Tag: gluten-free desserts

Happy Early Chinese(Lunar) New Year!

The Lunar New Year starts on Thursday, February 19 this year, but I think I should give everyone advanced notice so they can start buying ingredients for making rice cake now 😉

I was talking to a friend about really wanting to make ‘rice cake,’ and she (I actually forget who, now) asked, “Do you mean the diet food?” I had to quickly correct her and tell her, no, definitely not the diet food- anything but! This rice cake is made of sticky rice flour, or glutinous rice flour (which does not contain gluten in it, contrary to its possibly deceptive name). Sticky rice is even more carb-laden then regular rice- weee! Like its “regular” rice counterpart, long grain sticky rice is less sticky than short grain sticky rice, and this stickier short grain rice is ground up to produce what we formally call glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice flour (糯米粉) is used to make the super chewy foods: yuan zijian dui, flat rice noodles, mochi and both sweet and savory nian gao (rice cake). I can’t think of anything else at the moment- feel free to chime in on other uses in the comment box!

I love QQ or “chewy” (for lack of a better translation) foods, such as those made from glutinous rice flour, and I love red bean, so I really love 紅豆年糕。Every year, one of our parents’ grandmotherly friends would make it around the Lunar New Year, and give a “loaf” to us, which was wrapped in plastic wrap and in a brown paper bag. It was the humblest of packaging for a tasty treat made with love.

We would slice the rice cake and coat it in egg and a tiny bit of flour, then pan-fry it until the insides were gooey, and the outside a nice golden brown. Dusted with a light powdering of confectioner’s sugar, this made for a great dessert or breakfast!

Every year since I’ve been away from California, my aunt sends me a package with new year candies and this rice cake. Thank you, Auntie R! I figure it is time for me to make it on my own.

T’s family said that this rice cake had just the right level of sweetness, and had a great amount of red beany taste. Make it, won’t you please?


hong dou nian gao 紅豆年糕 蒸

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Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I really wanted to bake something to redeem my ugly (and what I would consider failed) gingerbread cake, so I was looking up recipes…I wanted to make cookies, I didn’t really have enough flour (had a cup, not even maybe) so I found a recipe that is not only easy, but turns out with crackly top cookies. I LOVE crackly top cookies!
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies 
1 cup brown sugar 
1 cup peanut butter ASIDE: (all natural, please. Did you know that most commercial brands ie Skippy/Jif/generic store brand add hydrogenated oil to make their PB? After reading up on trans fat in the LA Times a few years ago, I always check ingredient labels now, and try to eat as little trans fat as possible (once or twice a month, max)What Mayo Clinic says 
Common foods with partially hydrogenated/hydrogenated oils: some tortilla chips, some chips (esp. the ones that have like sour cream and onion or whatnot), doritos, cheetos (sad), snickers, twix, peanut butter m&ms, reese’s pieces, surprisingly-NOT-in-reeses (yay!), ritz, cheez-its, goldfish, most pepperidge farm cookies, animal crackers, honeymaid graham crackers, teddy grahams, chips ahoy, bakery goods from most chains (ie pathmark, superfresh, giant, costco <–in their cookies, i know), frozen garlic bread, whipped topping <–ew, margarine/i can’t believe it’s not butter crap, most premade pie crusts, canned frosting, cake, brownie, and cookie mixes, sprinkles/jimmies, poptarts, tubed icing, corn pops =(, some granolas, some granola bars (ie quaker, kudos), hershey’s cookies and cream chocolate, toll house peanut butter and white chocolate chips,
Food(s) that used to have hydrogenated oils but now have “high oleic” or ‘expeller pressed’ oil: oreos, generic graham crackers
Safe from trans fat: walker shortbread, triscuits, wheat thins, newman-os, bear naked granola, health valley granola bars, trader joe’s white chocolate chips, ghirardelli white chocolate chips
Places that sell almost nothing that contains hydrogenated oils: Whole Foods (nothing w/ trans fat, for sure) and Trader Joes <–SOMETIMES has hydrogenated oils, but very very seldom
Yeah, I really mean it when I say I check ingredient labels! I am sorry, too, that the trans-fat-food list is MUCH longer than non-trans-fat food. I think some makers are trying to slowly change their recipes, though.  
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup PB
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix together [brown sugar-vanilla] together, then stir in chocolate. Bake for 12 minutes at 350F, until they are “puffy but soft to the touch,” then cool for 3 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.
Notes: I only had…~ 3/4 cups of PB, so I used that and ~2/3 cup brown sugar. Omitted vanilla, and poured a random amount of semisweet chocolate chips in. If you don’t have a cooling rack, I would just take out all the random plates I had…or put it on some type of surface that will least retain heat

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