Recipe: Vegan Matcha Shortbread

Image: Vegan Matcha Shortbread feat. furoshiki.

Author: Melody Menu

Last year for my graduation, my partner, mother and I went to a restaurant that specialised in matcha. I didn’t do the cap-and-gown, didn’t go to any ceremony, just spent time with my loved ones eating incredible food – including the famous ramen burger and matcha ‘baoger’, Japanese curry bites, and Peking duck fries with spicy hoisin sauce.

Owned by the brainy David Yip, ONE Tea Lounge & Grill was an experience. To call ONE Tea Lounge a matcha-themed restaurant would be doing it a disservice, as the Asian fusion cuisine on offer is more than simple novelty, but artful and precise in its execution, and above and beyond in both flavour and service. Mr Yip was a truly wonderful host – ensuring our dessert was low-dairy for us genetically-challenged types, even concocting a matcha and coconut cream sauce for us to try for a future vegan dessert idea of his.

When my aunt gave me a small parcel of matcha powder for Christmas, I immediately knew that I wanted to bake something with it as both an interesting experiment; a continued celebration of my graduation (no more study!); and to honour our incredible dinner experience on that wonderful night. This is what I came up with.

Not having cooked with matcha before, I was unprepared for the depth of flavour. With matcha being derived from specially-grown camellia sinensis leaves, the resulting tea powder is bitter, chalky in texture, and traditionally whisked into hot water during traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. I initially thought the shortbread would come out tasting like some sort of sugary matcha latte, but it actually resembled a velvety matcha taste with minimal ingredients really bringing out the flavour of the tea.

Matcha2

Vegan Matcha Shortbread | Yield: about 28 squares

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Nuttelex
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 2 Tbsp matcha powder
  • Pinch or two of salt
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  2. Prep shallow baking pan with baking paper and set aside.
  3. Cream butter, sugar and salt. This can be done delicately by hand or with a mixer, just be sure not to over-mix.
  4. Fold in the flour and matcha powder, taking care to dissolve large chunks of butter. Aim for a crumbly or sandy consistency.
  5. Heap into the prepared tray, condensing and lightly smoothing the mix down with the back of a glass.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Soundtrack: Baking process much improved by listening to The Beatles’ Abbey Road. That way, you can sing along to ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ while washing the dishes afterwards, like I may or may not have done.

And voila~! Here’s to a dairy-free and vegan Easter.

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