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by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve been experimenting a lot with whole grain flours lately, because I don’t want to settle for “wow, this is good for something healthy”. I’m going for “this is amazing”. So when I manage to hit that magical point I will share the recipes – like this one for whole grain pancakes. It’s based on a recipe from Cooking Light magazine, but I’ve tinkered with it so it uses ingredients I’m more likely to have onhand.

One thing I’ve learned over the course of my trials is that you need to allow time for the grains to hydrate in order to get maximum fluffiness in the finished product. I hope you enjoy these pancakes as much as we do, they’ve become my new standard recipe. If you’d like to play around with this recipe I think grated apple would be a great addition to try.

Whole Grain Pancakes, Makes about 12 4″ pancakes

  • 2/3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1-1/2 c. low-fat milk + 1 t. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 T. light olive oil
  • 3/4 c. white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. spelt flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 large egg

Combine milk and oats in a small bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

Pour the soaked oats and milk into a larger bowl. Add the egg, olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk well.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well-combined.

The final texture should be close to very heavy cream.

Heat a griddle and grease it lightly with olive oil. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the griddle and watch for bubbles to appear all over the surface.

Flip the cakes and brown the other side. I usually poke the middle of each one with my finger, when they are springy they’re done.

I stack them so they stay warm.

Serve warm with butter, more syrup and fruit.

They cook up light and fluffy.

Put any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate.


Four years ago: Cream Scones
Three years ago: Key Lime Pie
Two years ago: Mixed Berry Pie
One year ago: Kerrygold Croissants


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by Heather Harris Brady

This recipe was inspired by the oat bran muffin recipe I have that I like so much. While these scones are whole grain, they are lighter and fluffier than many a coffeeshop scone. They are also very light on sugar.

Feel free to make substitutions or additions to the mix-ins, that’s part of the fun!

Everything Scones, Makes about 9 5″ scones

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 c. oat flour
  • 3/4 c. spelt flour
  • 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. regular all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal soaked in 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 2/3 c. whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the flours, baking powder and sugar in a food processor bowl. Add the butter.

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Process to crumbs. (You can cut this in if you don’t have a food processor.)

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Add the soaked oatmeal and all but 2 T. of the cream and process for 10 seconds. Let this mixture sit for five minutes, so the flour can absorb the liquid.

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Add the rest of the cream, vanilla and almond extract. The mixture will be sticky.

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Turn the dough into a bowl and fold in the chips, coconut and banana.

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Pat the dough into nine dollops on a greased baking pan. Sprinkle them with coconut if you like.

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Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly brown.

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Remove the baked scones to a rack to cool.

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See, light fluffy whole grain goodness!

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Goodness smeared with butter 😉

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These are large scones, so you can cut them in half to serve if you like. They keep nicely for a few days at room temperature, wrap and freeze for longer storage.

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by Heather Harris Brady

I’m going to spare you the details of the horrific sinus/cold/whatever I had last week and jump right into this week’s recipe. I’ve been experimenting with ways to cut down on our use of regular wheat flour, and incorporate a wider variety of grains into our menus. This bread uses some regular wheat flour, oat flour and sprouted spelt flour.

There is a nice Amish store that we get to once in a while where we stock up on these fresh alternative flours. However, if those are difficult for you to get you could substitute a light whole wheat flour instead.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread, Servings: Two short loaves, a loaf and a pan of dinner rolls or one tall loaf of bread

  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 package quick-rise yeast
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 c. old-fashioned rolled oatmeal
  • 1 c. sprouted spelt flour
  • 1 c. oat flour
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 t. butter, softened

Combine the buttermilk and water in a bowl, microwave for a minute. Add the oatmeal and let it stand until lukewarm, then add the yeast and sugar.

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Add the rest of the flours, salt and butter. Stir to a shaggy dough.

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Let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

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Turn the dough out onto a floured worksurface.

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Knead for 3-5 minutes, until smooth.

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Divide the dough between lightly greased pans. Preheat the oven to 375.

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When the dough has doubled again, put the pans in the oven.

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Bake for 35-40 minutes. When the loaves sound hollow when you tap the top take them out. I like to rub the top crust with butter right of the oven.

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Run a knife around the loaves and let them rest in the pan for about five minutes, then turn them out on a rack to finish cooling.

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These loaves slices in a pretty way, and while they look substantial they are very light and fluffy inside.

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Very nice warm, with butter and a drizzle of honey.

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Three years ago: Profiteroles
Two years ago: Grandma’s Chocolate Cookies
One year ago: Chocolate Babka


Store them well-wrapped at room temperature. In a cool house they will keep for about four days. Freeze for longer storage.

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by Heather Harris Brady

Judging by the amount of pie searches on this site it looks like a lot of you are baking, so rock on! As long as you have the oven on you might think about throwing in a batch of these cookies. They are based on one I grabbed from a local coffee shop. I wasn’t expecting much, because it was obviously a scoop-and-bake, but it turned out to be amazing. Soft, and chuck full of oatmeal and yummy berries. It was probably also chuck full of sugar, so I decided to recreate them my own way.

These are still soft, bursting with oatmeal and berries, but they have lots of other good things as well – like a granola bar merged with a thick oatmeal cookie. I used dried cranberries and fresh blueberries, but you could sub in most any berry that strikes your fancy. With all the whole grains and berry goodness here, you might even be able to justify having cookies for breakfast!

Double Berry Cookies, Makes about 12 4″ cookies

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 c. wheat germ
  • 1/2 c. milled flax seed (optional)
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375. Cream the butter and sugar together well, then add the egg. Beat for one minute on high, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.

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Add the rest of the dry ingredients, beat on medium until well combined.

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Then beat in the milk and continue beating on high for one minute, until the batter is thick and fluffy. Fold in the berries by hand.

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Drop the batter onto a greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

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Cool on racks and store covered in an air-tight container.

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Two years ago: Cheesecake Ice Cream with Cherries Jubilee
One year ago: Fresh Raspberry Cake Roll

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by Heather Harris Brady

I confess to being suspicious of tiny plastic cartons that cost $6.99, unless they contain dark chocolate sea salt caramels – in which case they are obviously worth the price. So when the DH brought home said carton and it was full of what appeared to be little more than grains I thought “surely I can do that.” And guess what? I can. You can. And provided you have a food processor it’s as easy as falling into a recliner.

So whether you’re binge-watching American Ninja Warrior or actually heading out and doing some of ninja things these tasty little bites are great to take along for the ride.

Energy Bars, Makes about 48 bite-sized bars

1-1/2 c. rolled oats
½ c. ground nuts (I used hazelnuts.)
8 oz. dried dates (I used California dates but medjool would be good.)
1/3 c. dried goji berries
2/3 c. unsweetened coconut powder
2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
2/3 c. flaxseed
1/2 c. chia seed

Toppings:
Pistachios
Sliced crystallized ginger
Sprouted quinoa
Chocolate chips
Coconut
Soak the dates and goji berries in warm water until soft, about two hours. Drain but reserve the water.
Preheat the oven to 325. Put the rolled oats in your food processor and grind them to a coarse-ish powder. Add the ground nuts.

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Then add the coconut, dates and goji berries.

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Add the salt and cinnamon. Process for 30 seconds to a thick dough.

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If you find you need a little more water, drizzle in up to 1/3 cup of the water you reserved from soaking the dates.

Turn the dough out and knead in the flax and chia seeds.

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Press the mixture onto a greased baking sheet in one thick layer. Decorate the top with the rest of the ingredients, pressing them in slightly to make them stick. You can use whatever you want here, that’s the fun part!

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Slide the sheet into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Let the bars cool and then cut them into two-bite squares.

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Store at room temperature in a covered container.


Two years ago: Chocolate Eclairs
One year ago: Chocolate Waffles

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by Heather Harris Brady

These are made with butter and chips after all, so I’m not going to pretend this is a health-food post. That said, if you’re looking for ways to work more whole grains into the diet and still feel like you’re living life to the fullest these are crispy and delicious – good enough to give any cookie out there a run for the money.

Calico Whole-Grain Cookies, Makes about 48 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. + 6 T. butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 c. white whole-wheat flour
  • 3 c. old-fashioned rolled oatmeal
  • 1 c. butterscotch chips
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cream the butter and sugars together well, then beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is light and fluffy.

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Beat in the vanilla, then add the dry ingredients except for the chips. Mix well.

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Then stir in the chips.

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Drop tablespoons of dough onto greased baking sheets. Press each mound down with a sugared glass or a fork.

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Bake for about 10 minutes.

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Let the cookies stand for a minute so you can admire their crispy prettiness, then move them to racks to finish cooling.

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Store in an airtight jar or bag. These keep well, but will continue to crisp up during storage. If you want to keep them soft add a slice of bread to the cookie jar or storage bag.


Two years ago: Breakfast Cookies
One year ago: Quick Caramel Apple Cake


 

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by Heather Harris Brady

These cookies look pretty homey but fresh out of the  oven they are freakin’ (that’s right, I said freakin’) amazing. They are thick, soft on the inside and crackly on the outside plus they’re super chocolately. I’ve posted my own recipe for this type of cookie before, but when I saw this recipe in Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies I had to try it because it included hot coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker myself, but if coffee and chocolate are together in the right amounts magic happens. Like here.

Chocolate Chip-Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, Makes about 50

1 c. (8 oz.) butter, room temperature
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. dark cocoa
1 t. vanilla
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
2 t. instant coffee
1/4 c. hot water
1-1/4 c. flour
1 c. mini chocolate chips
3 c. quick-cooking oatmeal

Heat the oven to 350. Cream the butter with the sugar for two minutes.

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Add the egg and vanilla, beat another minute. Dissolve the coffee in the water and stir in the cocoa powder.

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Beat that into the butter along with the salt and baking soda.

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Add the flour, stirring just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and oatmeal.

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Drop spoons of dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets.

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Bake 14-16 minutes.

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Let them stand a minute or two to cool slightly before transferring to racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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Two years ago: Irish Hostess Cupcakes
One year ago: Dulce de Leche Banana Cake

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by Heather Harris Brady

Raise your hand if you have Parisian fantasies. Okay, now leave them up if yours include Dorie Greenspan. C’mon, I know you’re out there. And it’s okay. You’re among friends. Hopefully my husband isn’t reading this because I know it isn’t the stuff of which romance novels are made, but I like to think of flying to Paris, where my new BFF Dorie meets me at the train with a hug and a slice of cake before we head out to shop for kitchenware and hit the farm market.

Then, back in her cozy kitchen we cook and debate recipe ideas. I would pull a treat out of my bag, one of her recipes I’ve made my own and she will say “browned butter, salted caramel, that’s genius of you” or something along those lines. Her FAB cookbook (Baking from my home to yours) encourages you to experiment with her recipes, plus I like to think she’s cool like that.

A bit of backstory: I’m completely addicted to these chocolate oatmeal bars sold by a shop downtown near my place of work. I can only go there once a week because I never walk out without one. And this where Dorie comes in. She has a recipe that looks much like theirs. Then, because I wanted to add my own twist, I brought the salted caramel. So as you can see, there’s a chewy oatmeal layer on the bottom, a layer of salted caramel, a layer of chocolate and more dollops of oatmeal on top. They are rich, so small squares are in order. My husband says he likes them better than the ones in town, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to take him to Paris with me after all 😉

Chocolate Oatmeal Caramel Bars, Makes about 36 2″ squares

For the oatmeal layer:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 c. light brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oats

For the caramel layer:

1 c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. water

1 t. vinegar

1 t. coarse salt

2/3 c. heavy cream

4 T. soft butter

 

1/2 pkg. Kraft caramel bits (optional)

For the chocolate layer:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (the best quality you can find)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Make the caramel (there’s a step by step in the last recipe if you haven’t made it before) and set it aside to cool

Put the sticks of butter in a saucepan and heat them over medium to a light golden brown. Remove them from the heat and cool the butter completely. Then scrape the browned butter into a mixer bowl and cream it with the sugars, followed by the two eggs and vanilla.

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Beat in the remaining dry ingredients.

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Preheat the oven to 325 and lightly grease a 13×9 pan. Reserve 1-1/2 c. of the oatmeal mixture, press the rest into the bottom of the pan.

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Then spread the caramel over the oatmeal and sprinkle the caramel bits on top if you’re using them.

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Set aside while you make the chocolate topping. Heat the condensed milk and chocolate together over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour the chocolate over the caramel layer.

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Then sprinkle it with chunks of the remaining oatmeal mixture.

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Bake about 30-35 minutes.

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You can eat these right away, if you want to try them when they’re extra gooey. But once they’ve set overnight the chocolate turns into a fudge and they cut into nicer slices.

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They’re amazing either way. They’ll keep up to a week covered at room temperature.

One year ago: Malakoff Torte

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by Heather Harris Brady

In my mind’s eye lately I’ve been thinking about a thick-ish oatmeal type bar cookie with fruit in the center, so when I saw this recipe I had to try it. These are probably one of the weirdest cookies I’ve ever made, but they are really delicious. There are thin apple slices between two layers of oatmeal cookie and they bake up into a soft, moist chewy slice. You can add a 1/2 c. of chopped pecans or walnuts to these, but I left them out. Use the driest apple you can find for the inside.

I used a few Macintosh and after about six hours the cookies started getting soft so I had to put them in the refrigerator. This recipe is from Maida Heatter’s Great American Cookies cookbook, where they are called Johnny Appleseed Cookies. If you know someone who loves apple pie they will love these cookies!

Oatmeal Apple Cookie-Slices, Makes about 40

  • 1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 2/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 firm cooking apples

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the first six ingredients in a mixing bowl.

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Beat in the butter, egg and vanilla.

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Line a 10″ baking pan with foil and grease the foil generously. Press half of the oatmeal mixture into a thin layer across the pan.

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Cover it with a layer of thin apple slices.

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Then roll out the rest of the oatmeal mixture between two pieces of waxed paper.

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Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Flop the oatmeal sheet over the pan and carefully peel back the waxed paper.

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It is super-thin and it might tear in spots (like mine did in the bottom left corner). Just patch it and put it into the oven for about 25 minutes. Everything will be okay, see?

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The dough bakes up into a pretty chewy, crackly oatmeal cookie.

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When it’s cooled cut the sheet into bars.

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These are best eaten the day they’re made in my opinion, but you can store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

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One year ago: Quick Fruit Turnovers

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by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve had a fascination with these since I acquired the little volume of Monica Sheridan’s Irish Cooking years ago. In it she talks about how her family would make these oatcakes, prop them in front of the peat fire to dry and eat them hot with lots of fresh butter. Alas peat fires are just not practical in these parts, especially now when the peat is frozen solid just like everything else – ahem. Anyway, I fiddled around and came up with my own recipe for oatcakes. They’re probably better cooked over a peat fire, but these are pretty good too.

Oatcakes, Makes about 35 2-1/2″ crackers

  • 1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats, soaked in 3/4 c. water for one  hour
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • Sea salt for topping

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Add the remaining ingredients to the soaked rolled oats.

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Stir it well and knead it for 6-8 turns. The hydration of your flour might be different than mine. Just adjust the flour and water as needed to achieve a soft workable dough. If it looks like the picture below it will be fine.

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Preheat the oven to 425 and roll the dough out as thinly as possible (1/16″ or 1/32″ if you can do it).

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Cut it into rounds. They might not be perfect because oatmeal is flaky. . .I decided to find it rustic and charming.

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Generously oil a baking sheet with more olive oil. Put the crackers on the sheet, then flip them over so they have a little oil on each side. Poke them all over with a fork and give them a sprinkle of sea salt.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, flipping once with 3-4 minutes of baking time left.

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Cool on a baking rack and store in an airtight tin. These have a nice complexity of flavor that would hold up well to cocktails and draft beers, but they’re good on their own too!

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One year ago: Corned Beef Hash

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