Burmese Fish Salad with Shallots and Fresh Herbs

Burmese Fish SaladAlthough we’re experiencing a minor cold snap out here in Hawaii, it seems like the rest of the country is finally starting to warm up.  So it’s a good bet that many of you are starting the transition from hearty soups and stews to lighter spring and summer fare.

Some of my favorite warm weather dishes are Hawaiian poke, Peruvian ceviche or Tahitian poisson cru, but if the idea of eating raw fish gives you the heebie jeebies, then you might want to try this light and refreshing Burmese fish salad instead.

Burmese Fish Salad 1Your favorite filet of fish is poached in lemongrass-infused water (or if you’ve got some leftover fish to use up, feel free to use that instead), flaked, and then combined with plenty of shallots, chile pepper, and herbs.  The mixture is then tossed in a shallot and lime juice dressing.   It’s refreshing, lightly spicy and filling without being heavy.

Serve it alongside another salad or two (like perhaps this spinach one and/or this grated carrot one?) for a light lunch or even wrap it up in lettuce leaves for a fun appetizer or entree.

Burmese Fish Salad 3

Burmese Fish Salad with Shallots and Fresh Herbs

Because the dressing contains citrus juice, which will continue to “cook” the fish, this salad is best the day it’s made.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

* 1-1/2 cups water
* 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised with woody ends removed
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 pound white fish filet
* 3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots, soaked in cold water for at least 10 minutes and drained
* 2 Tablespoons lime juice
* 2 teaspoons fish sauce
* 1 Tablespoon shallot oil
* 3 Tablespoons golden crispy shallots
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 red Jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
* 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and/or mint leaves (I like a 3 Tablespoons cilantro to 1 Tablespoon mint ratio)

Directions:

Combine the water and lemongrass in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Add the salt and the fish and bring the water back to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the saucepan and cook the fish, keeping the water at a strong simmer, until the fish is just cooked through. Remove the fish to a plate to let cool. Discard the poaching water or reserve it for another use.

When the fish is cool enough to handle, break it into small chunks or flakes, depending on your preference. Add the shallots, lime juice, fish sauce, shallot oil, fried shallots, salt, chile pepper, and herbs and toss. Taste and adjust salt, if necessary. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Beef Lemongrass Sliders

Beef Lemongrass Sliders 1When I went gluten-free, my burger consumption plummeted.  No longer being able to eat the gluten-filled versions at Nico’s Pier 38 or W&M meant that burgers became something of a complicated meal to make at home rather than a quick, on-the-run option.   Gluten-free buns had to be procured from the vegetarian health food store, the ground beef and all the other fixings from another market, etc., etc.

Beef Lemongrass SlidersBut it occurs to me that maybe I’ve been going about gluten-free burgers all wrong.  Instead of making a bland patty that needs to be dressed up with all sorts of condiments, why not pack all the flavor and goodness into a compact, little package and skip the bread altogether, like with these Burmese beef lemongrass sliders?

Beef Lemongrass Sliders 2Infused with a shallot, garlic, ginger and lemongrass paste, these sliders are simple to make, but just as good as those teri burgers and cheeseburgers that I used to enjoy so much.  A bit of rice is mixed in with the ground beef to help bind the mixture and provide some starchy goodness.

The sliders are great plain, but you’ll get bonus points for serving them with some tart and garlicky tamarind sauce or some sweet and fiery chile sauce.

Beef Lemongrass Sliders 3

Beef Lemongrass Sliders

Yield: 4 servings, about 16 sliders

Ingredients:

* 1 pound ground beef
* 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
* 2 Tablespoons minced lemongrass (woody ends and tough outer leaves trimmed- use the white and pale green sections only)
* 4 cloves garlic
* 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
* 1/4 cup leftover, cooked rice
* 1 teaspoon salt
* oil for frying

Directions:

Place the ground beef in a large bowl and sprinkle with the turmeric and cayenne.

In a food processor, combine the shallots, lemongrass, garlic, and ginger and process until it becomes a paste. Add the rice and salt and pulse several times. Add the mixture to the ground beef and thoroughly mix to thoroughly incorporate the spices and shallot-lemongrass paste into the beef.

Use your hands to shape the mixture into balls about the size of golf balls and then flatten each slightly to form a thick patty.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef patties and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes before flipping the patties over. Cook until the sliders have developed a golden crust of until they’ve reached your desired level of doneness.

Burmese Grated Carrot Salad

Burmese Carrot Salad copyMy first experience with carrot salad?  The grated version that’s loaded with raisins and walnuts and drowning in a super-sweet dressing.  It was perfect for my tween palate, which hadn’t begun to appreciate most vegetables, but these days I’m looking for more depth and balance than that overly sweet, kid-friendly dish.

In this Burmese carrot salad, a mound of grated carrots is dressed in fish sauce and lime juice and tossed with crunchy peanuts, golden crispy shallots, and minced Jalapeno.  A hefty amount of cilantro provides that ubiquitous Southeast Asian pop of freshness while toasted chickpea flour and shrimp powder adds plenty of savory umami.

CarrotsBurmese Carrot Salad 1For fans of Thai or Vietnamese green papaya salad, you might be surprised to hear that this carrot salad has a very similar texture and flavor.  That’s great news for any of you who love the taste of green papaya salad, but don’t have an extremely well-stocked Asian market where you live.  No green papaya?  No problem.

Plain ol’ supermarket carrots would work just fine for this recipe, but I couldn’t resist making this with some colorful heirloom carrots from the farmer’s market.  I wanted to keep this as a lighter side dish so I resisted adding extra protein, but like green papaya salad, I bet it would be great with some shrimp or even chicken.

Burmese Carrot Salad 2

Burmese Grated Carrot Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

* 1 pound carrots, coarsely grated
* 3 Tablespoons lime juice
* 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
* 1 Tablespoon dried shrimp powder
* 1 Tablespoon toasted chickpea flour
* 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 chopped toasted peanuts
* 1/4 golden crispy shallots
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

Combine the carrots, lime juice and fish sauce in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to gently pound or press the carrots to help break them down a bit, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the shrimp powder, toasted chickpea flour, Jalapeno pepper, salt, peanuts, shallots and cilantro and toss. Transfer the mixture to a shallow serving bowl and serve immediately.

Sweet Sticky Rice Cake

With the exception of a great Asian food recipe round-up from Kevin at Closet Kitchen and a couple recipes here and there from some of my favorite food bloggers, it seems like Chinese New Year passed without much fanfare from the food blog community.   I was too busy to really celebrate last weekend, which meant I missed out on nian gao, a sweet, sticky rice flour dessert that many eat for good luck in the coming year.

So when I saw this recipe for a sweet sticky rice cake dessert from Naomi Duguid’s cookbook, Burma, I thought it would be a relatively good substitute for the Chinese New Year favorite.

Although this Burmese rice cake is made with whole sticky rice, as opposed to sticky rice flour, both desserts are sweetened with palm (or brown sugar), which gives the cakes a nice, caramel quality and flavor.  It also couldn’t be much simpler.  Just toss a bunch of ingredients in a rice cooker (or saucepan), cook until the rice is done, press into a pan and sprinkle with coconut.  Easy.

While I’m not sure if this sticky rice cake has the same promise of good luck as traditional nian gao, I’ll happily eat it year round just for the taste.

Burmese Sticky Rice Cake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minuts

Ingredients:

* 1-1/2 cups Thai sticky rice
* 1/3 cup raw peanuts
* 2/3 cup palm or brown sugar
* 1/3 cup sesame seeds
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 2-1/4 cups water

* small amount butter or coconut oil
* 1/4 cup dried, unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted in a dry skillet

Directions:

Quickly rinse the sticky rice under cold water, drain and place in a rice cooker. Add the peanuts, palm sugar, sesame seeds, salt and water. Stir to mix and turn the rice cooker on. Alternatively, if you are using a pan on the stove, combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and keep just below a simmer, until the rice is done, approximately 25-30 minutes.

Once the rice is done cooking, keep covered for an additional 10 minutes.

Lightly butter or grease an 8-inch by 8-inch square pan or a baking dish of similar size (I used an 7-inch by 11-inch baking dish).

Remove the lid from the saucepan or rice cooker and gently fold the ingredients together to evenly distribute the peanuts and sesame seeds. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and press down lightly and evenly. Scatter the top with the coconut.

Let stand for 30 minutes to firm up. Cut into squares and serve.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I get invited to a potluck or dinner at a friend’s place, it pretty much goes without saying that I’m the one responsible for bringing dessert.  And more often than not, my dessert of choice is cookies.  They’re easily portable, I can prep the dough ahead of time, and they don’t require any fuss (plates, utensils, etc.) on location.

I take a certain amount of pride in the fact that they’re always a hit, regardless of whether the other guests are gluten-free or not.  But there’s always a faction of people that leave me totally exasperated: the people don’t like sweets and avoid the dessert altogether.

As somebody with a major sweet tooth, the whole not liking sweets phenomenon is outside my realm of comprehension.   But it seems like there are plenty of these folks out there, lurking in the shadows.  Perhaps one of your loved ones or co-workers is afflicted?

These candied bacon chocolate chip cookies are my strategy in curing those seemingly odd ducks.  The cookie dough is made with butter and bacon grease, which infuses every bite with a faint porky, savory goodness.  And plenty of candied bacon is mixed in along with a generous amount of chocolate chips.

Even those who claimed to not like sweets were intrigued enough to give them a try.  And you know what?  I saw them returning for thirds and fourths.  Mission accomplished.

Gluten-Free Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/2 cup bacon fat, chilled
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup rice flour
* 3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon potato starch
* 3/4 cup sorghum flour
* 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups chocolate chips (I like to use 1 cup dark chocolate and 1 cup milk chocolate)
* 7-8 slices plain or maple candied bacon, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with a Silpat baking mat.

Beat butter, bacon grease and sugars until well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add the rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and candied bacon pieces and stir until well incorporated.

Drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges turn a light golden brown. Let cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Baked Salmon with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

I went to my favorite fish market a couple weekends ago, all set to follow through on my resolution of getting more Omega-3 fatty acids in my diet in 2013.  Unfortunately just about everybody else must have had the same idea because just about the only fish available for less than $20 per pound were these salmon filets.

But since two of the ingredients in my beloved fish and furikake bowl are temporarily off-limits (rice, mayonnaise), I had to come up with something a tad healthier.

In this recipe salmon is marinated in a sweet and sour Asian ginger marinade and baked until tender and flaky.   You can stop there or, for extra credit, serve it with a Vietnamese dipping sauce that’s hot, sour, salty and sweet.

Baked Salmon with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

Marinade:
* 2 Tablespoons oil
* 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger (peeled)
* 1 Tablespoon finely chopped garlic
* 1 Tablespoons finely chopped shallots or onion
* 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
* 1 Tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos

* 1 pound thick salmon filets

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce:
* 1/4 cup fish sauce
* 1-1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
* 1-1/2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
* 2 Tablespoons water
* 1-1/2 Tablespoons sugar
* 1 small Thai chile, finely sliced
* 1 Tablespoon thinly slice green onion

Directions:

Combine the oil, ginger, garlic, shallots, fish sauce, and soy sauce in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the salmon and flip to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the salmon and the marinade in a baking dish and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the salmon is done and flakes easily.

While the salmon is baking, prepare the dipping sauce by combining the fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, water, sugar, chile pepper and green onion in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Transfer the fish to a serving platter and serve with the Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Potatoes, Bacon and Brie, Tartiflette Style

Tartiflette.  Sounds kinda fancy and maybe just a little bit uppity, right?   Like the kind of dish that requires special cookware or a whole afternoon to make?  Thankfully I was wrong on pretty much all counts.

Absent from most of the French cookbooks I’ve been using over the past month or so, I spotted the recipe for tartiflette in Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook.  A rustic dish with potatoes, cheese and bacon?  Count me in.

But I hit a roadblock when Reblochon cheese, the key ingredient to tartiflette, was nowhere to be found in Honolulu.  I was even more discouraged when Googling “Reblochon substitute tartiflette” seemed to yield a whole bunch of opinions that there simply is no substitute.  Bummer.

But as luck would have it, Food and Wine had an article about Bourdain in their December issue and I spotted an image of the very page in Les Halles which contained the recipe for tartiflette.  And then there were those eight magic words written by Bourdain himself… “feel free to get creative with the cheese.”

Done and done.  So while this isn’t technically tartiflette, I don’t think you’ll have anybody complaining at the dinner table.  Bacon, onion, and potatoes are sauteed in rendered bacon grease and white wine and then layered with cheese.  The whole thing is baked until nice and bubbly.

Something like brie will leave a visible rind while Gruyere or other rind-less cheeses should melt right in (for those of you who care about aesthetics).  Slightly fancy-pants and pure comfort, I can’t imagine a better side or starch for a holiday meal.

Potatoes, Bacon and Brie, Tartiflette Style

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

* 2-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled
* 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 medium onion, diced
* 1/2 pound thick-sliced bacon, diced
* 3/4 cup white wine
* salt and pepper
* 1 pound wheel Brie (or substitute another cheese)
* chopped parsley (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until a paring knife can pierce the potatoes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes into a 1/2 to 3/4 inch dice and set aside.

In a very large saute pan heat the oil over high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the bacon and cook until the bacon and onion are both browned. Add the potatoes, the wine and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the mixture from the heat. Place half of the mixture in a large, ovenproof dish. Cut the cheese in half horizontally, so that you have two identical rounds, each with one side of the rind.

Cut the wheels into several wedges. Scatter half of the cheese on top of the potato layer, rind side up. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture and the remaining cheese.

Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, scatter with parsley, if using, and serve hot.

David’s Racines Cake

Dessert may just be the easiest part of eating out at restaurants.  There’s almost always a gluten-free ice cream or sorbet on the menu, occasionally crème brûlée, and, if I’m really lucky, a flourless chocolate cake.

I’m not one to complain about desserts being too rich or too dense, but it was certainly a nice surprise when this flourless chocolate cake baked up much lighter than the typical flourless cake… the whipped egg whites helped create a cake with an almost mousse-like texture.

The recipe is from the Parisian restaurant Racines via David Lebovitz (David tells the story about how he found the recipe on the restaurant’s bathroom wall, of all places, here).

And may I state the obvious here?  She’s not much of a looker, this one.  Dark and craggly with a slightly sunken center and a scattering of intense cocoa nibs, you’ll want to serve it to folks who value taste over looks.

Since the original recipe was intended for 10-12 servings, I halved the original recipe to help avoid excessive amounts of tempting leftovers.  Feel free to double it back up to the standard size and bake it in a 9-inch Springform pan.  Just know that you’ll have to let the cake cook slightly longer.

David’s Racines Cake

David states that he prefers the cake the day it’s made, but I liked it well chilled after an overnight stay in the fridge.

Ingredients:

* cocoa powder
* 3/4 cup plus approximately 1 Tablespoon bittersweet chocolate chips (or ~5 ounces chopped chocolate)
* 1/4 cup butter, plus extra for greasing pan
* 1-1/2 Tablespoons freshly brewed espresso
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
* 3 eggs, separated and at room temperature
* 3 Tablespoons sugar, separated
* 1 Tablespoon cocoa nibs
* whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter the bottom and sides of a 6-inch springform pan. Dust with cocoa powder and then tap out any excess.

Place the chocolate chips, butter and espresso in a small bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth (if necessary, return the mixture to the microwave for 15-20 second intervals to melt the chocolate). Add the vanilla extract and stir to mix.

In a large metal bowl whisk the egg whites using an electric mixer until the eggs begin to hold their shape. Add one Tablespoon of sugar and continue to whisk until the egg whites will hold soft peaks.

In a large bowl, using the same mixer beaters, beat the egg yolks on medium speed with the remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar until the mixture is light and creamy.

Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture while stirring with a large spoon. Mix until well combined. Gently fold in about one-third of the egg white mixture to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the cocoa nibs. Bake until the center is barely set, approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, place on a wire cooling rack, and cool completely.

Remove the sides of the springform pan. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Leek and Onion Tart

As much as I’d love to throw a big holiday party, it seems as though everybody’s evenings for December are always solidly booked with family obligations, work parties and other get-togethers.

But I’ve been toying with the idea of having a casual open house holiday party this year, when folks can stop in throughout the day on a Sunday for some small bites and a holiday drink or two.

I love the idea of having waves of small groups of friends coming over throughout the day.  No loud music or crowds  means I’d be able to have actual conversations with guests and wouldn’t have to worry about everybody being able to find a seat. And another bonus of not having a Friday night party?  Having all of Saturday to prepare.

I’d make foods that could be  pulled out of the fridge throughout the day as the food table needs replenishing.  How easy would that be?  Mini versions of this savory tart,  with sauteed leeks and onions and a good sprinkling of shredded Gruyere, would be perfect.

I can’t say that I really understand the difference between a savory tart and a quiche, but this tart has a slightly different egg to heavy cream ratio that I normally use for quiche.  It’s also a bit heavier on the filling.  And while you don’t get as many unbroken segments of  smooth, savory custard as many quiches, the result is a more intense flavor from the sauteed leeks and onions.

But if the holiday open house doesn’t happen this year, this will still definitely be on the menu for a weekend brunch.  And one final note: you can serve it warm or at room temperature the day you make it, but I found that the flavor was even better the next day after sitting overnight in the refrigerator.

Leek and Onion Tart

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Crust:
* 1/3 cup millet flour
* 1/3 cup superfine rice flour
* 1/3 cup potato starch
* 2 Tablespoons sweet rice flour
* 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into at least 6 small pieces
* 1 large egg
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Filling:
* 2 small to medium leeks
* 1 Tablespoon butter
* 1 medium onion, diced
* 1-1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
* 3 eggs
* 1 cup heavy cream
* salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9 or 10-inch tart pan with cooking spray and dust generously with rice flour.

In a large bowl combine the millet flour, rice flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, xanthan gum and salt. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter in. Add the egg and lemon juice and mix until the mixture comes together in a ball. Use the heel of your hand to quickly knead the dough to ensure even blending. Do not overwork the dough; you do not want to melt the butter.

Place the dough on a large piece of waxed paper. Cover with another sheet and roll out the dough to the appropriate size. If the dough feels tacky, you can refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes. Gently peel off the top layer of wax paper and invert the dough into the tart pan. Remove the other sheet of waxed paper and press into the pan.

Partially bake the crust for ten minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Finely slice the white and pale green section of the leeks, discarding the darker green sections (or save for making stock ). Wash and drain the sliced leeks.

Melt the butter in a medium saute or frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. Spread the mixture into the prebaked crust and then sprinkle evenly with the shredded Gruyere. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl and then whisk in the heavy cream. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour over the leeks, onion and cheese mixture. Bake until the tart has set and the surface has lightly browned, about 15-30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool. Serve at room temperature or cover with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.

Coconut Friands- Mini Coconut Tea Cakes

Like Lindsay, I have a tendency to gravitate towards recipes that call for egg yolks.  For a long time I didn’t have any go-to recipes for egg whites (and I’m far too lazy to use Lindsay’s impressive labeling and freezing system), so the best case scenario for those leftovers was a half-hearted egg white scramble.

I thought I’d found a solution to my egg white problem in a retro French dessert: floating islands.

I was wrong.  They might be visually impressive, but whipped egg whites  simmered in water just aren’t my jam… even when they’re floating in Crème Anglaise and topped with caramel sauce.  This is one retro recipe I’m OK with not making a comeback.

But these coconut friands, sweet, mini tea-cakes made from dried, shredded coconut?  Now this is the way to use up extra egg whites.

A lot of folks consider friands  sort of a variation of financiers, those nutty and addictive tea cakes made from ground almonds.  I’d be hard-pressed to decide my favorite between the two… they’re both so so good.

And it didn’t occur to me, but swapping out the butter for coconut oil would be a great way to take the coconut flavor up a notch or two as well.

Consider these a buttery and slightly more refined version of macaroon cookies.  They’re a snap to throw together and are cute as a button plain plain or with a quick sprinkle of powdered sugar.  I can happily say that I think my egg white problem is a thing of the past.

Coconut Friands- Mini Coconut Tea Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

* 4 large egg whites, preferably at room temperature
* 1-1/2 cups finely shredded unsweetened dried coconut (avoid the large unsweetened coconut ribbons)
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon superfine rice flour
* 3 Tablespoons potato starch
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 8 Tablespoons (1 stick or 1/4 cup) butter, melted
* powdered/confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter or spray two 12-cup mini-muffin tins or line them with paper liners.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or a whisk, beat the egg whites until they’re smooth and a little bit foamy. Switch from the mixer or whisk to a spoon and gently mix in the remaining ingredients, one at a time. The batter should have a nice sheen to it.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tins, filling them almost to the top of the cups. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the edges of the mini cakes are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and immediately unmold the cakes; I used a small cocktail fork to help remove them. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar, if desired, right before serving.

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