Happy New Year!
No I’m not late, it’s officially the Year of the Monkey and people around the world are celebrating the Chinese New Year. Each festival is represented by one of twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, and this year we have the curious and mischievous monkey.
Also known as the Lunar Year or Spring Festival, it’s celebrated not only in China but also in Taiwan, HK, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and other Asian countries. The festivities begin today on February 8th and continue for 15 days.
Families celebrate with numerous traditions, beginning with cleaning the house to drive bad luck out of the home and prepare for a prosperous new year. Red lanterns are hung outside the entrance of the doors, to symbolize good fortune, wealth and prosperity while warding off evil spirits. The word “Fu”, meaning good fortune and happiness” is placed, upside down, on doors and some furniture. Money is given by parents to their children in hopes of a lucky year ahead.
But the food, of course the food is a big part of Chinese culture. Chinese dumplings, filled with savory pork, seafood and vegetables are savoured and enjoyed by many. Long, hand-pulled noodles are slurped up and juicy oranges and tangerines are devoured with vigor.
Chinese desserts, including sesame balls, sticky rice cakes and Peking Dust (ground chestnuts over whipped cream) complete the celebration. Sesame seed brittle, enjoyed by many in China, has a sweet and crunchy texture. Typically it contains toasted sesame seeds, butter and sugar. This recipe, inspired by Omnivore Cookbook and HBH, uses maple syrup and coconut oil tossed in sesame seeds, chia seeds and black and white raw quinoa. Soooo…….healthy???
This quinoa and sesame seed brittle can be enjoyed all year round, which I plan on adding to my regular snack rotation. I love sesame seeds when they’re toasted so this candy brittle is easily one of my new favourites!
I used spare seeds and quinoa that were lying around, so you can adapt this recipe to whatever is hanging out in your pantry. Use up extra nuts and dried fruit, flavour extracts such as of vanilla, coconut, or citrus and bake in the oven until the candy has caramelized and the quinoa has become a rich brown colour.
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup raw quinoa (I used white and black quinoa)
- ½ cup chia seeds
- ½ cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
- dried rose petals and coconut flakes for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the maple syrup and coconut oil together and microwave until the coconut melts. Whisk together. Add in the vanilla extract and salt.
- In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, chia seeds, sesame seeds and pecans.
- Pour the maple syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until the seeds are coated.
- Spread the mixture over the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bark becomes a golden brown colour. Turn the tray 180 degrees at the 10 minute mark to help bake the bark evenly.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool. While it's cooling, melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave (stirring every 30 seconds until melted).
- Pour the melted chocolate over the bark and sprinkle dried rose petals and coconut flakes over top.
- Place in the fridge to harden completely then break into pieces. Bark can be stored in a resealable container for up to 1 week.
*This recipe and photos were adapted and inspired by Omnivore Cookbook and Half Baked Harvest*