July 1, 2011
My relationship with oat bran started a little something like this, “Hi. I know we just met but I love you will you marry me?!” Oat bran responded with a resounding “yes!” and we rode off into the sunset, just like that. Happily ever after. Me ‘n my bag of oat bran.
I still love oat bran but we’re experiencing a little interpersonal cabin fever – I’m using oat bran for the same kinds of almost healthy breakfasty baked something-or-others, and oat bran is getting a little sick of my looking at it the same way, all day, every day. I’ll never get tired of oat bran on waffles or with yogurt, but it’s time to be a little creative. And add a little sugar. Whenever I run into any sort of problem, food-related or otherwise, my first attempt at resolving it involves copious amounts of sugar. If that doesn’t cut it, I resort to other methods, like actual problem solving and maturity.
In this case, sugar was just the cure. Brown sugar, to be exact, and lots of it. Not to mention butter. And chocolate. And almonds. I was thrilled to find a brownie recipe using oat bran and ending up enjoying the finished product a mite too much. The brownies themselves aren’t very sweet (somehow, even with all the sugar) but are intensely chocolate-y with an interesting texture from the oat bran and almonds. I ended up eating way too many of them in one sitting, enthralled by the bits of oat bran in a brownie setting. I’m not sure the people with whom I shared these brownies enjoyed them as much as I did, so you might want to evaluate your relationship with oat bran before trying this recipe.
Oat Bran Almond Brownies
(Recipe adapted from Freelance Muses)
Yields one 13 by 9 inch pan of brownie, but halves nicely in an 8-inch square pan
1 cup, or 2 sticks, unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and put aside
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
¾ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat bran
1 ¾ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1/3 to ½ cup slivered almonds
Optional: 2 to 3 teaspoons sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a baking pan by lining it with parchment, with an overhand on at least one side with which to lift out brownies once baked and cooled.
2. Melt together 1 cup butter and brown sugar, either in the microwave or over the stove on very low heat, being careful not to burn the butter. Mix until combined and smooth, then take off heat.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter/sugar mixture with baking cocoa, salt, baking powder, and both extracts. Mix until well combined.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
5. Add both flour and oat bran, stirring just until combined.
6. Fold in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.
7. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle slivered almonds over surface, then brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt, if using.
8. Bake brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, until top of brownies are dry and a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs attached.
9. Let brownies cool completely in pan, set over a wire rack, before slicing and serving.
Storage: Once brownies are cooled and sliced, keep covered at room temperature up to 3 days, or freeze for up to a month.
June 14, 2011
I would like to take this Breakfast Tuesday opportunity to shower affection on something special, something very new in my life, something tasty. I’m talking to you, oat bran. Originally, I had just wanted some oat bran to make these pancakes. When I got to the store, however, all they had was a HUGE bag of the stuff. The pancakes were too much to pass up and I thought I’d find something to do with the rest of the oat bran (figuring that I’d just throw it in the freezer and forget about it). The pancakes were made, and I enjoyed them. The next morning, I threw some oat bran on yogurt with fresh fruit. The next morning, I put oat bran on some frozen waffles with peanut butter and maple syrup. Last Breakfast Tuesday I managed to put oat bran into a smoothie. The last few recipes I bookmarked are for cookies made with oat bran. Ramble Ramble. The point is that I think about oat bran all the time and can’t believe I’ve never had it in my life before in such a prominent, albeit obsessive, way.
And usually if I’m this obsessed with an ingredient I’ll find a way to put it in a waffle. Or find a recipe that puts the ingredient in a waffle. Well, here you have it, the oat bran waffle! I was a little worried upon putting the batter together because it didn’t seem to be thick enough, but went ahead with the recipe anyway. I can always tweak the recipe later. Sure enough, the waffles cooked beautifully and I really like that they aren’t dense and chewy, more crisp and airy. The oat bran lent the waffle a wonderful hearty flavor without making the waffle feel like a brick. And you might also be able to convince yourself these waffles are healthy. Until you load it up with homemade blueberry jam and greek yogurt, that is.
Oat Bran Waffles
(Recipe adapted from Rogers Foods)
Yields 4 to 5 Belgian-size waffles using 1 cup batter per waffle
¾ cup all-purpose flour (I will use 1 cup the next time I make these waffles)
2/3 cup oat bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 ¼ cup milk
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil (I assume you could also use ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted)
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 egg whites, beaten until stiff but not dry
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oat bran, baking powder, and brown sugar.
2. In a medium mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine milk, egg yolks, and vegetable oil.
3. Pour milk mixture into dry mixture and mix just until combined.
4. Fold egg whites into batter.
5. Let batter rest while waffle iron preheats to a medium or medium-high temperature, depending on how hot your waffle maker can get.
6. Greasing waffle iron between each waffle, pour batter onto waffle using a one cup measure. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions (about 5 minutes per waffle).
Serve immediately or freeze, once cooled to room temperature, to enjoy whenever a waffle craving hits you.
We all know I love me some pancakes, yes sir-ee. Pancakes might, in fact, be my favorite Breakfast Tuesday treat and may well be the reason I started posting breakfast recipes once a week. That and this website, amazing. Every time I gush about pancakes as a food item, the first thing I point out is how easy they are to manipulate. You could find a way to incorporate any type of flour, wheat, oat, or corn product and you could probably find a way to use any and all types of fruit (though that adventure would require a little more culinary creativity, it could be done).
I fell in love with this pancake recipe on account of the brown sugar, something I don’t normally see, and the use of oat bran/wheat germ. Wheat germ is something that I use weekly, as a topping for various hot cereals, but never have I used it as an ingredient in a baked good. In fact, that really hadn’t occurred to me until just recently, when I came across Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for wheat germ cookies. And oat bran, well, it’s a little embarrassing that I don’t think I’ve EVER even bought oat bran. I liked it well enough in cereal and didn’t really think I’d have any use for plain ol’ oat bran. Boy was I wrong. These ingredients not only added an amazing textural contrast to the juicy blueberries but also upped the flavor quotient, turning what can be a sometimes-bland breakfast treat into an interesting meal. I’d like to think these are kinda-sorta healthy, but try not to delude myself like that too often.
The only thing I’d do differently next time is separate the eggs and whisk the whites before folding them into the batter. I’m not sure if that would do anything, but it’d be worth a try to see if there are any changes in overall fluffiness.
Enjoy, and happy Breakfast Tuesday everyone!
Whole Grain Blueberry Pancakes with Oat Bran and Wheat Germ
(Adapted from Pinch my Salt)
Yields 16 to 18 pancakes using a ¼ cup measure
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup wheat germ
½ cup oat bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 to 1 ½ cups blueberries (I’m sure different berries would work, too.)
(If using a cast-iron skillet, preheat over medium heat.)
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.
2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, and eggs.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until just combined.
4. Stir in butter and blueberries. (Optional step: Let batter sit for 10 minutes. I’m not sure why this works science-wise, but my pancakes tend to cook more evenly and have a better texture after resting.)
5. Scoop batter into greased, preheated skillet by the ¼ cupful, cooking pancakes on each side over medium heat until brown on each side. (You will know pancakes are ready to flip when the edges are dry and bubbles start to pop up in batter.)
Serve immediately, or, if you’re me, keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days, reheating as necessary