At the age of 24, I boarded a plane for a fourteen hour direct flight to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. I traveled with one golden retriever tucked away in the belly of the plane, two suitcases that were to last me the duration of my three years in Japan, and countless muscle relaxants, intended to help me endure the flight without hurling myself out an emergency exit. My arrival in Japan was eventful to say the least, but my husband and I were married three days later on Misawa Air Base in northern Japan.
There were three couples professing their love for each other that morning in the judge magistrate’s office, so I often joke it was literally a first-come first-serve wedding. After the ceremony, we ate Burger King on the floor of his military dorm room. It is a tradition we’ve honored every year on our anniversary. We actually celebrate with what we refer to as an three day “anniversary festival,” because while we were married on the 7th in Japan, it was the 6th in the States, and some unnamed family members gave us gifts engraved with the 8th.
Over the next three years, we observed many traditional tea ceremonies and drank our fair share of green tea. Traditional green tea is rather bitter stuff. Our requests for sugar or cream were often meet with bewildered looks. Yet one of us grew to enjoy the friendships and conversations that came with sipping a steaming cup of green tea on a brutally cold day, with heavy snow coming down outside while with feet were tucked under a warm kotatsu.
Matcha is a finely ground green tea powder used in traditional Japanese tea. Most Asian grocery stores sell it alongside other teas. These Matcha with Crystallized Ginger and Almond Biscotti have much more sugar than I could ever convince anyone to give me for my tea in Japan and are wonderful dipped in any green tea.
Matcha with Crystallized Ginger and Almond Biscotti
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
½ cup roughly chopped almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a large flat bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and matcha powder.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract.
4. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.
5. Add the crystallized ginger and almonds, and knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 to 20 times.
6. Separate the dough in half. Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes. Press the top of each log with granulated sugar.
7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split. Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
8. Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board. Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
What to do with the ends #6: Mark you trail through the woods.