November 1, 2011
Bananas. I’m not sure I could do with out them. So you’ll understand my feelings when, right after returning home from the grocery store, I dropped my precious four bananas on the ground. The horror! Dropping any fruit is bad, but I feel like bananas take it the worst. The insides turn to banana pulp! Crazy! And the way I dropped them was such that more than half of each banana was horribly bruised by the impact. I tried opening one to eat but couldn’t do it without a spoon, and I was a little put off by the bruising. Feeling sad and defeated, I put them in the fruit basket and tried to forget about the whole incident.
About four days later, the bananas started to get spotty. I was worried; I didn’t want to throw them out but didn’t want to eat them as is. What was I to do? A little voice sounded inside my ear and said things like, “You bake things! Bake banana things! You paid for those bananas! Use them!” I usually eat bananas too quickly to allow them to ripen, which means I don’t get the chance to bake with them. Not this time! So all is not lost, in fact, my love for banana baked goods is found again, especially with these waffles. The banana flavor isn’t pronounced, but you know it’s there, and you’ll love how the banana is complimented by oatmeal, cinnamon, and raisins. I’m going to count the banana dropping as a blessing this morning (but I promise to be more careful next time). Happy bananas for breakfast! Happy Breakfast Tuesday!
Oatmeal Banana Raisin Waffles
(Recipe only slightly adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance)
Yields exactly 4 Belgian waffles or up to 12 regular waffles
Notes: Instead of using both all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, you can use one cup and two tablespoons all-purpose flour. If you decide to use quick cooking oats, you don’t need to soak the oats in liquid mixture before adding to dry ingredients. If you don’t have nondairy milk on hand and/or don’t require waffles to be vegan, substitute whatever milk you have on hand.
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled, or old-fashioned, oats
1 very ripe banana, mashed well
1 ½ cups nondairy milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix together oats, banana, milk, syrup, and vegetable oil. Let mixture soak for 10 minutes while you preheat the waffle iron.
3. After ten minutes, pour wet ingredients into dry and mix just until combined. A few lumps will remain. Fold in raisins, taking care not to over mix.
4. Waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions, greasing waffle iron between waffles.
If you would like to keep the waffles warm between taking them off the iron and serving, preheat the oven to 200 degrees while the oatmeal is soaking and keep waffles in the oven, on a baking sheet lined with foil, up to 30 minutes before serving. Waffles will keep, refrigerated, up to a week, and frozen up to a month.
March 24, 2011
We all have foods that we consider our comfort food, the refuge we have when the world around us keeps changing and throwing us for loop after loop after loop, ad infinitum. You’ve seen two of my major comfort foods this week, chocolate chip cookies and grilled cheese, and now you’ll see my favorite comfort food, pancakes. When something big is going on, you can bet your bottom I’m either thinking about pancakes or eating pancakes. This is why, instead of a baked good on Variety Flour Thursday, you are getting a recipe for pancakes. (Sometimes I think that I just should have started a pancake blog, because of all the pancake recipes thrown in here. But if I ate pancakes all the time, where would I go when I needed a meal to make me feel warm and safe?)
Today I’m baking with oat flour for the first time, which is yet another reason why you are seeing pancakes today. Pancakes have the remarkable ability to take on any sort of flour you thrown at (in?) it, helping you understand flavors and how the flour itself bakes up. I wasn’t going to post this recipe and just use it as a trial run and a way to fulfill my pancake craving, but was really impressed with everything about the final product. Cooked oatmeal makes the pancakes denser than normal, but keeps them most and gives you a neat, chewy texture that you’re not accustomed to with pancakes.
I didn’t mess around with the recipe, being the first time I’m using oat flour, except for my carelessness in adding equal amounts oat flour and all purpose. To make up for it, I added two tablespoons milk and crossed my fingers. Luckily for me, the pancakes still turned out amazing; just what I needed today.
(Recipe adapted from Good to the Grain)
The book says recipe yields 18 pancakes; however mine yielded 14 using a ¼ cup ice cream scoop.
¾ cup oat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated or light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 ¼ cups milk (recipe calls for whole but 1% worked)
1 cup cooked oatmeal
1 tablespoon molasses, preferably not blackstrap
Butter for greasing skillet
1. If using a cast iron skillet, preheat over medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients.
2. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, milk, oatmeal, molasses, and eggs until completely combined.
3. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry, taking care not to over mix but making sure there aren’t any hug flour streaks.
4. When skillet is preheated, coat bottom with butter (half a tablespoon, thereabouts) and scoop batter into skillet using a ¼ cup measuring cup, ice cream scoop, or ¼ cup guess-timation.
5. Once bubbles have formed on top side of pancake and batter looks a little dry around the edges, 3 to 4 minutes, flip pancakes. Cook pancakes until golden brown on bottoms, about another 5 minutes, and make sure to grease pan with extra butter when necessary.
It is recommended you serve these pancakes immediately, however I usually store pancakes refrigerated in an air tight container up to 3 days. To reheat, I wrap them up in tin foil and heat them in the oven. The quality of pancake decreases with each passing day, but I’m not all that picky, especially when it comes to having an easy, homemade breakfast to go before work.
February 1, 2011
Because communication is key, I’m going to confess that I fear the scone. Making the scone, at least, because scones are usually my breakfast baked good of choice at any given café. Why, then, do I fear the scone?
The first reason is that they are time sensitive, meaning that as soon as they come to room temperature the quality of the scone decreases rapidly. They are best eaten the day they are made, and if you don’t plan on eating all of the scones right away, you either freeze the dough unbaked, or stick them in the freezer just as they cool to room temperature. Anyone who bakes more than a few times a week understands how your freezer can look after a few weeks, full to the brim of flour and wrapped baked goods.
My second reason isn’t really a reason, but if something means something to you it acquires legitimacy, at least in your head and in your space. Maybe. I might be wrong. Not the point. In my circle of friends, acquaintances, and unknowing “testers”, I am really the only one who prefers scones, and who will heartily enjoy one any moment of any day. I could never expect someone to eat a scone if they don’t prefer them, because I couldn’t offer someone something knowing that they’d rather be eating something else. It would make me feel bad.
The third reason has to deal with preparation and the actual making of scones, not only because I’ve heard horror stories, but I’ve read a ton of scone recipes with very specific instructions. I’ve also read so many different accounts of how a scone “should be” as to puzzle me into paralysis. What if I don’t do it right?
But, ladies and gentlemen, we cannot live in fear forever. In honor of Breakfast Tuesday, I present you with scones. Enjoy with jam or lemon curd or slightly whipped cream, or honey, or whatever your heart desires.
Honey Oatmeal Scones, originally “Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones”
(Recipe adapted from Baking, From my Home to Yours)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats (not the quick-cook variety)
2 tablespoons honey (OR 1/3 cup sugar, just make sure to whisk it with the rest of the dried ingredients in step 3)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, or cinnamon, or cardamom, or just nutmeg and cardamom, or the spice mix of your choice up to ½ teaspoon
½ cup buttermilk (or a teaspoon vinegar mixed with a half cup milk, left to sit for 5 minutes before using)
1 stick and 2 tablespoons, 10 tablespoons, unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½ inch cubes*
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stir the egg and buttermilk together in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Whisk the flour, oats, leavening agents, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is homogenous.
4. Drop the pieces of butter into the flour mixture and, using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you see a bunch of pea-sized pieces forming. Keep in mind that there will be pieces of butter of all sizes, which is what you want. This will happen quickly.
5. Add the egg, buttermilk, and honey to the flour and butter mixture. Stir with a fork just until the dough comes together. The dough will be sticky and a mess, and there might be some flour left unmixed, which is okay.
6. Knead the dough gently or fold with a sturdy spatula, between 8 and 10 turns.
7. Split the dough in half. Place one half on a lightly floured surface and press it into the shape of a disk, 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Cut into wedges, and place on prepared baking sheet.
8. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, though keep an eye on them. Mine almost burned after exactly 20 minutes. The tops should be golden brown.
9. Form and cut the remaining dough and repeat the baking process OR freeze them on a baking sheet and place them, after freezing, in an airtight container to bake later, adding 2 minutes to the original baking time.
10. Let scones cool on a baking rack for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Scones don’t keep well, so once the extra scones come to room temperature, wrap them in an airtight container and stick them back in the freezer. I’ll probably keep a few in an airtight container for the next day, but will freeze the rest. Reheat the already baked scones in the oven when you need them.
November 16, 2010
After two months of owning Baked Explorations; Classic American Desserts Reinvented, and after reading it just about every night, I feel prepared to attack one of the recipes. For some reason I feel the need to devour things visually and mentally before physically devouring anything, and I think this mindset dates back to reading that one of the most important things you can do when you bake is read the recipe in its entirety before starting the process. Translated into Colleen-speak, though, this important rule of thumb transforms from something simple, taking no more than five minutes, into reading entire books, or archives, multiple times. Not only do I have this recipe memorized, I also have the entire book ready for recall at any moment. Just in case. You never know.
Anyway, one of the many reasons I’m in love with this book is that it has a breakfast section! I’m a girl who not only has to have breakfast every morning, but usually has to go for a second breakfast. Much like the hobbits of Tolkien fame, in fact. It’s no wonder that the idea of cake for breakfast makes me giddy. I had to make my first baketivity with Baked Explorations a breakfast venture, and it just so happens that I’ve been eating oatmeal with chocolate every morning for the last week. The stars aligned, and pointed to this recipe.
Because I’m still working out the logistics of my blogging style, I’m offering a disclaimer, and probably not the first one you’ll read. Instead of just typing the recipe up, which I’m not even sure is allowed in terms of respecting copyrights and all that, I’m going to type it up the way I made it. The ingredients won’t differ so much as the order of the steps, and other technical things. And, really, I’m still a beginner at this baking thing, so my typing up the recipe according to my personal baking style helps me, especially in this circumstance, where the recipes from the book seem a little daunting.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake
(Adapted from Baked Explorations, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito)
1 ½ to 2 cups chocolate chips (I used chopped chocolate, a mixture of 60% and 72% dark)
½ teaspoon of your preferred liquor
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, and an extra 2 tablespoons
1 cup rolled, or “old-fashioned” oats if you are oat illiterate like me
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into tablespoons
¾ cup white granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups dark brown sugar (or light brown sugar with an extra tablespoon of molasses)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1. Prepare a 9 by 13 inch pan, glass or light colored metal if you have it, however you normally prepare a pan, be it butter and flour or baking spray.
2. Boil water, and then measure out 1 ¼ cups.
3. In a bowl large enough to accommodate the water and oats, put the tablespoon pats of butter in with the oats, then pour the water over the mixture. Wait for 30 seconds, and then stir until the butter is completely melted.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. You need set the oatmeal mixture aside, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, so it’s wise to let it sit while the oven is preheating.
5. Toss the chocolate chips, or chocolate chunks, with the liquor, until the chocolate seems evenly coated, then do the same with the 2 tablespoons of flour. Set this mixture aside as well.
6. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Fold in the oatmeal mixture, then gently fold in the 1 ½ cups of flour.
7. Lastly, fold in the chocolate just until the chocolate seems incorporated throughout the batter.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and make sure it is spread evenly.
9. Bake the bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cake tests done. (My cake seemed to bake insanely fast, so by the time 40 minutes rolled around, it was about to burn. Make sure you keep an eye on it.)
10. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes.
Store in an airtight container for up to three days.
*There is a cream cheese frosting to go along with this cake, but I chose to make the cake without it. Not because it doesn’t sound amazingly delicious and perfect for the cake, but because cream cheese did not make it into my weekly grocery budget.