matcha martian brownie bars
I made these vibrant little martian bites for a sweet friend’s flagship opening a few weeks back–a new recipe that I decided to “wing” just days before the event, without much time to re-test, or any padding for a potential kitchen disaster. Yet at first (and second and third) bite, I knew they were a winner, and I really hoped that others think so too.
The risk of any creative endeavor that you choose to share with the world is the vulnerability of it all–your awareness to the amenability of wanting to your labor of love to be well liked and well received. Being an artist, a maker, a creative in the world coincides with a continuous ripping open of your heart to criticism and evaluation. It can be a scary thing.
Yet these days the world is an even scarier place. And I am reminded now, more than ever, of how grateful I am for the creative community that surrounds me, for the makers and artists in this vibrant city that work so hard to share their brightness with the world; to expose themselves in big and small ways in order to uplift and open the doors to a little bit of sweetness and light.
• 1.5 cups roasted, salted pecans
• 10-12 large, soft medjool dates
• 1/3 cup cacao powder
• 1 + 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or extract), divided
• Hefty pinch of sea salt
• 1/2 cup cacao wafers (I buy these)
• 1/4 cup maple syrup, at room temperature
• 1 tbsp. matcha powder (often found in bulk sections as health food stores!)
• Cacao nibs, black sesame seeds, and melted dark chocolate for decorating (optional)
Line an 8x8" pan with parchment or foil, and lightly grease. In the bowl of a large food processor, pulse the pecans until they are the consistency of coarse sand. Add the dates, cacao powder, and vanilla bean paste, and process until the mixture is thoroughly blended and holds its shape when pressed between your fingers, scraping down the sides of the food processor bowl as you go.
Press brownie mixture into the prepared pan, using the flat bottom of a glass or small loaf pan to firmly and evenly pack the mixture together. Pop the pan in the freezer while you make the matcha layer.
In a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, melt the cacao wafers until they are completely liquified and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat, and quickly whisk in the maple syrup, remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste, and the matcha powder, continuing to whisk vigorously until mixture is completely combined. Pour the matcha mixture evenly over the browse base, and smooth out with a spatula. Refrigerate until bars are completely firm to the touch, and matcha layer is no longer translucent. Decorate with melted chocolate and/or a sprinkle of cacao nibs and black sesame seeds if you're feeling fancy. :)
NOTE: Cacao wafers can be expensive and hard to track down. If you'd rather, substitute 1/2 cup white chocolate chips for the cacao wafers and maple syrup, whisking in the vanilla and matcha powder once the white chocolate is fully melted. MAKE IT YOURS.