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.
May 26, 2011
This post begins with a warning. My roommate (bless her heart and soul) came home from work the other night with three bags of whole wheat flour and gave me full access to them. What does that mean? You’ll probably be seeing a whole bunch of recipes using whole wheat flour, on Variety Flour Thursdays and beyond. “Warning” was perhaps too strong a word. Consider this a “heads-up” then.
As much as I appreciate all flours, as they provide the basis to some of my favorite things in the entire world, whole wheat flour is definitely in my top two favorite flours to use (the other being buckwheat). Not only does using whole wheat flour make it easier for me to pretend what I’m making has some sort of health benefit other than being delicious, but it also lends a more interesting, earthy flavor. Your baked goods have a bit more oompf. There are even options to use whole wheat flour in fluffy cakes and delicate pastries – whole wheat pastry flour and even white whole wheat flour to a certain extent.
My preferred way to use whole wheat flour? Cookies. I love the chew factor and nutty flavor that whole wheat flour can give to cookies without being overpowering or ruining the texture. This week I was feeling like something extra gooey and ridiculous melty, so I decided to make a s’mores treat and substitute some whole wheat flour in for all-purpose to see what happened. Much to my delight, adding whole wheat flour to these bars was a success. However, I didn’t follow the instructions and used marshmallows instead of marshmallow fluff, even though it was clearly stated in the original recipe. I was way too lazy to go back to the store and paid for it. The bars were great, don’t get me wrong, but the marshmallows kind of evaporated (as they tend to do when baked) and left the bars with the occasional white puff and a thin layer of sweet. So, word to the wise, follow the instructions and use marshmallow fluff to get optimal gooey-ness.
S’mores Cookie Bars
(Adapted from Crepes of Wrath)
Yields one 8 inch square pan of bars, between 16 and 20 bars
½ cup, or 1 stick, unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
¾ cup, about 8 whole crackers, graham cracker crumbs*
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 king-size milk chocolate bars, or about 1 ½ cups chopped milk chocolate
1 ½ cups marshmallow fluff (not marshmallows, as we’ve learned!)
*If you have a food processor, you can pulse the graham crackers to get crumbs. If you, like me, lack this marvelous kitchen tool, you can crumble the crackers by hand or with an appropriate kitchen tool (like a potato masher). It takes longer and you don’t get as fine a crumb, but it works!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and either grease or line with parchment an 8 inch square baking pan. Lining with parchment is nice because you can just pull the bars out of the pan when cooled.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
3. Beat eggs and vanilla into butter mixture until fully incorporated.
4. In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt.
5. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and stir until all ingredients are combined. Divide dough in half.
6. Press half of the dough into the bottom of pan. Next layer chocolate over dough, then marshmallow fluff over chocolate, and, finally, press remaining the half of dough on top. It’s okay if there is some marshmallow visible through pressed dough on top.
7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes until top is lightly browned. If corners brown too quickly, as mine did, cover edges with tin foil.
8. Let bars cool completely before cutting into squares.
Keep bars covered, at room temperature, up to three days.
Breakfast Tuesdays: another bleak morning in beautiful Boston, and another breakfast adventure.
Last holiday season I received a garishly huge Belgian waffle iron and I have not been able to make an entire batch of perfect waffles yet. “Colleen against the machine” is a common phrase I repeat to myself, because machines and I… well… we have issues to work out. It’s a combination of factors, I know, and the main factors impeding my waffle iron victory are my impatience and my inability to read manuals of any kind. Even after reading every single post from this blog, I’m still shaky.
Why do I keep trying? I LOVE waffles. Aside from the taste and visual aesthetics, waffles are wonderful to make and freeze, toasting in the oven as needed for breakfast on the go. Weekends at the toy store are very long and very busy, which makes a decent breakfast essential to my being a functioning human being for at least most of the day. It also helps to have frozen waffles in case of a friend-crashing emergency, to make sure they eat something before leaving your humble apartment.
Maybe some day I’ll conquer my fear of instruction manuals, or arrive at the same page as my waffle iron. Maybe. Until that time, though, I’ll make my less-than-perfect waffles and enjoy the heck out of them.
Also, I call these “healthy” because there is whole grain flour involved, but my health advice is dubious at best.
Sorta-Kinda Healthy Waffles
(Recipe adapted from Alton Brown, somewhere in the depths of the Food Network website)
Yields 6 or 7 waffles in a Belgian waffle iron
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used 1 cup graham flour. Yum.)
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey or granulated sugar
3 eggs, whisked/beaten until light and foamy
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk
(1 teaspoon vanilla and/or 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
Spray or butter for the waffle iron
1. Preheat waffle iron.
2. In a bowl large enough for all ingredients, beat whisked eggs and melted butter. Then add the buttermilk and stir to combine.
3. Add all dry ingredients to the wet, and stir to combine. A few lumps are okay, however, this isn’t pancake batter so there shouldn’t be too many huge lumps of unmixed flour. I learned the hard way that large lumps don’t cook into the rest of batter, but congeal and make your waffles spotty.
4. Allow the batter to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
5. Cook waffles according to manufacturer’s specifications, making sure to grease the waffle iron between each waffle.
6. Serve immediately, or keep them warm in an oven at 175 to 200 degrees F, in a baking pan tented with foil.
I usually keep waffles in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, toasting as needed during the week. You could also keep them in an airtight container in the freezer if you don’t plan on using them within the week.
December 2, 2010
There are days when I try to find a recipe that sounds complex! new! exciting! full of esoteric ingredients to satisfy your adventurous side! Some days, however, you just want to bake a ton of brownies and eat them, burning your mouth on the chocolate still hot from the oven. This was one of those days.
I rummaged around my papers, and got out my handy brownie recipe that has served me well these past few years. This particular recipe was torn from one of those airline magazines, stuffed in the pockets of the seat in front of you. Along with the barf-bags. Yes, those magazines. A friend and I recently went on a trip, and while in the airport we talked about the things in Skymall and the places reviewed in the magazines that were provided on our plane. We were laughing about some of the more ridiculous things when she said something about being glad that none of her friends ACTUALLY read them. My face got a little pale, and did that scrunching thing that my face does when I’m embarrassed (not a pleasant face, I assure you). She didn’t seem to notice, but it made me question my faith in that brownie recipe I had lugged with me all over the east coast.
Upon making the airplane magazine brownies for the umpteenth time, I did realize there existed room for improvement. On a gluttonous brownie day, I tried a different recipe from a trusted source. King Arthur Flour! They even had a recipe for brownies with whole-wheat flour, and I loved the idea of deluding myself into thinking these had some sort of nutritional benefit.
As a warning, these treats went fast, even faster than things normally go. I brought some to work, left some at home for my roommates, gave a few tiny bundles to friends, and brought two small-ish squares to a
dinner date. I didn’t give out an abnormal amount, but when I checked in at the end of the day, there were NONE left at home. The next day at work? NONE left in the tupperware. Gobbled up on the dinner date. The brownies were, overall, quite satisfactory!
(As an aside, I do still read those magazines. Sometimes they have articles about cool places! And sometimes other good things! I swear.)
Double Fudge Brownies
(Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)
This recipe makes enough brownie batter to fill a 9 x 13 inch pan.
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar (I used light, but only because I was out of molasses to make it dark)
¾ c unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder (This ingredient is optional, and I used instant coffee powder)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate (I used my normal chopped chocolate mix, 60% and 72% dark)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium sized saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter. (Because I’m impatient, I swirled the butter around constantly, but am not sure if that sped up the process by any measurable amount.) Take the pan off the heat, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat, and remove it once the mixture is hot and starts to bubble.
3. Add mixture to a large mixing bowl, and stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder (if using), and vanilla extract. Let this mixture cool to about room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes. (I simply left the mixture on the counter, but I imagine you could put it in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes? Maybe?)
4. Whisk in the eggs, and then stir entire mixture until smooth.
5. Add the flour and chopped chocolate/chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
6. Spoon or pour batter into a lightly greased, butter or shortening, 9 x 13 inch pan.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes, although please check it around minute 26 or 27.
The hardest part about this recipe is that it recommended you let the brownies sit overnight. I gave into temptation, and had some brownies right out of the pan while the chocolate was still melty and warm. They were definitely good, but this recipe, like most from King Arthur Flour, speaks the truth. If you let them sit overnight, the whole-wheat flour seems to absorb some of the moisture and the brownie becomes this perfect equilibrium of cake and fudge.