The Making: Green Tea Azuki Bean Bread

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Last July 4th, I found myself in a city I did not know, wandering the streets alone. Being a holiday, most of the shops and restaurants in Seattle were closed, but the Pike Place Market was in full swing. I met a friend in the area for breakfast. Later, I decided I’d love to find a guy who would call me “crumpet” in a way that wouldn’t leave me staring incredulously. I took photos. I was by myself most of the day, and rather than stay indoors where being alone was safe, I forced myself out into the city. In one little section of town, a gelateria and a bakery were open. The area was quiet, most of their usual customers were off preparing for fireworks and parties that evening, but these places were gems. In the bakery, I tried my first green tea azuki bean muffin and I was positively hooked. I drove back the next morning to stock up for my road trip, and though for months I had promised myself to try and recreate that muffin, this weekend was the first time I challenged myself to do so.

The recipe is entirely my own, made by instinct. I know many people who don’t bake because (they say) there’s no way to know what a baked good will taste like until it’s done. But I know batter. I know what good batter tastes like and I know the right texture for cookies and cakes and breads. So thanks to a quiet Sunday morning and a friend visiting, I now have this recipe.

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Green Tea Azuki Bean Bread (or Muffins)

1/2 cup dried Azuki beans
1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon matcha powder
1 1/2 cups flour

1. Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain and rinse beans. Place beans in pot, cover with water, and add 1 teaspoon of sugar to water. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until beans are tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and matcha powder. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, milk, eggs, and sugar. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in azuki beans.
5. Bake 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the top of the bread comes out clean. The bread will be somewhat golden brown on the outside.

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