Thursday, 15 February 2018

Oat, Flax and Cranberry Cookies

These are not your usual chewy oatmeal cookies. If you want them soft, just bake for 12-15 minutes, and omit the second baking that dries out the cookie and results in a harder texture. They are filled with breakfast style nutrients that will keep you full for a while. They have a lovely toffee type flavor, and if you like to "dunk" your cookies in coffee or tea, these will hold up well without becoming soft and mushy!

½ cup butter
1/4 cup Almond Butter
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 egg
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon allspice
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 cup oats
½ cup oat bran
½ cup flax meal
½ cup dried shredded coconut, unsweetened
1.      Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, along with the spices, and the nuts , sesame seeds and cranberries.
2.      Melt the butters, sugars, water, at low heat. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Add vanilla and allow to cool.
3.      Lightly beat egg then add to dry ingredients along with melted butter and sugar mixture.
4.      Mix to form a dough. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Stop at this point if you want a soft, chewy cookie. For a harder cookie, remove from oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then put back in over at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for another 45 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Orange Oatmeal Cornmeal Breakfast Cake

Think cornbread, then think breakfast. I know the name of this cake is long but it has so many good things in it, I didn't want to leave any of the items out! This is a very yummy breakfast cake, not a bread, one that has oats, fruit, cornmeal and oatmeal. It's a welcome addition to any lunchbox, and perfect for a mid-morning snack with coffee or tea. Having the cornmeal and oatmeal in it, as well as the fresh fruits makes you feel a little less guilty about eating more than one square! The cake becomes more moist with each passing day so I keep it in an airtight container, refrigerated. It warms up well in the microwave. The cake combines the elements of an upside down cake in that I put the sliced plums at the bottom. Other combinations can include Peaches/Raspberries, Apples/sliced banana, and the list could go on and on. Just make it with fruits that you wont regret it!

3/4 cup (6 oz.) salted butter, softened + 2 tablespoons
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 boiled orange prepared as outlined below
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups blackberries
1        red plum, sliced
1 whole orange

Preheat oven to 350°F.
1.      Line the bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan with parchment paper.
2.      Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, oatmeal. baking powder, soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
3.      Wash the whole orange carefully. Trim about 1⁄2" from the tops and bottoms of oranges. Cover with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Drain. Repeat boiling process twice more with fresh water. Again, cover the orange with cold water.  Bring the water to a rolling boil, lower the heat, and simmer with the cover on for about 1- 1 1/2 hours. Don’t try to rush this part as the prolonged boiling minimizes the bitterness of the skin and pith. Tip: I used a pressure cooker to do this in 30 minutes. Remove from heat but don’t flash cool, let it cool naturally until the pressure has dropped, and it is safe to open. Allow the orange to cool. The orange is “cooked” when the rind gives easily when pierced with a fork. Puree everything in a small blender. This step can be done the day before and the puree kept in the fridge until ready to use.
4.      Mix the two tablespoons butter, brown sugar and sliced plums in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil and simmer until the plums are soft. Spread this mixture at the bottom of the baking tin.
5.      Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl as needed. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the crushed, boiled orange.
6.      Whisk together the sour cream, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.  Pour batter into baking tin and press the blackberries into the batter.
7.      Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour and 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 20 minutes before inverting. Cut into squares, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Almond Butter Steel Cut Oatmeal Muffins

Steel cut oats are my latest obsession! I love the crunchy, chewy, nutty texture of these little gems, all rolled into one! These are a little messy to make but really are worth it. Two of these make a nice "breakfast on the go"!

2 large eggs
1/2 cup almond butter
¼ cup whole wheat flour.
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
3 cups Steel Cut Oats, uncooked
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup chopped nuts + ½ cup chopped dried cranberries
10 cups water
1.      Bring oats and water to a boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes (depending on how "chewy" you like your oats, then drain through a sieve, rinse with cold water and allow to cool. Press out as much of the water as you can by using the back of a spoon and the sieve. Mix the nuts, cranberries, cinnamon, allspice, salt, flour and baking powder in with the oats and set aside.
2.      Mix the half and half, vanilla, and sugar. Heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Allow to cool slightly.
3.      Using a stand mixer and paddle attachment, beat the eggs, the half and half mixture and almond butter. Beat until smooth. Add the oat mixture to the liquid and mix at low speed until everything is mixed together.  
4.      Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with liners and spray with nonstick cooking spray (if desired)
5.      Fill jumbo sized muffin liners about 2/3 full. 
6.      Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown in color and look dry. I use a thermometer to test that the center of the “muffin” is 164 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 45 minutes (this helps dry out the mixture further). Store in airtight container or freeze. The frozen “muffins” can be put in the fridge to thaw out overnight and warmed up in the microwave prior to eating.