Coffee and I have a pretty dysfunctional relationship. Some mornings, she tempts me with the promise of so much positive energy that I’ll feel like I can build a spaceship before lunchtime, but really, I just spend the following hours rearranging the icons on my phone, feeling like my skin is suddenly way too small for me.
Yes, I am extremely sensitive to caffeine.
[SCIENCE ALERT] But this is where things get interesting. While tea and coffee both have caffeine, the compound found in tea is totally different than the one in coffee. It is technically the same substance, but tea’s caffeine binds to the tannins to produce a more stable and measured alertness; like a slow-release capsule versus an intravenous injection. Even better, tea has this powerful psychoactive amino acid called theanine that boosts mood and reduces stress. The coolest part of all is that theanine and caffeine work synergistically to keep you alert and focused but balanced and stable.
So, tea has all the sexiness of coffee with none of the crazy-psycho side effects? I’m in love.
Not every tea is high in theanine, however. Only the highest-quality Japanese green teas offer these kind of benefits. In this regard, matcha is the gold standard. Unlike typical tea where you brew and then toss the leaves, matcha is a fine powder ground from high-quality leaves, which is typically whisked with water and drunk. Thus, you actually ingest the leaves themselves, giving you a much higher concentration of caffeine, theanine, and antioxidants. The powder also works really well in baking, as we’re about to see.
To celebrate my love for matcha, let’s make some delicious little muffins, shall we? These guys are a basic whole-grain muffin naturally sweetened with maple syrup and infused with lots of matcha. The recipe below is fairly dry because I like dry muffins. But if you prefer them to be more moist, mash 1/2 banana into the batter.
Start your day with one of these matcha muffins and you’ll totally forget about the cup of coffee you used to love.
Makes 12 muffins
- 2/3 cup soy milk
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4+ cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons matcha
- Chocolate chips or blueberries
Preheat the oven to 375º F.
Combine the soy milk, flax seed, lemon juice, and vanilla in a bowl and whisk together. Set this aside and allow to thicken for 5-10 minutes.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then, sift in the matcha powder. Sifting is important to prevent any clumps of matcha in the batter.
Melt the coconut oil and maple syrup in a large mixing bowl. As mentioned, these muffins are fairly dry. If you like dry muffins, this recipe is perfect. If not, you can either add more coconut oil (not recommended) or half a mashed banana which adds a lot of moisture and body without adding too strong of a banana flavor.
Then, pour in the soy milk mixture and stir together. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and combine, but do not over mix. I added a handful of vegan dark chocolate chips at this point, but blueberries are a healthier option that would work just as well.
Spoon the batter to a muffin pan with liners, about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean, but before the edges start browning. Optionally sift a little matcha over the top and allow to cool before serving.