Matcha Brownies (抹茶ブラウニー)
Matcha may be better known for ice cream and lattes, but the powdered green tea leaves make for a stunning brownie (or greenie). These vibrant green tea brownies are made with white chocolate and matcha powder have a marvelous verdant flavor with just a hint of bitterness like a really good dark chocolate.
If you like green tea, these sweet treats are the best thing since green tea ice cream, and they make for a fun addition to a basket of holiday baked goods. I have a recipe for a more conventional Chocolate Cherry Brownie for all your chocolate-loving friends.
It's also worth noting that one of these brownies contains more caffeine than a cup of tea, yet it won't make you jittery like a cup of coffee will, thanks to a compound called theanine.
Table of contents
Why This Recipe Works?
- By melting the chocolate and butter together and then emulsifying them with eggs, it makes the process for making these brownies simple and foolproof.
- The secret to a fudgy brownie is to use a lot of chocolate, butter, and sugar relative to the flour and make sure you don't over bake them.
- The grassy matcha powder not only lends these brownies a vibrant green hue, but it also balances out the richness and sweetness with a hint of bitterness in the same way the addition of bittersweet chocolate brings harmony to a traditional brownie.
Ingredients for Matcha Brownies
- Flour - The flour is what gives the brownies substance. Without it, the brownies would be a gooey oily mess. I used ordinary all-purpose flour to make these.
- Matcha - Matcha is made by grinding specially grown green tea leaves into a fine powder. There are many different matcha grades, but they're largely separated into two buckets: ceremonial grade and culinary grade. The former is intended for drinking (originally for tea ceremony), and the latter is for cooking. I generally use ceremonial grade green tea for my baking because it has better color and taste (culinary grade tends to be more bitter). Because matcha tends to oxidize very quickly, it's important to buy the freshest matcha possible and use it as quickly as possible.
- Baking powder - There is a minimal amount of baking powder in this recipe to provide a bit of leavening. You don't want too much leavening for brownies, or they're going to rise like a cake.
- Salt - A small amount of salt provides a balancing contrast to the sweetness of the brownie. It also helps bring out the umami in the butter, chocolate, and matcha, giving the brownie more depth and complexity.
- White chocolate - White chocolate is made with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids and does not contain any cocoa solids (i.e., cocoa powder).
- Cultured unsalted butter - Cultured in this sense isn't about how fancy the butter is, but rather the fact that the cream used to make it was fermented before being churned. This is how butter is typically made in Europe, and it increases the amount of diacetyl in the finished product, which is why it tastes much more buttery than uncultured butter. I also prefer using unsalted butter for baking because different brands of butter include differing amounts of salt. Adding the salt yourself makes things much more predictable. If you do end up using salted butter, be sure to omit the salt in this recipe.
- Sugar - Although I almost always cook with unrefined sugar, I used granulated white sugar for this because I wanted to color to remain vibrant green. If you make this with unrefined sugar, the color will end up mossy green. As for the amount, I know it's a lot, but brownies need a ton of sugar to get the crisp crust on the outside and chewy texture on the inside.
- Eggs - The eggs serve several roles in this brownie. They're a source of liquid. The lecithin in the yolks helps emulsify fat in the chocolate and butter with the other ingredients. The eggs also provide a little leavening to keep the brownie from becoming too dense.
- Vanilla extract - A hint of vanilla makes most sweets taste better, and these green tea brownies are no exception.
How to Make Matcha Brownies
The first thing you want to do is line an 8x8-inch square pan with parchment paper. This makes it much easier to get the green tea brownies out of the pan while they're still hot, which prevents them from overcooking. I have an easy technique for doing this, which you can check out in the video below.
Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 320 degrees F (160 C).
Next, you want to sift the flour, matcha, baking powder, and salt and then whisk them together until the mixture is uniform in color. Matcha tends to form clumps, so this is an important step to ensure you don't bite into a lump of bitter green tea powder in your brownie.
To prepare the liquid ingredients, I start by melting the white chocolate and butter in a microwave set at 300 watts for about a minute and a half. You can also do this by putting a heat-proof bowl of a pot of simmering water. Either way, you need to be careful not to let the mixture boil, or the fat will separate out.
Once the chocolate mixture is nice and smooth, beat the eggs into it using a whisk until it's uniform in color.
Now you can add the sugar and vanilla extract and whisk it all together until it's thick and smooth.
Pour this mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture and fold it together with a spatula until it's free of lumps. Be careful not to overmix the batter, or it can make the brownies tough.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and level off the top. Bake the Matcha Brownies for 18-20 minutes. I usually let it go until the edges are slightly puffier than the center. This will result in a very dense brownie and fudgy in the center with crisp cakey sides. It's important to note you can't use the toothpick method to tell when it's done because the center should be a little gooey still if you want a fudgy brownie.
When the green tea brownies are done to your liking, remove them from the oven and then immediately transfer them out of the pan and onto a cooling rack to prevent them from getting overcooked from the pan's residual heat.
When the brownies have cooled down completely, you can slice them into bars or squares using a sharp knife.
Other Matcha Recipes
Matcha brownies are white chocolate blondies with powdered green tea added to give them their verdant color and green tea flavor.
The color of your brownies is going to depend largely on the quality of the matcha you use. I used ceremonial grade matcha, which is premium matcha that's intended for drinking. It tends to have a much more vibrant green color than culinary matcha tends to have a brownish tint and more muted color. Matcha also discolors as it oxidizes, so if you want a bright green color, make sure you are using the freshest matcha possible.
Because green tea leaves produced for matcha are shade-grown, they contain significantly more caffeine than regular green tea. Each of these brownies contains about 43 milligrams of caffeine. For comparison, an 8-ounce cup of green tea contains 28 milligrams, and coffee contains 96 milligrams of caffeine.Is matcha good for you?
These brownies have a ton of sugar and fat, so you probably don't want to eat the whole pan in one sitting. That being said, matcha contains a ton of amino acids, including an analog to glutamate called theanine. Studies have shown this compound can increase serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels in your brain, lowering stress and improving cognitive function.
You can make this vegan by substituting vegan butter or coconut oil for the butter and vegan white chocolate for the white chocolate. The eggs can be replaced with a flax or a chia egg.
- 100 grams all-purpose flour
- 20 grams matcha powder (~4 tablespoons)
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 140 grams white chocolate
- 80 grams cultured unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 200 grams evaporated cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper. Move your oven rack to the middle position and preheat 320 degrees F (160 C).
- Sift the flour, matcha powder, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl and whisk them together until they're evenly combined.
- Add the white chocolate and butter to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 300 watts for about one and a half minutes. Do not let the mixture boil.
- Stir the melted chocolate mixture together until it is smooth and free of lumps. If the chocolate is not fully melted, you can put it back in the microwave set at 300 watts for another 30 seconds.
- Whisk the eggs into the chocolate mixture and beat it until it's uniform in color.
- Add the sugar and vanilla extract to this mixture and whisk until it's smooth and thick.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold the mixture together until it's smooth and free of lumps.
- Dump the matcha brownie batter into the prepared pan and level off the top with a spatula. Put the pan in the oven and bake it for about 18-20 minutes. This will depend on your oven and how fudgy you want the brownies to be. The shorter the time, the more dense and fudgy the matcha brownies will be. The longer the time, the cakier they will be.
- When the brownies are done to your liking, transfer the pan to a cooling rack and carefully remove the brownies from the pan using the parchment paper. This is important, or the residual heat from the pan will continue to cook them.
- When the green tea brownies have completely cooled, cut them into squares or bars, and serve.