I have always loved hojicha, the rich, toasted brother to green tea. While most green teas are steamed, hojicha is slowly roasted until the tea leaves turn brown. Slightly smoky and mildly sweet, hojicha has much less caffeine in it than regular green tea. It’s the kind of tea you can happily drink after an evening aromatherapy treatment. To tell you the truth, my favourite use of hojicha as an ingredient for desserts has long been ice cream, but it is delicious in a muffin too, especially when baked alongside some nutty friends. Very easy to make, you won’t make much mess in the kitchen and will have a lovely alternative to biscuits for your next afternoon tea.
Instructions (makes 10 muffins):
- Preheat the oven to 200C°.
- First make hojicha milk by bringing the milk to a boil in a saucepan before adding the hojicha and then reducing the heat to simmer for 1 minute. Leave to cool then drain the milk in a sieve. Tea leaves will absorb a fair amount of the milk. Measure out 240ml to use for the recipe and put the rest aside.
- Beat the egg in a small bowl with a fork and then stir in the hojicha milk and oil.
- Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and then pour in the mixture from stage 3, as well as the chestnuts and walnuts. Mix quickly and lightly with a fork until thoroughly moistened, but do not beat. The batter should be lumpy, so do not over-mix to avoid heavy muffins.
- Pour the batter mixture into paper lined muffin pan cups.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the muffins turn golden.
Prepared by Akemi Yokoyama