Crispy Wontons

Crispy Wontons

Crispy Wontons

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Crispy Wontons piled high in a brown bowl resting on a red napkin with a dark background.

I’m a PIG! At least that what my friend and co-worker Yanan tells me, and who knows the Chinese zodiac better than a person born and raised in China? It’s a lucky sign/animal Yanan tells me, but being called a pig certainly doesn’t have the best ring to it. However, I must confess I have been known to be a little piggish when it comes to food LOL! Today’s Crispy Wontons are inspired by Yanan and the upcoming Chinese New Year on February 12th.

Wontons wrapped three ways on a wooden cutting board demonstrating pork wontons for the Crispy Wontons recipe.

Yanan can make the best pork dumplings and steamed buns and has been my inspiration and guidance for this post. She is always willing to teach, lend a helping hand, and has a huge heart. I can say with some honesty that my wonton making has improved with her recommendations and practice from making this post. However, it will be some time, if ever, that I can proclaim to be a pro at Chinese cooking. I will at least say it is fun to practice!

Yanan and her family immigrated from China to Quebec, Canada in 1999. They had to learn French in a French-speaking province, find employment and make their way through endless challenges in a new country. Yanan was a teacher in China and already knew technical English, but learning Americanized English was a thing of its own. The slang, profanity and innuendoes still took some learning. The tones in the Chinese language are very prevalent when she is speaking English today. They provide a level of entertainment because her tone can change with each word, leaving you to wonder if she is being passionate, angry, or simply excited about something.

Crispy Wontons piled high in a brown bowl resting on a red napkin with a dark background.

From Quebec, Yanan and her family moved across the country to the province of Alberta. She found employment with the Correctional Service of Canada and eventually became a co-worker of mine. She is a joy to me, and I consider myself lucky to call her a friend. Happy New Year Yanan!

Crispy Wontons piled high in a brown bowl resting on a red napkin with a dark background.

Crispy Wontons piled high in a brown bowl resting on a red napkin with a dark background.
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Crispy Wontons

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 52 wontons

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing Chinese wine or sherry
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg wonton wrappers
  • as needed canola oil

Instructions

  • Line a large baking tray with parchment and fill a small bowl with cold water.
  • In a medium bowl add all ingredients except wrappers and canola oil. Mix gently until well combined.
  • Lay 8-10 wrappers on a flat surface. Place approximately 2 teaspoons of pork filling in the center of each wrapper. Moisten the outer edge of the wrapper with water using your fingertip. Fold the wrapper in half diagonally, pressing lightly on the edges to create a good seal. Dab both lower corners with water and bring both lower corners across and together pressing lightly to hold. It will look like a bishops hat. Place prepared wonton on the baking tray and repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Keep the wrappers and prepared wontons covered with a clean damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out.
  • Attach a candy/high-temperature thermometer to the side of a large pot at least 9" in diameter. Add enough canola oil to come up a minimum of 3 inches. Heat oil to 350°F.
  • Carefully drop wontons into the hot oil, about 8-10 at a time depending on the size of your pot. Cook for 2 minutes per side until golden. Remove with a mesh/slotted scoop to a paper towel-lined tray. Repeat with remaining wontons, adjusting temperature as you go to maintain the 350°F.
  • Serve immediately with plum sauce, sweet chili sauce or a soy dipping sauce.

Notes

-Wontons can be shaped in a variety of different ways.  I like to use the simple folded triangle method which resembles a bishop's hat, however, any shape will work. Three varieties are shown in the post.
-Alternatively, you can use an electric deep fryer set at 350°F to cook the wontons.

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Nut Butter Granola Bars

Nut Butter Granola Bars

NUT BUTTER GRANOLA BARS

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Baked Nut Butter Granola Bars cut and wrapped with a ribbon.

These slightly chewy, a little bit crunchy Nut Butter Granola Bars are the perfect snack or grab and go breakfast. As the name implies, they are made with nut butter, and my personal preference is natural chunky peanut butter. I’ve also made them with almond butter, which is tasty too, however the peanut flavour really comes through when using peanut butter and it’s a great flavour that marries up nicely with the honey. So tasty!

Nut Butter Granola Bars pressed into a 9x13 pan and ready for baking.

From this recipe, you get 16 nicely sized bars that wrap and freeze well for those of you who like to get a little meal prep done. If it’s likely that your hungry family will hoover through these is a short time, they’ll last for several days in a sealed container at room temperature.

Nut Butter Granola Bars are gluten-free, packed full of protein from the goodness of nuts and egg whites. The fat from the peanut butter and ground-up nuts helps to keep you feeling full and dried fruit and honey give a little chewiness and natural sweetness. There’s no excuse not to have a batch of these ready for snacking, enjoy!

Baked Nut Butter Granola Bars cut and wrapped with a ribbon.

Author:  Compelled to Cook, adapted slightly from Bon Appétit

Nut Butter Granola Bars
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    16 bars 30 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    30-35 minutes 5 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    16 bars 30 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    30-35 minutes 5 minutes
    Nut Butter Granola Bars
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      16 bars 30 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      30-35 minutes 5 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      16 bars 30 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      30-35 minutes 5 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: bars
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange nuts and pumpkin seeds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes until golden, stirring once. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
      2. Meanwhile, reduce the oven to 300°F. Spray a 13x9" pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper, overhanging the long sides.
      3. Using a food processor, pulse cooled nuts and 1 cup of oats until a sandy consistency and no large pieces of oats remain. Transfer to a large bowl, along with the remaining cup of whole oats. To the same bowl stir in dried fruit and oil (chop any dried fruit bigger than a raisin).
      4. In a medium saucepan whisk together honey, salt and vanilla over medium heat until at a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes until bubbling vigorously and smells like caramel.
      5. Add peanut butter to oat mixture along with the hot honey and stir to fully combine. By adding together, the hot honey will help melt the peanut butter. Whisk egg white in a small bowl and stir into oat mixture until fully incorporated.
      6. Scoop into prepared pan and pack down firmly and evenly. Using the bottom of a measuring cup helps to compact the mixture and get it flat.
      7. Bake until golden and no longer sticky 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before scoring into 16 pieces (2x8). Let cool completely in the pan before lifting out using the parchment overhang. Cut along score marks into bars.
      Recipe Notes

      -don't skimp on the amount of listed salt.

      -I used a combination of almonds, pecans and cashews.

      -cut bars can be wrapped and frozen, kept in a sealed container for up to 1 month.

      -cut bars will last for about 5 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

      -other nut butter such as almond butter work well too.

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Creamy Lemon Pops

      Creamy Lemon Pops

      CREAMY LEMON POPS

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      Creamy Lemon Pops stacked on a metal serving tray garnished with fresh strawberries and a bowl of lemons in the background.

      It’s still summer, thankfully! So this means there’s still time to enjoy these delicious Creamy Lemon Pops. This week in central Alberta the weather is scheduled to be one of the nicest of the summer, assuming the weatherman gets it right of course!! It’s crazy to think people can predict the weather 30 years from now with global warming but can’t seem to predict two days out. It’s frustrating, to say the least, when trying to plan activities and having a very short summer season. But all my mumbling aside, these Creamy Lemon Pops are packed with lemon flavour from fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. They’re creamy and delicious but not overly sweet, which makes them great in hot weather.

      Creamy Lemon Pops in a popsicle mold with a tray of Creamy Lemon Pops garnished with strawberries and mint in the foreground.

      The recipe is a riff on a Semifreddo, meaning half-frozen and like custard-style ice cream. I’ve gone and added yogurt and lightened up on the sugar to make these lovely treats. They’re super creamy and indulgent, making them great for kids and adults alike. So go ahead and treat yourself while the sun still shines this summer, enjoy!

      Creamy Lemon Pops stacked on a metal serving tray garnished with fresh strawberries and a bowl of lemons in the background.

      Creamy Lemon Pops stacked on a metal serving tray garnished with fresh strawberries and a bowl of lemons in the background.
      Creamy Lemon Pops
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        8 popsicles 20-25 minutes
        Cook Time
        4-5 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        8 popsicles 20-25 minutes
        Cook Time
        4-5 minutes
        Creamy Lemon Pops stacked on a metal serving tray garnished with fresh strawberries and a bowl of lemons in the background.
        Creamy Lemon Pops
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          8 popsicles 20-25 minutes
          Cook Time
          4-5 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          8 popsicles 20-25 minutes
          Cook Time
          4-5 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: popsicles
          Instructions
          1. In a small bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Place the bowl over a double boiler, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat over medium, whisking constantly until mixture registers 170°F, about 4 minutes.
          2. Remove from heat and place in the fridge while proceeding.
          3. Whip heavy cream until firm peaks hold. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
          4. Using the same beaters, whip the warm egg yolk mixture until creamy, lite, and cool/room temperature to the touch, about 4 minutes. Stir in Greek yogurt until combined.
          5. Fold whipped cream into egg mixture until combined. Divide evenly into 8-80ml popsicle molds. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. Run warm water over the popsicle molds to loosen slightly before pulling the popsicles out. Popsicles will last for a week if kept covered and in the mold.
          Recipe Notes

          -If preferred, remove all popsicles at once and store them in an airtight container for up to one week.

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          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
          Pumpernickel Seed and Nut Crisps

          Pumpernickel Seed and Nut Crisps

          Pumpernickel Seed and Nut Crisps

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          It’s time for a little blog cleanup, so I’m picking away at updating and putting a polish on a few of my older posts. Today’s cleanup goes back to 2016 with these wholesome, rustic and vegan Pumpernickel Seed and Nut Crisps. Not only are these crisps beautiful with their dark cracker base they are also delightfully healthy with no added fat, eggs or dairy. I find some of my great recipes get left in the dust, never to be made again because my head is down and focused on always creating NEW content. Doing a little blog cleanup allows me to go back and redo the recipes, reminding me of just how good they really are.

          A white bowl piled high with Pumpernickel Seed and Nut Crisps.

          In this recipe, I used nuts and seeds that I had on hand, but you can certainly change them up to whatever is your favourite. I love these Pumpernickel Seed & Nut Crisps because of their texture which is crispy, yet still, some bites give a little chew. The currents are a nice addition because their size adds just the right amount of sweetness without becoming overbearing. Enjoy!

          Baked Pumpernickel Seed and Nut Crisps in loaf form on a wooden cutting board garnished with fresh thyme.
          A small white plate with Pumpernickel Seed and Nuts Crisps, cheese slices and apricot jelly.
          A white bowl piled high with Pumpernickel Seed and Nut Crisps.

          Pumpernickel Seed & Nut Crisps
          Print Recipe
          Crisp wholesome seed and nut crackers perfect for a vegan diet.
            Servings Prep Time
            64 crackers 15 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            70 minutes 90 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            64 crackers 15 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            70 minutes 90 minutes
            Pumpernickel Seed & Nut Crisps
            Print Recipe
            Crisp wholesome seed and nut crackers perfect for a vegan diet.
              Servings Prep Time
              64 crackers 15 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              70 minutes 90 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              64 crackers 15 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              70 minutes 90 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: crackers
              Instructions
              1. Preheat oven to 350℉. I
              2. In a large bowl whisk together all ingredients until just combined.
              3. Spray 2 8"x4" loaf pans with non-stick spray and divide batter evenly between them. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack to room temperature. Once cool, remove loaves from their pan and place in the freezer for about an hour to help firm up for cutting.
              4. Reheat oven to 300℉.
              5. Remove from the freezer and cut each loaf into 1/8" slices. You should get approximately 30-33 slices per loaf. Lay each slice flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip each piece and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes (they will continue to crisp up as they cool). Remove from oven and place each slice onto a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container once completely cooled.
              Recipe Notes

              -Any seeds and nuts can be used, but in this recipe, I used a combination of currents, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pepitas.

              -Regular 9"x 5" loaf pans can be used, however, I used 8" x 4" foil loaf pans because they are narrower and therefore produce a slightly taller cracker and the loaves pop right out of the foil pans.

              -Freezing is only required to assist in cutting even thin slices.  If you are good with a knife, feel free to skip this step.

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              I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
              Five Spice Mixed Nuts

              Five Spice Mixed Nuts

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              Five Spiced Mixed Nuts in a small bowl on a gold tray with white napkins and glasses of champagne.

              Do you have a New Year’s Eve gathering and need tasty nibbles to pass along with your bubbly? Five Spice Mixed Nuts are very snackable and rather addictive with a hint of spice and sugar. They’re the party favour that you just can’t stop grabbing at. You’ll find a pleasant mixture of Chinese five-spice, maple syrup and brown sugar. The nuts are coated just enough for a light sugary chew with a lingering spice that you can’t quite put your finger on. The added dried cherries lend a little extra sweetness and soft texture to balance the crunchy nuts.

              Five Spice Mixed Nuts is a simple recipe to toss together and will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. They’re perfect to make ahead for any social gathering. Enjoy your holidays and Happy New Year to you and your family. I wish you a wonderful year ahead!

              Five Spice Mixed Nuts
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                5 cups 10 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                60 minutes 1+ hours
                Servings Prep Time
                5 cups 10 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                60 minutes 1+ hours
                Five Spice Mixed Nuts
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  5 cups 10 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  60 minutes 1+ hours
                  Servings Prep Time
                  5 cups 10 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  60 minutes 1+ hours
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: cups
                  Instructions
                  1. Preheat oven to 225°F. Spray a large baking tray with non-stick spray.
                  2. In a large bowl toss together nuts.
                  3. In a medium bowl whisk together maple syrup, brown sugar, egg white, water, Chinese five spice and sea salt. Pour over nuts and stir to coat evenly.
                  4. Spread nuts evenly on a large baking tray. Bake for 60 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. If using dried cherries stir them in halfway through baking time.
                  5. Remove from oven and loosen from the baking tray. Allow nuts to cool completely before breaking apart. Will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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                  I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
                  Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins

                  Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins

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                  Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins stacked on a metal stand with a split muffin on a plate in the foreground.

                  These naughty but nice Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins are perfect for back to school.  They have minimal added sugar, are made with whole wheat flour and pureed peaches for a healthy-ish muffin.  The streusel topping and juicy peach chunks keep it being the muffin you want to eat or send in your child’s lunch, without the guilt. 

                  Muffins are not only a great item to add to breakfast or brunch, but also great as a snack.  They come together easily, freeze well and are a must to have on hand whether you pack lunches or not.

                  Fresh peaches stacked on a metal tray in preparation for Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins.

                  Tips for great muffins:

                  *DO NOT OVERMIX!  I really can’t stress this enough.  Once the flour is added to the wet ingredients in any quick bread recipe, the batter only needs to be mixed enough to incorporate the ingredients.  Any more mixing than that will start to develop the gluten in the flour.  The result will be tough muffins or loaves.

                  *Divide batter evenly into the muffin tins to ensure the muffins bake uniformly and evenly.

                  *Don’t overbake!  Bake just long enough that they spring back when lightly touched or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Overbaked muffins will be dry and dense.

                  * Bake muffins on the middle oven rack for even baking without scorched bottoms or tops that are too dark.

                  *Use muffins liners or a well-greased muffin tin to prevent the muffins from sticking.  Nobody wants to fight with trying to unstick a dozen muffins only to have bits of muffin stuck to the pan anyway.  It’s just a waste of perfectly good muffin bits.

                  *Allow the muffins to cool for at least 5-10 minutes before trying to remove from the pan.  This will prevent any “squishing” mishaps that are likely to happen when trying to pull them out while they are hot and soft.

                  Now is the time that fresh peaches are abundant, so enjoying these delicious Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins is a must.

                  Peach Streusel Muffins
                  Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    12 muffins 30 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    18-22 minutes
                    Servings Prep Time
                    12 muffins 30 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    18-22 minutes
                    Peach Streusel Muffins
                    Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      12 muffins 30 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      18-22 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      12 muffins 30 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      18-22 minutes
                      Ingredients
                      Streusel Topping
                      Muffins
                      Servings: muffins
                      Instructions
                      Streusel Topping
                      1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined and crumbly. Set aside.
                      Muffins
                      1. Set oven rack to the centre and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin.
                      2. Peel peaches and remove stone. Chop two of the peaches into 1/2" chunks and set aside. Puree the remaining two peaches using a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
                      3. In a small bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
                      4. In a large bowl whisk together oil and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking after each until incorporated.
                      5. Stir in sour cream, pureed peaches and vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in chopped peaches.
                      6. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle each muffin with a generous tbsp of streusel topping.
                      7. Bake for 18-22 minutes or a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
                      8. Allow to cool at least 5-10 minutes prior to removing from muffin tin. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely or eat while warm.

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                      Affiliate Disclosure

                      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com