When two stellar matcha purveyors opened in San Francisco in 2018—the first mainland location of Hawaii’s Matcha Cafe Maiko and an original Japanese eatery called Stonemill Matcha—I found myself gravitating towards drinks made with hojicha, a roasted green tea with a smoky and nutty flavor. In one marathon weeklong experiment in baking with hojicha powder, I made a baked chocolate, banana, and hojicha pudding, hojicha-infused French toast and maple syrup, and the following recipe for hojicha almond florentines with cacao nibs.
This quick and simple recipe doesn’t require a mixer, thermometer, or any real culinary precision. It’s essentially just melting, stirring, and scooping, but the lacy, crisp results are impressive. Watch your cookies carefully in the oven after the first few minutes, as there is a very fine line between "perfect" and "smoking up your kitchen." In my hot-running oven, for example, the florentines reach peak crispiness at six minutes, but are almost inedible a minute later. You can always pull them out a little earlier if you want them to be softer; they will slightly harden as they cool. They’ll stay crispy for at least a week kept in an airtight container, and make a lovely gift.
Caffeine-sensitive souls, a word of caution: though less-caffeinated than matcha, these hojicha-spiked treats can wire you up after you eat a stack, which makes a strong case to serve them for afternoon tea—or just go ahead and have them for breakfast! —Tamara Palmer
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe makes a big batch of cookies, but good news: they're delicious straight out of the freezer! If you’d prefer to bake up sheets of the mixture that can be later shattered into brittle—which is fun to do for an ice cream topping—feel free to add a few more spoonfuls to the pan so it all melts together in the oven. That technique tends to yield chewy centers and crispy edges (the best of both worlds). —The Editors
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 40 minutes
- makes about 40 cookies
1 1/2 cups
super fine almond flour
coarse or flaky sea salt
slivered raw almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar, almond flour, hojicha powder, vanilla, salt, cream, almonds, and cacao nibs. Cook until sugar mostly dissolves and you can taste just a few grains, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Drop half-tablespoons of the mixture onto the parchment sheet, spacing them sufficiently so that there are only six florentines on one baking pan.
- Bake 4-6 minutes, experimenting with your preferred degree of chewiness or crispiness in the first two batches.
- Remove from heat and carefully transfer the parchment with the florentines onto a cooling rack, where they’ll get slightly harder over the next two minutes—it’s then safe to try one!
- Re-line the baking pan with parchment and repeat until the batter has all been used.