Saturday, August 7, 2010
Matcha and Chocolate Swirl Muffins
I'm writing this post from the beautiful Basque country, where I've spent most of my summers since I was a little girl. Although I grew up in a bustling Parisian setting, our family would always find the way to get together and spend some quality time in a family home near Biarritz. Living so far from France today, it's always a wonderful feeling to come back to the same house, same surroundings and spend a little time closer to where I'm from. A lot of people vacation on the south east coast of France - where popular beach towns fill up during the summer, but the south west is a tad more rugged, with waves the size of mountains, real summer thunderstorms and beautiful scenery.
This is truly one of the places besides Paris where I fell in love with good food. The tables of 'charcuterie' (cured meats), beautiful fragrant cheeses, full glasses of sangria, grilled fish, and plums straight from the tree are a few of the staples I've been feasting on every summer. The proximity to Spain allows us to spend a few blissful days a year across the border every time we come here, and I always look forward to the tapas we enjoy standing up on the stone streets of the old San Sebastian. The delights here are truly my kind of food: rustic, generous, pungent foods without unnecessary sophistication. It's a lot of good olive oil, garlic and herbs - everything I love.
How does this relate to the recipe I bring you today? Well, it doesn't really.. but I made these matcha muffins right before leaving and didn't get a chance to post the recipe until now. I've been experimenting with matcha powder for a little while - and thanks to a gift from one of my good friends - I've been able to use matcha powder directly brought from Japan. I can't decipher any inscriptions on the package but the results have still been lovely! For those of you who haven't tried using matcha powder in your baked goods, I strongly recommend it! It's incredibly fragrant - a tiny amount only is needed - and it brings a great new layer of flavours to baked goods. So here goes!
Matcha and Chocolate Swirl Muffins
Adapted from Kirbie's Cravings
Makes about 14 muffins
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder
1/3 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cups sugar
1 whole egg
1 egg white
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup low fat yogurt
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 tablespoons matcha powder
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line muffin baking pan with cupcake liners.
In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift together. Set aside. In another small bowl combine the espresso powder, cocoa and 1/3 cup of the sugar with 1/4 cup of water. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. In another small bowl, whisk whole egg with egg white. Set aside.
Cut the butter into pieces and place in an electric mixing bowl. Beat for 1 minute to soften. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat at high speed for about 3 minutes. Add in the egg mixture, beating constantly for about 2 minutes. On low speed, beat in a third of the flour mixture. On medium-high speed, beat in half of the yogurt. On low speed, beat in half of the remaining flour. On high speed, beat in the rest of the yogurt and the vanilla. On low speed, beat in the remaining flour.
Measure out 1 1/2 cups of yogurt batter and mix into the cocoa mixture. Set aside. Add the matcha powder to the rest of the yogurt batter in the mixing bowl.
Using a large spoon, scoop some of chocolate batter in the bottom of each cupcake liner. Then add a spoonful of green tea batter and another small spoonful of chocolate batter. Using a toothpick, swirl the mixture so both flavors create a nice swirled pattern.
Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.