Vegan Almond Coconut Cookies with Tahini + Chia Seeds {low carb, high fibre, gluten free}

Vegan Almond Coconut Cookies Vegan Almond Coconut Cookies

Two recipes in two days?! This hasn’t happened in months, guys! As you know, I’ve been spending a lot more time on travel posts instead, but I’ve been in a foodie mood lately, so you guys get another recipe! This one’s a supercharged cookie recipe that’s VEGAN, HIGH FIBRE, LOW CARB, GLUTEN FREE AND GRAIN FREE! Adapted from Alexandra’s amazing Skin Cleanse Cookies, I added my own tahini twist to them and also used Natvia instead of the higher calorie coconut sugar the original recipe calls for. These cookies are beautifully chewy and have a decadent coconut-y fragrance. Continue reading “Vegan Almond Coconut Cookies with Tahini + Chia Seeds {low carb, high fibre, gluten free}”

White Chocolate Chip Matcha Tahini Cookies

White Chocolate Chip Matcha Tahini Cookies White Chocolate Chip Matcha Tahini Cookies White Chocolate Chip Matcha Tahini Cookies

Hands up if you’re still looking for the perfect cookie. Well guys, I don’t mean to brag but this may actually be a contender for the Best Damn Cookie Award 2015. No lie. Some of the best things I’ve ever baked have been directly attributed to blatant experimentation. These super sexy white chocolate chip matcha tahini cookies are no exception. Continue reading “White Chocolate Chip Matcha Tahini Cookies”

Flourless Peanut Butter Flaxseed Cookies with Barley Flakes {low carb}

Flourless Peanut Butter Flaxseed Cookies

Here’s a quick recipe for sweet, golden cookies with all the crunch and flavour of chunky peanut butter plus all the health benefits of flaxseeds (linseeds). Oh, and you only need five ingredients to make them! Six, if you want to sprinkle some lovely barley flakes over the top, but they’re really just there to make the cookies look prettier. The lack of flour ensures that these cookies remain low carb, while the high peanut butter content turns them into an awesome source of protein. And of course, the addition of ground flaxseeds give these an extra fibre boost! Continue reading “Flourless Peanut Butter Flaxseed Cookies with Barley Flakes {low carb}”

Savoury Cheese & Fennel Shortbread with Olive Oil + Sea Salt

Cheesy Shortbread

We’re finally back in Australia and I have an astonishing backlog of travel posts that I’m planning to put up soon. I’m not even done with the Japan series yet, with several entries on Koyasan and Osaka still waiting to be written. And don’t even get me started on Singapore! I have plans to talk about Sentosa’s sandy beaches, PARKROYAL on Pickering, Chinatown in the midst of Chinese New Year, Naumi Hotel, The Pinnacle@Duxton, Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya, Fort Canning Park, Tiong Bahru Bakery, MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and so much more. It’s ridiculous. I guess that’s what you get for spending two months in another country and actually doing something different almost every single day – you collect a lot of memories! Continue reading “Savoury Cheese & Fennel Shortbread with Olive Oil + Sea Salt”

Chinese New Year 2015 Recipe Roundup – Goat Xi Fa Cai!

Chinese New Year Recipe

19 February brings the Lunar New Year to 2015. James and I will be in Singapore to enjoy the festivities and attend the exciting family reunion with my relatives. This will mark the first time in exactly 10 years that I will actually be home for the annual celebration. It’s always been the Christmas reunion that I attend each year so this will be something different for me.

Here’s a quick roundup of all the CNY related recipes I have posted on my blog thus far, with some commentary on the significance of each treat. Remember guys, homemade goodies make great gifts! I hope the Year of the Goat brings good luck to each and every one of you! Continue reading “Chinese New Year 2015 Recipe Roundup – Goat Xi Fa Cai!”

Chewy Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks {flourless}

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

It kind of snuck up on us, but hey! This blog just hit 1500 followers and it now has over 70000 page views. That’s a pretty neat feat! I wish I could update this space more often, but it gets a little tough when you’ve got so many other things to juggle. That said, James and I have been researching things to do in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Mount Kōya and Osaka. We’ve booked everything for our November-December Japan trip and I’m happy to announce that we have a very packed itinerary already planned. James will be going to Vanuatu for Christmas as soon as we get back, and then he’ll be meeting me in Singapore to welcome the New Year! Looks like the final few weeks of 2014 are going to be pretty hectic for us.

Organic Coconut Oil Chopped Dark Chocolate Oats, Barley and Coconut Honey

We made cookies a few weeks ago. I decided to experiment with a new ingredient: rolled barley flakes! Now, I don’t think I have ever mentioned barley on this blog before, so let’s talk a little bit about that. When cooked, barley has a chewy, pasta-like consistency and a subtle nutty flavour. I was brought up in Singapore, so I am most familiar with the grain being used as an ingredient to make barley water, a refreshing drink sweetened with rock sugar (and sometimes flavoured with lemon) that has time and again been touted for its healing properties. Not many people are aware of barley’s health benefits and write it off as just another typical cereal grain. However, barley actually has some pretty impressive attributes that surpass even oats.

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Health Benefits of Barley:

  • controls blood sugar better
  • lowers glucose levels
  • lowers glycemic index
  • better insulin response
  • beats oats in glucose response study
  • reduces blood pressure
  • significantly lowers total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides
  • significantly reduces visceral fat

Source: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

These cookies consist of a blend of rolled oats and rolled barley, a good deal of desiccated coconut, some coconut oil, a drizzle of honey, two eggs, and a wild smattering of dark chocolate chunks. If you think about it, that’s not really a whole lot of ingredients. These are the chewy, crumbly kind of cookie — dense, textured and tightly packed with wholesome grains, a breakfast cookie if you will. Flavour-wise, they remind me of soft and chewy Anzac biscuits that aren’t overly sweet and are maybe just a little bit healthier for you. The distinctive taste of coconut and the smooth richness of dark chocolate perfectly complement the hearty mouthfeel of the oats and barley to create a wonderfully satisfying snack.

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Chewy Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks
adapted from The Healthy Chef’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies; yield: ~12 large cookies.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup rolled barley
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
60g coconut oil, melted
60g honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100g dark chocolate, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, barley, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, honey and eggs. Thoroughly mush everything together using clean fingers so that the ingredients clump together.
  3. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes, then add the chopped chocolate and combine.
  4. Carefully form the mixture into 12 large cookies and place them onto the prepared baking tray, flattening each cookie slightly. The mixture is quite sticky – dampen your fingers with some water to prevent it from sticking to you while you shape the cookies.
  5. Bake cookies for approximately 20-22 minutes, or until golden and fairly firm on top.
  6. Remove tray from oven and leave cookies to cool before serving. They will be crumbly when hot, but will firm up when they cool.

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Buttery Cashew Nut Cookies (腰果饼)

cashew-nut-cookies-recipe-14

This Australian summer heat has got us dreaming of cooler months. Every other day, the news tells us of raging bush fires and soaring 40°C+ temperatures around the country. Very depressing indeed. It’s a good thing we live near the coast, so we get cooler breezes. Also, thank god for air-conditioners! Still, the risk of getting sunburnt is disgustingly high when you go outside. Slip, slop, slap that sunscreen on, you guys!

cashew-nuts-for-cookies

Seasonal observations aside, Chinese New Year is just over a week away! This year, it falls on the 31st of January and it’ll be the year of the horse. As a kid born in the middle of 1990, this’ll be my lucky year. Yep, I’m a horse. And if you are a horse as well, allow me to share with you what this source says about us: 

“Being born a Horse, there are many contradictions in their character. Horses are proud yet sweet-natured, arrogant yet oddly modest in their approach to love, envious but tolerant, conceited yet humble. They want to belong, yet they are burdened by their need for independence. They need love and crave intimacy yet often feel cornered, pressured. But the truth is, the Horse is an individual, who depends only on their own wits and labour to get what they want.”

Well, believe what you will! I’m sure some people will see the horse in themselves, but I’m sceptical. These are pretty darn broad characteristics anyway, and you could probably argue that anyone and everyone will have exhibited these traits at one point or another in their lives!

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Anyway, we have a recipe for you to celebrate the approaching Chinese New Year. Last year, we featured these amazingly fragrant peanut cookies, which were a huge hit! This year, we ground up some crunchy cashews and made some delectable cashew nut cookies (腰果饼 yāo guǒ bǐng), famously known for their crackly tops and golden glossiness from the obligatory egg wash! They are perfectly sweet and so buttery, crumbly and rich.

cashew-nut-cookies-recipe-2

Like most cookies that use nut flours, these crunch delightfully and melt in your mouth soon after. We randomly decided to add some full cream milk powder to the cookies. It is one ingredient that knowledgeable bakers use to give their CNY cookies that sinfully smooth, ultra-melty texture when you bite into them. I think it worked wonderfully for us.

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This recipe has been moved to our gorgeous new website at milkanddust.com!

Click here to view the full recipe for these delicious Buttery Cashew Nut Cookies.

Fennel Seed Crackers

Fennel Seed Crackers Fennel Seed Crackers

As a young girl, I never really paid much attention to the simple, unpretentious cracker. I just wrote them off as something you’d pair a dip or some cheese with – a canapé base that allowed for additions of savoury butters and pastes. As a child, I would occasionally nibble on wafer-thin water crackers and plain saltines. Now that I’m older, I fully relish the audible crunch and satisfactory flakiness that perfectly baked crackers provide. And these fennel seed crackers are seriously crunchy and flaky.

Fennel Seeds

It’s been a long time since I’ve attempted crackers. I’ve always known that I’m not the best at rolling out dough to an even thickness (or thinness, in this case). Obviously, the flatter the crackers, the crisper they’ll bake. And everyone likes their crackers crispy, no? Nevertheless, I tried my best and was rewarded with some perfectly flaky, satisfyingly snappy crackers!

Fennel Seed Crackers Fennel Seed Crackers

Now the trick to optimum flakiness is to use shortening. Shortening yields lighter-textured baked goods. Of course, butter can be used instead, but it naturally contains some amount of water (whereas shortening doesn’t), and produces a cracker that goes easily soft after baking.

Fennel Seed Crackers Fennel Seed Crackers

And then we have the fennel seeds. For those who don’t know, fennel seeds are tiny, ridged, oval-shaped darlings with delightfully sweet and refreshing notes. They have a distinct flavour and aroma reminiscent of warm, invigorating, anise-like licorice, but are in no way overly pungent. I think they make a wonderful addition to this cracker recipe.

Fennel Seed Crackers Fennel Seed Crackers

Fennel Seed Crackers
a vegan recipe; adapted from Commonsense Baking.

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
60 grams vegetable shortening, chilled
1/2 cup (125mL) filtered water

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
  2. Using your fingers, rub in the  shortening until the mixture starts to resemble fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the fennel seeds.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and gradually stir in the water with a wooden spoon until everything comes together and starts to form a dough.
  4. Gently knead the dough until just smooth, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  6. Using a knife, divide the chilled dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured work surface until about 1mm thick. Trim sides to form a rectangle, then cut up into even-sized fingers (or more rustic shapes, if you prefer).
  7. Place on prepared baking tray and bake for about 12 minutes, or until light golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Fennel Seed Crackers