Matcha Brownies Recipe

Best Matcha Cocoa Brownies adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet

For Brownie Batter:

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Special equipment: An 8-inch square baking pan

 

For Matcha Cream Cheese Batter:

1 block (225g) cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 tsp matcha powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 egg yolk (at room temperature)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325∞F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

 

For Brownies:

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

 

For Cream Cheese Batter:

Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar until light and creamy.Add in the egg yolk and beat until well mixed. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of cream cheese into a small bowl and stir in matcha powder. Pour the matcha cream cheese mixture into a small ziplock bag. Add the lemon zest into the remaining cream cheese, and pour into another small ziplock bag.

Using a scissor, cut a small hole on the edge of the ziplock bags and pipe out whatever pattern that strike your fancy on top of the brownie dough.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Chocolate note: Any unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder works well here. Natural cocoa produces brownies with more flavor complexity and lots of tart, fruity notes. I think it’s more exciting. Dutch-process cocoa results in a darker brownie with a mellower, old-fashioned chocolate pudding flavor, pleasantly reminiscent of childhood.

Matcha Truffle Recipes

Hint: As with any matcha tea recipe, in general it is recommended to use the ZenMatcha ‘Artisan or Mixing grade of matcha for both best results and cost effectiveness.

For more information about check out the ZenMatcha Products pages.

Dark Chocolate Matcha Truffles

Ingredients

6 ounces Valrhona chocolate (56% cacao)
1/3 cup heavy cream (make sure there is no gelatin in the cream!)
3 TBSP of Zen Matcha

Finely chop 4 ounces of the chocolate and put in a bowl.

Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small heavy saucepan. Make sure your pan is small, so you’ll lose the least amount of cream to evaporation, and heavy, which will keep the cream from scorching. Add the Zen Matcha and stir until dissolved, the cream will be green.

Pour the cream over the chocolate, mashing any big pieces with a wooden spoon.

Then stir with a whisk in concentric circles (don’t beat or you’ll incorporate air), starting in the center and working your way to the edge, until the ganache is smooth.

Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to hold a shape (If it is hot this won’t work, either place the bowl in the fridge to set or turn the A/C WAY UP!), Shape balls of ganache with 2 tsps and place onto a parchment lined tray. Put tray into the freezer for 15 minutes until they set hard.

Meanwhile, melt 2 more ounces of the same Valrhona and smear some on a gloved hand. Gently rub each chilled truffle to coat lightly with chocolate. The secret to a delicate coating of chocolate is to roll each truffle in a smear of melted chocolate in your hand.

Sprinkle truffles with the powdered Zen Matcha. Then just try and resist eating them.

Makes about 15 truffles

 

White Chocolate Matcha Truffles

35% Cream 100g
Matcha Green Tea 8g
White Chocolate 175g (Use the best quality chocolate you can afford)
White Chocolate 350g for rolling

Bring the cream to a boil and remove from the heat. Add the tea to the cream and infuse for 5 minutes. Pour the cream over the 175 g of chopped white chocolate and mix in with a whisk until you have a smooth cream. You will now have a smooth, green ganache.

The word ganache refers to the chocolate and cream mixture.

Spread the ganache in a shallow dish and refrigerate (covered in Saran wrap) until it is firm to the touch. Make small scoops of the ganache using a spoon or a melon baller. If you use a melon baller, you will need to dip it in hot water between scoops. Make sure you dry it before you scoop as you don’t want water on your truffles.

Once you have made all of your scoops, roll them into nice balls with your hands. I wouldn’t make these too big as this is a very rich truffle.

Melt the remaining white chocolate (not too hot). Place a dab of chocolate in the palm of your hand and roll the truffle in it. You want to coat it lightly. Once all of the truffles have been given one coat, you can decide if you want to coat them again. They will crack less if they have two coats, but they will be sweeter.

If you choose, and if you have a lot of Matcha, you can coat your truffles in white chocolate and then roll them in Matcha tea while the chocolate is still wet. This gives you a stronger tea flavor, but it will cost more.

Keep them refrigerated in a Tupperware container for up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before you eat them. They will have more flavor. Please note that cold chocolate ‘sweats’ when exposed to air. The humidity in the air will condense on the cold surface of the chocolate and give it a moist sheen. If you leave your chocolate in the airtight container as it comes to room temperature, it will not do this.

As with all chocolate recipes, we use the best quality chocolate that we can afford. If you use Couverture, then you will have to temper your chocolate (only the one used for rolling). Couverture is not a brand, it is a mark of quality. It has much less sugar and no added vegetable fats, such as palm oil. For instructions on tempering, check the internet. If you do not temper, you may have white streaks on your finished product. This does not affect the taste. If you roll the truffles in Matcha tea, you will not have to temper them as no one will be able to see if there are streaks or not.

Matcha Tea Latte Recipes

Hint: For best results, we recommend using either Premium’ or Artisan Grade Zen Matcha for Matcha lattes.

Hot Matcha Latte

Blend approx. one teaspoon of ZenMatcha powder (to taste) with hot almond, soy, rice, or regular milk.
Add honey, sugar, or sweetener as desired.
You can sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom or similar spices.
Add vanilla for a scrumptious touch!

Iced Matcha Latte

Blend 1-2 teaspoons ZenMatcha powder with a small amount of liquid to make a smooth paste, then add cold vanilla soy, almond, rice, or regular milk.
Add sweetener to taste, and serve over ice.
Add a shot of white chocolate syrup for a truly blissful experience!

‘White Hot ZenMatcha’ latte

Approx. 1 tsp ZenMatcha (to taste)
Hot steamed milk or soy milk
2-3 tablespoons white chocolate syrup or white chocolate powder
Stir well and top with foam
Sprinkle with white chocolate shavings
(can add vanilla and sprinkle with cinnamon)
Sip and feel the bliss!

IMPORTANT MIXING INSTRUCTIONS!
When mixing ZenMatcha drinks,whether you are using a bamboo matcha whisk or a blender, be sure to make a ‘paste’ with ZenMatcha powder first using a small amount of liquid. Slowly add the remaining liquid and blend beverage until smooth.

Matcha Martini Recipes

Hint: When preparing matcha martinis, for best results use ZenMatcha Shogun, Premium, or Artisan grade matcha. For more information visit our Featured ZMT Products.

Basic Matcha Martini

Dissolve 1 tablespoon of 50/50 matcha/sugar mix into 2 tablespoons of water. Pour into a shaker full of ice, and add 2 shots of vodka. Shake shake shake. Pour into a martini glass – garnish with seasonal fruit if you like.

If it’s too strong, top up with a little sparkling water.

Classic Matcha Martini

Ingredients:

1 tsp matcha powder
1 oz Gin or Vodka
1/4 oz Dry vermouth
1/4 oz Cointreau

Preparation:
Combine ingredients in a shaker, shake, strain and serve straight up in a martini glass.

Matcha Zentini

1 tsp ZenMatcha powder
1 ounce Godiva White Chocolate liquer
1 ounce vanilla vodka
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Shake well over ice and pour

Garnish with a mint leaf and cinnamon (can substitute cream and clear white chocolate liquer for Godiva liquer)

…Sip and lift off!

Citrus Matcha Martini

Ingredients

1 tsp matcha green tea powder
2 oz Ketel One citrus-infused vodka or other smooth vodka
1/2 oz Grand Marnier or favorite brandy or rum

Directions

Step #1 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice & shake until chilled.
Step #2 Pour into a martini glass.
Step #3 Garnish with orange zest if you like.

 

Green Tea Ice Cream Martini

Green tea is known to be packed with health benefits, and green tea ice cream is a refreshing finish to any meal (or right out of the carton while watching a good movie). Charbay, a micro-distillery in Napa, has created Green Tea Vodka and George Senak, a bartender at Meadowood in Napa Valley’s St. Helena, is shaking Charbay’s Green Tea Vodka into his version of a Green Tea Ice Cream Martini, which is sure to be your cup of tea.

2 1/4 ounces Charbay Green Tea Vodka
1 1/2 ounces half and half
1/2 ounce vanilla-infused simple syrup

Instructions:

To make the syrup, slice a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Put the bean and seeds, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Reduce to medium-low heat and let simmer until the mixture has reduced by half and has the consistency of thin syrup. Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl and let cool.

Pour the ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously, making sure the mixture is well combined and frothy, then pour into a chilled martini glass. To add color, sprinkle some matcha (powdered green tea leaves) on top.

Matcha Ice Cream Recipes

Hint: For best results we recommend using either ZenMatcha Mixing or Artisan Grade matcha when preparing matcha green tea ice cream.

Please check out our Product Pages for more information.

Green Tea Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks
2-4 tbsp sugar
200ml heavy cream
1-2 tbsp matcha
2 tbsp hot water
50ml water

Directions

Lightly whisk egg yolks in a pan.
Add water and sugar to the pan and mix well.
Put the pan on low heat and heat the mixture while stirring constantly.
When the mixture has thickened, remove from the heat.
Mix hot water and ZenMatcha green tea powder together.
Add the green tea in the egg mixture and mix well, cooling in ice water.
Add the thoroughly whipped heavy cream to the mixture and mix well.

Freeze the mixture. ( Every 1-2 hours, whisk the mixture. – a few times)

 

Matcha White Chocolate Ice Cream

Adapted from Kuidaore

Makes about 1 litre

1  cups heavy cream
1  cups milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
4 large egg yolks
8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons matcha powder, sifted

Equipment: Ice cream maker + frozen insert, strainer (chinoise)

1. In a medium heavy saucepan, bring the cream, milk, sugar and salt to a simmer over low heat, stirring constantly.

2. While whisking eggs, pour about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture in a thin, steady stream in the bowl of eggs. This should temper the eggs. Now pour the tempered eggs in the rest of the saucepan with the hot cream mixture, in a thin, steady stream while whisking the hot cream.

3. Cook over low heat, constantly stirring, just until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not let this mixture boil. Pour this mixture through a strainer.

4. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 2 1/2 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Add the matcha powder to the chocolate and stir vigorously with whisk to mix well. Add this to the strained hot cream and stir to blend. Cool this mixture and refrigerate until chilled.

5. Freeze according to the instructions for your ice cream machine.

Matcha Green Tea Smoothie Recipes

 

We recommend using ZenMatcha Artisan or Mixing Grade for smoothies.  See Product pages for more information.

Matcha Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon of ZenMatcha powder
1-2 cups of VANILLA SOY, RICE, ALMOND, MILK or combination
Ice cubes
Shot of vanilla (if desired)

For Exotic Matcha fruit smoothies, add:
Pineapple, pear, papaya, mango, or kiwi

Directions:

Put everything into blender and blend at high speed until thick, creamy and smooth!!

Cold Blended Matcha Banana Smoothie

In blender, mix 1 -2 teaspoons ZenMatcha powder with cold vanilla almond, soy, rice, or regular milk. Add ice cubes, 1/2 banana, sweetener to taste, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Can add extra vanilla flavoring of desired.

Naomi’s Favorite Matcha Smoothie

In blender, mix 1-2 teaspoons ZenMatcha powder with cold vanilla soy, almond, rice, or regular milk. Add 1 pear (peeled), 5 dates, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
…Blend and Bliss out!

NOTE:
When making blended matcha green tea drinks, adding vanilla ice cream or vanilla frozen yogurt creates a rich, delightful alternative!

Matcha Green Tea Pudding

Yield: (Serves 4oz cup x 8)

Ingredients:

4 eggs
5 oz sugar
21 oz milk (warmed to 100 degrees F)
0.25 oz matcha green tea powder
2.5 oz hot water

caramel sauce (see recipe below)

Directions:

Mix eggs and sugar together until smooth.

In a bowl, mix the ZenMatcha powder and hot water, then combine with hot milk (100°F)

Combine all the above, mix well, then strain.

Pour mixture into cups/ramekins with caramel sauce in the bottom, place cups in pan with 1″ water, then bake for 1 hour 20 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. After 60 minutes , check the cups to see if they are stable.

(KEY) Cups must be resting in pan with hot water so the pudding does not dry out.

 

Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

3.5 oz sugar
3 teaspoonsHot Water

Directions:

Put the sugar in the small pan and heat over medium heat.

After sugar turns to be golden brown, add boiling water without stirring sugar. Once the sugar is completely melted remove from the burner.

Pour the caramel sauce into the cups while it is hot.

Matcha Crepe Recipe

Matcha Crepe With Red Bean Paste

1 1/2 – cups milk
6 – tablespoons sugar
8 – teaspoons green tea powder (matcha)
2 – eggs
1 – cup all-purpose flour
14 – ounces red bean paste
Cool Whip or ice cream

Add milk, sugar and matcha powder to bowl.
Whisk together until matcha is completely dissolved.
Whisk eggs in one at a time.
Add flour while continually whisking to prevent lumps. Additional milk may be used if batter is too thick.
Heat shallow crepe pan over high heat.
Add enough butter to lightly coat pan (~1 teaspoon), or use oil spray.
Pour half a cup of crepe batter into pan and move pan around to spread evenly.
After 10-15 seconds, flip crepe to finish cooking.
Fill crepe with red bean paste (or other toppings) and fold over all sides.
Serve with cool whip or ice cream.
Dust with additional matcha powder if desired.

Green Tea Cakes

Hint: For best results, we recommend using ZenMatcha Artisan or Mixing grade when preparing matcha tea cake. Please visit our Products pages for more information about our products.

Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cupcake pan / 350 degree oven
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons matcha

Prepare cupcake pan by rubbing with butter, covering the bottoms with parchment, rubbing with more butter, and dusting with flour. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs/egg yolks one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to batter and mix to combine. Mix matcha in with the milk. Add to the batter and mix until completely combined. Pour into prepared cupcake pan and smooth flat. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Matcha Cupcakes

  • 1 – cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 – cup white sugar
  • 4 – eggs
  • 2 – cups self-rising flour, sifted
  • 180 – ml cold green tea
  • 1 1/2 – tablespoons matcha green tea powder

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy; add eggs until well-incorporated. alternate folding in the flour and adding the cold tea into the mixture. stir until smooth, adding enough powdered matcha to reach a jade-coloured batter, or whatever shade you prefer. be careful adding more than a few tablespoonfuls as it can get quite bitter the darker you go.

Fill paper-lined muffin tins and bake in a 350F preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Cool completely before frosting.

Matcha Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons half and half or light cream
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Mix matcha in with the light cream to make a paste. Beat butter briefly, scrape bowl. Add the sifted powdered sugar and matcha paste. Beat until smooth. Assemble. Smooth a thin layer of buttercream over the cupcakes and top with a decoration.

‘Healthy’ Matcha Creme Icing

  • 1/2 – cup soy milk
  • 1 – teaspoon agar
  • 4 – teaspoons cornstarch
  • 6 – ounces extra-firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 – cup Splenda sugar substitute
  • 1 – tablespoon matcha green tea powder
  • 1 – teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 – pinch salt

Cook 1/3 cup of soy milk and all of the agar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, continue to cook until agar is completely dissolved. Whisk cornstarch into remaining soy milk. Pour cornstarch mixture into agar mixture, cook until it resembles a thick pudding. Remove from heat and set aside. Blend tofu with matcha, splenda and salt. Mix both mixtures together. Add vanilla and blend again. Chill for about an hour.

White Chocolate and Matcha Tea Marbled Cake

  • 3 large eggs (2 oz each)
  • 6 1/3 oz all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 oz white chocolate (I used Valrhona)
  • 4 1/4 oz butter
  • 5 1/4 oz fine sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1.5 tsp Matcha tea
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Melt the butter. Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water and let simmer until the chocolate is melted. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the eggs with the sugar and beat until it is white in color, then remove. Sift the flour with the baking powder and add it to the egg/sugar preparation, mixing manually with a whisk. Then add the salt and butter and mix. Divide the batter in 2/3 and 1/3. Add the melted chocolate to the 2/3 batter and the matcha tea to the 1/3 batter. Preheat your oven at 350 F. Grease a rectangular cake pan and add half of the chocolate batter. Continue with the matcha tea batter and finish with the other half of the chocolate batter. Take a fork and pass it through the different layers of batter. Cook your cake for 50 minutes, or until the blade of a knife comes out dry when inserted in the cake. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before unmolding.

Green Tea Angel Food Cake

  • 12 cold egg whites
  • 1 cup cake or super fine flour
  • 1 1/2 cups super fine sugar
  • 2 tablespoons matcha (green tea powder)
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour or spray one loaf pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, and milk. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and green tea powder. Pour in the wet ingredients and mix to combine.  Fold in chips. Pour into prepared pan and bake 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool briefly in pan, then remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Matcha (Green Tea) Chiffon Cake

  • 1 cup flour (run through a sifter 2x to make it lighter)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon matcha (green tea powder.. I ran loose leaf green tea in my coffee grinder)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 8″ pans with parchment paper (or grease/flour them). Sift together the cake flour, matcha (tea) powder, baking powder and salt. Mix with the sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, egg yolks, water and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and whip using a hand held or standing electric mixer on low speed until they begin to froth. Once the whites become foamy, begin gradually adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is incorporated. Continue beating, gradually increasing the mixer speed, until stiff peaks form. Fold the meringue into the mixture in three additions.

Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and spread a thin, even layer using a large offset metal spatula. Tap the pan on all four sides against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 6 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for another 5 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden and the cake has risen and is soft and springy to touch. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges of the sheet pan to loosen the cake. Carefully remove the cake from the sheet pan and onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Chocolate & Matcha Green Tea Cakes

  • 3/4 – cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 – cup all-purpose flour, plus
  • 2/3 – cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 8 – tablespoons butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 3 – large eggs
  • 3 – ounces 70% cocoa chocolate, melted
  • 1 1/2 – teaspoons unsweetened cocoa, sifted and diluted with
  • 2 – tablespoons cold whole milk
  • 1 1/2 – teaspoons matcha green tea powder
  • 1 – teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 – pinch salt

Melt the butter and keep.

Melt the chocolate using a double-boiler.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until white in color.

Add the melted the butter and mix well.

Add the sifted flour and baking powder, with a pinch of salt.

Divide the batter in two halves. In the first half, add the Matcha tea, in the second the chocolate and cocoa diluted in milk.

Grease 6 small molds and coat with flour. Remove the excess.

In equal proportions, pour in each the chocolate, then the Matcha tea preparation. Run a fork in the batter to describe a movement. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 min, temperature 350∞F.

Green Tea Cake

  • 1 – cup butter or margarine
  • 1 – cup sugar
  • 2 – cups flour
  • 2 – tablespoons ZenMatcha powder
  • 4 – eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a cake mold.
Mix the flour and the matcha powder.
In a separate bowl, blend butter and sugar with your hands until fluffy. Then add the flour + matcha little by little.
Add the eggs.
Blend well until mixture is completely smooth.
Pour dough into mold and bake for about 35 minutes or until edges start to be golden and tip of knife inserted comes out dry.

Matcha Brownie

Best Matcha Cocoa Brownies

adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet

For brownie batter:

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
  • Special equipment: An 8-inch square baking pan

For Matcha cream cheese batter:

  • 1 block (225g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

For brownie:

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

For cream cheese batter:

Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar until light and creamy.Add in the egg yolk and beat until well mixed. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of cream cheese into a small bowl and stir in matcha powder. Pour the matcha cream cheese mixture into a small ziplock bag. Add the lemon zest into the remaining cream cheese, and pour into another small ziplock bag.

Using a scissor, cut a small hole on the edge of the ziplock bags and pipe out whatever pattern that strike your fancy on top of the brownie dough.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Chocolate note: Any unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder works well here. Natural cocoa produces brownies with more flavor complexity and lots of tart, fruity notes. I think it’s more exciting. Dutch-process cocoa results in a darker brownie with a mellower, old-fashioned chocolate pudding flavor, pleasantly reminiscent of childhood.