Those of you who know me well know that I’m an avid green tea drinker. Matcha green tea, to be exact.
So wait, matchachaaa-what?
Whenever I mention the word “matcha” to friends and family, I always get confused looks. “What is matcha?” Matcha is basically high-quality green tea leaves (grown and produced in Japan) that are dried and ground into a powder. There are different grades of matcha on the market, from super high quality used for fancy tea ceremonies to culinary grade used for cooking purposes. Regardless of quality, the powder can be used to brew a rich, frothy green tea drink or it can be added into recipes to create a matcha-flavored dish. Oh but, it doesn’t stop there.
This magical powder offers so many great health benefits as well. One of the major health benefits of matcha tea is that it delivers a mega dose of antioxidants in every sip. They say that the antioxidant concentration in one cup of matcha tea is equivalent to that in 10 cups of brewed green tea. AKA, matcha is an antioxidant POWERHOUSE. It also contains chlorophyll, which is an element that gives green tea (and other plants) that signature verdant color. Ultimately, this detoxifies your body of harmful toxins and naturally calms your mind. Green is truly the color of health, isn’t it?
Today, I was inspired to add matcha to a raw dessert: Strawberry Matcha Brownie Tarts! Don’t be fooled by the word ‘brownie’… No baking required, I promise! I made a walnut and almond-based crust that incorporates carob powder (AKA ‘healthy chocolate’), and it’s completely raw. The matcha green tea powder infuses any sweet dessert with its delicate, yet earthy and sweet, yet slightly bitter flavors. I was dying to add some cashews to create a thicker and nuttier texture to the matcha cream filling. The bold flavors from the carob powder and nuts go perfectly with the smooth and rich flavors from the matcha, it’s actually ridiculous how perfect it is guhhhh.
I have tasted matcha in all its forms: cakes, cream, hot lattes, iced drinks, pudding and jello, you name it, but I realized that no matter what it was, I particularly loved it associated with strawberries. I think that’s because the sweetness of the berry counteracts the sometimes bitter notes that come along with matcha naturally. Then pair it with an equally light whipped cream and it works beautifully. The original blends of textures and flavors are surprising sometimes, but always light and delicious! Did I mention it’s nutritious too? Vegan and gluten-free are the ways to go. This matcha-strawberry-whipped cream combo is so classic, you really can’t go wrong with this recipe hehe.
- 1½ cups walnuts and almond
- ¼ cup carob powder (or cocoa powder)
- ¼ cup organic maple syrup
- pinch of salt
- ⅔ cup raw cashews, soaked
- ¾ to 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 tsps organic maple syrup
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp matcha powder
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled for 24 hours
- 1-2 tbsp sweetener of choice
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Strawberries (small ones work best)
- Place the nuts and carob powder into a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse until finely ground and mixture is just starting to clump.
- Line the tart pans with plastic wrap and sprinkle a few pinches of the walnut mixture over each bottom.
- Add the honey and sea salt to the nut mixture and pulse until mixture forms a dough. If the dough is too sticky, add a tsp of cocoa powder at a time. Pat the dough into the tart pans.
- Soak the raw cashews in water for at least 2-3 hours.
- Add cashews and almond milk into a Vtiamix or high-powdered blender, and blend for about 3 minutes until a smooth consistency is reached. Add in the rest of the ingredients and continue to blend until combined.
- Pour the matcha mixture into each of the tart pans. Freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- After chilling the can, open it and scoop the solid white coconut cream into the bowl. Discard the coconut water.
- Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until fluffy and smooth. Add in sweetener and vanilla to taste.
- Slice strawberries one at a time. Keep each respective bunch so that when you garnish each tart, there's one whole strawberry.
- Put coconut cream into a piping bag fitted with any icing tip. I first sifted some more matcha powder onto each tart, then placed the strawberry with the piped cream.