Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pandan Coconut Agar

Pandan Coconut Agar
1 package agar powder, telephone brand
6 cups water
granulated sugar, to taste
1 cup pandan water
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • Dissolve one packet of agar powder with 6 cups of water.
  • Bring to a boil & slowly add sugar to taste.
  • To make pandan water, take a few pandan leaves & give them a quick rinse. In a blender, blend thoroughly with one cup of water. Sieve out the leaves & remaining should be a fragrant green water.
  • Leave the agar liquid on the stove on very low heat. Mix part agar with part pandan/coconut milk.
  • Create layers using desired mold. Wait in between layers for agar to slightly harden. Periodically sprinkle in shredded coconut to create a design.
  • Refrigerate & enjoy when hardened or desired temperature is met.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Lemon Cupcakes

A friend's birthday was this past Tuesday. I wanted to bake her some sort of dessert & decided on cupcakes...lemon macadamia cupcakes from VCTOTW to be exact. Instead of macadamia nuts, I used brazil nuts instead & also added white chocolate chips. These cupcakes tasted very light, refreshing & fluffy. Since this was my first time baking these, I was hesitant to use a lot of nuts & chocolate chips, but the amounts will definitely be increased next time. The recipe called for grounded nuts, but I don't have a peanut grinder, nor did I want to spend a lot of time finely chopping the nuts, so I just used my coffee grinder instead. I guess the food processor would have completed the job nicely. The grounded nuts added lumpiness to the batter, but I liked the miscellaneous surprise crunch throughout the cupcakes.
Lemon Brazil Nut Cupcakes
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup soy yogurt
1/3 cup rice milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
lemon zest, 1 large lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup brazil nuts, grounded (macadmia nuts)

1 cup + 2 tlbspn AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup brazil nuts, chopped
(macadmia nuts)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line 11 - 12 muffin tins.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: oil, yogurt, rice milk, lemon juice, zest, sugar & extract. Add the grounded brazil nuts.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, powder & salt.
  • In two batches, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  • Fold in chopped nuts & white chocolate chips.
  • Scoop & divide into lined tins about three-quarters full.
  • Bake for 20 - 22 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Made 11 cupcakes for me. Transfer to cooling rack & cool completely before frosting.
Simple Frosting
2 tblspn butter
2 tblspn vegetable shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract or lemon extract (optional)
  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter & shortening till thoroughly combined.
  • Slowly sift in powdered sugar in batches & beat well.
  • Add extract, if desired and beat till light & fluffy.
  • Continue adding sugar to taste & preferred texture.
  • Refridgerate & use when ready. Frost completely cooled cupcakes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Something to Celebrate!

More carrot cake because it's our favorite & tomorrow is my boyfriend's birthday! We like this recipe because the amount of wheat flour used is relatively low when compared to other baked desserts, so we don't feel so bad indulging. I always use a lot of extra carrots, raisins & walnuts. It was too hard to eat just one! Without the cream cheese frosting, it's definitely vegan.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Basic Brown Rice Cookies

No way was I gonna let the brown take me down. I had to try another brown rice based recipe because my mom taught me to never give up! Gotta bring the self-confidence & self-esteem back up after yesterday night's big flop.
Brown rice flour, although nutritious, has a very interesting & novel texture compared to your normal baked goodies. It's grainy & like my boyfriend said, "tastes like I'm eating large granules of sugar". The cookies were yummy in their own unique way. Definitely not your super chewy "bakery" style cookies, but still very special indeed. I don't have a lot to compare it to, but can say that I plan on trying these again & did end up eating about 6 cookies in one sitting...pretty addicting.
Next time I want to try using psyllium husk as my egg substitute (1 tblspn to 2 tblspn H2O). Hopefully this will act as a better binding mechanism. I was stingy with the filling choices due to yesterday's experience, but can envision many different filling combos. The cookie was a little too sweet for me even though I used less than 1 cup of sugar, I think I will reduce this even more next time.
Brown Rice Cookies
1/3 cup butter, melted & cooled (5 tblspn + 1/3 of 1 tblspn)
1 cup brown sugar (1/2 - 3/4 cup)
1 egg substitute (ener-g egg replacer 1 1/2 tsp + 2 tblspn warm H2O) (pysllium husk)
1 tblspn hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract (1/4 tsp)

1 1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

3/4 cup cranberries + pecans + white chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 375F & line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium sized bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar & hot water.
  • Add the "egg" & extracts.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together brown rice, powder, soda & salt. Slowly incorporate this mixture into the wet ingredients. Add your dried fruits & nuts.
  • The batter is a bit dry & may easily fall apart. Push the dough together to form balls & place onto your lined baking sheet. The cookies will spread by themselves & do not need to be flattened.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool & harden before transferring to cookie rack, it's a good idea to use a spatula.
  • Makes about 18 cookies.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Oh Sweet...Rice Brownies

Isn't it a bummer when you try something new hoping desperately that it'll turn out, but become completely disappointed when you put a piece in your mouth? That's what has happened to me more often than I prefer. But that's OK, I keep on going because there's always that probability that something new is gonna taste great & it just might be tonight! *Big Grin!*
We wanted some brownies that omitted eggs & wheat, as a result, a very health conscious choice was sweet rice flour. Sweet rice flour wasn't readily available at the store, so I bought some sweet brown rice flour & processed it in the coffee grinder.

The final result you ask?
Gooey & chewy, with a touch of semi-crunchy walnuts & sour cherries...yum right? Unfortunately not! The extra arrowroot I added may have contributed to the odd consistency. I may have also over mixed the batter as the ingredients were added together in an inefficient order. Carob & sweet rice flour was the dominant flavor, which aren't necessarily the best flavors when you're craving a yummy, sweet & flavorful chocolaty dessert. The sweet rice reminded me of an "asian" like dessert, but not any good ones.
So what do I have to show for it all? A few pictures & a recipe I probably won't try to tweak to perfection. :)
**it happens.
Semi-Slimy Sour Sludge
1/8 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup H2O
1/2 tsp arrowroot (omit)

4/8 cup sweet rice flour
3/8 cup carob/cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted & cooled
1/2 - 1 cup chopped walnuts + dried cherries
white chocolate large chips
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease baking pan (6X9 glass pan).
  • Heat 1/2 cup H2O + 1/8 cup sweet rice flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow to thicken & form a paste, remove from heat & cool.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together remaining (4/8 cup) rice flour, carob powder, salt & baking powder.
  • Add the vanilla extract, sugar, melted butter & mix to combine.
  • Stir in flour paste, nuts & cherries.
  • Pour into greased pan & garnish with chips.
  • Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes till toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Chunky Chunks

Yep, straight to the hips... :)
I wanted something that could easily be dumped into one pan and therefore decided to try this recipe I found on Cookie Madness' blog. Although mine didn't look exactly like hers, they still tasted really really yummy. I reduced the sugar and it was still a little too sweet for me. Instead of AP flour, I used a combo of quinoa, oat, & brown rice + arrowroot...this resulted in a chunky crumb dessert instead of bars (brown rice & oat = crumbly results). I added about 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, but will consider omitting this next time
(rise & density was not an issue) unless using spelt. As a fun experiment, I want to continue playing around with different types of flours...maybe spelt next time. The edges were a crispy but chewy texture & the center was moist & rich with slightly flaky crisp tops...yummy! The ingredient combo in this recipe yielded a dessert that reminded me of peanut butter cookies & rich pecan pie...not sure if that's an accurate description. With reduced sugar, this would taste really good with vanilla ice cream, the molasses in the brown sugar + the rich flavorful butter reminds me of caramel - dulce de leche? The coconut was definitely an enjoyable bonus feature. My boyfriend & I want to give this another round using different filling combos.
Chunky Chunks
3/8 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

1 ener-g egg replacer (little less than 1 1/2 tsp, lil' less than 2 tblspn warm H2O)
3/8 cup brown sugar
(2/8 cup)
4 tblspn butter, melted & cooled (3 1/2 tblspn)
1 tsp vanilla extract (lil' less)

3/8 cup flour (2/8 oat & quinoa, 2 tsp arrowroot + 7 tsp brown rice)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare small square/rectangle pan by lining with parchment paper (I used my 6X9 glass pan).
  • Toast pecans and halfway through add coconut. Done when coconut has slightly brown edges and pecans smell fragrant. About 5 - 10 minutes total. Allow to cool completely.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together "egg" & brown sugar. Add butter & vanilla, mix well.
  • In separate bowl, combine flour, soda, powder, salt & whisk together; stir into wet ingredients.
  • Incorporate pecans, coconut & chocolate chips into batter.
  • Spread evenly in pan & bake for about 30 minutes, till toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely on wire rack.
  • Makes 4 large squares/rectangles.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Going Coconuts

I am an avid admirer of Baking Bites. Her stuff always looks so good & she has so much variety on her blog. This morning I saw an entry for coconut macaroons & really wanted to give it a try since I really like coconuts. I used unsweetened coconut flakes and reduced the amount of time I think I will add a little more sweetness. My macaroons ended up being a little on the dry side probably because I used unsweetened flaked coconuts, since that's what I had. Some fat or oil such as, coconut oil, coconut milk, condense milk or organic corn syrup, would be a wise addition. These are pretty simple when craving an easy-chewy-densely packed coconut snack.
Coconut Macaroons

2 cups flaked coconut
1/3 cup sugar (increase a tad)
1 large egg white
1/8 tsp salt
1 + 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small lime, zest (optional)
melted chocolate, drizzling (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pulse coconut in food processor & pulse till finely chopped (not into coconut flour, but small rice-sized bits).
  • In a large bowl, whisk together egg white, sugar & salt until smooth. Whisk in cornstarch, extract & zest.
  • Stir in coconut & make sure to combine evenly.
  • Drop by rounded tablespoon using a cookie dough scooper.
  • Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown on top & bottom.
  • Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes & transfer to cooling rack.
  • Makes about 15.
  • Melt chocolate & drizzle to decorate. Refrigerate & allow chocolate to set. (These taste yummy straight from the fridge.)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Green Tea Rush

Continuing my Sunday baking ritual, I decided to make some green tea cupcakes from VCTOTW. As you can tell, I have a tendency to half recipes & that's because I always use the highest & best quality ingredients that I can find...I hate being wasteful when they don't turn out, which has happened more times than I can count. That, plus I tend to overeat if I have a lot a smaller batch also prevents overindulgence. Next time I may try using only 1/2 tsp baking powder to see if I get the same texture & same amount of rise. Once I buy some brown rice flour, I also want to give that a try. The almond flavor was strong, which I liked, but should be a little more subtle in order for the green tea to shine. Although these are plain jane simple, lack complexity & multiple ingredients, I still enjoyed them quite a bit. They're light & fluffy & remind me of a milky green tea frappucino from Starbucks. In addition to the matcha green tea, I also steeped the rice milk with some green tea leaves.
Green Tea Cupcakes
1/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt (Stonyfield Farm O'Soy - I always use vanilla)
1/3 rice milk (steeped in 1/2 tsp green tea)
3 tblspn oil (refined coconut oil)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (a little less)

5/8 cup flour (3/8 AP flour, 2/8 Quinoa flour)
1 tsp baking powder (1/2 - 3/4 tsp)
1/8 tsp baking soda
3 tsp matcha green tea powder
1/8 tsp salt
2/8 cup sugar (3/8 cup if you want it sweeter)
  • Preheat over to 350F & line for 6 cupcakes.
  • Steep 1/2 tsp green tea leaves with 1/3 cup rice milk. Bring to low boil and leave on medium to medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Strain liquid from leaves & measure to confirm there is still 1/3 cup liquid, if not add some rice milk to make up the difference. Allow to cool.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients - yogurt, rice milk, oil & extracts.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, powder, soda, matcha, salt & sugar. Sift into wet ingredients. Stir together until incorporated. (Loose batter.)
  • Divide among 6 lined tins. Bake for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely on a cooling rack & frost.
Green Tea Glaze
1 tblspn butter, room temperature
1/8 cup or less powdered sugar (personal sweetness preference)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp matcha green tea powder
1/8 tsp almond extract
Few drops vanilla extract
Rice milk (optional)
  • Mix softened butter & sugar together with a fork.
  • Add green tea powder & combine into mixture.
  • Add extracts & stir to combine. If too dry, add some rice milk, when more liquidy, glaze can be poured onto cupcakes...If too wet, add some powdered sugar.
  • Divide evenly among 6 cupcakes...frost & decorate according to personal preference.

Anything Goes Pasta

I love the weekend because I have more time to cook something other than steamed veges. I was craving some carbs, but still wanted it to be nutritious. This doesn't include exact measurements because I just threw it together depending on what was available in the fridge.
Anything Goes Pasta
1/2 cup pasta (brown rice pasta)
1/3 cup brocolli florets
1/4 cup brozen peas
Handful baby spinach
Olive oil + red chili flakes to taste
1 clove diced garlic
1/4 cup sliced olives
Salt + black pepper
Parmesan cheese to taste
Pines nuts (garnish)
Cilantro (garnish)

  • Boil & cook brown rice spaghetti pasta according to directions on the package. I like to over cook mine for a total cook time of about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare veges. When there is five minutes remaining on the cooking time of the pasta, start steaming the brocolli. After 3 minutes, add the peas & spinach. Steam for about 1 minutes & remove from heat.
  • Drain pasta, add back to hot pot. Sprinkle in desired amount of red chili flakes + a little olive oil + garlic.
  • Toss in veges & olives. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add more olive oil to taste. Sprinkle with parm cheese, pine nuts & cilantro.
  • Makes 1 large serving.
  • Other additions I would have liked: mushrooms, cauliflower, seasoned tofu, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, asparagus, or walnuts. You can basically add anything your stomach desires.
08/31/07: Try this with Quinoa, it's quite yummy!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pear Pie Muffins

We have two pear trees in our backyard & therefore lots of ripe pears. This was the perfect recipe. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but was definitely hoping for yummy & delicious results. Since I've learned my lesson about baking gone bad with frozen and fresh fruits, I halved the recipe. Next time I want to try using all whole wheat flour, or part whole wheat & part whole wheat pastry. The pears were really ripe therefore added a lot of moisture that I think whole wheat can handle. I might try patting off the pears to remove some of the excess liquid...wish I had a food dehydrator. Or I may need to use firmer pears that excrete less liquid and roll them in flour. Since I did not halve the spices + the moisture = muffins that tasted like apple pie...which is a good thing since I like full flavors, but the result was too soggy. Next time I will increase the amount of baking powder to 3 teaspoons & if baking for my parents, slightly decrease the amount of sugar. Fresh out of the oven, the muffin tops were crunchy and of course my favorite part. I veganized the recipe using ener-g egg replacer. I will definitely be making these again this weekend. Another recipe & additional pear info.
Pear Pie Muffins
1/2 cup AP flour (whole wheat or ww pastry)
3/8 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder (3 tsp)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tblspn softened butter
3/8 cup brown sugar
1 ener-g egg replacer (1 1/2 tsp + 2 tblspn warm water)
1/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt (Stonyfield Farm O'Soy)

1 cup diced pears (2 small bartletts, firmer unripe)
  • Preheat oven 375F. Line 6 muffin tins with liners.
  • In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon & ginger, whisk together to mix.
  • In another bowl, cream butter & sugar. Add "egg" & yogurt & thoroughly whisk together.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry & stir only till just combined (never overmix muffin batter). Add pears and stop when distributed.
  • Divide among 6 tins, which will look quite full. (I filled two of the empty tins with water, but will not do this next time since the muffins are already moist). Bake for about 18 - 23 minutes, until tester comes out clean.
  • Cool on wire rack and serve warm or cold.