Big baking wishlist

Standard

I have made an overly ambitious list of things I might bake in the big bake next time (I will bake next weekend and bring stuff to work on September 2nd, I believe). Now the fun will be to see which one and how many I actually make. Any thoughts?

Possibilities:

Chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips
M&M cookies
White chocolate macadamia cookies
Shortbread
Oatmeal cinnamon raisin sandwich cookies with vanilla cream filling
Peanut butter sandwich cookies with peanut butter filling
Maple sandwich cookies with maple filling
Cinnamon sandwich cookies with chocolate filling
Samoa cookies
Chocolate chunk cookies with pretzel chunks
Heath bit cookies
Anzac biscuits
Biscotti (not sure which kind yet)
Polenta plum cookies
Carrot sandwich cookies with cream cheese honey filling
Butterscotch cashew cookies
Russian tea cake cookies
Orange creamsicle cupcakes
Red velvet cupcakes (made with beets!)
Cookies and cream cupcakes
Banana cupcakes
Green tea cupcakes with cherry filling
Vanilla cupcakes with passion fruit filling and coconut frosting
Brown sugar cupcakes with maple frosting and candied bacon
Pumpkin pie
Apple pie
Cappuccino cheesecakes

Matcha green tea cupcakes with raspberry filling and raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream

Standard

I don’t have a great relationship with matcha/green tea. In my geekier days attending Japanese-language camp in high school, I volunteered for a week-long culture course in the Japanese tea ceremony. These provided my first tastes of the very bitter and not entirely pleasant (to my inexperienced palate) taste of traditionally prepared matcha. (The tea ceremony itself, like most Japanese rituals, is complex, beautiful and takes basically forever to learn for tea ceremony… practitioners and aficionados.)

I have also chronicled my history with the Green Tea Asshole, an unpleasant man who rears his head in my life once or twice a year demanding “answers” as to what I am doing with my life. He offered me a canister of matcha when he visited me once many years ago – and that went to good use in baking some other matcha concoction.

A lovely Canadian friend sent me a new supply of matcha, with which I have been doing several other matcha-baking experiments.

This time I made green tea cupcakes and filled them with raspberry filling and made some raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream frosting to top them off.

Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
1 cup butter
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and matcha) together and then add them alternately with the milk. Put into cupcake papers and bake at 160C for 15 to 17 minutes (although in baking these later I went for 170C because I ended up with a gooey mess at 160C), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Green tea cupcakes make a rather dense texture (not dense after the first time I baked them… they came out more like sponge cake, and I don’t know why). Let cool completely and then hollow out the cupcakes (keep the tops). Fill the cupcakes with seedless raspberry jam (next time I make these, I am going to try cherry jam) and replace the tops. Prepare your icing.

Raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 tablespoons unsalted butter
raspberry preserves (preferably seedless – enough to suit your taste and maintain the right, spreadable texture)
coconut (you can sprinkle the top of the cupcake with coconut if you like – it’s optional)

Over a double boiler, whisk egg whites and sugar. When sugar is dissolved, transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer – beat with the whip attachment until soft to medium peaks form. Switch to paddle attachment, start beating and adding in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Once you have a frosting-like texture (which can take a long while – the mixture will possibly look curdled, like it cannot possibly come together, at some point, but it will come together – just keep beating), add the vanilla. When nearly ready, add the raspberry preserves and mix until well-combined.

Frost the cupcakes with the prepared frosting.