One hell of a storm blew through Saturday night and Sunday, ruining the weekend for hanami. Luckily, we’d had decent weather all week, including Friday night, when I went to Rojô Park in Komatsu for nighttime cherry-blossom viewing.
Of course, hanami wouldn’t be hanami without food and drink, and what better to bring than two Japanese classics together in a super portable form?
I especially like that this recipe uses the leftover sakura flowers from the Sakura “Latte.” No waste and more sakura flavor.
These muffins are not especially sweet, but I think they balance sweetness with the bitterness of matcha and the saltiness of the sakura. I recommend using 80 g of sugar, but you can use as little as 60 g or as much as 160 g.* Also, use matcha meant for cooking and flavoring sweets, not the really nice stuff you would serve to guests for tea. As for the sakura, if a whole flower is too much sakura for you or you run out, using a petal or two is just fine.
Sakura Matcha Muffins
Adapted from “No. 21: Matcha” muffins from She Knows Muffin オリジナル・レシピ集 ―We Love Muffin!, p. 25.**
Yields 12 muffins
Time: 40 minutes (if the chopped sakura is prepared)
Active: 15 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
~12 preserved sakura flowers and stems (sakura hana zuke, 桜花漬)
6-8 preserved sakura flowers and stems from the Sakura Latte recipe [soaked twice and chopped]
100 g (3.5 oz/ 7 TBSP) unsalted butter, softened (muen batâ, 無塩バター)
80 g (1/3 US cup + 1/3 TBSP) unpacked brown sugar (sanontô, 三温糖), or brown beet sugar (tensaitô, てんさい糖, 甜菜糖)
2 eggs (tamago, 卵)
295 g (3-1/4 cups) cake flour (hakurikiko, 薄力粉)
5 g (1 tsp) matcha powder for cooking (seikayo maccha, 製菓用抹茶)
12 g (3-1/3 tsp) baking powder (bêkingu paudâ, ベーキングパウダー)
140 mL (1/2 cup + 1.5 TBSP) milk (milk: gyûnyû, 牛乳; low-fat milk: teishibônyû, 低脂肪乳; soy milk:tônyû, 豆乳)
Silicon muffin cups (mafin kappu, マフィンカップ)
OR muffin tins (mafin kata, マフィン型)
Small heatproof bowl(s) for soaking the sakura
1. Prepare the chopped preserved sakura from the Sakura Latte recipe (6-8 flowers) and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 180º C (350º F).
3. In a small heatproof bowl, soak the 12 other flowers and stems in enough boiling water to cover them for 1-3 minutes. Discard water. Gently rinse again. Set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and mix well.
4. Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, matcha powder, baking powder). Combine the milk and chopped sakura. Alternating milk mixture and dry ingredients into the batter in three parts, gently stir the batter to incorporate. Do not overbeat.
5. Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full. Smooth the tops a little. Press a whole sakura (or a few petals) into the top.
6. Bake for 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
For 1 muffin using 2% milk and 80 g (total) sugar.
*She Knows Muffin has two styles of muffins: sweet and non-sweet; the only difference is the amount of sugar and salt. I tend to use the non-sweet recipe as the base for everything, but since this recipe has matcha and sakura on it, a little extra sweetness is nice. If you want them to be more like a cupcake than a muffin, use up to 160 g sugar. I omitted the salt because the sakura is salty.
**This is my favorite Japanese-language cookbook. I bought it because the title was funny, but the recipes are easy and always turn out well. This book is one of my prized possessions, and if you’ve had muffins at my place, you’ve probably had a variety from this book.