The two past weeks have been total back to back charette weeks. I started working at Bluestone Lane as a barista trainee / cashier / avocado toast maker / banana toast maker / whatever toast maker, while graphic designing avatars and logos for my UCLA doc friend’s health app, preparing UX/UI design slides for a grocery store while applying for a UX/UI bootcamp program, and collaborating geeky projects with AutoCAD like preparing this tantalizing pie for every mathematician’s favorite holiday: PI DAY.
Every time I think of the pi day, I flashback to my high school moment of being confused and excited to see swarms of tiny students carry all kinds of magnificent pies to their classrooms before first period started. Yet once I wiggled my way through geometry, I learned that geometry wasn’t as terrifying, that proofs weren’t as difficult as everyone made them seem, and pi was more than just a strange 3.14 number to memorize; it’s a glorious number that enables us all to calculate anything circular. Oh pi, I’ve always loved working with you in the classroom and in my kitchen.
So, what pie do we have here? I wanted to prepare a green dessert because I’ve realized I haven’t had a recipe for St. Patrick’s Day and found a cool lime pie recipe, but required too much work for me with the handmade crust and tools that I didn’t want to purchase, especially because I’ve been living with my brother in his tiny cute apartment. So I figured I could save myself (and ourselves) tons of time and money by preparing a St Patrick’s Day pie with a ready made crust that we can all find in Target and/or other grocery stores, and focus more on a creamy boooozy part, with the magic of 2 tiny bottles of tequila, fresh limes, and a tub of fluffy cool whip.Yes, every spoonful or forkful of it… is purely tantalizing. So, go grab your ingredients, your bottles of booze, and whip up some of your own pi day pie for pi day / St. Patty’s / whatever spring holiday or gathering.
Make the margarita curd: In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the lime juice, extra lime juice / tequila, sugar, eggs and egg yolk.
Whisk continuously and place over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until a creamy, thick custard consistency forms, 6 to 8 minutes.
Gradually whisk in the cubes of butter until incorporated and remove from the heat. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Freeze until completely firm, 4 to 6 hours.
Make the lime whipped topping by squeezing the juice of one lime into the 9 oz. cool whip tub. Using a spatula, mix the whipping cream and spread over the pie.
Freshly zest one lime onto the pie. Carefully place a 3″ ring mold over the pie and garnish the blueberries into the ring mold. Remove the ring mold. If you don’t have a ring mold, garnish with blueberries evenly over the pie. Serve immediately or tightly wrap and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days.
Double Charette week. I finally presented The ChefCharette at USC in pecha kucha format last night. NO, I didn’t fall on my face. NO, I didn’t mess up my words (I don’t think?). Yes I was nervous at first but YES, I loosened up and the audience and I laughed when I told my story of getting caught by JMA’s project director for CAD-ing a baguette while working in Tokyo. Man, I am relieeeeeved to be done with my presentation, because I practiced for a bajillion hours and it paid off and I have a story I can share of how The ChefCharette was created. … But damn, the following morning (this morning), I had to rush in to cram with my team to finish off our site resubmittal… which was due by 5PM today. So I’m pretty exhausted and I’ve never been this excited to rest this weekend (and bake espresso brownies!)
Isn’t spring soooo soothing? Receiving a bouquet of fresh flowers (thanks Diana!) after my presentation really brightened my week. But anyway, back to these cupcakes. I made these mini lavender cupcakes with honey buttercream frosting last weekend for my Arquitectonica coworkers, Gensler and Callison RTKL friends. This recipe was based off my first wedding cake I made for my friend Jenny back in 2012. Because it was a wedding cake (post here) I HAD to test it out at least 5 times and ask for feedback from various friends at the Gamble House. So after several revisions, and the generous help from my friend’s mom, Jenn (a graduate from a pastry school) I’ve decided to publish this recipe. Thank you SO much Tony for the honey from France. It was just enough to use for this recipe. And no, nobody was able to get seconds on these cupcakes. Apparently our desk receptionist rushed to the kitchen just as one of our other architects was popping the last one into his mouth.
Chef’s note: To get dried, edible lavender, I recommend ordering this heaping 1 pound affordable bag from Amazon – with tons you can use for fragrance sachets around your house or under your pillow. I ordered it years ago for the testing, cake, to craft gifts and fill my home, and this time. Also, make sure you test out with less lavender and gradually add more (since it can be strong and some people understandably just don’t like eating flower buds.)
Line forty-eight 1-3/4-inch muffin cups or eighteen 2- 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. and preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, and vanilla; beat until combined.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In another large bowl, mix the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a food processor, or in a small bowl with a whisk, mix the milk with the chopped lavender buds.
Alternately sift in the flour mixture and milk mixture to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until mixture is combined. Add the milk and food coloring.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, just slightly below being completely filled.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes for mini sized, 1-3/4-inch cupcakes (or 16 to 18 minutes for full sized, 2-1/2-inch cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks until cool to the touch.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and honey until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.
Use piping with frosting 1M tip (For mini cupcakes, I recommend Wilton’s, with the finest one) and frost those COOLED DOWN cupcakes!
*Chef’s note: If you don’t use all of the frosting, refrigerate the remaining frosting in an airtight container for up to 1-2 weeks. Whenever ready, bring it to room temperature and frost again!
If you haven’t heard, I’ve been busy prepping the Chef Charette for my pecha kucha presentation at USC NEXT WEDNESDAY. A pecha kucha presentation is a format created by Japanese architects (who designed the infamous Tsutaya bookstore that I’d love spending time at) to keep presenters straight to the point and presentations flowing so the audience doesn’t get bored….(ingenious, right?) and requires everyone to present at 20 seconds for each slide.
But jeez, my presentation has been a REAL pain in the butt…. because all my vector drawings break and illustrator mis-converted all my lines… so some disappeared or smudged into each other (kill me-as if I haven’t spent enough time on my drawings) and I’m worried about my intricate lines being blurred on the GIANT screen and talking too much that the slide changes and I don’t finish storytelling. I think I’ve spent over 2 hours for days on this presentation for 5 minutes of attention while everyone’s doing dandy stuff like having a lively fun life (without Illustrator/Indesign crashing on them) I’m so relieved to get this finished and hope it pays off……. wish me luck, because presenting in front of a ton of people and being recoded for a video that’s uploaded on Youtube/possibly featured on some USC news article is really terrifying (good for my future? but still terrifying)… I deeply hated presenting at USC (literally right after charette/allnighters) so I’ve never really had positive experiences at USC presentations. THANK GOD I had this biscotti to keep me preoccupied on something else for a few hours.
Biscotti in Italian means “twice baked cookie” because you form this sticky dough into logs, bake them once, slice them into diagonals, flip them over, and bake them again at a lower temperature. I’ve been baking cranberry pistachio biscotti since I was in high school as Christmas cookies for my friends, but decided to try something different by using zingy citrusy Yuzu that I brought back from Japan. And dried blueberries. DRIED. Don’t use fresh blueberries or you’ll repeat my disaster of having sloppy biscotti because of how much juice comes out of fresh blueberries. (imagine a slimy monster on a baking sheet, literally with blueberries as eyes. I’m really embarrassed my Japanese friend baked with me and wasted time/experience such a disaster.)
Preheat the oven to 300 F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix oil with sugar until well blended.
Mix in the vanilla and almond, then beat in the eggs.
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and gradually stir it into the egg mixture.
Mix in the yuzu peels and dried blueberries.
Divide the dough and form two logs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven or until the logs are solid and golden brown. Remove from the oven.
Cover the logs with a towel for 10 minutes to prevent them from cooking down too quickly and cracking. Reduce the oven temp to 275.
Cut the logs at a diagonal to about 3/4″ thicknesses. Lay them on their sides on the baking sheet and bake them back at 275 for 8-10 minutes.
Remove them, allow them to cool, and enjoy.
WOOHOOO!! it’s almost the big V-dayyyy. What could be better than celebrate it with some champagne AND ice cream?!
That’s right. They’re back. They’re cold. They’re sweet. And they’re fizzy. And they’re good for you and if you have a friend and/or lover, that friend.
I have an obsession with ice cream. I love how you can eat ice cream in a bowl, a glass, a plate. And we can all eat it on waffles and plop it on soda/champagne!
How was ice cream invented anyway?! Ice cream origins as far as the second century B.C., but there isn’t a specific date. Over a thousand years later, Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what we call “sorbet.” Paris’s first cafe, Cafe Procope, introduced the recipe that blended milk, cream, butter, and eggs. But ice cream was still an exotic dessert offered to the elite…. But soon insulated ice houses were invented. Manufacturing ice cream became an industry in America, pioneered in 1851 by a Baltimore milk dealer named Jacob Fussell. Ice cream increased and became more widely available because of technological innovations like the steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, and new freezing processes and equipment. Today’s total frozen dairy annual production in the states is over 1.6 million gallons! In 1874, the American soda fountain shop emerged with the invention of “ice cream soda.” In response to religious criticism for eating “sinfully” rich ice cream on Sundays, they left it out and invented the ice cream Sunday. The name was eventually changed to “sundae” to remove any connection with Sabbath. After World War 2, America celebrated its victory with ice cream.
This recipe only calls for 4 ingredients: strawberry champagne, (victory!) strawberry ice cream, strawberries, and pomegranate seeds.
Wash the strawberries, then slice and fill each glass with one sliced strawberry.
Pour the champagne so the glass is half filled.
Scoop one scoop of strawberry ice cream over the champagne in the glass.
Top with pomegranate seeds and serve immediately with a spoon. Enjoy!
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!
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.
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!
Hey ladies and fellaaass, after being a bit dormant, I’m baaaaccckk! Since some of you freaked out over why my blog was missing for a week, I’d like to explain the few traumatic things that happened to me over these past few weeks.
But hey, at least 3 other fascinating things happened:
Defrost the puff pastry for about 20 minutes and set about 1″ apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 F
Brush the center of the puff pastry squares with olive oil and honey.
Slice the pears into 1/4″ slices.
Arrange about 3 thin slices of pears along the center of each pie tart, diagonally. Sprinkle desired amount of cinnamon and turbinado sugar over the pears.
Brush the edges of the tart crusts with the egg white. Fold over into pleats and brush egg white over the edges of the tart crusts. Sprinkle desired amount of turbinado sugar.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.
Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven. Drizzle with more honey and sprinkle a few sprigs of fresh basil. Serve immediately!
Oh my, I fought the war and I’ve finally made it to the land of liberty! I’m not sure if shattered cups, arriving with a bad cold in the hot summer, being dumped by the boyfriend on the phone a week later (after pouring one’s heart out by baking and express shipping dozens of cookies, desperately rushing back to try save the long distance relationship), being too depressed/weak to eat for 2 days, being tossed from random home to home, a fridge dropping 14″onto one’s bloody toe then a giant boxer pitbull pouncing on it, having personal packages withheld for ransom, unconvincingly persuading/lying to oneself and everyone that the move to LA was still the best decision (after a social media specialist approaches you with: “My gosh, lady, look at you! You have the facial contours of a potential cute Tokyo Tastemade star… yeah, you shouldn’t have moved back to America”)…are all part of the usual process of moving from Japan to one’s native country. But yes, those are a few struggles I fought through the first few weeks I settled into America. This was clearly the shittiest, most painful (welcome home) transition I’ve underwent. As I’m still recovering as this culturally shocked, disheveled woman (What and where is home? Why are there mean-mug faced scary hairy men with giant tattoos watching me in 711? Why is everyone at work leaving at 6PM? Why did my friends convince me to eat that dangerously fat burrito that caused my stomach to still churn? Why do I have to tip?)….I truly hope none of you readers also suffer through such a horrifying tale.
Surely it is so tempting to curl up, cry over spilled milk, and give up on life. Yet I know that instead, I ultimately have to move on and thrive.
..thrive through cooking, baking, photographing, designing, drawing, building, serving…thrive with all the new, exciting opportunities: my new role as an architect for an international firm in downtown Los Angeles, furnishing and decorating my glorious ~500 sq ft studio, and concurrent/upcoming collaborative culinary projects: submitting a recipe to NoGreaterGood Magazine, prepping and serving desserts to LittlemeatsLA -a culinary community that features experimental dinners from various chefs in LA Arts District, recipe layout designing and photographing for Theumamibox – an Asian meal-kit delivery startup, and of course, new recipes for this blog!
Finally, after all my blood, sweat, and tears, I celebrate my return back to America and spread bright red, white, and blue across the table for you all! I’m folding and pleating my soft crusts and sprinkling all galettes off with sweet turbinado sugar. Americans, Tokyo-ians, Arquitectonians, I present to you my first recipe in Los Angeles: Mini summer fruit galette. Thank you Chan + Sun family for helping me stand up and rediscover my way back into the kitchen. Thank you Chris Y. for inviting me to serve my recipes and meals with LittlemeatsLA. I am going to be the ultimate chefitect, I am going to thrive.
I end this recipe and begin my life in LA with a new favorite song:
“The Head and the Heart – Gone”
…And fuck what they’re saying
My mind is made up
And they’re all just starving
Like the rest of us
And I’m trying here, I’m trying here
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Slice the strawberries, blueberries, and peaches and place the sliced fruit into a medium or large bowl. Stir in 4 tbsp of white sugar and 2 tbsp of flour. Combine and allow the fruit to soak for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, by using a 3″ cookie cutter, cut as many discs out from the rolled out piecrust and discard the scraps.
Spread the fruit mixture evenly over the center of the pie crust, leaving a 1/2″-3/4″ border. Fold over the edge by pinching into pleats.
Separate the egg and discard the yolk. By using a pastry brush or your fingers, dip and evenly spread the crust with the egg white. Sprinkle the entire galette with as much turbinado sugar as desired.
Bake in the preheated oven at 450 F until lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature! Leftovers can be wrapped or kept in an airtight container and saved in the fridge for up to 1-2 days.
WELL guys, have you heard the big news? Besides Tokyo’s current butter shortage crisis pushing 450g of Hokkaido butter to a WHOPPING $15+, The ChefCharette is MOVING! That’s right, on July 11 I’ll be moving from Tokyo to Los Angeles. But don’t worry! I’ll get my feet back into my next kitchen (wherever that is?) and continue concocting recipes there too! It’s been a damn busy, emotional month of farewelling, finalizing drawings, prepping, and packing before I leave my Tokyo home. (Please forgive me for the delay in posts/responses) As I’m giving away bowls, sending my ceramics and utensils off, I share and end all things sweet with you in Tokyo: Matcha milles crepe cake with almond chantilly.
It seems quite tedious to cook and stack crepes as perfect discs, but once you practice and figure out the right hand swings with some classy jazz (and while getting your hands dirty, some rachet hip hop – if you will) you’ll find the whole pouring batter + pan rotating + crepe flipping + crepe stacking = a very delightful process. You don’t need an electric mixer (though preferred), nor a special crepe pan. Just use good quality butter (even if it costs you a horrifying $15), sift your dry ingredients together, stir them vigorously to rid of any pimply bubbles, let this happy batter rest in the fridge overnight, get your circular pan HOT, and find your own comfortable crepe preparing hand motions to make perfect discs! Of course I still have my own traumatic disasters in the kitchen (see below, figure 1) but as my 3rd grade classmate always reminded me, patience is a virtue; and as my dad always told me, practice makes perfect. (…as close to perfect as I could, figures 2 and 3).
I end Tokyo with matcha milles crepes for 3 major reasons.
In making this recipe, I tweaked my favorite crepe recipe, Julia Child’s master crepe, by adding tablespoons of matcha and sugar. I also spread almond chantily (adapted from my last chantilly recipe) in between each of the 16 layers, and dusted this 16 layer matcha milles cake with extra matcha powder and confectioners sugar. So there, you have it…. Tokyo, I’ll miss you truly, love you always.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Then stir in milk, water, melted butter、and vanilla altogether until well incorporated.
Sift the flour, sugar, salt, and matcha into the egg mixture. Mix altogether until well incorporated.
Tightly close the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan, and then tilt the pan in all directions to cover the bottom evenly. (Keep the batter at the outer edges to keep the weight from the center for flipping ease).
Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook briefly on the other side.
Cool on a rack or between baking sheets as you finish preparing the rest.
To make the cream chantilly, mix all the 1 cup of 47% heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla in a metal bowl with a stand or electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Bring the first layer of matcha crepe onto a cake stand or a plate large enough in diameter to hold the cake.
Carefully spread a layer of cream chantily over this crepe and continue to stack the cake, continuing to spread the chantily in between each layer.
Dust with a mixture of 2 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of matcha powder over the top. Carefully cut slices into desired sizes and serve immediately.
Thank you Tomizawa for always promising me good quality flour. Jiyugaoka’s Today’s Special for supplying me with winning plates. Farewell, love always.
Why hello again, world! I sincerely apologize for the long silence. My beloved, noble Nikon D3100 broke in Los Angeles and my past, restless weeks were spent preparing hundreds of elevation and section drawings. Yet, I’ve finally completed, submitted my 125 pg. DD charette and come out of the studio with my new heftier companion: a full frame FX sensor equipped Nikon D700. Of course I couldn’t return home without also bringing back a cutting mat, some delightful dried yuzu peels, cranberries, orange extract, and this heavy, smooth, semi-sweet chocolate bar from Tomizawa just before I slept a glorious 12 hours.
Wow, and it’s as if I had just woken up and realized I’m just a few days shy from Valentine’s Day to produce something more crucial than hundreds of architectural drawings: chocolate for Valentine’s Day.
In Japan, Valentine’s day is celebrated quite differently than in America; stores are filled with a medley of chocolate from all over the world and women mad raging through chocolate boutiques and markets that sell delicate chocolates from all over the world. We women are so determined to fulfill our role for Valentine’s Day: to make and/or buy chocolate and sweets for the stellar man/men we love and in this, confess and confirm our love. Yet, men are just as pressured to fulfill their roles as the chocolate receiver. For the past few months, I’ve been approached by Japanese men who nervously ask me for advice to win a woman’s heart because of their fear of looking like an unloved, forever lonely, chocolate empty handed man. I can’t help but not only make and ship chocolate to this one man I’m absolutely gaga about, but also for those fellow Japanese men who doubt their worthiness. And no, this is not義理 (“giri” obligatory) chocolate. This is all carefully made and precisely cut chocolate with bits of yuzu and cranberry love.
So here’s a simple recipe that consists of only 4 ingredients that’s perfect for any of your emergency chocolate cravings / valentines Day “I don’t know what to give!” gift / love confession. There are a multitude of ingredients you can mix and match with chocolate.. but during this gloomy winter season, I’ve decided to add some citrus zing by adding dried peels of yuzu (a fragrant Japanese fruit that fuses orange and lemon) and dried cranberries for the red flair. For that tangy kick, make sure you swirl in that small teaspoon of orange extract into the silky smooth chocolate!
Mies love you.
Carefully line a sheet pan with one sheet of waxed paper.
Chop the chocolate into about 1/4″ chunks. This will enable the chocolate to melt quickly.
Prepare a double boiler by placing a bowl over a pot with about 1/4″ deep water. Bring the pot to a simmer over the stovetop and add the chocolate over this double boiler. Be sure to keep the bowl away from the water, as this will burn the chocolate.
As the chocolate melts, consistently stir in about 1 tsp. of orange extract. Continue to stir the chocolate to make sure it melts evenly. Adjust the temperature accordingly if it is melting too slowly or quickly.
Once the chocolate melts, slowly pour it over the waxed baking tray and smooth it out with a spatula to desired thickness.
Top the chocolate with dried yuzu peels and dried cranberries and wait about one hour for the chocolate to cool and solidify.
Once the chocolate has cooled and solidified, cut the chocolate into different geometric shapes from scalene triangles to parallelograms. Carefully pack in waxed or parchment paper and serve at room temperature!
Many of my architecture colleagues will tell you that I worried more about baking enough matcha cookies than on how well I studied for my architecture finals. Instead of analyzing if a beam was statically determinate, I’d much rather be molding matcha batter into 1″ balls and sit watching them turn into this deep chartreuse color. Shipping to meet the Christmas deadline was much more of a priority than crafting a 1/4″ scale model by the architecture school deadline…. I’m very convinced that what saved me from failing my structures 202 and 302 classes were these cookies that I turned into the professor (as I turned in my exam)…yes, cookies can make up for points too.
I’m excited to share with you guys that these cookies is what also eventually started The ChefCharette. My lifelong love for drinking green tea developed into an obsession of baking matcha cookies. When I was 14 years old, I baked my first batch of matcha cookies in my dad’s kitchen and fell in absolute love with every moment spent with it: cracking one egg open, whisking in sweet homemade vanilla and almond extracts, measuring spoonfuls of fine matcha as the powder evaporated up into the air, swirling more matcha into a sweet matcha buttercream, and of course licking the green sticky batter off my fingers before sliding the trays of it all into the oven. It has always been this bliss, experimental project that I was eager to master. My dad and I realized it became an obsession once we realized I bought out all the boxes of matcha from our 2 local Japanese supermarkets and pulled an allnighter to ship the cookies a week before the Christmas deadline.
After constant experimenting of various grades and amounts of matcha, revising the recipe to this humble delectable one, I began to slip these cookies into paper bags and write personalized notes. Baking and bag-writing has always been my way to encourage friends and show a bit of my gratitude, love, and holiday spirit. This has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions.
For more holiday spirit, you can also easily prepare red bean filled matcha cookies. Just before rolling the matcha batter into 1″ balls, simply add in one teaspoon of adzuki (red bean) paste. Adzuki paste can be found in cans or airtight pouches in several international stores. Continue the recipe as follows and make sure you refrigerate any unused adzuki paste.
Whisk wet ingredients (egg, vanilla, almond, and about 1 tsbp green tea powder) in a small-med bowl.
Using a hand spatula, cream together the creamables, butter and sugar, in a large bowl until its smooth and even.
Slowly mix in the egg, vanilla, and almond mixture into the sweetened butter mixture.
Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and then gradually mix the dry ingredients into until well incorporated.
Using your hands, roll and shape balls about 1” in diameter.
Place them each about 2″ apart on a cookie sheet and bake at 350º for about 10 min or until the edges of the cookies are firm and golden brown.
Remove the cookies from the oven and let them stand for at least 2 minutes. then place the cookies on wire racks to cool.