Happy Pi Day everyone! We’re celebrating Pi Day with a fun pie munchie, which isn’t an ordinary pie!
The renaissance of matcha continues in the foodie realm. I am a huge matcha and chocolate fan, which means that bringing matcha and chocolate together is my idea of bliss. It can’t get any better than the matcha + chocolate equation… or can it?
Matcha is a green-colored powder comprising of finely-grounded green tea leaves. Evolving from simple matcha lattes, there are exciting ‘developments’ in the matcha scene nowadays. This darling of an ingredient is befriending other tastes and bites that everyone knows and loves, much to the joy of matcha-lovers. There was even a matcha advent calendar featuring the likes of gingerbread, bubblegum, mango and pineapple pie matcha teas last Christmas by a Canadian tea brand called DavidsTea. As for matcha chomps, the most interesting matcha meal I’ve discovered is matcha ravioli, which some foodies seem to love!
While I am not planning on pairing matcha with pasta or fruits (for now at least!), I am particularly excited to taste a matcha contribution from the snacks aisle that leaped into my shopping basket – matcha cakes smothered in chocolate and layered with marshmallow fluff. I hereby introduce my snack stash’s latest addition, green tea choco pies!
Far from plain cakes with cream fillings – which, I have to admit, are “guilty pleasure” throwback bites from time to time – Korea’s contributions to the boxed cakes universe are pretty epic. One of these confections is ‘choco pie’. Being the first cousin of wagon wheels and the second cousin of whoopie pies in the US, choco pie typically comprises of two vanilla cakes with a thick marshmallow filling between them. Finally, the confection is coated thoroughly in chocolate.
Hailing from Korea, these choco pies are made by Lotte, a well-known Korean confection brand that manufactures various snacks and nibbly bits like choco pies and Pepero biscuit sticks. In all the years spotting choco pie boxes (the original version) and sampling a few along the way, I’m tasting the matcha version for the first time!
Stepping into my sleuthing boots to explore the art of baking these delights, I discovered that in order to nail the cakes’ thickness and disc-like shape, the cake batter is piped in individual circles that are reminiscent to how macarons are piped onto a baking sheet. Upon baking, the cakes are slightly thinner than macarons, and their diameter is longer than macarons’ (I’ve got to sprinkle a little Math since it’s Pi Day!) The cake ‘discs’, therefore, are wide enough to fit in your palm perfectly. The matcha sponge cakes sandwich a thick layer of marshmallow fluff, and chocolate coats the entire choco pie.
On its own, the matcha from the cake element has a mild taste of pure matcha. Choosing to pair matcha and a chocolate with a higher cocoa content together in a munchie is pretty unique, as white chocolate is regularly matched with matcha instead. Since white chocolate doesn’t possess cocoa solids, it tends to be a fabulous canvas that features strokes of matcha in delectable masterpieces because its sweetness and subtle flavor allows matcha to shine without detecting ‘bitter’ notes. Pure matcha leans to the bitter side, therefore, adding white chocolate with matcha in desserts is usually an excellent choice to feature matcha’s soul whilst satisfying sweet tooths. This choco pie certainly defies that norm!
As other chocolates (such as milk chocolate) are more prominent in the flavor department as compared to white chocolate, I was especially intrigued with the prospect of embarking on the next step of the chocolate-matcha friendship by bringing the cocoa and matcha worlds together.
A blissful wave of matcha and chocolate (which tastes like milk chocolate) comes through in the introductory bite. Harmonized perfectly with each other, these standouts share the spotlight. Rather than one overshadowing the other, they are united. Hand-in-hand, the fusion of flavors deliver a pleasant experience. Matcha’s boldness works well with the chocolate’s cocoa flavor profile. My foodie adventure has affirmed that chocolate and matcha are a matcha made in heaven (the experience is incomplete without a matcha pun) through and through!
When marshmallow enters the stage, matcha and milk chocolate elevates this marshmallow-y goodness that feels like home to my taste buds. It lives up to its role of being the heart of every kind of choco pie. The melt-in-your-mouth marshmallow middle is soft, so much so that I felt like I was sinking my teeth into a cloud! Marshmallow’s fluffy role adds a smooth texture to the cake, hence working like a charm in complementing the cakes’ firm yet soft and mildly-crumbly texture. Its sweetness is ‘just right’ on the Goldilocks scale, and it is a lovable element that sweet tooths will adore.
The verdict: matcha + milk chocolate + marshmallow fluff = a resounding ‘yay’!