Baking with the best ingredient ever: Tea

Can a color make something taste better? Can just the knowledge that you are doing a body good help? I am inclined to say that matcha would be delightful even if it weren’t so pretty and healthful, but good looks and nutrients don’t hurt. The Matcha Miracle, by Dr. Mariza Snyder, Dr. Lauren Clum and Anna V. Zulaica, extols the virtues of this green tea, which is produced in a way that its chlorophyll levels increase. It is then ground up and dissolved in hot water, rather than steeping the way most tea does.

Much ritual can surround it. And I immediately had visions of sipping it kneeling, while conquering Zen. Then I realized trying to conquer Zen is probably antithetical to its purpose. So I took the next logical step and made a cup of tea. I did, however follow the instructions for making it which involve using a chosen, or bamboo whisk to stir it up until you get a nice head of froth on top. Then, as instructed by the book I tasted it “with a hearty slurp.” Yes, slurping is the way to go. Particularly if you are drinking from a bowl.

So about all those health benefits! There are quite a few. This tea has off-the-charts levels of antioxidants. The National Cancer Institute has even found it may help prevent cancer. The catechins in it also protect against damage caused by UVB rays. It’s good for the immune system, good for energy and good for your soul. Did I mention it is pretty?

The book goes further in-depth about all the different compounds found in matcha that are beneficial. I am a big believer in psychosomatics, so just thinking this stuff will make me healthy probably works to some extent. Which is good because while all the recipes focus on using natural and organic ingredients, some also toe the line between health and decadence.

The first recipes are just for the basic tea, and some tea drinks. Then it moves into smoothies and next…adult beverages! Yes, I will take some tea with my rum, thank you. Actually, matcha can be mixed with just about any fluid including green juice. I’ve been rather taken with Evolution Fresh’s new line of matcha-infused green juice. It comes in both citrus and coconut flavors. Lemme tell you, I chugged the citrus like thirsty sailor. I wasn’t thirsty, it’s just the juice was that tasty. So if you are not up to finding powdered matcha that is an option.

You can also cook with tea. The breakfast dishes are healthful enough, there are “superfood bowls” and a Matcha Vegetable Hash. The lunch and snacks are varied. There is everything from Candied Matcha Carrots to Matcha Chimichurri. The decadence starts in the dessert chapter, which is naturally where I ended up. I could kid myself that the matcha-infused gluten-free nature of these scones made them the ultimate in sin-free living but that’s silly. Instead I am thinking of them as a treat with a few health benefits to cancel out the bad stuff.

Gluten-free Matcha Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones adapted from The Matcha Miracle by Dr. Mariza Snyder, Dr. Lauren Clum and Anna V. Zulaica

  • 2 tsp. matcha green tea powder
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour, plus 1/2 cup more as needed (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. grated orange rind
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup mini white chocolate chips (I used regular sized by Ghiradelli)
  • pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk the matcha powder and heavy cream.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 2 cups of gluten-free flour, brown sugar, baking powder, orange zest and salt. Chop the butter into 1-inch cubes. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter or your own fingers to cut into the flour until it is the texture of coarse crumbs. I used my hands. Add the cream/matcha mixture and stir but don’t blend completely. Add in the dried cranberries and white chocolate. Mix until thoroughly mixed in.

The instructions are to roll out the dough, but mine was thick and sticky and I ended up just patting it out with my hands onto parchment paper. Either way, dust a clean surface (preferably lined with parchment) with the extra gluten-free flour. Roll or pat your dough out until 1 inch thick. Instructions are to use a square cookie cutter to cut the dough out but I used a bench scraper to section it out. Whatever shape you make your scones, put them 1 inch apart on the lined baking sheet. Combine the 1/2 cup of cream with the pinch of salt and brush the tops of the scones. Bake until the bottoms of the scones are golden brown. the book says that should be about 10-12 minutes but mine took a bit longer. Just keep an eye on them until they are done! Then take out, cool, and serve as soon as possible. They will keep for a little while in an airtight container but are AWESOME fresh.

This book and the juices were given to me for my review. All opinions my own and freely given.

I received this copy of the book to review gratis. All opinions are mine.