by hungryrabbit on May 13, 2011

Whatmatchacallit Bars

Spring means gardening when I’m in the country, but in the city it means spring cleaning. I open a closet, a few items look out of place, I rearrange them, something falls off the shelf, and then I’m pulling down everything to completely rearrange the layout. It’s probably a mild case of OCD, but at least I don’t clean each grape with paper towel like Emma on Glee. Good or bad, this ritual makes me feel better after reorganizing.

Spring cleaning means more than just reorganizing your closet or your home—it’s also a way to get rid of stagnant items that haven’t been use for a long time.  Just donate what you can to charity that will make good use of redistributing your things.

Of course, when it comes to my pantry, clutter and hording are much more acceptable. Unless food items have passed the expiration date, I’ll race to use them up . . . if I know about them, that is. I recently discovered my mystery supplies of matcha (green tea powder). It turned out that I have a few different batches in multiple locations. (Expect too see more matcha recipes in the near future.)

This is probably M’s influence, since he loves black tea and is always buying new types to sample. I compulsively  purchase matcha at every tea shop we encounter. Though the powder doesn’t have an expiration date, but green tea in general doesn’t retain its potency as longs as black tea. Once you expose the matcha powder to light and air it quickly starts to oxidize. The color darkens, and the flavor gets earthier, less vibrant. Stored properly, it’s got a shelf life of up to a year.

Combining two complimentary flavors of matcha—almonds and white chocolate—these Whatmatchacallit Bars are full of sweet harvest-like notes with a cakey creamy texture. Matcha might be a tea powder, but when it’s combined with butter/dairy, it takes on a whole new dimension.

Whatmatchacallit Bars

Makes 9 large or 36 bite-size squares

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
2/3 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons matcha powder
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Position baking rack in center position and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter lining; set aside.

2. Whisk together all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.

3. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracts; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, mix, scraping down sides of bowl, until well combined. Fold in white chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Transfer to a large bowl.

4. Put cream cheese, granulated sugar, butter, all-purpose flour, matcha powder, egg, and extract into the now empty bowl of stand mixer (no need to clean) fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium speed until fully incorporated.

5. Pour half of batter into prepared pan, and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Spoon 3/4 of matcha cream mixture on top, and spread evenly. Pour remaining batter on top and spread slightly. Top with dollops of remaining matcha cream, about 1 inch apart. Run a knife through layers to create swirl pattern.

6. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, 45-55 minutes. Cool bars in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes, lift bars from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian @ A Thought For Food May 13, 2011 at 7:39 am

What an awesome color those are! Looks magical, Ken!

fooddreamer May 13, 2011 at 8:12 am

Brilliant, just brilliant. I love matcha and these look delicious. Bring on the matcha recipes, if that’s what spring cleaning brings us!

catty May 13, 2011 at 10:20 am

LOL! loooove the name of the bar.. whatmatchacallit :D clever, Mr Rabbit!

foodwanderings May 13, 2011 at 10:20 am

Here you go again with yours and my favorite macha. I think wabbit loves macha over carrots!! :) Ahahaha, guess what, I don’t watch Glee, don’t gasp, but sometimes I do as Emma does. Oops I revealed too much!

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle May 13, 2011 at 10:59 am

You are the Matcha Man…and I have yet to try it. I do love your explanation though…it helps me because I’ve just never been all that enthralled with the idea of a cookie or bar that just tastes like tea which is what I assumed.

And Shulie…why not. Glee is, well, gleeful!

Happy Friday Ken.

Lora May 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm

omg these are fantastic!

Diane {Created by Diane} May 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I love green tea, but haven’t made anything with Macha Powder, these look so pretty. You are so clever with the title, I LOVE IT!!!

Maria @ Scandifoodie May 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Yuuuuum! I LOVE matcha! These are so tempting!

Jean May 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I should really try to work with matcha powder–I love how it tastes and your recipes are so inspiring, including this one. I love what you called them, too–clever!

Liren May 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm

So inventive, Ken! You put the matcha to good use, what a nice ingredient to find in your spring cleaning. It looks positively amazing.

Su-yin May 14, 2011 at 8:32 am

I love the name! You’re so good at playing with words!

serena @bigapplenosh May 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

I love matcha – what a delicious concoction!

Yuri May 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I am finally able to see this post! It was worth the wait :D I love matcha and will be making these bars SOON. Happy Saturday!!

Urvashee May 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I have not tried baking with Matcha yet but these look divine!

MikeVFMK May 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

Ken, love these bars! And with flavours like white chocolate and matcha and almond, I know I would fancy one with my morning cup of tea. And afternoon cup as well. Might as well just send me the batch!

Lillian May 15, 2011 at 2:05 pm

these are gorgeous, ken! i love baking w/ matcha…will be bookmarking this recipe to use up my matcha. =)

Sumika May 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

That’s serious eats. I am Japanese and this looks amazing. if only I had some matcha in my pantry!!

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