
4. Sprinkle in the chopped chocolate and mix in using hands. Spread mixture out evenly in your prepared baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool.
5. To make the frosting, place the can of coconut milk in the fridge for at least 2 hours to harden. Open up the refrigerated coconut milk and spoon out the coconut cream from the water. Add the coconut cream to a mixing bowl and save the liquid for another recipe.
6. Whip the coconut cream until small peaks form. Add in matcha and vanilla extract. Whip until combined. Add your choice of sweetener, mix until combined and fluffy.
7. When the brownies are completely cool and ready to serve, smooth the frosting over the top of the brownies. Slice and enjoy.