Guys, meet Gabby Gertel – she’s this kickass architect, illustrator, baker, superwoman that helped me bust out this recipe for my end of the year charette. Gabby and I studied architecture, pushed through for 5 demanding years until we happily graduated together at USC. Shortly after I moved back to LA from Tokyo, I reunited with her during our lunch break and she shared to me her recent, profound love for baking cookies and how baking has been her therapeutic break from architecture. I’m a huge fan of collaborating, and honestly, when you’re sleep deprived and slammed with Revit model refining, elevation drawings, wall sections, a dozen meetings, and pressured to send something out to your SF and Tokyo friends, an extra hand or two can be lovely.
Every year for the past 6 years of final exams/finalizing end of the year work, I made it a personal tradition to bake matcha cookies and send them to neighbors and old and new friends. After a busy, stressful season of cramming a Revit model, elevation drawings, wall sections, and back to back meetings with contractors and engineers, there is one thing rather than sleep I love to make time for: baking holiday sweets for friends. There is simply, so much delight in leveling off flour to the top edge of a cup and the clanging tones of whisking eggs with sugar crystals. And hey, who doesn’t love matcha evaporating into the air and scooping spoonfuls of some thick matcha chocolate batter? Every year since high school, I’ve been baking matcha cookies. You can find my first recipe here. This year I reached out to Gabby to follow up with a collaborative project. While we are both extremely sleep deprived and delirious, we fluffed things up a bit and made a few (what Gabby calls) “happy accidents” with the ingredients while following Little Flower and Ali Sagle’s recipes. Yet these happy accidents have led to dozens of helluva happy cookies.
While Gabby and I were baking together, we both admitted the way we torture and reward our bodies; Gabby reminded me you have to earn your right to pee. And I laughed. How many times have we architects held our bladder before finishing a drawing, sending an email, plotting a set? Too damn many. And I have to confess to you in hope that you do appreciate my hard work: I told myself I couldn’t get off my computer and pee until I clicked “publish.” So there you have it ladies and fellas. The Chef Charette’s busted out Matcha whoopie pies. Happy Holidays from the Chef Charette!
Vanilla buttercream frosting
- 1 cup Unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1⁄2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 3 1/3 cups Powdered sugar
- 1 tsp Sea salt
- 3 tsp Heavy whipping cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 min.
Add powdered sugar in 3 additions on low speed. Scrape bowl well with rubber spatula after each addition.
Add vanilla extract and salt and mix until incorporated. Scrape bowl well. Add cream and mix on low speed until well incorporated. Scrape bowl well. Increase speed to medium-high and cream for 2 min.
Transfer into a smell-free container. Use immediately or store covered in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Matcha whoopie pies
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp Baking soda
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp Matcha, divided
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp Unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Honey
- 1 Large egg
- 1 Large egg yolk
- 2 tsp Finely grated lemon zest
- 3 oz. White chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and 2 tbsp. of matcha in a medium bowl.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and honey in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk, and lemon zest and mix until very pale, (about 4 minutes)
Reduce mixer speed to low, and with the motor running, add the flour mixture. Mix the flour mixture until no dry spots remain.
Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the white chocolate chunks.
Wrap the dough in plastic and chill at least 2 hours and up to 5 days. If chilling more than a few hours, let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour to soften before scooping and baking.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Scoop the dough by the scant tablespoonful into 2 parchment-lined sheets, spacing each about 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until the bottoms and edges are lightly golden.
Carefully transfer the cookies onto wire racks and allow them to cool.
Once cool, use an offset spatula to spread 1-2 tbsp. of the vanilla buttercream frosting onto one half of a whoopie pie. Carefully sandwich the frosted cookies with another unfrosted cookie, pressing down gently to ensure a solid connection. Repeat and serve!