As the sweet aroma of freshly baked bread wafts into my room, I am awakened from my slumber, knowing that my mom is working her magic in the kitchen. The scent explodes my sensory systems. A faint hint of butter and spices, the sharp, distinct smell of matcha powder, all coming together to create a mouth-watering experience that draws me out of my bedrooms in my pajamas early on a Sunday morning. The smell of freshly baked matcha rolls is my natural alarm clock—this is the pure delightful feeling that I am blessed with.
Our family has always enjoyed baking rolls. Who doesn’t love the pleasure of taking a bite into a fresh cinnamon roll with a warm, golden crust and pillowy interior? After countless times testing and tasting different recipes, my mom developed her own “master” cinnamon roll recipe which wasn’t overly sweet or dense like others we have tried before. We’ve been using that recipe ever since. Until a couple months ago, we didn’t realize that cinnamon rolls could get even better. When our family went on a trip to New York, we happened upon a quaint Asian bakery in Flushing that sold matcha cake rolls filled with creamy interiors. These cakey roulettes are a popular Japanese treat with a swirl that resembles the ones on the rolls that my mom bakes. That was when the idea hit me: why not make cinnamon rolls with matcha powder? Isn’t matcha powder just like cinnamon, but with a green tea flavor?
As soon as we came back home to Boston, my mom and I decided to execute this idea by adapting from our master recipe. We used the high quality matcha powder that our friend from Japan sent to us in the dough to add a vibrant color and flavor, and also replaced the sweet cinnamon dust with “matcha dust.” We popped them in the oven, and crossed our fingers for good results. The smell that fills the whole room while it is baking is amazing. And to our delight, they were successful! In fact, we liked them even better than our original cinnamon rolls. The matcha powder packs a strong and unique flavor with antioxidants and health benefits along with it. Just a few simple changes can make such a powerful statement.
After posting the picture above on our Instagram account, it received a lot of positive responses and it was also featured on Whole Food’s Instagram page, so we decided to share our recipe. These matcha rolls are healthy, mildly sweet, and have a unique flavor unlike any other sweet rolls. They are also extremely fast and easy to make because they don’t require any yeast or rising. Our family loves to enjoy them in the mornings along with a matcha latte, but they are great on their own, too! Be sure to let us know how they turn out. We love hearing from you!
Ivy and Min
These matcha rolls are a healthy, delicious crowd-pleaser that only take about an hour to make. We hope you enjoy!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 1/3 tsp baking power
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp matcha powder (preferably high quality)
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 7 tbsp + 1 tsp room-temperature unsalted butter (around 7/8 stick of butter)
- 3/4 cup milk of your choice (we used lowfat milk)
- 2 tsp matcha powder
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp room-temperature unsalted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp room-temperature cream cheese
- Up to 2 tsp hot water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Prepare a rectangular baking sheet (we used a 17in. x 13 in.). The baking pan you use is pretty flexible; you can also use a 9x9 baking pan, a round pan, or muffin tins for individual rolls.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, matcha powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a whisk), whisk the 7 tbsp butter, sugar and egg yolks together on a low setting until the consistency is creamy and the color is like yellow taffy. Add in the milk and mix well. Make sure you don't over mix; just until everything is incorporated.
- Add all of the sifted dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Using a hook attachment, knead the mixture on a medium setting until a ball of dough begins to form, around 2-3 minutes. Just mix until the dough starts to come together, or else the dough will become dense and chewy from being over mixed.
- Put a sheet of parchment paper that is big enough to cover the baking sheet on a flat surface.
- Lightly flour the parchment paper (if using a muffin pan, still do this step but also grease the tins). Transfer the dough onto the parchment paper.
- Using a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 10 x 12 in (25 x 30 cm) rectangle. Make sure that the thickness of the dough is level and even throughout.
- Mix the matcha powder with the powdered and granulated sugar to make the matcha dust.
- Lightly brush the remaining 1 tsp butter onto the dough, but leave a 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) strip on the long 12 in. edge furthest away from you unbuttered so that the dough can be sealed.
- Liberally sprinkle the matcha dust only over the buttered surface of the dough. This part is up to you: if don't want the filling to be too strong or sweet, sprinkle less, but the matcha dust is one of the best parts of the matcha roll!
- Lightly whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and salt to make the egg wash.
- Brush the unbuttered edge of the dough with the egg wash, which acts as the glue that seals the dough.
- Roll the dough tightly to form a log, starting from the long edge closest to you, and ending at the edge with egg wash.
- Slice the roll into 12 equal pieces (or 8 if you are making larger matcha rolls). You can either use a kitchen knife or dental floss (yes, you read that correctly).*
- Arrange the individual rolls into a rectangle in the middle of the parchment paper so that they are touching.
- Carefully insert the baking sheet under the parchment paper with the rolls.
- Brush the top of the rolls with egg wash for a golden crust.
- Bake the rolls in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are golden. We usually just eyeball the dough until it is finished.
- While the rolls are being baked in the oven, make the glaze. Mix all of the glaze ingredients together except for the hot water. Then, add in the hot water a few drops at a time while mixing, until a smooth glaze is formed.**
- When the rolls are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 15 minutes.
- Drizzle the desired amount of glaze onto matcha rolls. If you drizzle the glaze while the rolls are still hot, the glaze will become translucent so don't worry if the glaze "disappears"!
- Serve immediately to give a pleasant surprise to your friends and family (or treat yourself!).
*For the dental floss, wrap it around your fingers so that the string has tension, then slice it through the dough. It’s easy, and we promise the mint flavor will not rub off at all 🙂
**The glaze might get crusty after staying out too long, so a few more drops of hot water can be stirred in to “revive” the glaze.
-Matcha rolls can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, but they are best fresh out of the oven!
-Make sure that the butter and cream cheese is at room temperature so that they are soft.
-To make the swirl on the rolls more defined, you can take a toothpick and separate any dough that has stuck together at the top in step 15.
-High-quality matcha powder is crucial for the best flavor