Almond Cookies

Chinese New Year is coming up this Friday! It’s the year of the horse. Some of you might celebrate, some of you might not, but anyone can still enjoy some yummy Chinese cookies this week!

Chinese Almond Cookies from Square Root of Pie

These have a really interesting texture: crisp, flaky, dense, and melt in your mouth all at the same time. But there really isn’t much to them!

Chinese Almond Cookies from Square Root of Pie

Chinese Almond Cookies
Makes 2-3 dozen.

Ingredients
2 C ground almond meal
2 C flour
3/4 C powdered sugar, sifted
dash salt
1 C light oil
1 egg, beaten
red food coloring – optional

Instructions
1.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
3. Slowly add in oil, mixing well until a paste forms. It will be slightly crumbly but you should be able to form it into a ball without it falling apart.
4. Roll into 1 inch balls and place a couple of inches apart on cookie sheet. Slightly flatten.
5. Dip the back of a chopstick in food coloring and press into the center of each cookie.
6. Brush tops with egg.
7. Bake for 15-20 min until golden brown, rotating halfway through. Let cool and enjoy!

Chinese Almond Cookies from Square Root of Pie

 

Happy Chinese New Year! 恭喜发财!

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Black Cherry Almond Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’m done with final exams! Hooray! Only a few days left until graduation, and I’m getting very excited.

Black Cherry Almond Chocolate Chip Muffins from Square Root of Pie

During finals week, there are always free muffins before the early morning finals. A couple of my friends were sad there weren’t any GF muffins, so since I had leftover flour after making cookies, I decided to make them some GF finals exam muffins!

Black Cherry Almond Chocolate Chip Muffins from Square Root of Pie

Black Cherry Almond Chocolate Chip Muffins
Gluten free. Makes one dozen.

Ingredients
1 1/2 C gf all-purpose flour
1/2 C almond flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
dash salt
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1/4 C oil
3/4 tsp almond extract
1 C black cherry Greek yogurt
1/4 C milk
1/3 C chocolate chips

Instructions
1.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a smaller bowl, mix sugar and egg. Add oil, extract, yogurt, and milk.
4. Add wet to dry and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Bake 20-25 min until browned.

Black Cherry Almond Chocolate Chip Muffins from Square Root of Pie

Martha

I don’t like Martha Stewart. I tend to avoid her recipes and I never buy her craft supplies. I just don’t like her. But her macaron recipe is fabulous. I followed it exactly, so I’m just going to link you to it. I feel awful linking to her website because I really don’t like her, but you gotta do what you gotta do I guess.

I had whipped up a batch of mousse a few days before, so I used that as the filling for the macarons. The best part about this mousse is… it’s secretly healthy! Not to mention vegan. Which is kind of silly since I put it inside an egg based cookie, but you can eat this by itself too. Or use it as a dipping sauce for fruit or something. It’s not quite as fluffy as normal mousse, maybe a little closer to pudding, but still so delicious and summery.

Raspberry Mousse
Vegan.

Ingredients
1 block Mori-Nu silken tofu
1 1/2 C raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp almond, orange, or vanilla extract

Instructions
1.
If using frozen raspberries, thaw and drain.
2. Put everything in a food processor or blender until smooth.
3. Transfer to serving dishes or a large plastic container and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.

For the macarons, I thought teal would complement the pink of the mousse nicely. Also, a note about the recipe – when it says beat the egg whites for 8 minutes, it means it. Don’t cut out early.

I used a frosting tip to pipe the batter out, but you could just snip off the corner of a plastic bag. They might not be as pretty, but they’ll taste the same!

Stress Baking part 1

BE JEALOUS. I’m done with finals. I’m not done done, I still have my animation project due next Tuesday. But I took my only final exam yesterday, finished a report this morning, and now all I have to do is animate some butterflies for the next week. Other plans include manicures, shopping, rock climbing, and – of course – baking.

Anyway, here’s the first installment of my stress baking series. I made them as part of Weekend Breakfasts last last Sunday while simultaneously working on a perception study for my character animation class. (Thanks to anyone who helped out with that survey, by the way. We had pretty great results!)

Almond Biscotti
Original recipe here. We significantly downsized the recipe – this makes one loaf, or about 10 biscotti.

Ingredients
1 C raw almonds
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 scant tsp baking powder
3/4 C plus 2 Tbsp flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 orange

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
2. Arrange almonds on baking sheet and toast 10 minutes. Let cool.
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix almonds, sugars, cinnamon, baking powder, and flour.
4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together one egg, vanilla, and orange zest. Stir into the flour mixture.
5. Work the mixture into a dough with floured hands (it will be sticky!). Add more flour if necessary, but don’t let it get too dry.
6. Form the dough into a loaf on the baking sheet, approximately 3/4 inches thick. Beat the remaining egg and brush over the top of the loaf.
7. Bake 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. Turn off the oven. Let cool 20 minutes outside the oven.
8. Using a serrated knife, slice the loaf diagonally into 3/4 inch thick slices, making about 9-12 cookies.
9. Place the cookies back on the baking sheet on their sides. Return to the oven and let warm for 30 minutes with the door closed. The oven should not be on.
10. Enjoy with coffee. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Roasting the almonds was definitely my favorite part of this. It made the entire kitchen smell so good! The orange zest really compliments the almond flavor, too.

I’m a little confused about biscotti though. Are they dessert? Or are they breakfast? They go with coffee, which is usually a breakfast thing, but sometimes you drink coffee at night, too. I don’t know. I definitely consider them cookies… Breakfast cookies? I don’t know. Whatever, they’re yummy.

They should keep for about a month, but mine only lasted a few days. Because I ate them. I love anything you dip in coffee!

 

Snack Attack

I’m a big snacker. I’m always snacking between meals, which is actually really good for you – as long as you snack on healthy things. Especially for college students, I think it’s really easy to get into a habit of munching on potato chips and Goldfish all day. Obviously those things are fine to eat occasionally, but I never buy them because I know I’ll end up eating too much of them. I like to think I have a pretty healthy set of snacks, so I wanted to write a quick post about what I eat.

  • Raw nuts, particularly almonds and cashews. Nuts are packed with protein, which is great for vegetarians like me, and essential fatty acids. I really like to grab a small handful of almonds to eat as a post-workout snack.
  • Granny smith apples. Any apples, really, but granny smith is my favorite kind – they’re tart and crisp and just taste fresh. I like to toss apple slices with a little bit of lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon; it tastes like apple pie!
  • Kakimochi, aka Hawaiian rice crackers. Not exactly the healthiest, but I have so much from my recent trip to Hawaii that they just need to be eaten up. In moderation, of course.
  • Baby carrots and hummus, especially the Mediterranean Hummus from Trader Joe’s.
  • Frozen grapes. They’re really great if you’re craving something sweet – it’s like a popsicle only much healthier and bite-sized.
  • Roasted or grilled chickpeas are a great way for me to get extra protein. Toss some chickpeas with a little olive oil and spices, and either roast in the oven for 30 min or throw on the stove for about 15 min. They’re addictive! As for spices, I like to use a Hawaiian curry seasoning my grandma gave me, but you can try curry powder, cumin, or even cinnamon.

If you ever want to know more about what you’re eating, I like to look at this site for nutrition info. It has way more information than you’d ever really need to know about any food you can imagine, which is really great if you’re using raw ingredients which don’t usually come with a nutrition label.

What about you guys? What do you snack on? Let me know in the comments – I’m always looking for more ideas!

Breakfasting Alone

This semester is going by so quickly – I can’t believe it. Only five weeks left in the semester, including this one, and then it’s finals and then my internship. I’m starting to feel like I haven’t done nearly as much cooking as I wanted to. Well, let me rephrase that. I cook everyday, but usually it’s lazy cooking. Pasta, sandwiches, whatever. I haven’t done as much fun and exciting cooking as I wanted.

I’ve been experimenting with tempeh quite a bit, actually. I like the taste and texture better than tofu, and it’s more versatile too. I have a hard time putting tofu in anything that isn’t Asian. I know how to put it with noodles or rice, but anything else and I just feel like it doesn’t belong! The other day I made fake Spam musubi with tempeh, which was pretty good (and super Asian), but you can definitely do more with it than that. For example, my bbq tempeh, or the really great sandwich I made the other day. I cut the tempeh really small and grilled it with some baby bella mushrooms, then stirred it up with some pesto I picked up at Trader Joe’s. Put that with some spinach and wheat bread, and you’ve got yourself a really great meal.

I have this bizarre obsession with vegan baked goods. I’m not a vegan, of course, but I love baking things and then saying GUESS WHAT THAT’S VEGAN! What I hate, though, is “vegan” recipes that call for “vegan butter” or “vegan cream cheese” or whatever. Taking a regular recipe and subbing in vegan versions of the ingredients doesn’t make a real vegan recipe.

This past weekend my Weekend Breakfast partner in crime was busy, so I decided to go vegan just for fun.

Blueberry Walnut Muffins 
Vegan. Original recipe here. Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients
1 C quick or rolled oats
1 C soy milk
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp almond extract (or vanilla)
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal mixed with 2 tbsp water)
1 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp flax meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C chopped walnuts
1 1/3 C fresh or frozen blueberries

Instructions
1.
Preheat oven to 400F.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together oats, milk, agave, and almond extract.
3. While the oats are soaking, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, chia, flax, salt, and sugar.
4. Stir in the flax egg, walnuts, and oats. Last, add blueberries.
5. Spoon into muffin cups and bake 20-25 minutes.

I used frozen blueberries, which was fine I think. As soon as I stirred in the berries, the batter turned a crazy greenish color. They looked like zombie muffins but they tasted great! Not too sweet – perfect for breakfast. Although I will say you have to eat them fast. Since there’s no oil in the batter, by the second day they’re already pretty dried out. I wrapped them in a damp paper towel and zapped them in the microwave for 15 seconds, which helped, but these are definitely meant to be eaten the day of.

In Transit

It’s currently 5:34am in Beijing (that’s 2:34pm yesterday at home), where I’m sitting at the airport waiting until my flight leaves at 7:30. I can’t get on the wifi, so I’ll have to post this later. I’ve almost made it to Hong Kong!

Probably the only time the Beijing airport will be this empty. Kind of creepy.

This blog is about to become very different. For one, I won’t really be cooking. Mostly just eating. But more than that, I probably won’t get to be vegetarian. Everyone I’ve talked to says it just won’t happen, I’ll starve. I’ve been mentally preparing for that, but when they handed me beef and broccoli on the plane I just couldn’t do it. I’m not ready for that just yet. Baby steps. Eventually I know I’ll have to do it; I don’t really have a choice. But I haven’t eaten meat in nine years!! NINE YEARS!! I know I have to do it, and I’ll be vegetarian again when I get back, but I certainly wasn’t ready for it on the plane. And definitely not as breakfast. I picked out the broccoli and ate the rice – even that is a huge step for me, eating something that’s been all mixed in with meat. Like I said, baby steps.

Anyway, I had about two and a half days at home after I left Google. It was sad to say goodbye, but I was ready to be done I think. I wish my internship had been shifted back one week though, because the turnaround was so fast! I barely had time to do anything at home since it was all so rushed.

I do have a recipe for you though! This is probably the easiest thing I’ve ever made. Monday morning, one of my mom’s friends called saying her freezer broke, so we quickly filled our kitchen with her food. She had shrimp, lobster, ahi, and all sorts of other things in danger of going bad. We were already having my cousin over for dinner, so we decided to make it a party and grill up all of their food! We made fish tacos (beans for me) plus the shrimp and lobster tails. At the grocery store earlier that day, a 2lb bag of peaches was on sale for $0.98! I feel like I completely missed out on peach season this year, so I had to get them. I’ve had some peaches, but normally I stuff myself with them.

Grilled Peaches
(Originally from here)

Ingredients
5-6 ripe peaches, cut in half
Greek yogurt
Almond slivers
Honey
Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions
1.
Grill your peaches. I did mine on a pan on the stove, but you can do it on the barbeque too. Just lay down some foil first. They took about 5 minutes – you want them soft, but not gushy. Flip them over for a bit, but for the most part you want the pit-side down. You can give them a little bit of olive oil if you want, but I didn’t use anything; for the most part, the juice will keep them from sticking too much.

2. While the peaches are going, make your syrup. Use about a 3:2 honey to lemon juice ratio. Just mix it together until the consistency seems right.
3. Serve! Put a dollop of yogurt on the peach, then drizzle with the syrup and top with almonds. So summery and delicious.

Enjoy the last of the peaches for me, since I won’t have any :(