Thursday, December 9, 2010

Red Quinoa Ginger Snaps and Homemade Almond Milk

Also known as Christmas Cookies Attempt #1. I am pretty specific when it comes to baking. The whole vegan thing is a zero-percent issue since there is a substitute for everything. There's dairy-free milk/butter/cream cheese, egg replacers, vegan binders. You name it, some laboratory created a vegan substitute for it.

The problem I have is that chemicals/processed things scare me. Yeah, they make things super easy and convenient but do you really know what partially hydrogenated soybean oil or carrageenan gum does to a human body? Neither do I...

Well I found a pretty amazing recipe on a blog called (never)homecooking. Whole wheat flour, healthy oils, and a taste that is wonderfully reminiscent of winter. I have a few kinks to work out (notice my cookie lattice above due to major spread-age) but they sure are tasty.

Red Quinoa Ginger Snaps

1 c whole wheat flour (1)
2 t baking powder
1 T ground ginger
1/2 t coriander
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 c olive oil
1/8 c maple syrup (2)
1/8 c almond milk (recipe below)
1/2 c sucanat (or dark brown sugar)
2 handfuls of uncooked red quinoa, rinsed

Preheat oven to 350F
Mix together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl.
Mix together liquids and sugar in a small bowl.
Pour wet into dry and mix until homogeneous.
Stir in uncooked quinoa.
Spoon tablespoon-sized dollops of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
These will spread so allow them room to grow!
Flatten the dollops a little and press in a little more quinoa.
Bake for 10-13 minutes (13 for my oven), or until starting to brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool, transferring to cooling rack after 5 minutes.

My plans for attempt #2:
  • Replace baking powder with 1/2 t baking soda and a pinch of salt.
  • Roll dollops into smooth balls before pressing them down.
Almond milk
This is super easy to do and it contains none of the preservatives and other unnecessary add-ins that store bought almond milk contains.

1/4 c raw almonds
1 c water
2 T maple syrup or agave nectar (optional)

If blanching
Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil in a saucepan.
Dump in almonds and allow to boil for about 30 seconds.
Strain from heat and allow to cool enough to handle.
Pop off the skins.
If soaking
Put almonds in a bowl with enough water to cover by a few inches.
Allow to soak overnight.
Dump soaking water.

Pour almonds, 1 c water and sweetener into a blender or food processor.
Blend for 1-3 minutes, until milky.
Pour mixture through a cheese cloth or nut bag (something that will strain out the almond pulp) into a container.
Drink or store in the fridge in an air-tight container, or use in any recipe calling for milk or a milk-substitute (like the one above!)

(1) Earnst Farm
(2) That stand that sells MI maple syrup at the Ann Arbor farmer's market

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