Multi Seed Crackers

We all know the health benefits of eating more whole grains and seeds.  But the thing is, although very healthy, whole grain pastry items don’t always taste as good and don’t have the smooth texture as the ones made from refined flour.  

I have been trying making healthy whole grain snacks at home for a while.  After a few tries, I finalized this recipe.  These crackers are now my go to snacks for afternoon tea/ coffee.  

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They are crunchy and crispy.  Lots of nuts/ seeds like almond, flax seeds, sun flower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds are added to the crackers to make them super tasty and healthy.  

I used to buy whole grain crackers from wholefood every week.  But these are so much better!  I can cross another whole grain item from my shopping list.  O(∩_∩)O~

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Ingredients:

60 g rye flour
60 g oat flour
40 g almond flour
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of water
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds (both black and white ones)
1/4  cup flax seeds
1/2  teaspoon salt  

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F/ 163C

Add rye flour, oat flour, almond flour, salt, olive oil and water to a large bowl.  Mix with a wooden spoon or a pair chopsticks.

The dough might be a little wet and sticky.  It is fine.  Cover with with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 10 to 20 minutes.

Mix all the seeds together in another bowl.

Add to the dough.  Knead with hands until everything comes together.

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Line up a cookie pan with baking mat or parchment paper. 

Transfer the dough to the center of cookie pan.  Punch it down and then roll it into a even thin layer with a small rolling pin.

Use a pizza cutter or kitchen knife to cut it into small squares.

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Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the crackers are slightly golden brown.

Allow the crackers to completely cool down before removing them from baking mat.

They can be stored in air-tight containers or zip-loc bags for up to a week.

They are very crunchy and crispy, loaded with tons of rich hearty earthy flavors.

 These crackers are so tasty that I don’t plan to buy multi seeds crackers from supermarket again.   O(∩_∩)O~

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Walnut Chocolate Butter

中文菜谱: 核桃巧克力酱

I stock up nuts and chocolate lately.  Someday it just occurred to me why not make a batch of chocolate nut butter?  It would be awesome for breakfast or a quick nutritious afternoon snack. 

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Ingredients:

2 cups of raw walnuts
1/3 to 1/2 cup dark chocolate
1/4 to 1/3 cup honey / syrup

*****Tips:  

·         The darker chocolate is, the more smoothly it will melt.  I use 85% cacao chocolate.  They are available at Whole foods, Sprouts and Texas local Central Market.  The one I am using here is bought from Sprouts. 

·         If you don’t want to roast raw walnut at home, buy the dry roasted walnuts.  And make sure they are not salted or seasoned.  *****

 

Directions:

Preheat a toaster oven to 375F/ 191C

Bake the raw walnuts for 8 to 10 minutes, or just until they turn slightly golden brown. 

Add roasted walnut, honey and dark chocolate in a vitamix blender.

  I use a dry container instead of regular container because it is more convenient this way.

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Turn on the machine and grind at medium low speed.  

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In a few minutes, walnuts are crushed and chocolate melts. 

You would need to pause several times in between to stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. 

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Keep grinding at low medium speed. 

It is getting silkier and smoother.

It is kind of shiny now.

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Continue grinding for another couple minutes.

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Wo-la, it is done!

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Transfer the walnut chocolate butter to a glass jar.  Seal and store at room temperature. 

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It goes great with a lot of things: bread, cookies, crackers, fruits, crepes, and even salad! O(∩_∩)O~

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Candied Pecans and Walnuts

中文菜谱: 琥珀桃仁

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Candied pecans or walnuts are very popular in China.  They can be served as appetizer, side dish or dessert.  Most of time, they are also a great snack to go with coffee or tea. 

They are sweet, crunchy, and super nutritious.  Who doesn’t love them? O(∩_∩)O~

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Ingredients:

1 cup raw walnuts / pecans
1/3 firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
toasted white sesame seeds

Directions:

Some people prefer pecans, and a lot of people prefer walnuts.  As for myself, I use more pecans then walnuts because pecans have a more delicate texture and flavor than walnuts.

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Preheat a toaster oven to 375F/ 190C  

Bake the pecans / walnuts in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. 

Please do remember to adjust the baking time accordingly because every toaster oven is different from one another.  Pecans and walnuts are so easily to be over baked.  Keep a close eye on them when baking.  Remove from oven when they turn slightly golden brown.  They will continue to cook even after being taken out the oven. 

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Light or medium color brown sugar will be fine.  Don’t use the dark brown sugar.  Otherwise, the color would be too dark.

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While the pecans/ walnuts are baking in the oven, prepare the syrup. 

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add brown sugar and water. 

Brown sugar melts quickly and the syrup will very soon become bubbly.

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Keep cooking the syrup until it darkens a little bit.  Bubbles get bigger too. 

There is a trick to test if the syrup is ready.  Drop a couple drops of syrup into a cup of cold water.  if it turns  hard and firm, the syrup is done.  If not, just keep cooking for a bit longer. 

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Add toasted pecans/ walnuts into the syrup, along with some roasted white sesame seeds. 

With a spoon, gently toss everything together.  

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Line up a plate or cast iron pan with parchment paper.  Spoon the pecan / walnut mixtures onto the parchment paper.   Spread them as evenly as possible. 

You have to do it very fast and quickly, because the candy syrup will begin to harden once removed from heat.

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Wait for the candied pecans/ walnuts to completely cool down to room temperature.  They will be super crunchy and tasty. 

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Chocolate Soufflé Cookies

These chocolate soufflé cookies are pretty much my favorite cookies.  They are so simple, made with just a few ingredients and yet have such deep rich delicate flavors.  It is like eating brownies, chocolate macaroons and cookies all at the same time.  Isn’t that amazing?

A big plus benefit for these cookies is that they don’t require any flour, which means they are gluten free! 

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If you frequent a coffee shop or bakery, you might have noticed there are always “flourless chocolate cookies” displayed on the shelves, which look so fancy and delicate, and of course, so expensive too. 

Yep, they are the chocolate soufflé cookies we are making here today.  Let’s get started!

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The recipe is adapted from:https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/chocolate-souffle-cookies.  Many thanks and appreciation to the original author!

 

Ingredients :

1 cup dark chocolate chips/ pieces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
a few drops of lemon juice / white vinegar
3/4 cup finely chopped walnut

****Tip:Chocolate is the most important ingredient in this recipe.  Chocolate determines the finished cookies’ flavor and texture.  The better quality the chocolate is, the better taste the cookies will be. 

I use 90% cacao chocolate.  If you prefer sweeter taste, 70% to 80% will be great too.  ****

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F/ 176C

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  It might seem lumpy at first.

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In a few minutes, the chocolate will become silky and smooth.

With a sharp knife, finely chop the walnut.

Add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar to the egg whites.  With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites at low speed for a couple minutes.  Add 1/3 of the sugar, continue to whisk at medium speed for a minute.  Repeat the process until all the sugar is added and egg white is stiff.

With a silicone spatula, fold the chopped walnuts into chocolate mixture.

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Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites.

It might be a bit dry and hard at first. 

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This is what it looks like after I fold in the first 1/3 egg whites.

Add another 1/3 egg whites, and fold in very gently.

Continue folding the remaining egg whites, along with vanilla extract. 

The batter should be smooth and shiny.

Transfer the batter to a large piping bag.

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Pipe the cookie dough to a cookie pan lined with silicone baking mat.  Each drop of cookie dough is about 3 tablespoons and 1 1/2 inches apart from each other.

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Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Wait for the cookies to cool on the cookie pan.  Carefully remove them with a spatula.

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And now go make yourself a fresh pot of black coffee and enjoy these heavenly chocolate soufflé cookies!  O(∩_∩)O~

Chocolate Marshmallows

中文菜谱: 巧克力棉花糖

When we were living in Michigan, we went camping a lot in the summer time.  And we always built a camp fire by the lake.  It was for fun, but also for cooking and grilling too. O(∩_∩)O~

Camp fires in summer night were really beautiful.  Firewood we bought was mostly pinewood.  It gave out a very pleasant aroma when burning. 

Michigan has some of the purest lakes I have ever seen.  Many lakes in northern Michigan are crystal clear.  We were lucky to have seen some peaceful and sparkling night sky like this. 

We built camp fires in day time too, mostly for cooking and grilling. 

(For one of detailed camping trip journals, go to:Interlochen camping & boatinghttps://www.yankitchen.com/english-blog/camping5

I learn from our many camping trips that camp fire is very essential to a successful camping trip.  The fire provides warmth and light during long nights and also good for cooking and grilling in the daytime.  And s’more is the most perfect dessert by the fire.  Any camping trips with camping fire and fire-roasted marshmallows cannot be considered perfect. O(∩_∩)O~

It takes patience and experience to roast the marshmallows.  These cute tiny fluffy candies are very easy to burn.  If not roasted enough, the chocolate in the s’more would not melt. 

So I have been thinking what if I can add chocolate into the marshmallows?  By doing so, the marshmallows and chocolate would be roasted at the same time, so that they should both melt perfectly. 

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The marshmallow recipe is adapted from Atlon Brown from Foodnetwork (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-marshmallows-recipe-1953933).  I use 2/3 of all ingredients from original recipe, and make a little bit change.

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Ingredients:

2 packages of plain gelatin (7g / package)
2/3 cold water
8 oz granulated sugar(about 227g)
2/3 light corn syrup
a pinch salt
2/3 teaspoon coffee rum
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 cup 60% cocoa chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Add 1/3 cup cold water to stand mixer’s mixing bowl.  Sprinkle the gelatin on top.  Let it stand for 5 minutes.

Shift both corn starch and powdered sugar together.

 Grease a glass container on bottom and sides.  And then coat with starch sugar mixture. 

Add the remaining 1/3 cup cold water to a small pot, along with sugar, corn syrup and salt. 

Cook over medium heat.

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Cook until the candy thermometer shows syrup reaches 240F/ 115.5C. Remove from heat.  

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Turn the stand mixer on low speed.  Gradually add sugar syrup down the side of bowl.  Be sure not to pour the syrup on the moving whisk.  The hot syrup could be very dangerous to anyone standing nearby. 

When all the syrup is added to stand mixer bowl, turn the speed to its highest to whisk for 12 to 15 minutes.  The longer it whisks, the firmer marshmallows would be. 

Add chocolate chips in the last minute.

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With a greased spatula, scrape marshmallow mixture to prepared container.  Level the top with spatula and then sprinkle a thin layer of starch sugar mixture.

Let the marshmallow mixture cool for a few hours or overnight before cut it with a sharp knife.

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It has been very fun to make marshmallows from scratch.

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Roast chocolate over charcoal fire.  Guess what?  It turns out awesome!  Both marshmallow and chocolate chips are roasted and melt perfectly!   

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How good does that look? O(∩_∩)O~