by Buffy Ellen
Have you tried Matcha yet? It's a special type of Japanese green tea that’s much higher in antioxidants than regular green tea, and gives you a natural energy boost without the headaches that can sometimes come with coffee. I've been having a morning milky matcha instead of my regular soy latte for a few months now, and feel much more energised and clearer headed for it. My go-to brand for Matcha at the moment is this one here; it's locally owned, all organic - what more could you want?
This recipe meanwhile, was a happy fluke while we were away on holiday, driven by my curiosity at how this lovely green powder might be used for more than just lattes. Green tea and chocolate you say? I know it sounds odd, but they ended pairing perfectly together. The matcha has a bitterness too it, similar to cacao, both of which are nicely offset by the natural sweetness of the dates in these. What’s more, given we were away with limited tools, I made these bars simply with a food processor and reused plastic ice cream container as the tray. Which goes to show you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to create really delicious, quick and easy, plant-based whole food.
These super tasty bars are really fast to make too. This was the version I made for us, but you could easily switch up the ingredients - the walnuts for almonds, the dates for raisins or sultanas (I’m planning to try these versions once we get home and I restock our matcha supplies). But here’s my holiday-original - straight from the simple ice cream container, and brimming with goodness. Yes, these marvellous Matcha Chocolate Bars are…
Matcha - the antioxidant powerhouseAs mentioned above, matcha is a special variety of green tea, where the delicate whole tea leaves are ground into a fine powder and then stirred into water (or plant-milk if you like) and consumed. The leaves are grown in the shade, which significantly increases their antioxidant, chlorophyll and amino acid content above regular green tea. Given this, plus the fact that you’re consuming the whole leaf rather than disposing of it after brewing, means a cup of matcha provides 137 times the ORAC-scale based antioxidants of regular green tea (and 21 times that of the often thought antioxidant king - blueberries).
Matcha tea has been sipped by the Japanese for over a thousand years, with various studies having shown it to increase energy, improve concentration and focus, boost immunity and metabolism, and enhance mood. Japanese monks are reported to have traditionally consumed matcha tea prior to meditation, to enhance their focus whilst helping to retain a sense of calm. The ideal mental state that I’m sure you and I would both benefit from during our busy work weeks!
One rationale as to why this combination of benefits exist, is that the natural caffeine in matcha tea leaves (around 1/3 of that in coffee) is balanced by the presence of the amino acid theanine. Theanine creates alpha waves in the brain which promote relaxation, and has also been shown to improve recollection and learning. Which may explain why many people feel energised and enlivened by a cup of matcha, without the headaches or jitters that can come with coffee.
If you’re consuming matcha in the traditional way as a hot beverage, my favourite way to make it is to sieve 1/2 tsp of matcha into a mug. Pour over a little hot water (not boiling) and stir til the matcha is dissolved, then fill the rest of the cup up to 3/4 with more hot water. Top with around a 1/4 cup of your favourite plant-milk (I love my Almond, Coconut and Sesame milk recipe here in this, or otherwise organic soy milk), and add a dash of coconut sugar (here) or stevia (here) to sweeten. If you prefer a milkier latte, reduce the water to 2/3 of a cup, and top with 1/3 cup of warmed milk. You can skip the sweetener, but I like it with a little - it helps to balance the natural bitterness of the green tea and give a smoother creamier result. To keep it truly traditional, and to get a lovely foamy texture, you can also use a bamboo whisk (I love this one here).
Once you've added Matcha lattes to your morning routine you may be wondering how else you can utilise this gorgeous green superfood, and that’s where these delicious Matcha Chocolate Bars come in! Packed full of simple pantry ingredients (that we even had on holiday), they’re easy to make, store beautifully in the freezer, and make a delicious brain boosting afternoon tea snack. The flavour combination of matcha and chocolate is certainly somewhat quirkier than some of my other recipes, but if you already like matcha lattes or green tea, you will absolutely love these!
If you make these delicious bars let me know if in the comments below, take a picture and tag me on Instagram (use both @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics in the main caption so I don’t miss you from my feed). Or share your pics over on my Facebook page here.
Enjoy these bars, hopefully they will impart you with an extra boost of relaxed focus in the coming week. Til next week, stay happy and well.
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Takes 10 minutes
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1 c walnuts (dried activated*) 1 c cashews (dried activated*) 1 c dates 1/2 c cacao powder 1/4 c tahini 1/4 c cacao nibs 3 tbsp liquid sweetener (coconut nectar, brown rice syrup, yacon syrup or maple syrup) 2 tbsp matcha powder 1/2 tsp sea saltAdditional matcha powder to sprinkle on top
* I used dried activated nuts wherever possible, but if you don’t have these prepared you can use raw. Otherwise you can choose from a range pre activated nuts from our store here.
PS - My lovely cayenne pepper leggings and top are both from Macpac, in case you're wondering. I've been wearing them non-stop the past few weeks - they're the perfect thing to go from morning walks to baking sessions with sticky fingered Mila!
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Buffy is the founder of Be Good Organics, and loves creating delicious yet simple plant-based whole foods recipes.
Buffy also oversees our Be Good Organics online store, full of plant based goodies that she personally uses and loves. Sign up for our newsletter below to be the first to receive her weekly recipes.
by Buffy Ellen
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I'm Buffy, a food obsessed nutrition nerd, former financial research analyst and investment banker, and now - full time blogger, nutritionist and soon to be naturopath. I live in Auckland, New Zealand with my partner Tony, our two cats Zeus and Luna, and our cute-as-pie little girl Mila. Can't wait to share some healthy recipes with you! READ MORE HERE...
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