Gluten-free Kinako White Chocolate Cookies

My mother is an excellent cook. I mostly got my love of cooking and food from her, especially when it comes to Japanese cuisine. I was lucky enough to grow up in New York, where there is an abundance of Japanese supermarkets, making sourcing ingredients like dashi (stock), tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) and nori (dried seaweed) really simple. When I went to Manchester for university, I found myself really stuck in terms of finding the basics I was so used to at home. Luckily, there are a few more options in London, like the Japan Centre in Piccadilly Circus or Atariya. They both have great selections, but they’re either completely rammed (Piccadilly is always horrendously crowded due to all the tourists) or quite far out (the end of the Northern line, for both Atariya locations), and getting home can be a massive hassle when you bulk buy rice and other basics, like I do.

Kinako White Chocolate Gluten Free CookiesSo I was completely thrilled when I was contacted by the lovely team from the Japan Food Hall, a Japanese online supermarket based in the UK. They have a great selection of products – everything from Japanese candies and snacks to sauces and mixes for dishes like sushi or hotpot. The website is clear, easy to use, and has great customer service (they even sent along a few snacks and treats with my first order!) It’s perfect for getting all the essentials, without the expense of lugging it all across town.

Kinako White Chocolate Gluten Free Cookies

One of the first items in my order was a bag of kinako, or roasted soybean flour. I love kinako, which is usually eaten with a little bit of brown sugar with roasted mochi, a Japanese rice cake. Kinako flour is gluten free, and has a rich, nutty flavour, which makes it great for incorporating it into Western-style desserts in new and interesting ways. I really like topping vanilla ice cream with it, or having it with some Greek yoghurt, honey and blueberries. For this recipe, I combined some of that nuttiness with some rich white chocolate, in a gluten-free and egg-free biscuit recipe that goes perfectly with a steaming cup of matcha tea.

Gluten-free Kinako White Chocolate Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Kinako flour is gluten free, and has a rich, nutty flavour, which makes it great for incorporating it into Western-style desserts in new and interesting ways. I really like topping vanilla ice cream with it, or having it with some Greek yoghurt, honey and blueberries. For this recipe, I combined some of that nuttiness with some rich white chocolate, in a gluten-free and egg-free biscuit recipe that goes perfectly with a steaming cup of matcha tea.
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: Japanese Fusion
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 80g Kinako (roasted soybean) flour
  • 200g Crushed white chocolate
  • 200g Gluten-free flour
  • 125g Butter
  • 50ml Maple Syrup
  • 200ml Agave Syrup
  • Maldon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Matcha tea powder and hot water (optional, to serve)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flours until fully incorporated.
  3. Using a stand or hand mixer, fold the remaining ingredients with the exception of the chocolate.
  4. Stir in the remaining chocolate pieces with a spatula until evenly distributed.
  5. Using a baking tray lined with parchment paper, spoon out the dough.
  6. Leave space between each biscuit as these will spread!
  7. Top each biscuit with a pinch of sea salt, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.
  8. These are crumbly when hot, so take care when placing these on a cooling rack.
  9. Let them cool – they should be quite chewy, with a creamy flavour.
  10. Serve with some matcha or Darjeeling tea.
Kinako White Chocolate Gluten Free CookiesKinako White Chocolate Gluten Free CookiesI absolutely love using traditional Japanese ingredients and using them to take a new spin on the classic British afternoon tea. For summer, I’ve been thinking of matcha cheesecakes, cucumber maki rolls instead of cucumber sandwiches and roasted hoji-cha tea – with some sparkling fruit sake, of course!

Kinako White Chocolate Gluten Free Cookies

Japan Food Hall have a great selection sure to get your creative juices flowing – and until May 31st you can get free UK delivery when you use the code ErinFreeDelivery3105. Japan Food Hall deliver throughout Europe, so if you’re outside the British Isles you can use the code to get £6 off your total order. To find their site, simply click on the link below, or find links to their social media site at the end of this post!

Let me know what you end up getting – I’d love to hear your ideas!

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This post was in collaboration with the Japan Food Hall – all opinions are fully my own, and I wouldn’t blog it if I didn’t love the service! What recipes and ingredients will you try? Comment below, and be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Japanese Matsuri Festival, London

We spent the afternoon today at the Japanese festival, or matsuri, in Trafalgar Square.

Japan Matsuri Festival Trafalgar Square 2014

The London Japan Matsuri is an annual event, celebrating aspects of Japanese culture – food, music, crafts, martial arts and, of course, calisthenics! It was a really fun and lively way of sharing and opening people up to new experiences.

Water balloons, Japan Matsuri Festival 2014 Trafalgar Square

There were so many things to do – from more traditional events, like the ‘tsuri’ (fishing out water balloons with a hook – a childhood favourite), to karate demonstrations, to getting to pet some adorable dogs (which I unfortunately missed).

Kimonos, Japan Matsuri Festival Trafalgar Square 2014Graffiti wall totoro japan matsuri festival tralfalgar square 2014

There was a graffiti wall, where everyone made their mark (mostly manga/anime characters I’m clearly too out of it to know about!)

Japan matsuri festival trafalgar square 2014

As usual, Mr. A and I made a beeline for the food. All my favourite London-based Japanese restaurants had stalls there: Shoryu, Matsuri St. James’s and Atari-ya were all represented.

japan matsuri festival trafalgar square 2014

Most of the food stalls had ridiculous queues by the time Mr. A got there (just after midday), so we settled for the slightly pricier option of the Wagyu, or Japanese beef bowl. It was delicious – the meat was really succulent, and delicately seasoned with mirin. Definitely a recipe I will be recreating myself very soon!

wagyu beef bowl, japan matsuri festival 2014

I fell in love with some beautiful ceramic bowls – I’m a massive fan of white and blue china.

blue bowl japan matsuri festival 2014japanese accessories japan matsuri festival 2014

We caught some of the main stage activity, which included a Japanese cover of ‘Let It Go’ (Frozen is wildly popular in Japan), as well as demonstration of some daily calisthenic exercises. Almost everyone in Japan is brought up on these exercises, which they often do at work, or before school. Despite not having been in a Japanese classroom for 18 years, after hearing the music my body was going into autopilot – and I am shockingly bad at remembering any dance routines, ever.

japan matsuri festival 2014

There were fashion shows, music acts, all sorts of different activities. It was a really nice way to share some of my culture, and it was so great to see such a massive turn out. There were also several Fukushima stalls, raising awareness about the disaster.

japan matsuri festival

The festival organisers were really lucky with the weather – it was such a gorgeous day. It was a really nice way of sharing some of the great aspects of Japan, while the chaos and frenzy was London all over. And of course, despite being a festival in central London full of thousands of people, you run into people you know! It was a lovely afternoon – and I’m already looking forward to next year.

Muji Mania

Muji Mania

Muji is one of my favourite brands.

It’s funny, really, because ‘Muji’ is short for ‘Mujirushi Ryohin’ – which means unbranded, high quality goods in Japanese. Muji’s minimalist and Scandinavian inspired design, along with its emphasis on recycling has made the brand a hit in the west. Everything I’ve tried from Muji has been of such a high quality and standard – including personal care products, stationery and clothing. I’ve never been disappointed in anything I’ve purchased from them and they have lasted years.

At the moment I’m coveting Muji furniture, which is aesthetically pleasing as well as being practical. My ikea wardrobe is now falling at the seams and leaning like the tower of Pisa so I’m looking forward to making a new addition to my room soon!

Muji makeup

One of my favourite Muji products is their range of bath salts. This rose scented one is my favourite, and smells divine. They also do an amazing range of scented candles and oil burners. These clear plastic drawers are also perfect for storing makeup and are guaranteed to go with any interior, while great for organising your collection.