We all know trends get to the Erie, Ohio, area more slowly than they get to bigger cities. In some cases, years later. This is not news. We’ve all been known to whine, or at least roll our eyes at this unavoidable reality of living, well, here.

It occurred to me, however, while I was working on this column about matcha tea powder that maybe this isn’t always a bad thing. I mean, it gives the people who work in said trend’s (let’s stick to food trends here) distribution, sourcing, pricing, experimentation, recipes, nutritional science, cookbook writing and TV-show-making that make it easier for us to enjoy.

A lot of you are still back at “matcha tea powder,” scowling. Let me help: It’s a Japanese green tea that is ground to a fine, brilliantly colored green powder that Americans have started to incorporate into all kinds of food from breakfast to dessert. No? Well, just give me a chance here.

Five things I learned:

1. It’s funny. In Japan, matcha (which literally means “powdered tea”) is an ancient part of tea ceremonies. In trendy regions of the U.S., it’s been making waves for about five years, with all the attending health and mystical wellness auras and stories you’d expect of a food trend extricated from ancient Asian ceremonies.

Matcha powder does contain caffeine and you can make tea with it by whisking it into hot water. It has a pungent, earthy green-tea flavor you might enjoy if you think regular green tea is pretty much tasteless (as I do). But others find its strong flavor off-putting. I prefer to consider it an acquired taste.

You can find matcha mixed into high-end “healthy” products, mostly beverages, with claims of “calm energy,” but there are also containers of plain powder for use in recipes as well.

The reason it’s considered healthy is that since it’s powdered, you’re drinking the whole tea leaf, so you’re getting all the antioxidants of the tea leaf, according to www.health.com. Fair enough.

2. This stuff is not cheap. I got a 3.5-ounce sample pouch in the mail from Carrington Farms with a suggested retail price of $8.99, but you don’t need much to get the flavor. The bag says you can make 99 12-ounce cups of tea from one bag. You can get the kind I got, which I liked, by ordering it at www.carringtonfarms.com.

3. DO NOT, under any circumstances, cut open flow-through tea bags of regular green tea and grind them in your coffee grinder in an attempt to make your own green tea powder.

So, yeah. What happened was Carrington sent me my sample pouch of matcha green tea powder like six weeks ago, and I had it in my possession throughout all that time. Or so I thought. Cooking day came. I looked and looked and looked and looked. And then I started to panic. I needed to make this food. And I was in Conneaut, Ohio, where trends like this come even later than they come to Erie.

I went to both drugstores and the grocery store, and returned home with a box of green tea bags and, well. Don’t do that.

4. If you decide to try the cupcakes, I recommend strongly investing in at least a cheap set of disposable pastry bags with tips. It’s much easier to pipe this batter into the cupcake liners, and the ganache into the cupcakes and then the buttercream icing onto the cupcakes.

You can go the route of the gallon-sized freezer zip-top bag with the corner cut off in place of the pastry bag, but I strongly recommend having the pastry tips that are recommended in the recipe. You can find them in the big grocery stores, craft stores and they aren’t very expensive. If you’re using the disposable pastry bags, double bag the ganache and the frosting. Mine both exploded and made a lovely bright-green sticky mess

5. This is something I didn’t learn, and I’m looking for answers. The buttercream was a mixture of simple syrup (sugar dissolved in water) and creamed butter. The simple syrup never really blended with the butter no matter how long I beat it, and overnight it almost completely separated and sprayed and dripped EVERYWHERE while I was trying to pipe it onto the cupcakes.

Has anyone worked with a buttercream recipe like this and have any pointers for me?

Sincerely, #stillstucktomycounter.

Green Tea Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup cake flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

5 teaspoons matcha green tea powder, plus more for garnish

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup sugar

1 large egg

½ cup milk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and matcha.

In an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add egg and mix on medium until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and then milk, mixing until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway. Bake, rotating halfway through, until cupcakes spring back to touch and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Let cool in tin 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip (Ateco #801) with Green Tea Ganache (recipe follows). Pipe about 1 tablespoon ganache into center of each cupcake. Fill another pastry bag fitted with a large plain-round tip (Ateco #809) with green tea buttercream. Pipe a dollop of buttercream onto top of each cupcake. Sift a small amount of matcha onto half of each cake. Store cupcakes overnight in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Bring to room temperature before serving.

— www.marthastewart.com

Green Tea Ganache

5 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder

Combine white chocolate and cream in a glass microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 50 percent power for 1 minute. Stir with completely dry fork. Repeat until small lumps disappear when stirred.

While ganache is still warm, stir in matcha until thoroughly combined.

Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. If ganache remains too loose to pipe, briefly stir.

— adapted from www.marthastewart.com

Green Tea Buttercream

1 cup sugar

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon matcha, optional

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Combine sugar and ½ cup water in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer syrup to ice bath, stirring occasionally, until syrup is cool to touch, 15 to 20 minutes. (Syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.)

In an electric mixer, cream butter on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. While mixing, slowly add syrup into butter and continue mixing on medium-high until mixture comes together, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and add matcha, if using. Store buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Bring to room temperature before using.

— www.marthastewart.com

Matcha Green Tea Latte

1 tablespoon pure matcha green tea powder, or more to taste

1 cup almond or vanilla-flavored soy milk (Starbucks uses vanilla-flavored soy milk. Just saying’.)

1 tablespoon sugar, dissolved in a little hot water

Ice

Whipped cream, optional

In a small saucepan or in the microwave, heat almond or soy milk to taste.

Pour it into a blender and add dissolved sugar and tea powder. Blend until fully combined and frothy.

If drinking hot, pour into a mug, add whipped cream if using.

If drinking cold, fill a tall 12-ounce glass with ice and pour mixture over. Add whipped cream if using.

— adapted from https://delishably.com

— Jennie Geisler can be reached on Twitter: @ETNGeisler.