A week ago I took a trip with my Dad to the land of the rising sun and I flew back just this weekend. And I already really REALLY want to go back.
I’ve honestly never felt such a profound urge to go back to any country I’ve just recently visited before this one, but I guess I should’ve known this would happen. Japan was my ultimate dream destination when I was a kid, but as I grew up it kind of got pushed down the list by places like Europe, even Peru… Well now it’s back and it is very much on top. Heck I wouldn’t mind visiting it over and over in the next five years. And I’m even planning on visiting it with some semblance of conversational Japanese in my arsenal.
I’m going to work my butt off to make it happen. And by that I mean practicing the language and earning some ka-ching to afford to travel. Heh. Sometimes wanderlust can be so hard to control!
In an unprecedented occurrence, I just bought myself a notebook that I’m about to turn into a mini travel guide. I’m excited to fill up the pages with notes and doodles about all my must-visit places in Japan. If I’m happy with how it turns out I might even share some snapshots of the pages with you guys! I’m just hoping that soon enough, I will get to tick all those listed places off one by one. But you know there was one huge thing I managed to put a check on during my visit last week.
I really believe that Japan is one of the best places in the world to witness the wondrous beauty of the cherry blossoms. The country has the kind of peaceful zen that complements the quiet beauty of the sakura. I arrived in Japan during the tail-end of spring, but I still did manage to see an assortment of cherry blossoms here and there. The photo above is of the kanzan, which is a type of cherry blossom that consists of 30 to 50 pink petals.
I thought it very fitting to use one of my many favourite shots of the sakura to give you a sneak peak of what to expect in my upcoming Japan Travel Diaries. Also the pink flowers I used when I shot the doughnuts for this recipe reminds me of the sakura. And the doughnuts themselves are in a flavour that is largely Japanese in nature. So now these doughnuts will henceforth be known as my Japan hangover doughnuts: Baked matcha doughnuts with a generous sprinkling of black sesame. Tell me how do those flavours NOT remind you of Japan?!
These doughnuts have become one of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had the pleasure of making and eating. A new favourite for sure! First of all, I thought the flavour of the matcha in these doughnuts shone quite brightly. Being a fan of anything matcha, I like it strong in my pastries. My usual problem with goods claiming to be matcha-flavoured is that the taste is too mild. What makes matcha so pleasurable to consume is that beautiful earthy scent and flavour that it imparts, and to not have that pretty much defeats the whole purpose. In my opinion anyway.
You won’t find that problem with these doughnuts though. No way.
These are decidedly matcha. The doughnut itself has a light matcha taste and is not too sweet, but adding the matcha glaze to it seals the deal. I love how glazes start out shiny and then dry to a matte finish. You have the option of just glazing the top of the doughnut or dipping the whole thing into the glaze to form a shell– it all depends on how sweet you want you doughnuts. I prefer glazing just the top though.
The texture of the doughnut is quite soft thanks to the sour cream, but not to the point of being layer cake-like. The doughnuts will still have some bite, as it should. And then for a beautiful contrast in both colour and taste, some black sesame is sprinkled on top. I toasted mine to help bring out the flavour more, but you don’t really have to do it if you don’t want to.
But you know the one thing that you HAVE to do? MAKE THESE DOUGHNUTS. You will not regret it, I promise!
Baked Matcha Doughnuts with Black Sesame
For the matcha doughnuts
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon matcha powder
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
For the matcha glaze
- 1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 2 to 5 Tablespoons whole milk, depending on taste
- 2 teaspoons matcha powder
- black sesame seeds, for sprinkling if desired
To make the doughnuts
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease doughnut pan and set aside.
- 2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, matcha powder, and sugar. Set aside.
- 3. In another bowl, combine egg, melted butter, sour cream, and milk.
- 4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl. Stir until there are no longer any dry streaks of flour but do not overdo it.
- 5. Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip or with the tip cut off. Fill greased donut pan a little over 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until doughnuts have puffed up.
- 6. Allow doughnuts to cool in the pan for 2 minutes before unmoulding, then let cool to room temperature on a wire rack before glazing.
To make the matcha glaze
- 7. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner's sugar, milk, and matcha powder. Adjust milk by the Tablespoon according to the consistency you desire, but don't add too much or it will become runny!
- 8. Dip cooled doughnuts into the matcha glaze. Place dipped doughnuts on a wire rack set over parchment paper and immediately sprinkle black sesame seeds. Allow glaze to set for at least an hour. These doughnuts are best eaten fresh on the same day they are made!
These doughnuts are wonderful but somehow I fell torn between enjoying them and trying not to think about Japan when I’m eating them. What a dilemma to have, huh?
I’ll be writing a little bit about my trip in the coming days though I still can’t give a definite date as to when the full-fledged travel diary will come out. I still have to edit the travel video too, and that is something I feel largely excited about! I hope you guys feel the same way! 😀