Saturday, November 26, 2011

Marx Foods Challenge — Fregola Sarda Pudding and Ginger Snap Cookies — Vegan Friendly Recipes


I was thrilled to be selected to participate in the Marx Foods Fregola Sarda Blogger Recipe Challenge—DessertMarx Foods carries the world’s finest foods, from meat, seafood, produce, to herbs, spices, sauces and even desserts, & etc.  If you haven’t been to their site, it’s time to check it out, my foodies friends.  You’ll be amazed by the varieties of products they carry, even hard to find ingredients.


For this particular challenge, Marx Foods sent me a sample package of Medium Fregola Sarda (Italian couscous), Vanilla Beans, Star Anise, and Saffron Threads as shown in the picture above.  (Please feel free to click on each ingredient to learn more about them.)  The rule of the challenge is to use the fregola to create a dessert recipe along with at least one of the other three ingredients in the sample package.  Sounds like fun, huh?  It really is.  Smile


The samples Marx Food sent me was in high quality. The fragrant and aroma were wonderful when I opened the package.  Imagine how good my kitchen smelled as I was preparing my dishes using these ingredients! They were simply awesome.  I was up to the challenge and I couldn’t resist from using everything (instead of just '1 other ingredient' as the rules have stated) from my sample package. All the ingredients went so well with each other in the recipe I created. The quality of these ingredients surely makes a big difference.


The recipe that I created, Fregola Sarda Pudding, was inspired by the marriage of (the appearance of) rice pudding and (the flavor and appearance of) a traditional dessert from Hong Kong 椰汁西米露 (using coconut milk and tapioca).  The result was amazing!  Over all, it’s a rich, fragrant and satisfying dessert.  The texture was silky, smooth, and tender.  The sweetness from the vanilla bean balanced really well with the nutty flavor from the fregola (because of the toasting process, that's why the color of the fregola varies from a light creamy tan to a very dark brown).  The liquorish flavor from the star anise balanced out the richness from the coconut milk; and the cloves added a depth of flavor to the over all dessert.  The saffron thread added a pungent earthy and slightly bittersweet flavor to the fregola which went nicely with the nutty flavor from the fregola.  The saffron threads also imparted the yellow color to the fregola, which was fun, vibrant and simply exotic!


The warmth flavors from the Fregola Sarda Pudding really reminded me of fall and winter.  I couldn't help but to pair it with some Gingersnap cookies for a crunchy contrast.  I love that contrast in the textures.  Mind you, these gingersnap cookies really snap!  They are crunchy and the flavor goes hand in hand with the Fregola Sarda Pudding.


Boy, I just love this close up picture above.  You can totally see the vanilla seeds on the fregola pudding!  It’s such a fun dessert to prepare and to serve.  I’m sure my vegan friends would be especially happy that I have another lovely recipe that they can enjoy.  Thank you all for visiting and reading today.  Hope you would love the recipes as much as my family does.

After December 4th, Marx Foods will post links to all entered recipes on the Marx Foods blog & two champions will be picked.  One will be selected via reader poll on their blog.  The other will be chosen by the participants of this Challenge and the staff.

The  Prize:
Each champion will receive $100 worth of baking ingredients from (their choice). 

Disclaimer: I received the sample package as shown on this post from Marx Foods for free to participate in the Fregola Dessert Challenge for a chance to win the contest prize.  I was not compensated in any other way to write this post.  All opinions are 100% my own and always will be.

Fregola Sarda Pudding (Vegan friendly)
Serves 4 Printable Recipe

2 cups coconut milk
2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
2-inch fresh ginger root, peeled and slightly smashed with the back of a knife
1 star anise
2 cloves
a generous pinch of saffron threads
1 vanilla bean
1 cup Fregola Sarda

In a medium pot, bring coconut milk and water to a boil.  Reduce to low heat, add sugar, ginger root, star anise, cloves and saffron into the pot to simmer. 

Split the vanilla bean in half, length-wise.  Scrape the seeds inside and add both the seeds and the vanilla pod into the coconut mixture.  Rinse the fregola sarda in cold water, then add them into the pot and continue to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the size), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.   

After simmering for 15 to 20 minutes, remove from heat and cover the pot with a lid.  Let the fregola sarda pudding stand for another 10 minutes to fully absorbed the liquid.

When ready to serve, check the doneness of the fregola sarda.  Remove the vanilla pod, start anise and cloves.  You can return the pot to low heat and warm up the pudding right before serving.

Gingersnap Cookies (Vegan friendly)
Makes 36 to 40 cookies Printable Recipe

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground star anise*
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons soymilk (or coconut milk)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.  In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, star anise and cloves until well combined, set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the canola oil, molasses, soymilk(or coconut milk), sugar, vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract), stir until blended.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient mixture.  Stir until well incorporated.

On a lightly floured surface and rolling pin, roll the dough into 3/8-inch thickness.  Floured a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter and stamp out cookies (use a small, round cookie cutter to stamp out the center to create the one hanging on the spoon as shown in the picture).  Place cut out cookie dough on prepared baking sheet, place each one at least 1/2-inch apart. 

Bake for 7-8 minutes, let cool on the baking sheet until cool enough to handle.  Transfer to a wiring rack to cool completely.  Enjoy with the Fregola Sarda pudding or store in an air tight container.

*Note: I used a mortar and pestle to grind my spices.  You can also use a spice grinder/coffee grinder to do the job.  But be sure to clean it well before and after grinding.  Or, simply dedicate one for spices.  Click here to get some tips from Marx Foods on grinding whole spices.


  1. You are so talented. I cannot make up recipes to save my life. This looks wonderful.

  2. Hi Amy, Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family. I'm not celebrating it. Just imagine how time flies huh. It's already end of November. X'mas is coming soon and so is Chinese New Year which is just 2 months away. haha.... Anyway, I'm glad you're sharing such healthy recipes. The cookies sounded wonderful.
    Hope you're having a fabulous festive season.
    Blessings, Kristy

  3. Love the photography here, super pretty :)!!

  4. Hi Amy! I love your creativity and this dessert truly is exotic looking and yes, that close up photo is beautiful. I also love the way you placed the cookie on the spoon for an added touch. It all sounds like a delicious combo of flavors! Hope you and yours had a beautiful Thanksgiving! ((hugs))

  5. Thank you for all your sweet comments. :) I really appreciate you took the time to visit my blog and left me a message. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend as well.


  6. Yay for vegan friendly food! Your pictures are lovely!

  7. It looks like you hit the mark with this recipe. Delicious! Come over and visit. We have pumpkin fried rice today. Be sure to stop back by Friday and register to win a party dress from The Shabby Apple.

  8. @ Erika: Thank you. Yes, I should post more vegan friendly recipes. :)

    @ CarilinaHeartStrings: Thank you. Yeah, I love the flavor combination in this recipe. I'm hopping over to your site now. :)


  9. My goodness - you are so good with food styling. I wish I know what to do with kitchen towel and all kinds of objects to take pictures! It looks very healthy and light. :-)

  10. Amy, what a great presentation for this very special dessert. I can't wait to try this awesome recipe. Hope you are having a great week end and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  11. @ Miz Helen: Thank you, Dear. It's always a pleasure to share my recipes at Full Plate Thursday Linky Party. Thank you for hosting and I definitely will be back soon. :)

  12. I just had to pair the fregola with coconut milk, too! The cookies with holes in them are so clever, they go on my must try list.

  13. @ Libby & Shannon: Thank you both for your sweet comments. :)

  14. I love your pictures and food styling! Very nice :) The use of the coconut milk sounds wonderful. Glad to meet another food blogger in the contest :)

  15. @Kelli: Thank you.

    @Zestybeandog: Thank you for your sweet comment. Like wise, I'm glad to meet you through the contest. :)

  16. A superb creation Amy, love how you combined all the samples too...they do works well all together! Nice to come across your blog too :-)

  17. @ Cheap Ethnic Eatz: Thank you for your sweet comment. Yeah, I love the flavor combination in this dessert. The addition of ginger and coconut were wonderful. :)

  18. The cookie dangling on the spoon is too cute for words. Adore!

    So nice to find your site through the Fregola contest. Your recipes are to-die-for!

  19. @ Angela: Thank you. Your recipe is just as wonderful. Nice to meet you, my new blogging friend.

  20. Amy-yours was the first blog I saw when I googled Fregola....and it left me a little intimidated. :) Your pics are gorgeous! Great recipe and so good to meet you.

  21. @ Cathy: Thank you for your sweet comment. Don't feel intimidated. This is a very down to earth and easy to prepare recipe. :) I'm very into food styling and photography and always try to look for new ways to present my recipes/dishes.

  22. Beautiful! I am such a sucker for a good gingersnap cookie! While I usually have mine with a glass of cold milk, I simply love the idea of pairing it with a warm pudding.

  23. @ Shawnee: oh yeah, you gotta give this paring a try. I'm sure you'll love it. :)