Baked Sunday Mornings: Smoothing it out with green tea

I’ve seen a whole lotta matcha these last few years. The concentrated green tea powder has greened up everything from scones to cheesecake, even bringing grassy color to glaze on donuts.

Though I love the health properties in green tea (it’s said to pack a wallop of antioxidants, boost metabolism and provide detoxifying effects) and the caffeine boost it provides, I’m not so sure it belongs in every baked good. I made some green tea shortbread a year or two ago, and despite the beauty imbued by my favorite color, the overriding green-tea taste (somewhere between grassy and grainy) in the cookies made them, well, not terribly tasty.

As mentioned in the intro to the recipe for the Green Tea Smoothie in “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking,”  authors Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito forewarn that matcha powder is an “acquired taste,” and recommend starting with a little less than the recipe’s one tablespoon. 

I do love a good smoothie, and this recipe sounded so simple (just a few ingredients) and refreshing (it incorporates fresh honeydew melon), that even any hesitations I had about the taste of matcha powder could not keep me from trying it once I saw it was on the Baked Sunday Mornings recipe schedule (you’ll find the recipe here: 

I like honeydew melon (though watermelon is myfavorite), so I bought a whole melon to cut up for the smoothie…only a half cup of melon is called for, but I knew the melon would not go to waste.

The most challenging part of this recipe, if you can believe it, seemed to be finding frozen vanilla yogurt. Time was, you could find nearly as many brands of frozen yogurt as ice cream. My local Safeway has an entire aisle of ice cream, and I searched high and low for yogurt for what seemed like hours, wading through a dizzying array of  every cookies-and-cream-peanut-butter-and-jelly-booze-infused-chocolate-gumdrop ice cream flavor. Finally, way up in a corner, was a single, partial shelf with one brand of frozen yogurt. 

I put the melon, green tea powder (I went the full dose), frozen yogurt and almond milk (the recipe calls for soy) in the blender and blitzed until everything was softly foamy. After pouring it into two glasses, I decide it wasn’t quite enough, so I made another half batch to add. This filled both glasses nicely.

The smoothies were a beautiful shade of green and the consistency was perfect — not too thick or too watery, and perfectly straw-worthy. My first taste harkened me back to the cookie experience — the green tea was a little intense and dominant in the flavors here, with a slightly bitter edge (it actually tastes a little like hay…not that I’ve ever tasted hay), but the creamy coolness of the drink, kept me going, and actually, after that first sip, I enjoyed it quite a bit (particularly the matcha caffeine pick-me-up). I would make this again, perhaps going a little easier on the green tea, though my taste-testing partner loved the fullness of that flavor. 

Blogger’s Note: You can find the recipe for this Green Tea Smoothie at Baked Sunday Mornings:

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