Archive for Special Occaisons

Pistachio Bejeweled Matcha Sandwich Cookies

Matcha Sandwich Cookies

Here’s the weird thing about being a freelancer: my life is often way to busy or not busy enough. It’s really hard to strike the right balance of work when you’re self-employed. 

I took the summer off, because I wanted to and, honestly, after teaching 3 courses for 6 months straight, I needed a brain break. 

I’ve been back at it since September, but things ramp up slowly. The ramping is now at full capacity, and I have a full plate once again, with teaching, clients, and, I’m very excited to announce, a new business venture I’m launching with a friend in the new year. 

But more about that later. 

Pistachio Bejeweled Matcha Sandwich Cookies

Let’s talk about cookies. Let’s talk about matcha. 

This is my friend Karen. If you’re around the Vancouver food scene, you might know her better as TinyBites. I’ve known Karen for ages, our paths have intersected at various work-related things, both in the food and social media worlds. 

Well, Karen just had a milestone birthday, and I couldn’t let that go uncelebrated. It needed something some special. 

Karen loves matcha, so I knew that had to be the basis of whatever I made. 

The concept was a whoopie pie, or a sandwich cookie, inspired by one I’d recently had at Purebread. 

So I did some research, experimented with a bunch of different recipes, and these beauties were the final result. 

The basis of this recipe is basically a sugar cookie. In terms of technique, it’s most like a snickerdoodle, as you make the dough, then roll it in sugar before baking. 

I then made a vanilla buttercream, and sandwiched them together, before drizzling with white chocolate and then bejeweling them with crushed pistachios. 

I was really happy with the final result! 

Matcha Sandwich Cookies

Pistachio Bejeweled Matcha Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients for the cookies: 

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (with extra for rolling)
  • 2 tsp matcha tea powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • *green food colouring (optional)*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

Method

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of your mixer until fluffy and well combined. Add the egg and the matcha beat again. Add the vanilla, and mix just to incorporate. Add a few drops of green food colouring if desired. 
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, and then add slowly to the wet ingredients while the mixer is running at the lowest speed. 
  3. Stop the motor and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix again, until everything is incorporated. 
  4. The cookie batter will be quite soft, and is probably best if it is refrigerated for about an hour before baking. 
  5. Scoop the dough, using a cookie scoop, into your hands and roll into balls. Roll the balls in sugar to coat, then place on the cookie sheet. 
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes. You want them to be set, but you shouldn’t see any browning on the edges. 
  7. Once the cookies are baked, remove from the oven and put them on a baking rack to cool completely while you make the icing. 

Matcha Sugar Cookies

Ingredients for the icing: 

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp Bird’s Custard Powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered (icing) sugar)
  • milk

Method: 

  1. In the bowl of the stand mixer, place the butter. Whip it until it’s smooth. Add the custard powder and the vanilla, and mix again to incorporate. 
  2. Add the icing sugar with the mixer off, and then turn it on to its lowest setting to incorporate. Once most of the icing sugar has been beaten in, begin to add milk, a little drizzle at a time, until your icing gets to the right consistency. 
  3. Remove from the mixer and spoon into a piping bag. 

Ingredients for the garnish: 

  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • boiling hot water
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled

Method: 

  1. Create a double boiler by placing a small pan with water in it on the stove. Top the pan with a large metal bowl, and place the chocolate chips inside. Turn on the heat to about medium, and allow the double boiler to gently melt your chocolate chips. Drizzle in a little of the boiling water at a time to get the white chocolate to the consistency where you can easily drizzle it. 
  2. Chop the pistachios, and for extra flavour, gently toast them in a dry frying pan on the stove. 

To assemble: 

Place one cookie face down, and pipe a circle of icing on it. Top with another cookie to make a sandwich. Place all the sandwiches on a parchment-lined baking sheet or on an baking rack over a rimmed baking sheet. With a spoon, drizzle the tops of the cookies with the white chocolate, then sprinkle them all with pistachios. Place in the fridge to set. 

 

 

Chocolate and Wine Pairings

So, it’s Valentine’s Day. 

Honestly, it’s never really been my thing. It’s a Hallmark holiday, but it’s good business for florists. In my world, you should show someone you love and appreciate them all the time, not just one day a year…. 

Okay. Having got that crankiness off my chest, let’s turn to the task at hand. 

Chocolate and Wine Pairing

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to indulge. It’s far enough away from New Years that you don’t have to feel super guilty about breaking a few resolutions, and, I mean, hey! it’s Valentine’s Day! You deserve a little chocolate and wine. Either because you have a great relationship, or you don’t. Either is a perfectly good reason in my books. 

I enjoy learning about wine. I’m not the biggest connoisseur in the world, beyond the fact that I know what I like. I am also a big fan of dark chocolate. And, as it turns out, dark chocolate (because it tends to be lower in sugar and more savoury in nature) can actually pair quite well with wine. 

So, if you wanna drown your sorrows this V-day, or share your chocolate and wine with someone else (I think I might rather hoard mine all to myself), I have some suggested pairings for you. 

Oh–by the way, if you do decide to do a formal tasting pairing, here is how to do it, according the the nice people at Lindt (this post is in no way sponsored by them, I just really like their chocolate):

  1. First, taste both the chocolate and wine individually.
  2. Then, to begin the pairing, take another piece of chocolate. Savour the taste as it slowly melts in your mouth.
  3. When the last lingering notes of chocolate are all that remain, take a sip of wine. Hold the wine in your mouth, allowing it to coat your palate.
  4. Notice the complex changes in taste as the wine mingles with the residual chocolate flavour.

Chart courtesy of Lindt Chocolate

Cabernet Sauvignon with Dark Chocolate with Raspberries:

I wandered into Lindt yesterday to get my fix, and they have a new bar out, which features chunks of raspberries. This is one of my favourite flavour combos. It goes great with a cabernet sauvignon, which has lots of plummy and blackberry notes. 

Pinot Noir with Chili Chocolate

Some like it hot! The spiciness of the Chili Chocolate is a great match for the cherry notes in a bold Pinot Noir. For those of you out there with a fiery, passionate relationship, this is your pairing. 

Riesling with Orange Chocolate

This Okanagan Riesling is under $20.

The riesling has notes of citrus and stone fruit, and that pairs great with the citrus in the chocolate. This is a lighter pairing, for those of you who aren’t attracted to dark, bold reds, but want something lighter and less complex. 

Merlot with Dark Chocolate Sea Salt

The Lindt Dark Chocolate Sea Salt is my favourite. It’s the one I come back to again and again, and it’s very seldom that I don’t have one in my house. I love the sweet/savoury pairing, and the salt brings out the chocolate. The plum and pomegranate notes in the merlot go nicely here. 

Not a fan of dark chocolate? 

White Chocolate with liqueur

A lot of people don’t even consider white chocolate to be chocolate, because it has the lowest amount of cocoa solids. Dark chocolate has a minimum of 70%, and white chocolate only has 30%. But some of you really like it. Ideally, because it’s sweet, you want to pair it with something sweeter, like Bailey’s Irish Cream. 

Milk Chocolate with Ice Wine 

Inniskillin makes a great local ice wine.

Milk chocolate has somewhere around 35%-50% cocoa solids, and is much sweeter than dark chocolate. Pair it with a finishing drink, something sweet, like an ice wine, a sherry or a Port (basically some kind of sweeter, fortified wine). One of my local faves is Langley’s Vista D’oro’s Walnut Fortified Wine. 

There you have it! Go out and collect some bottles and collect some chocolate and have a blast this Valentine’s Day–and remember, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with. 

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