20 February 2009

White Like Tea

I'm often inflicted with the "I could do that better" disease. I see something in a store or taste something at a restaurant, and immediately think about how I can make it at home for a fraction of the price (but unfortunately, a multiple of the time it would take to just buy it.)

My $5 cup of earl grey hot cocoa at City Bakery was a recent inspiration- delicious, no doubt, but the tea flavor was faint at best. And I'm never one to turn down a chocolate experiment in my kitchen.

The base drink needed to be less assertive, to allow tea's subtle essence to surface. So instead of bittersweet, I turned to my standby white hot cocoa recipe.

Before you gag in disgust, keep in mind that I never touched white chocolate until a few years ago. I always turned my nose up at it, due to an association with a particularly prissy girl I went to school with (which meant from ages 6 to 18, in a town as small as the one I grew up in). She adored white chocolate and wouldn't shut up about how it was the best type of chocolate, especially if she spied you cramming Reese's or M&M's into your mouth. I successfully ignored her all that time, but it did make an impression- just not the enlightened one she was hoping for.

I'm so old and wise now that I can admit that I was wrong to write white chocolate off completely. Clearly, young taste is questionable (think about who you had a crush on when you were 15); only now I can appreciate its creamy, sweet taste and its quiet place in the choco-spectrum.

And when it comes to flavored hot cocoa, white chocolate just blends better with tea- dark chocolate dominated any tea I paired it with, no matter how bold a brew on its own.

Green Tea-White Hot Chocolate
In medium saucepan, heat 2 cups milk with a dash of vanilla extract over medium-high, stirring. When steaming, whisk in 2 1/2 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and sift 2 teaspoons matcha over the top; whisk vigorously to blend and serve immediately.

If you don't have any matcha, shame on you, but you can still make this- just heat 2 teaspoons of sencha with the milk until steaming, then remove from the heat and cover for 10 minutes. Strain the milk and continue with the recipe, but realize that the green-tea flavor and color will be diminished (you can see this version in the top photo, upper right).

With the matcha, however, it's like drinking the sweet essence of spring. It may not turn you away from the dark side of hot cocoa forever, but it's a delightful change of pace.


Anonymous said...

This looks like a divine recipe which I must try! The photographs are great too.

I've never been overly fond of white chocolate, but have found that it can mesh beautifully with green tea. Isn't that surprising?

Thanks so much for sharing!

Veri-Tea said...

Wow, that sounds fantastic, am going to have to try it... and amazingly,serendipitously I have both white chocolate and matcha in my pantry right now.

Oh... hang on. No working stovetop (thanks, gas company, for disconnecting us for NO reason at all). Well, I shall have to wait :( :(

Laura R. said...

I want to try some, but am sick and don't have enough energy to whisk.

Anonymous said...

You mentioned the matcha gives the brew a springy essence. Would you say it was vegetal? How does that pair with the white chocolate notes? Oh boy.

Unknown said...

Green tea and white hot chocolate is one of my favorite flavour combinations and an simple hot chocolate drink sounds like the perfect way to enjoy them!

Anonymous said...

The "I could do that better" disease... What do you think about opening your own place?

Anonymous said...

Wow out of darkness into the light

James Brooks said...

I TOTALLY linked to this post from my blog here: http://www.teasnob.me/green-tea-white-hot-chocolate-recipe/

Such an awesome looking recipe! Thank you!