These Adorable Matcha Rainforest Energy Bars Look Like Moss on a Log
Instagram is home to a great reservoir of food inspiration, but when we saw @CookedBySven‘s “Matcha Rainforest Bars”, we had to get a word with the man behind these moss-like confections. Moss is currently experiencing a renaissance in plant culture, and we love the way it has historically been incorporated into gardens, design, and (now) food. Matcha, on the other hand, continues to be celebrated as one of the healthiest superfoods around– it’s full of antioxidants and the amino acid L-Theanine, which induces relaxation without drowsiness (in fact, one cup of matcha has more caffeine than a cup of coffee).
Below, we spoke with the Australia-based blogger about the inspiration for his energy bars and why he loves cooking with matcha (we also made a batch of our own). Perfect for kids or a post-yoga snack, these Matcha Rainforest Bars bring nature into the lunchbox in a new, conceptual way. Check out the recipe, below!
GC: Where did the idea for these matcha bars come from, and was this the original recipe or did it take some tinkering to achieve the moss-like effect?
CBS: The idea for the rainforest matcha bars was inspired by my mother’s garden which is full of bright green ferns and dracaenas. I originally only planned on mixing the matcha powder into the bars, but when I took the bars outside to take some photos, I noticed that the bars had a wood-like texture to them almost like tree roots, and the seeds looked very earthy, like soil. I remember thinking that the only thing it was missing was some moss to make it look like a mossy rainforest bed, so I grabbed some matcha and sifted it on top to achieve that image I had in my head.
Cooked By Sven’s Matcha Rainforest Bars
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup mixed seeds (chia and sesame seeds)
- 1 cup mixed nuts (pecans, cashews and pistachios)
- 2/3 cup cranberries
- 2 medium bananas (or 1 cup medjool dates)
- 2 Tbsp almond butter (or coconut oil)
- 2 Tbsp flax meal
- 1 tsp real vanilla extract
- 2 and 1/2 tsp culinary grade matcha
Preheat oven to 180℃.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and layer it with oats, chia, and sesame seeds.
Roast the mixture on the top shelf for 10 minutes. Place the roasted mix in a large bowl and stir in cranberries. Set aside.
Then blend the bananas, coconut oil, flax meal, vanilla extract and matcha until smooth. Combine both mixtures until well-incorporated.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper and layer it with your energy bar mixture. Press down on it to compact the mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the bars are golden on top.
Allow to cool completely before slicing into bars. Dust with more matcha (optional).
GC: What brought you to cooking? You’re a designer by trade, yes?
CBS: Health and fitness brought me to the kitchen and now I look forward to making wholesome and delicious food everyday! A year ago I was really feeling the effects of having a poor diet. I was tired and sluggish all the time and gained quite a bit of excess weight. The need to know and control exactly what went into my food meant that I had to start preparing my own meals from scratch, and from there I developed quite a passion for cooking. Learning about ingredients, flavours, nutrition, techniques and hacks has been a very fun and rewarding learning experience!
I’ve been a digital designer for over 7 years. People who know me would describe me as someone with many creative outlets. I am into breakdancing, design, illustration, game design, and now cooking and food photography has been added to that.
GC: What is your favorite ingredient to cook/bake with when it is in season?
CBS: I can’t say too much about a favourite seasonal ingredient as I’ve only been immersed in the world of cooking for about a year, but I did really enjoy figs when they were around. They are such beautiful and delicious fruits! It is such a shame that they seemed to have gone in and out of season in the blink of an eye this year. I only got to test a few recipes but never anything I was happy with enough to write about, hopefully next year will yield more fruitful results.
In terms of a favourite item, I really love matcha. It was something that I overlooked and didn’t care too much for, but when I started using it in my cooking, I was reminded of how devious it is and how potent the flavour can be! It makes for awesome desserts and a healthy flavouring.
For more intriguing matcha recipes, visit Cooked By Sven.