Monday, February 18, 2013

Superfood, Buttery Hearts and More..

Yikes! I've let two semi-major celebrations pass without a hit of a recipe. What's happening to my blog brain? I have no clue -- none at all, except to say that I've got lots of pictures for you and not one but two recipes to share. Yeah, I know it's a little late, but treats are good at anytime of the year, especially when there's no celebration except friendship or love. How sappy is that.

Well, let's get on with it then!

Last weekend was the Lunar New Year -- hello year of the Snake! Our festivities were small and condensed to spending time at home this year -- no dim sum or loud restaurants, but I was totally fine with that. I did make a few treats to share including these coconut sesame peanut cookies .. I used peanut butter and tahini this time and skipped the canola oil since I was all out. Totally snackable and delicious...

I also made these traditional barbecue pork buns (char siew bao) to bring over to my parents on New Year's Day. My dad made the filling and I made the dough. My favourite part is the sticky sweet glaze that goes on top.

And so that my New Year week would be filled with health and all things red (lucky colour of Asians!), I made these superfood quinoa muffins to take to work. They are packed with red quinoa, dried unsweetened sour cherries, brain-healthy walnuts and spelt. Recipe included below!

And what about Valentine's Day? A bit of a bust since it was the same day as parent-teacher interviews, but I managed to make this to-die-for chocolate silk tart with almond and date crust. It's got a secret ingredient that, when you find out, will just make you go back for another piece. My adoring Valentine enjoyed a piece while I was running after students outside their homerooms, and I had chocolicious bite right before bedtime when I got home.

Usually, I get it together and bake treats for my colleagues for Valentine's day, but this year I was too exhausted. Better late then never, right? I made these brown sugar chai-spiced butter cookies yesterday to take to my friends at work tomorrow. They're not too sweet, tender and buttery, with a crunchy, sparkly sprinkling of spicy raw sugar on top. They are perfect with a nice chai tea or latte or of course, coffee.


Red Quinoa Superfood Muffins
adapted from Hungry Gnomes
makes 24 mini muffins

The original recipe for these super healthy babies, calls for fresh or frozen blueberries. Since we're in the dead of winter, I opted to sub in some unsweetened dried sour cherries. I also warmed it up with a healthy dose of cinnamon and cardamom. If I were making this during blueberry season, you can bet I would throw in a big handful of fresh berries, and I might also skip the spices and orange juice in favour of some lemon zest and juice. 

2 tablespoons of almond milk
1/4 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of cane sugar
2 tablespoon of tahini
1/4 cup of spelt flakes
1 cup of spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of cooked red quinoa
1/4 cup of dried unsweetened sour cherries, chopped
1/4 cup of walnuts ,chopped

1. In a large bowl, combine the milk, juice, maple syrup, tahini and sugar. Whisk to combine.  Add the spelt flakes and let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Sift in the flour, spices and baking powder and soda. Stir gently. Add in the cooked quinoa, nuts and cherries. Stir until just combined.

3. Spoon the batter in prepared muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Brown Sugar Chai-Spiced Butter Cookie Hearts
makes about 3 dozen little hearts

This little buttery hearts can be flavoured any which way you like if you're not into chai. A simple cinnamon sugar would be lovely, as would the combination of orange and cardamom, or just straight-up vanilla. 

1/2 cup of butter, softened
1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 good few grinds of black pepper
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of spelt flour

Sugar Topping
2 tablespoons of organic cane sugar, or turbinado sugar
a pinch each of ground cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom and ginger

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and well-combined. Add the egg and mix well.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until a stiff dough forms. Refrigerate for an hour or so, just so the dough firms up.

3. Take the chilled dough and divide into four balls. Take one of the balls, roll out on a flour surface, using a pastry scraper to turn after each roll to make sure it's not sticking. Roll the dough to about 1/4 -1/3 inch. Cut out your cookies with whatever shape your heart desires.

4. Place you cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather up the scraps, roll out the dough and repeat until you've worked through all your dough balls.

5. Sprinkle your cookies with the sugar-topping and pop them back in the fridge for about 10 minutes before they go in the oven. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until the sides get a little golden brown.


  1. The heart shaped cookies are adorable! :)

  2. Thanks, Jada! ;) Did you get a chance to celebrate Lunar New Year?