Using tea to flavor food is a fun way to add a unique twist to puddings, cookies, and baked goods, but until this week I’d never tried it with matcha.
Matcha, a finely powdered green tea, is a nutritional powerhouse loaded with antioxidants as well as vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium. In order to attain the same amount of antioxidants as one cup of matcha, you’d have to drink ten cups of regular green tea. Needless to say, it can be a fantastic thing to add to your diet.
While most people ingest matcha by brewing it with hot water, there are other options available. If the matcha beverage isn’t, as they say, your cup of tea, you can still reap the benefits of consuming it by adding it to things like smoothies, pancakes, and even soup. This weekend I used matcha to make Sour Cream Matcha Muffins with Cranberries and Poppy Seeds.
It was lovely to start the process with the almost meditative ritual of making matcha.
First I sifted the matcha powder into a bowl until there were no clumps that would make mixing difficult. Then I added hot, not boiling, water, and whisked it quickly until it was smooth and foamy and there were no lumps. Traditionally matcha is mixed with a delicate bamboo whisk which mixes it beautifully and ensures a lovely foam across the surface. Since I wasn’t drinking the matcha but incorporating it into batter, a basic kitchen whisk worked just as well.
Matcha by itself has a delicate green flavor, so I wanted to add a bit of texture and a hit of sweetness to the muffins to keep them from being too bland yet not detract from the matcha. I mixed in dried cranberries, since they are tart with a hint of sweet that doesn’t overwhelm, and poppy seeds that provided a gorgeous crunch and pretty topping.
Normally I use buttermilk with muffins, but since I was using matcha for the liquid, this time I used sour cream for that essential tang.
...Then Mix It
The key to light, moist muffins is keeping stirring to a minimum. It may be tempting to beat the batter like whipped cream or a cake mix, but reign yourself in and only mix just until the flour is incorporated. I find that adding the dried fruit to the dry ingredients first keeps them from clumping together so that light stirring is all that is needed for a well-incorporated batter.
The lovely thing about these matcha muffins is they’re quick to make, quick to bake, and are equally delicious hot or cold. The sour cream keeps them moist, the matcha lends a delicate green hue that is punctuated by deep red cranberries, and the poppy seeds give nice little pops as you eat, making the muffins more substantial.
If you don't fancy cranberries or poppy seeds, trying mixing in chopped dried apricots, cherries, or raisins and coarsely chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans, or sunflower seeds.
Sour Cream Matcha Muffins with Cranberries and Poppy Seeds
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder
- 1/2 cup just boiled water
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups white flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoon poppy seeds, plus more for topping
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Sift matcha powder into small bowl. Add hot water and whisk briskly until smooth and lump free. Set aside.
In medium bowl stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Stir in cranberries and poppy seeds and set aside.
In large bowl whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth. Add dry ingredients and stir together gently. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Scoop by spoonful into greased muffin tins until nearly full, sprinkle with poppy seeds and bake for 25 minutes until rounded and browned. Remove from tins to cooling rack and serve with butter.