My absolute favourite treat to bring home from Japan is without a doubt Royce’s Nama Chocolates. When we get to the airport, it’s an automatic impulse for me to grab a box or two of Champagne and Matcha-flavoured Nama Chocolates. I don’t even have to think about it, especially since the exact same Royce chocolates are being sold here in Manila for double the price.
We do love to horde Royce Chocolate products, but the Nama Chocolates are our number one pick. They are are these super velvety rectangles of chocolate, which means they melt when exposed to heat (which also means they melt in the mouth), so during my second visit to Japan we actually brought along those little silver insulating bags just to store Nama Chocolate in. If that isn’t proof of how addicted we are to these treats, I don’t know what is.
No, wait. Actually, my making a homemade version is yet another proof. It’s been a while since we’ve been back from Japan and really I still get hit by Nama Chocolate cravings every once in a while. After coming across this recipe for Homemade Matcha Nama Chocolate, I knew I had to give it a try.
I’m not going to declare these an exact copycat. I think it’s incredibly hard to perfect the texture of the original Nama chocolate (and believe me other brands have tried and failed), but all I can say is, the first step to making your homemade version taste half as good is by using good white chocolate and good matcha powder.
Don’t ask your stingy brother to go to the grocery store for you and buy some “quality” white chocolate bars, because then he will come home with the cheapest option available. White cooking chocolate! I was expecting at least some Lindt, to be honest, since that’s one of the very few white chocolates we tolerate. Any white chocolate bar with cocoa butter instead of vegetable fat is good though.
I decided to go on ahead with the whole thing because I had never used this brand before. I mean, it might end up surprising me… Right? And while the resulting Nama Chocolate I made from this isn’t terrible thanks to the matcha powder I used, it was a passable alternative at best. The texture wasn’t that great and it was too sweet, taking a lot away from the copycat aspect of this.
In my opinion, baking chocolates are okay if you are using them for a small component of a sweet treat. But if they make up the entire thing… Well that’s a different matter, as proven by this experience.
The moral of the story is: Use the best white chocolate you can find for this recipe! You’re going to be eating it after all.
Once you’ve got your white chocolate dilemma sorted out, it’s actually really easy to make this. You can either simmer your cream and pour it over your chopped chocolate to melt it, or melt your chocolate into your cream using the double boiler method. I’m fine with either way though I found it a lot easier to melt this particular brand of chocolate via the second method.
After that, you just sift in your matcha powder and mix it all up. Pour the mixture into a parchment-lined baking tray and pop in the fridge to let set.
After 4 hours, I ended up slicing the chocolates and having to put them back in the fridge right away because the weather in the country right now is definitely NOT chocolate-friendly! I’m sure my Philippine readers will agree.
Homemade Matcha Nama Chocolate
Makes 30 to 36 squares, depending on how you slice it
- 400 grams 14 ounces white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 125 ml 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 25 grams 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons green tea matcha powder, plus more for sprinkling
- 1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring your heavy cream into a simmer and watch until it looks like it's about to go into a boil. Immediately remove from heat and add in the white chocolate pieces, mixing until melted. Add in the butter and stir until mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, you can place your chocolate and whipped cream in a clean and very dry bowl over simmering water. Melt and combine everything together, adding butter halfway through the melting process. Mix until smooth.)
- 2. Sift in the matcha green tea powder and mix again until well-combined. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment and pour in the green tea chocolate mixture. Bang the baking tray on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles and even out the surface of the chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- 3. Once chocolate is set, take out the green tea chocolate from the baking tray using the parchment paper. Run a sharp knife under hot water to warm up the knife and wipe it dry completely before cutting into the chocolate. Divide the chocolates into desired sizes. (You may need to run the knife back under water and wipe it off if the chocolate starts sticking to the knife. And you may need to refrigerate the chocolate again if they start to soften up too much at room temperature that's too warm.)
- 4. Dust some matcha green tea powder on top of the chocolates before serving. These chocolates should be served chilled and should be stored in the fridge if not being eaten. They will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.