A Tale of Two (Baked) Donuts: Matcha Green Tea and Nutella

A few weeks ago I met up with my friend Linda who I befriended this summer at a wonderful food photography workshop here in Boston.  We have both been eagerly practicing our food styling and photographing since the workshop (i.e. we are major food dorks!) and decided to join forces to whip up, style, and photograph some beautiful baked donuts.  After perusing some recipes online, we decided to bake these matcha green tea donuts and baked nutella donuts.  Linda bought most of the ingredients (I brought the sprinkles!) and we convened at her lovely house on an overcast Sunday afternoon (perfect for photographing!).  She had just visited Mryth ceramics in Allston, MA so we had some gorgeous bowls and plates for styling.  I also brought along a few pieces from Ogusky Ceramics (@botonpotter) to round out the setup.

First up were the matcha green tea donuts.  We had a little extra help from Linda’s dog, Elsie, to make these 🙂 Who knew dogs loved green tea donut batter?

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I have to admit that we were a bit skeptical of the green tea donuts at first. They were a bit hard to get out of the pan and about half were deemed “unphoto worthy” after removal.

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After we ruined a few more donuts trialling different glaze dipping strategies, we finally found a method that was both delicious and aesthetically pleasing.  We recommend dipping the side that was not face down agains the pan while baking, otherwise the glaze sticks into all the nooks and crannies of the baked donut and doesn’t look great.

The final product was insanely delicious and quite pretty..if you like teenage mutant ninja turtle green 🙂

Next we moved on to the Nutella baked donuts.  We were in a bit of a rush to finish these because it was the first day after daylight saving time and we realized sunset was fast approaching!  These baked up perfectly round and were much easier to remove from the pan.  We went a little overboard decorating them with sprinkles and then ran upstairs to take advantage of the little remaining sunlight.  Luckily we were able to get a few shots in before it grew dark.

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While these donuts were the cuter of the pair, our favorite was the matcha green tea donuts.  Linda is already working on tweaking the matcha donut recipe!

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One other exciting thing that came from our donut making endeavor was that I got my first repost by Food52!!!!

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Find the donut recipes here:

Matcha Green Tea Donuts
Baked Nutella Donuts

Have any of you tried baked donuts?  What did you think? Any favorites?

 

 

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Green Tea Matcha Cupcakes with Whipped Mascarpone Frosting

 

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This post is really exciting for me! First off, it’s been a long time since I baked anything for my blog…life and work seem to always get in the way. Second, I got to test out my new macro lens!  I’ve been wanting to buy one for a long time but finally decided to bite the bullet after I got hired to shoot some food photography for 2 local restaurants!!!  While I love my 35 mm prime lens and it has been great so far for my food photography, macro lenses can reproduce even more detail which is perfect for drool-worthy food photographs!

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Lastly, you may notice the new videos/GIFs I’ve used in this post.  They are actually called “stop-motion vignettes” and are perfect for showing cooking and baking processes like frosting a cupcake!  I learned how to make them from the amazingly talented photographer and food blogger, Betty Liu.  Check out her blog to learn how to make your own stop-motion vignettes.  It took some trial and error, but I think I got the hang of it eventually.

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So now for the cupcakes…I first experimented with matcha green tea last year in  my post on matcha green tea, white chocolate macademia nut cookies.   Matcha green tea is a fine green powder that has been popping up everywhere from lattes to cookies and cakes.  Not only does it have a lovely flavor, but it makes for a gorgeous green color.  I had initially planned on making a different dessert this weekend but figured cupcakes would be the perfect dessert to show off my new stop motion vignettes!  I was also tasked with making a non-chocolate dessert for dinner with friends tonight so matcha seemed like the perfect flavor to try.  I paired the matcha cupcake with a simple, light frosting so as to not overpower the delicate matcha flavor in the cupcake.  The result was pretty tasty- hopefully my friends will agree!

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Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes with Whipped Mascarpone Frosting

(makes 12)

Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes (adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tabelspoons matcha green tea
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

Whipped Mascarpone Frosting

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and matcha.

In an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add egg and mix on medium until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and then sour cream, mixing until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway. Bake, rotating halfway through, until cupcakes spring back to touch and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Let cool in tin 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

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For the frosting, combine the butter, cream cheese, and mascarpone cheese in a stand mixer, fitted with a whip attachment.  Beat on medium to high speed until thoroughly combined, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt and mix until smooth.  Add the heavy cream and whip on high for a minute until light and fluffy.  You may want to refrigerate for 30 minutes before frosting to firm it up a bit.

Frost the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

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Matcha Green Tea White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

 

Last week my friend and I ventured out to try a new(ish) ramen restaurant for lunch.  After stuffing our bellies to the brim full of rich chicken broth, noodles and pork to the point that we couldn’t eat any more ramen, we decided we really wanted some warm, gooey white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.  Yes, there is a separate dessert stomach…I’m a doctor, I know these things.  Unfortunately (or perhaps for our waistlines, fortunately), we couldn’t find any cookies up to our standards (although we didn’t look too hard because by then, the food coma had already set in), so I decided to take matters into my own hands…but with a twist.

I’ve been seeing dessert recipes utilizing matcha green tea recently, such as these cookies from Bon Appetit and this vertical roll cake, and have wanted to experiment with some of my own creations. Matcha is a shockingly bright green powder made from ground green tea leaves.  It reportedly boosts energy with anti-oxidants and caffeine and has been popping up in coffee and tea houses around the country.  You can read more about it here.

Since this was my first recipe experimenting with matcha, I decided to start simple and these cookies were the perfect opportunity.  The recipe is very straight forward; it’s as easy as adding 2 Tbs of matcha powder to the flour and then making the cookies per usual.  It’s pure coincidence that these green beauties are just in time for St. Patty’s Day!

Matcha Green Tea White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
(recipe modified from Flour)

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
2 Tbs match green tea powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
11 oz white chocolate chips
1 cup salted and roasted macadamia nuts, chopped

If you’re baking the cookies on the same day you prepare the batter, heat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center of the oven.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or mixing by hand with a wooden spoon), beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about five minutes. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle itself a few times; the sugar and butter love to collect here and stay unmixed. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract on medium speed until thoroughly combined, two to three minutes. Again scrape the bowl and the paddle to make sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.

Mix together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, matcha powder, baking soda and salt. Turn the mixer to low speed (or continue to use a wooden spoon if mixing by hand) and slowly blend the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture until just mixed.  Add the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts and mix until incorporated.

For best results, scrape dough into a container and let rest in the refrigerator for a day before baking. The next day, heat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center of the oven. Scoop the dough into 1 Tbs balls onto a baking sheet with parchment paper about two inches apart. Press dough balls down slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake until cookies are just starting to brown at the edges about 8-10 minutes. They will still be very soft in the center. Remove from oven and let cool. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. The unbaked dough can be stored for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.