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Kukicha Almond Cupcakes

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These flavorful cupcakes pair kukicha with the flavor of almonds for a sweet treat that can be enjoyed with or without icing.

Prep Time: Prep time: 20 min. Cook time: 20 min.
Serving Size: makes 12 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • For cupcakes:
  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tsp. kukicha leaves
  • 1 tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • For glaze:
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. Amaretto liqueur
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • For icing:
  • 2/3 stick butter
  • 2/3 stick shortening
  • 2 1/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. crushed dry kukicha
  • 2-4 tbsp. brewed kukicha, hot
  • For topping:
  • fresh mango or strawberry, thinly sliced
  • dry kukicha
Directions
Brew 1 tsp. tea in 1 c. hot water and steep 5 min. Strain. Allow tea to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and mix.
In another large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a mixer for 1-2 min. Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix again.
Add half of dry ingredients to butter mixture and stir with wooden spoon until combined. Add half of tea and continue stirring. Add remaining dry ingredients and then remaining tea and stir until there are no lumps.
Distribute batter among 12 muffin cups and bake for 20-22 min. or until golden and lightly browned at edges. While the cupcakes cool, prepare glaze (if using).
Combine glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 2 min. Allow to cool slightly and pour equal amounts on top of each cupcake.
For a more traditional, sweeter cupcake, use optional icing (with or without glaze):
To make icing, cut butter and shortening into tbsp.-sized pieces and blend with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and mix until well blended. Add almond extract and mix again. Crush dry kukicha in small amounts with a mortar and pestle and strain through a sieve into icing until you have added roughly 1 tsp. crushed tea. Mix again. Slowly add hot brewed Kukicha, 1 tbsp. at a time, until icing reaches desired consistency.
Ice cupcakes sparingly. If desired, add a thin slice of mango or strawberry to the top of the cupcake and decorate with a small pinch of dry Kukicha.



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