Posts Tagged ‘Oatmeal’

Friendly Kitchen Cookies

June 28, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

This weekend I had a friend coming over and almost no time to whip together a treat to serve. It was a personal challenge to see if I could get these mixed together and at least one tray baked between the time I hung up the phone with her and her arrival. I managed to get three trays baked, and a pitcher of iced tea made!

I was going to make the recipe on the back of the chip bag, but I realized it would be faster to make a recipe that uses weights. I had printed off one of Anna’s comparison charts for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and I knew she had used weights.  Since I had already made the Frog Commissary cookies I decided to give the Friendly Kitchen cookies a try. I liked these cookies a lot. They have good structure and aren’t too sweet. The Frog Commissary cookies are good too. I’d be hard pressed to choose between them, but these were a little sturdier so I might choose these.

Most of the cookies were given to our kids. Today I baked the rest of the cookies from the dough that I didn’t get baked yesterday. I think the cookies are even better today. They browned a little more and like most chocolate chip cookies they benefited from chilling time in the refrigerator.

You can find the recipe at Cookie Madness. Coconut was optional, and I skipped that, but I think it would be very good in these cookies.


Basic Granola

December 4, 2009

Granola is something I’ve always intended to make, but have never gotten around to actually making until now. I rarely purchase packaged granola because I thought I was the only one here who eats it. The push finally came when I started crumbling up my crunchy Kashi bars and sprinkling them on top of my yogurt or cottage cheese. I knew this was a waste of my Kashi bars and that I could easily make my own granola.

In the past I’ve used the excuse that I didn’t have the right ingredients for one recipe or another. Do you know what? I don’t think there are the ‘right’ ingredients. If you use what you have on hand, chances are pretty good that you’ll come up with a pretty good granola. I did, and guess what? I’m not the only one who eats granola. Apparently if you have good homemade granola around other people will eat it too. Like my husband, who ate a startling amount of this while I was gone yesterday.

I had used some ingredients that have been hanging around in my cupboard for awhile. Like organic brown rice syrup, creamed honey from the farmer’s market, and sesame seeds all of which were leftover from other baking projects. Then there were the almonds and oatmeal which I always have on hand, and the pecans which I was lucky to have.

This is a conglomeration of a number of recipes, using a conglomeration of ingredients from my cupboard. The only thing I bought just for this were the raw sunflower seeds. There are a few of those leftover for a future baking project.

While this is full of good stuff, I don’t pass this off as health food. No doubt there are a lot of calories lurking here with all the sweeteners, nuts, and coconut oil. But, a few sprinkles on top of my yogurt won’t be too terrible for me and I’ll enjoy every crunchy bite.

Basically Baked Granola (Adapted from numerous recipes.)

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 c. sunflower seeds
1/3 c. sesame seeds
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/3 c. brown rice syrup
1/4 c. creamed cinnamon honey
3/4. golden brown sugar
3/4 c. almonds
1 1/4 c. pecans
1 t. kosher salt
1/3 c. coconut oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 1/2 sheet cake pan with parchment paper. Mix everything together in a large bowl as evenly as possible. Spread the mixture onto the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes stirring every 10-15 minutes. Watch the nuts carefully so that they don’t become too toasted. Use the parchment paper to transfer the mixture to a rack to cool completely. When cooled you might have some big clumps of granola you want to break up before storing.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

December 2, 2009

About a week ago I was so hungry for a chocolate chip cookie. I’d been wanting to make them for days, but it’s so hard to justify such indulgences when it’s just the two of us here to eat them. I was headed to a meeting out of town with four other friends and our departure time was too early for dinner, but not eating before the meeting meant we were going to have to eat very late. Being the baking fiend that I am I decided this was the perfect excuse to make some chocolate chip cookies to carry us until dinner. In order to make it so they weren’t totally devoid of good nutrition, I conceded and made an oatmeal chocolate chip version. The cookies were appreciated by all, and everyone asked for the recipe so either everyone was really hungry or they’re really good, or both. I froze what my friends didn’t eat and shared them with the kids when they were home for Thanksgiving. I think they were sad when they were gone.

The recipe for these cookies can be found here on the old Baking Sheets blog, and you can read about Anna’s experience with them here where she compares three different oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipes back to back.

Banana Oat Muffins

October 2, 2009

These are fairly healthy stick to your ribs fare. They aren’t very sweet, and they’re not too high in fat. In other words they’re the kind of muffin you can eat for breakfast, or serve as a snack and feel like you’ve offered some good nutritious food instead of a cupcake masquerading as a muffin.

No doubt there are people who buy bananas specifically for baking, but when I bake with bananas it’s because I purchased too many and if I don’t bake with them or stick them in the freezer for smoothies they’re going to go to waste. I also had some yogurt to use up. You’d think with that combo that I would have made a smoothie and popped the rest of the bananas in the freezer, but I couldn’t let go of the idea of a banana muffin using yogurt. You could make these even lower in fat by leaving out the walnuts, but I wanted the crunch, and I’m starting to appreciate walnuts more than I did in the past. You could probably add in a few chocolate chips and have a muffin that tastes more like a treat.

I’d like to try some honey in these instead of the brown sugar. Next time….

Banana Oat Muffins 001

Banana Oat Muffins (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites)

1 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
3/4 c. ground rolled oats
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2-3 ripe bananas
1 egg
2 T. vegetable oil
1/2 c. plain non-fat yogurt
1 egg white

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. (I used silicone cupcake liners and have learned NOT to spray them.)
Whisk together the first six ingredients. Process the oats in a food processor until you have a course flour. Whisk the oats into the other dry ingredients. Stir in the walnuts.
Break the bananas into chunks and process in the food processor. (I used 2 1/2 bananas) Blend in the yogurt, oil and the egg.
In a separate bowl beat the egg until it becomes white and foamy but not stiff.
Fold the banana mixture and the beaten egg white into the dry ingredients until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the muffin should come out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a wire rack until completely cooled.

Chewy Granola Bars

July 23, 2009

Chewy Cherry Almond Granola BarsI’ve been wanting to make my own snack bars for a very long time and only recently got around to it. I like the Kashi TLC Chewy Granola bars. My favorites are the Honey Almond Flax, and the Peanut – Peanut Butter, but the Cherry Dark Chocolate are excellent as well. The trouble is that they aren’t inexpensive. I kept thinking I should be able to come up with something similar and less expensive.

These bars are my first attempt. Both my husband and I like these bars better than the Kashi Bars even though they’re substantially different. I haven’t run the numbers but my gut feeling is that they’re not any less expensive. Still they’re an excellent snack, and they store well. I cut these up into bars and then individually wrapped them and stored them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When I need to take a snack with me I can just pop one in my purse and by them time I need to eat it, the bar has come to room temperature and is perfect for a pick me up. If you’re going to share them with a crowd, or you’re going to eat them more quickly you could skip the wrapping and refrigerating.

This is a variation on the recipe for Big Sur Power Bars from 101 Cookbooks, and the Power Bar recipe on page 47 in Heidi Swanson’s cookbook Super Natural Cooking. In both of those recipes Heidi emphasizes using crisp brown rice cereal. I really like this choice, but despite her wise words I’m tempted to try some of the Kashi cereal next time  in an effort to increase the amount of protein in the bars. The following recipe is how I made them. Please refer to 101 Cookbooks, or Super Natural Cooking for original recipes by Heidi Swanson.

Chewy Cherry Almond  Granola Bars

1 T. butter

1 1/4 c. rolled oats

1 1/4 c. almonds, toasted and chopped

1/2 c. ground flax seed

1 1/2 c. unsweetened brown rice cereal

1 c. dried cherries, chopped

2/3 c. unsweetened coconut

1 c. brown rice syrup

1/4. c. sucanat

1 t. pure vanilla extract

1/4 t. almond extract

1/2 t. kosher salt

Grease a 9×13 inch pan with the 1 T. butter.

In a large bowl mix together the oats, nuts, cereal, flax seed, coconut, and cherries. Set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the rice syrup, sucanat, vanilla and almond extracts. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. The mixture will come to a boil and thicken slightly. This takes about 4 minutes.

Pour this mixture over the cereal and nut mixture and combine until the syrup is evenly distributed.

Spread into the buttered pan and cool completely. After the bars have cooled completely turn them out onto a large cutting board and cut into bars. Wrap each bar individually in waxed paper and store either at room temperature or in the refrigerator depending on how fast you and yours will be eating them.

When the Weather Outside is Frightful….

December 14, 2008
Cranberry Crunch Cookies

Cranberry Crunch Cookies

We bake!! We’re in the midst of a snowstorm as I type this. What does one do during a snowstorm? Bake, read or quilt, or course! The house smells wonderful right now thanks to this delicious recipe from the Oatmeal Cookie Guy. He won a contest with this recipe and it’s easy to understand why. Even though I had to make some substitutions and use ingredients on hand these are clearly winners. They are crunchy and full of flavor from the dried cranberries, orange zest, nuts and vanilla. My substitutions included toasted pecans for the almonds and plain white sugar instead of the Turbinado sugar.
As the wind howls and the snow flies I’m grateful for my warm, wonderful smelling home!

While the wind howls, the snow flies, and the temperature plummets, this little woodpecker waits patiently between gusts for his turn at the feeder.

Waiting for his turn at the feeder.

Waiting for his turn at the feeder.