I was never a fan of green tea despite its heroic health benefits. Black tea, its older cousin, often seduced me. White tea? Hell yeah. But never green. It whiffs of wet grass – not so attractive if you have Irish DNA.
Matcha is different. This strange green powder is home to a series of polyphenols. You’ve probably noticed that health scientists get frightfully excited about this buzzword. Polyphenols are like powerful antioxidants in the body. Like sticky flypaper. Catechins, a specific subset of this hallowed polyphenol family, are believed to be responsible for the anticancer effects of green tea.
Then there’s L-theanine, shown to highjump the blood-brain barrier and hotwire our mood. We’re told that theanine often tickles a neurotransmitter called GABA, which can calm mental and physical stress. That’s quite a potion for nine cent a cup.
What determines whether a tea is green, black, white or oolong depends on the degree of processing that the leaves of the Camellia sinensis (that’s Latin for WTF) undergo after harvesting. For matcha, the entire tealeaf is dried and ground into a powder as opposed to diluted in a teabag. This helps explain why matcha has a greater amount of antioxidants and ego than the classic green tea.
Green Tea Macaroons
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or pure powder
1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
1 ½ cups desiccated coconut (120g)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
Pinch of dried turmeric (optional brightness and nutrition)
Pinch of sea salt flakes
3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil (45ml)
3-4 tablespoons raw honey (45ml-60ml) or brown rice syrup (if vegan / diabetic)
Quick squeeze of lemon or lime (10ml)
Whack on some tunes (I love Rodrigo and Gabriela). Crank up the volume. The rhythm will transfer to your fingertips. Line a breadboard with parchment paper. Then blitz the dry ingredients in a food processor for a few seconds, before adding the wet. Whizz until it clumps together. My processor usually takes 30 seconds to do this.
Scoop out a small piece of dough and form into a mini macaroon. Place on the parchment paper, and repeat until all the dough is gone. I use my special metric tablespoon which is curved like a mini falafel scoop (see photo). The dough slides out beautifully, and results in uncharacteristically professional-looking confectionery.
Expect to get about sixteen mini macaroons from the batch. Freeze until solid, and then transfer to your refrigerator.