Greening Up the Holidays With Grey Salt, White Chocolate Matcha Blondies

Matcha not only gives these blondies great color, but tempers the sweetness of the white chocolate in them.
Matcha not only gives these blondies great color, but tempers the sweetness of the white chocolate in them.

With twinkling, decorated-to-the-hilt trees everywhere at this time of year, why not add a bit of that festive green to your cookie plate, too?

“Grey Salt, White Chocolate Matcha Blondies” will do the job deliciously.

These bar cookies get their hue, of course, from Japanese powdered ceremonial green tea. The matcha also adds a nice grassy astringency from its natural tannins to balance out the sweetness of the white chocolate chunks.

This cookie recipe is from “Love Is A Pink Cake” (W.W. Norton), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Claire Ptak, a Californian who moved to London to open her Violet Bakery. Of course, you may also know her as a former pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Or you may recognize her as the baker commissioned in 2018 to make the wedding cake for none other than Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Yes, the name of the cookie includes “grey salt,” which gets sprinkled on before baking. But don’t fret if you don’t have that fancy stuff. I used pink salt that I happened to have on hand. But truly, white sea salt would work just fine, too.

An easy, one-pan cookie to bake.
An easy, one-pan cookie to bake.

The recipe calls for baking the bar cookies in a 12-by-8-inch pan. I used a 9-by13-inch one instead without a hitch.

You don’t even need an electric mixer. Just melt butter (the recipe said to do so on the stovetop, but I did it in the microwave), mix with sugar, vanilla, and eggs, then fold in flour, baking powder, salt, and matcha. Finally, stir in white chocolate pieces, before spreading into the pan and sprinkling with salt.

The blondies bake up with crispy edges and a soft-chewy interior. And they make for a dazzling addition to any holiday cookie exchange.

Blondies that aren't blonde.
Blondies that aren’t blonde.

Grey Salt, White Chocolate Matcha Blondies

(Makes 12 blondies)

250 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2 eggs

300 grams (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar (super-fine granulated sugar)

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

240 grams (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon matcha powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

200 grams (7 ounces) white chocolate, chopped

1/4 teaspoon grey salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line a 12-by-8-inch (30-by-20-centimeter) cake tin with baking paper.

Gently melt butter in a small pan and set aside to cool slightly. (Or melt in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl.) In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla until frothy, then whisk in the melted butter.

Whisk together the flour, matcha powder, baking powder and salt before adding to the wet ingredients along with the white chocolate pieces. Mix until just combined.

Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and smooth the top, then sprinkle with the grey salt and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. The center should be puffed and set but still a little gooey. Let cool, then cut into bars to serve.

Adapted from “Love Is A Pink Cake” by Claire Ptak

More Claire Ptak Recipes to Enjoy: Ras El Hanout Snickerdoodles

And: Ginger Molasses Cake

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  • This looks so good I’m going to try to make them now! You know what I like and appreciate so much about your site is that it is concise but full of wonderful stories and recipes. Most websites require so much scrolling through pages of babble and advertisements. Anyways, thanks for always inspiring us!

  • Hi Sandy: Thanks for the kind words. Well, I believe there is a time and place for anecdotes, but like selfies, they are often overused. LOL So, I try to be judicious when using them. You’ll have to let me know what you think of the blondies. I’m not always the biggest fan of white chocolate, so I love how the matcha tames its sweetness. Happy baking!

  • I have held on to a packet of matcha for the longest time, with no real idea of what to do with it. Bingo! I’ll be sure to report back when this has made it into the baking rotation, Carolyn. Thanks so much!

  • Hi Carroll: Matcha is great for baking all manner of things. Hope you enjoy the cookies. Happy holidays!

  • From the pictures, you achieved great results from the slightly larger pan (yielding thinner brownies) and I strongly suggest that others follow your lead. I prepared the recipe this weekend, exactly as written, with far less success. At the time I wondered “Why grease *and* line the pan?” but I complied with that instruction, and the end product did not have the nice crispy bottom I was expecting as shown in your pictures. It took forever to cook through — almost twice as long as indicated — and I double checked my oven temp. Even then, well… (insert sad face). We loved the crispy top part though, almost like a nice crusty matcha meringue. If I try this again I will grease but not line the pan, and will definitely make them thinner like yours.

    Lesson learned? Carolyn’s culinary instincts are *always* right. Do as she does, not necessarily as “they” say, and all will be well!

  • Hi Carroll: That’s so interesting about the cook time when using two pans instead of one. I wouldn’t have guessed that the baking time would be so much longer. Sorry to hear they didn’t come out quite as expected when baked in two pans. But yes, give it a go again with just one pan and you should get exactly the results that I did. Happy baking!

  • But oh, hey hey! Guess what I just did? After crunching up the rest of the crispy topping in which I rolled some of the cookies I’m making (So interesting. So different!) I was about to pitch the incredibly gooey bottom layer when it dawned on me that it was actually very much like a thick cookie dough. Hmmm. I hate to waste ingredients and the oven’s already on. Why not experiment? So I rolled that white chocolate matcha “dough” into little balls, coated them in powdered sugar, flattened them out on a cookie sheet (because I was pretty sure they weren’t going to spread very much, and BAM — perfectly crispy, still a little gooey in the middle, white-chocolate matcha cookies! Suddnely, its a great recipe after all, Carolyn. 10/10. Will definitley make again!

  • Hi Carroll: You are a genius! I love that you managed to repurpose the dough like that and make it work. So glad to hear they turned out so delicious.

  • My grandson, who politely declined to try the gooey green things yesterday, eagerly affirmed today that “These are great; you should make them all the time, Grandma!”

    I plan to, dear boy; I definitely plan to πŸ™‚

  • Hi Carroll: That is too funny! I think if this cookbook ever goes into a second printing that they ought to include your version of these cookies in it, too! πŸ˜‰

  • Following up to say that I have now made these twice more — as drop cookies — and they were a phenomenal success. The first time was recipe-as-written, which I already knew would be great, but the second time I only added chips to half the dough and baked the remainder without. The result was crispy little tea cookies, just perfect for dunking, or nibbling as-is. Oh, they were *so* good!!! I think they mighty be even more amazing with a pinch of chopped pistachios atop each one. Stay tuned!

  • Hi Carroll: Wow, you are too clever! You definitely have inspired me to give this recipe a whirl again — but as drop cookies. Yours sound impressive. And I adore the thought of pistachios overtop. Thanks for sharing your version. πŸ˜‰

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