Try this: make a nice cup of genmaicha (80°C for 3 minutes). Take a sip. Savour the toasty, nutty, savoury delight of this popular Japanese tea. Now close your eyes and—don’t think about it—take a piece of white chocolate and take a nibble. Take another sip.
By now you’re sure I’m insane. I get it. Do it anyway.
I was in a chocolate and tea pairing class at the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada (THAC) when I was asked to do the same thing by our instructor, the THAC president, Shabnam Weber. I was giving the pairing a nervous side-eye, quite sure that this was very wrong, somehow. But I was here to learn, and Shabnam had yet to steer me in the wrong direction. What could I do? I tried it. It was fantastic.
This unlikely duo, when taken together, was very strongly reminiscent of Rice Krispie Squares. The puffed rice in the tea, the waxy sweetness of the white chocolate, and the familiar briny undertone of the toasty green tea all united to make a funky little flavour-mishmash. Like a Jelly Belly recipe where you combine two lemon and one coconut to replicate the taste of a lemon meringue pie. But weirder.
As soon as I had this glorious strange combination, I knew I had to persuade others to try it. Make it into a dessert, even. But what dessert? Rice Krispie Squares, of course: White Chocolate Crispy Rice Squares with Genmaicha.
If you’re still reluctant to follow me down this path, I understand completely. My taste-testers all had strong, unmistakable reactions. People either loved it or hated it. No middle ground. Fortunately for me, the fans outnumbered the unenlightened by a ratio of 9 to 1. It’s a divisive little dessert, favouring the bold and all lovers of matcha ice cream.
Speaking of matcha: this dessert would be so much easier to make if you used matcha. And if you already love the combination of white chocolate and matcha, why on earth wouldn’t you just use that? It would mean simply stirring in some powder rather than infusing cream with loose leaf tea, then straining it. You could do that.
But this pairing is special, and it works in a uniquely synergistic manner. Try it. It’s weird. It’s wonderful. It’s a one-of-a-kind delight. Worth every bit of your effort and trust in me, in the uniqueness of this tea, and in your own sense of adventure.
These pretty little delicacies would be wonderful cut into tiny cubes and served as part of an afternoon tea platter. You could make it a fusion menu, à là Shangrila (they do matcha cupcakes with black sesame, is that not also a daring leap of culinary imagination?), or serve them as dessert when you order in sushi or noodles. Or just to nibble whenever you have a cup of green tea. Genmaicha, of course.
Tasting is believing. Adventure awaits!
- 8” X 8” X 4” square pan
- fine sieve
- Parchment paper.
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 3/4 cup loose leaf genmaicha, or 4 tea bags
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 cups fine quality white chocolate chips like Ghirardelli, Lindt or Callebaut
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- 7 cups Rice Krispie cereal
- Butter the pan and line with parchment paper.
- Heat cream to 80°C or °176 F. Pour in your genmaicha, give it a gentle stir, and let sit for three minutes. The tea leaves will swell up and look as if they have absorbed all the cream. Don’t worry—they haven’t.
- Pour cream into a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Strain out the cream, pressing the tea leaves with the back of a spoon, or your hands. You should end up with about 1 ½ cups of tea-infused cream.
- In the larger pot, place ½ cup of tea-infused cream with the butter over low heat. Add in 1 cup white chocolate chips, keeping the heat low and stirring all the while until smooth. Add marshmallows and do the same. Don’t let this mixture burn or curdle—slowly but surely does it.
- Stir in cereal, folding slowing and gently until it is all evenly coated.
- Press the cereal mixture into the pan gently. Don’t press it too hard or you’ll have heavy, dense squares. Pop it in the fridge to firm up if you have room, otherwise the countertop will do just fine.
- Pour the remaining 1 cup of tea-infused cream back into the smaller pot and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat. Add in the remaining 3 cups of white chocolate chips. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Place the pot back on low heat and stir gently until white chocolate chips are melted. Stir together until smooth and let sit until room temperature.
- Remove the pan from the fridge. Spread ganache evenly over the squares, smoothing with a spatula until the whole surface is covered. Do NOT rush and pour while too warm or it will melt into your squares.
- Decorate the top with some scattered white chocolate chips and genmaicha. Return to the fridge to firm up. Serve at room temperature.