Sugar-Free Macau Almond Cookies 無糖澳門杏仁餅

Recently my church friend, Anna, taught me how to make Macau almond cookies. I didn’t know how easy it could be until her detailed explanation. My immediate thought was like, hm… could I turn it into a sugar-free version? I put my thoughts into action after purchasing mung bean flour from the grocery store. I got several kinds of sweeteners on hand, and the preparation was quite simple. As such, I decided to do an experiment to test them all at once. I will attach a picture at the end of the post so you could see my result and a brief comment after the taste test. Inasmuch as Lakanto is easier to get and the result was quite close to the cookies made with icing sugar, I am sharing with you the sugar-free version made with Lakanto classic sweetener. The recipe below is specifically formulated for the use of this brand of sweetener which is grinded into a power form. Note that, unlike classic cookie dough, you won’t be able to knead the ingredients together to form a dough. Everything is just crumbly and sandy and you will need to squeeze them hard in order to shape the cookies. If your kids have Kinetic sand at home, its texture would best describe it. When shaping, also be cautious about how hard you press the crumbs into shape. The cookies will crumble when unmold if you don’t press hard enough; and conversely, cookies that are too compact would taste dense. So when you make the cookies yourself, avoid pressing the cookies way too long or too hard for fear that they would fall apart. Just keep practicing until you get the hang of it.
最近教會的Anna姊妹教EC做澳門杏仁餅,經過她細心講解後才知道原來杏仁餅製作是很容易的呀!隨之而來的想法就是:杏仁餅可以做成無糖版本嗎?買到綠豆粉後,EC便將此想法付諸實行,因為製作方法實在太容易,家中又有幾種不同的代糖,因此,EC決定來個大比拚,實驗並比較一下不同的代糖,看看哪個成品效果最好(文章末段EC會分享照片及簡單的評價一下)。EC最終選擇了羅漢果糖配方跟大家分享,因為這個天然代糖比較容易買到,而且口感跟用糖霜做出來的很接近。以下分享的是經過重新調整的,適合用於Lakanto羅漢果糖的配方,使用之前EC用破壁機把羅漢果糖打成粉末狀。做的時候要注意一下,材料是不會好像做曲奇般可以搓成一團的,攪拌好的材料貌似一盤散沙,是要大力擠壓才會勉強組成一團的,情況會有點像孩子們玩的動力沙(kinetic sand)。壓模的時候也要注意力度:力度不夠,杏仁餅的花紋會模糊不清,倒扣出模時甚至會散掉;反之,力度太大、反覆用力死壓的話,杏仁餅烘乾後則不夠酥鬆。因此,大家在壓模的時候,請多試幾次,慢慢掌握最合適的力度。

Now back to the ingredients. The main ingredient for these Macau almond cookies is actually finely ground mung beans. These cookies were named so because of their almond shapes during the early stage. Mung bean flour comes into two types: raw and cooked. My Hong Kong friends told me that in Hong Kong, mung bean flour is already cooked and could be used right out of the bag. In Toronto, a lot of the time you will find both types in Asian grocery stores. The raw mung bean flour is placed in the aisle where the instant cereal drink mixes and grain/bean powder mix are located. You may also find it at the Indian aisle where various beans and flours are placed (the name is moong dal flour by the way). For cooked mung bean flour, which could be found occasionally, it will be in the aisle where rice flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, and cooked sweet rice flour are located. Pay extra attention to another product with a similar name: mung bean starch. Mung bean flour and mung bean starch are different. Mung bean flour is finely ground split mung beans whereas mung bean starch is the starch extracted from mung beans (just like wheat starch is the starch extracted from wheat flour and they are different). Mung bean flour has a yellowish or creamy white colour and mung bean starch is pure white so you could easily tell the difference. Anna told me that when she first learned to make Macau almond cookies she bought mung bean starch by accident. Her cookies turned out to be rock hard. So make sure you are getting the correct type.
現在說回一下材料,杏仁餅是一種綠豆餅,初時主要是選用綠豆磨成粉,再做成杏仁形狀的餅,因而得名。綠豆粉也有分生的和熟的,朋友說在香港買到的一般都是熟綠豆粉,可以直接使用,但在多倫多,華人超市售賣的綠豆粉有生的也有熟的,生綠豆粉要去放置即沖麥皮、即沖飲料、五穀粉或者擺放著各種印度豆類和麵粉材料的貨架找,而熟綠豆粉(很偶然才會有的),則會放在糯米粉、粘米粉、澄粉、木薯粉、糕粉那邊的貨架上。更值得注意的是,那兒另有一種名字很相似、很容易令人混淆的“綠豆澱粉”。這絕不是綠豆粉呢!綠豆粉是用去皮開邊綠豆打碎而成的粉末,而綠豆澱粉則是在綠豆裏提煉出來的澱粉,兩者是不同的呢!打個比喻,澄麵(又稱小麥澱粉)是先將小麥磨成粉,再從中提煉出來的澱粉,因此,小麥澱粉跟小麥麵粉是兩種東西。綠豆粉是米白/米黃色的,綠豆澱粉是純白色的,外貌上很容易分辨出來。朋友說初學時就是搞錯了,買錯了綠豆澱粉,結果做出來的杏仁餅硬到可以咬崩牙,因此買的時候記得不要買錯。

One last note (okay I know I have been yapping a lot). These sugar-free Macau almond cookies won’t be ready to eat right away. The cookies would feel soft when pressed with fingers right out of the oven (the ones made with icing sugar and isomalt both came out hard in comparison and I do not know why). After cooling for a few hours, its texture felt dry and crumbly and I thought I failed at first. But then later I discovered that the cookies changed in texture after resting for a day. I hope you find my notes helpful. If you have tried this recipe, don’t forget to let me know by leaving a comment below, or post to your own IG and tag me (@ec_bakes).
最後、最後一點要提提大家的,就是無糖版澳門杏仁餅做好後不能立刻食用,剛出爐的杏仁餅,用手按時是帶軟的(用糖霜和異麥芽酮糖醇做的是硬的,箇中原因EC並不清楚),即使放涼了,變硬了,初時的口感是又乾又散,感覺怪怪的,EC起初以為自己又失敗了,後來才發現杏仁餅必須放置12小時以上,質地才會漸漸變得鬆化。希望以上的心得和貼士會幫到大家,若試過食譜不要忘記留言告知EC,也可在Instagram相片標註EC(@ec_bakes)。


Sugar-Free Macau Almond Cookies
無糖澳門杏仁餅

Makes 13
十三個份量

Ingredients
30 g unsalted whole almonds, roasted and chopped
130 g mung bean flour, roasted
50 g extra-fine, blanched almond flour
55 g erythritol and monk fruit blend sugar substitute, powdered (I used Lakanto Classic)
50 g cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil (room temperature)
1 to 2 tsp water

材料
無鹽帶皮杏仁(烤熟後切碎) 30克
熟綠豆粉 130克
特幼去皮杏仁粉 50克youtube
赤藻醣醇加羅漢果糖混合天然代糖(打成粉末狀) 55克(EC用Lakanto羅漢果糖)
冷壓初榨椰子油(室溫) 50克
水 1至2茶匙

Directions做法
Arrange almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in a 325℉/160℃ preheated oven for 6 to 9 minutes until fragrant and skin becomes darkened. Cool on a plate completely then chop into big pieces. Set aside.
帶皮杏仁平鋪於烤盆,放入325℉/160℃預熱焗爐烤6-9分鐘左右烤熟至發出香氣、外皮顏色變深,取出倒在碟上,完全放涼後切角,備用。

If your mung bean flour is uncooked: in a large, non-stick fry pan, roast mung bean flour with intermittent stirring over medium to medium-low heat until golden and fragrant. This process takes about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the quantity. Properly cooked mung bean flour smells and tastes nutty so do a taste test if you are unsure. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Sift roasted flour into a large bowl. Set aside.
若綠豆粉是生的:中火加熱不沾平底鑊,放入生綠豆粉,中至中小火炒至綠豆粉發香和轉成金黃色(綠豆粉炒熟後不會有任何生豆的味道,不確定的話可以取一點粉試味),整個過程需時15至20分鐘,視乎份量而定,離火後完全放涼,過篩一次去除顆粒備用。

In a large bowl, stir together the roasted mung bean flour, almond flour and powdered sweetener. Add coconut oil (room temperature) and rub all ingredients together with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse sand or breadcrumbs and would hold shapes only when squeezed tightly with your hand. If the crumbs are still very loose, add water a little bit at a time until the crumbs hold shape when pressed tightly. Make sure the crumbs won’t form into a dough or the cookies will come out very hard.
***for two different flavours, divide the crumbs in half and stir in the add-ins like peanut pieces, roasted sesame seeds and chopped almonds separately.
***the addition of water makes the cookies harder. Cookies made with less (or even no) water give a melt-in-the-mouth texture but crumble more easily during shaping. My personal experience is that crumbs stick less to wooden mold and I was able to make beautiful imprints without adding too much water
大碗中加入熟綠豆粉、杏仁粉和粉末狀的代糖拌勻,加入椰子油,用手指尖把所有材料抓成粗沙或麵包糠狀,要放在掌心中大力擠壓才能壓成一團的狀態,若粉料仍然很鬆散可逐少加入水抓勻直至用力才可擠成一團,注意不要不斷加水至粉料整體能夠搓成一個大粉團,否則杏仁餅會變得很硬很硬。
***若做兩種口味可把混合好的粉料平均分成兩碗,然後各自混入如花生碎、已炒香的黑芝麻、杏仁角等配料
*** 加水會使杏仁餅變硬,水量少(甚至沒有水)的杏仁餅會帶點入口即溶的口感,但印模時較容易散開,個人經驗是木製模具比較不黏,粉料不用再加很多水已能印出漂亮花紋

For 50-g plastic mooncake mold: place two heaping tablespoons of crumbs (about 23 g) into the cavity of the mold. Pat down with fingertips until the mold is about half-filled. Invert mold onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and press the plunger down firmly to make the imprint. Lift up the mold and gently press the plunger again to release the cookie. If any crumbs get stuck into the mold crevices, simply clear them out with a toothpick.
***mooncake mold makes thicker cookies so I usually mix in the almond pieces at the beginning
For wooden mold: fill mold with crumbs until half full. Sprinkle on a few chopped almonds. Fill mold with crumbs again until heaping full. Press down with your palm and use a scraper to level off the top. Tap both sides of the mold to loosen the cookie. Invert the mold and gently tap the cookie out.
***This mold is shallow so adding the chopped almonds in the middle layer results in a better appearance
50克塑膠月餅模做法:模中倒入大約兩大湯匙的粉料(約23克),用指頭輕輕壓平至模中大約一半的深度,反轉放在已墊了牛油紙的烤盆上,緊壓手柄壓出花紋,然後再壓一次輕力推出杏仁餅,若有碎屑殘留在花片內可用牙籤挑出。
***月餅模做的餅身較厚,因此可提早加入杏仁角拌勻
木製綠豆餅模做法: 把粉料倒人模中至半滿,灑上少量杏仁角,再倒入粉料填滿成山丘狀,用掌心壓緊至成形後用刮刀刮平底部,輕敲模具兩側後小心把餅扣出。
***木製模比較淺,因此把杏仁角放在中層會比較美觀

Repeat with the remaining crumbs and make more cookies.
繼續重複把粉料填入模中製作杏仁餅。

Preheat oven to 225℉/110℃ with fan on at least 10 minutes before baking. Bake cookies with the oven door ajar for 30 minutes to dry the cookies and until aromatic, turning the tray halfway for even baking. Let cookies cool inside the oven (still with the door ajar) for 10 more minutes.
焗爐預熱225℉/110℃(開啟熱風對流)至少10分鐘,把餅放入焗爐,焗爐門留小縫不要完全關上,焗30分鐘把餅烘乾至發出香味(中途可把烤盆位置調頭),關火後讓餅在焗爐內多留10分鐘,焗爐門不用完全關上。

Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack (the cookies may feel soft right after baking but will firm up within a couple of hours). Store cooled cookies in an air-tight container for at least 12 hours (preferably one day) before consuming. This resting period allows the oil to be fully absorbed into the cookies.
出爐後放在涼架上放涼,剛出爐時餅身是帶軟的,要數小時後才會變硬,把完全冷卻的杏仁餅放在密實盒中保存至少12小時( 最好一天),讓杏仁餅回油後才會變得鬆化。

The pictures on the left were made with wooden mold and the right were with plastic mooncake mold.
左邊用木模製作,右邊則用塑膠月餅模製作。

Here’s my result when I tested with different types of sweeteners. Rightmost row, from top to bottom: allulose, isomalt, erythritol and monk fruit blend sugar substitute (Lakanto), and icing sugar as the control. You could see the colour difference with the cookies made with isomalt giving the palest colour. It had the least sweetness and a melt-in-the-mouth texture. On the other hand, the ones made with allulose were beginning to darken midway and came out all burnt by the time the baking was completed. . The interior was all burnt like a piece of charcoal. I was brave enough to take a bite but immediately spat it out and ran to rinse my mouth. I remember that when I used allulose for my Keto Japanese Cheesecake, I had to tent the cake with aluminum at a very early stage so I sort of knew that allulose would caramelize faster, but I surely didn’t expect the result to be that burnt, especially when I was baking at 275℉/135℃ only. The next day, I came across with this Chinese article which contains an English youtube video here. It said that studies found that allulose cakes caramelize faster and thus are easier to burn. Because of this, I don’t think allulose would be a good choice as I don’t want my almond cookies to pick up too much colour. In contrast, the ones made with Lakanto were a bit darker than the ones made with icing sugar, but the texture stayed pretty close to the original ones. I found it slightly less sweet than the original version so I added more Lakanto for my subsequent trials. I also baked longer with a reduced oven temperature of 225℉/110℃ with fan on.
這是用不同代糖做實驗的結果,最右排四個,從上而下分別是:稀少糖/阿洛酮糖allulose、異麥芽酮糖醇/巴糖醇isomalt、赤藻糖醇加羅漢果混合天然代糖Lakanto和對比之用的糖霜。分别做好杏仁餅後,EC把它們一起送入焗爐烘乾,結果是異麥芽酮糖醇做的杏仁餅最淺色,也最沒有味道,但這個卻有入口即溶的口感;用稀少糖做的在中途已經開始焦化了,到最後簡直完全燒焦成炭一樣, 裏裏外外都是焦的,EC鼓起勇氣咬了一口之後急不及待將之吐出,然後趕緊跑去漱口。記得以前用稀少糖做生酮日式芝士蛋糕時,也是很早便要蓋上錫紙避免上色過深的,因此也略略知道稀少糖會比砂糖更快焦化,但這次入爐溫度只有275℉/135℃,也不算很高呀!後來EC在網上找到這篇文章 ,裏面提及到研究報告指出稀少糖做的蛋糕在烘焙過程中特別容易焦化。若想杏仁餅保持淺色的話,大概稀少糖不會是很好的選擇了。對比之下,用羅漢果糖做的杏仁餅比用糖霜做的上色略深一點,但兩者在味道和質地上很相似,只是用羅漢果糖做的不如用糖霜做的甜,在後來的實驗中,EC增加了羅漢果糖的用量,亦將爐溫進一步調低至225℉/110℃,並開啟熱風,加長時間把餅烘乾。

In this batch I added roasted black sesame seeds.
這批加了炒香的黑芝麻做實驗。

Two different brands of uncooked mung bean flour. The Indian brand has a very fine, flour-like texture and is my preferred type for making almond cookies.
兩種不同牌子的生綠豆粉,印度牌子的粉身特別細,像麵粉一般幼滑,EC較喜愛以此做杏仁餅。

Cookies will crumble and fall apart if not pressed hard enough during shaping. In this case, you will just need to redo it. Things will get better after a few more practices.
壓模時若用力不夠,倒扣出來時杏仁餅會散掉,有此情況只好重新再做一遍,多試幾次即能掌握力度。

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