Saturday, 4 November 2017

Pumpkin Oat Squares

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I wanted to do something seasonal. These breakfast squares are the result of that. Nothing says Fall or Thanksgiving like the mixture of pumpkin, cinnamon and cranberries. These squares are thick, dense, moist, and very filling. They are a cross between a cake and a pudding. They also freeze very well. If you like it sweeter, bump up the sugar to 1/3 or 1/2 cup.

1/2 cup quick cooking oats
½ cup oatmeal or oat bran
½ cup flax meal
½ cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
½ granny smith apple, finely shredded.
½ cup cranberries
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup walnuts, chopped to a meal like consistency
Zest and juice of one lemon
1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line the bottom of 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2.      Mix oats, oatmeal, flax meal, flour, walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and kosher salt together in a bowl.
3.      Mix the finely grated apple, lemon zest and juice, with the pumpkin puree and set aside.
4.      Mix brown sugar, molasses, cranberries, vanilla with half and half, stirring over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.
5.      Lightly beat the egg and yogurt together, add the cooled half and half mixture to this then add to the dry ingredients. Add the pumpkin puree to the mixture and mix all until combined.  Pour the batter into prepared pan and top with the pumpkin seeds, pressing them into the batter.
6.      Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes before inverting and cutting into squares. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator or wrap squares in plastic or foil and freeze. Thaw frozen squares in the refrigerator a couple of hours. Warm up in microwave by wrapping in a damp paper towel and using medium power.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Chocolate Chunk Oat Bars

These bars are very crisp and crumbly bars. They do become a bit softer in storage.  The flavor is a like a mild toffee, so that makes it go great with coffee. As an option to get a more pronounced caramel flavor, I use Colombian Brown sugar called Panela Redonda, and I substitute Palm Sugar for the granulated sugar. These products are a little difficult to work with but the resulting deepening of flavor is worth it to me. .
2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup self-rising flour
½ cup oat bran or Scottish oatmeal
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12-24 chocolate chunks
1/2 cup any puffed cereal (quinoa, millet)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ozs shortening
4 ozs butter
½ Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored, finely grated
1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
1.      Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper so that there is overhang of paper on all sides.
2.      Stir the sugars, grated apple, vanilla, and water over low heat in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat and allow to cool.
3.      Mix the flours, 1 cup of oats, oat bran, salt and baking powder, walnuts (if using) butter and shortening in a food processor bowl. Pulse a couple of times until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal, and starts to clump together.  
4.      Turn out into a mixing bowl. Add the remaining cup of oats and puffed cereal and mix well until the oats and millet are incorporated into the dough. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix. Knead a couple of times to form a solid dough.
5.      Turn the dough out into the baking pan and spread as evenly as possible, using the palm of your hand and a spatula moistened with oil or water. Place chocolate chunks across the top (visualize how you will score it in bars and place the chunks so that they fall within the cuts).
6.      Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into bars with a sharp knife. Cool. Lift parchment paper out of pan and place on a cookie sheet. Separate the bars slightly.
Decrease the oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for another 1 ½ hours. At the end of this time, turn off the oven but leave the bars in until the oven cools, and the cookies have dried out more. Store in an airtight container and try not to eat them all in one day!.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Nutty Oat Nuggets

Most of the times, I try to bake healthy oat cookies but there are other times I just fall off the wagon. So, from the get go, there is nothing healthy about these cookies! They are just sweet, delicious, chock full of nuts, nuggets of decadence. Note to self, do not make too often! They are high in fat, some of the good kind, others not so good. They have to be rationed to maybe one per day, and you have to resist the temptation to eat more! So stressful!

1 cup rolled oats
½ cup oat bran
½ cup flax meal
½ cup self-rising flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 chocolate chunks
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar tightly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 lb shortening
¼ lb butter
1.      Stir the sugar and water over low heat in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla, and allow to cool.
2.      Mix all the dry ingredients, nuts, seeds, butter and shortening, in a food processor bowl. Pulse a couple of times until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal.  
3.      With the food processor going, add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix. Place a teaspoon of dough into a jumbo muffin liner, put a chocolate chunk in the center then cover with another teaspoon or two of dough.
4.      Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Decrease the oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and put the cookies back in to bake for another 45 minutes.