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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

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

On a weekly basis my husband will happily shell out $5 a loaf for what the rest of us have come to call “woodpecker bread” – a term coined by my son who said that if woodpeckers ran a bread factory this is the kind of bread they would make – chuck full of seeds and good health. It is, in fact, sprouted grain bread. There lots of online research you can do on sprouted grains, but basically, the act of sprouting frees up a lot of nutrients that are now easier for the body to absorb. You can mix up the grains for sprouting, and add other things like flax seeds, sesame, whatever strikes your fancy.

I’m actually a little surprised it’s taken me this long to get around to making it myself, given my lifelong Laura Ingalls Wilder penchant. You need a weekend and two pounds of wheat to take on this project – so get’s started!

Step One: The sprouting

  • Two lbs. wheat kernals
  • Two quart glass jars with tops
  • Water

Take two pounds of whole wheat kernals, sometimes called wheat berries. They might look like this, or this. Wash them well and divide them between two quart canning jars. Put the top on and put them under the cupboard. Rinse them every twelve hours. They’re ready to use when each one sends out a tiny white shoot, like so:

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In my room-temperature house this took a full 24 hours. If they sprout before you’re ready to bake, put them in the fridge otherwise – continue on!

Step Two: Making the dough

  • 1/3 c. honey or granulated sugar
  • 1 pkg. fast-rising yeast
  • 1-1/3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 T. salt
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • Sprouted wheat from step one

Rinse the wheat and dump it (you can only work with one jar at a time) into your food processor. Process for about two minutes, until it’s finely chopped.

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Put it into a large mixing bowl and stir in everything but the olive oil.

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Put half the batch in the food processor. Add half the flour and half the olive oil, process to a thick dough. Repeat with the other half of the wheat.

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Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

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Knead for about five minutes. It’s a little rough at first, then it gets better. Resist the urge to add a lot of flour, or your finished loaf will be dry.

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Put it in a bowl and let rise until doubled. Punch it down. (I got carried away and almost forgot to take a picture.)

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Divide it in half. Roll each half out and roll it back up jelly-roll style. Put it in a greased loaf pan. Repeat for the other half.

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Again, let rise until doubled. Preheat the oven to 350.

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When the dough reaches the top of the pan it’s ready.

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Bake for about 40 minutes, until nicely browned. I brush the tops with butter.

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Turn them out on a rack and cover them with a tea towel. When they’re cool wrap them in plastic and store the bread in the refrigerator.

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When it’s cool it slices nicely. The bread is definitely more substantial than what most people are probably used to, but it has a nice toothsome chew with lots of flavor.

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It’s good for sandwiches, or just on its own with a schmear of something. It makes two loaves, which is two weeks’ worth in our house. It’s definitely worth a go if you like whole grain breads. It tastes a lot better than store loaves.

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Two years ago: Quick Cuban Black Bean Soup
One year ago: Asparagus & Wild Mushroom Risotto

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by Heather Harris Brady

I worked on this recipe over the holiday weekend since we’re heading into prime picnic/beach season. Just about everyone loves smores but sometimes they’re a pain. You’ve got to tote all the ingredients with you, make sure you can get a fire going and keep people from eating the marshmallows and chocolate beforehand – which, let’s face it, is not an easy task. You can bake these squares in a leisurely, civilized way and even wrap them individually for your picnic basket. All the goodness of smores neatly in hand, and if the firewood’s wet you can still have dessert. And did I mention they’re whole-grain?

S’mores Bars, Makes one 13×9 pan (about 20 squares)

  • 4 T. butter
  • 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • Two eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. graham flour
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. quinoa flour
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 c. marshmallow creme
  • 6 oz. mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the sugars and the butter together well.

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Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

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Then the dry ingredients.

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Then the applesauce. You should have a thick creamy batter.

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Spread half the batter in a lightly greased 13×9 pan and sprinkle it with the chocolate chips.

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Add dollops of marshmallow creme. I smoothed it a little bit with a wet spoon.

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Then cover it with the rest of the batter.

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Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until nicely brown.

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I sprinkled some more chips on top right when it came out of the oven.

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When it’s completely cool you can cut it into squares.

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The marshmallow will stay nice and fluffy. Store at room temperature covered with plastic wrap. The applesauce will keep them nice and chewy.

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Two years ago: Baked Beans in a Beanpot
One year ago: Quick Peach Turnovers

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by Heather Harris Brady

Growing up we never really had anything around other than white (wheat) flour, and I’m slowly branching out. Although given the looks of my flour drawer slow is probably a point of debate. For now, until I really understand how the different flours work I’m sticking to things that don’t rely so heavily for gluten on their structures – that is, the more sandy, crumbly types of baked goods. I developed the recipe below based on Maida Heatter’s Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies.

These cookies are soft right out of the oven but they soon crisp up for a nice, peanut buttery crunch. You could replace the whole wheat and brown rice flours with regular all-purpose flour if you like, but I promise, no one would ever know you’re sneaking them some whole grain deliciousness. And yes, I finally found my camera at the bottom of one of the dance bags – so, yay!

Peanut Butter Chip Cookies, Makes about 40 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. (one stick) butter
  • 3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • One egg
  • 1/2 c. natural peanut butter
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat.)
  • 3/4 c. brown rice flour
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and the sugars in a mixing bowl. Cream well.

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Then cream in the egg.

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Beat in the peanut butter.

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Then the baking soda and flours.

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Then stir in the chips.

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Drop teaspoons onto greased cookie sheets and give them the little criss-cross with a fork.

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Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until the edges barely begin to brown.

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If you want to keep these soft just add a slice of bread to the cookie jar.

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“I’m ready for my glass of milk Mr. DeMille!”

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Two years ago: Apple Oat Bran Muffins
One year ago: Cinnamon Scones

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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
True confession time, I usually don’t eat breakfast – and I bet you don’t either. Typically I just nibble on something standing up while I pack the lunches for the day as we all head out the door. But if I could get something healthy, highly portable and yummy – heck yeah!

A girl can’t live on muffins alone so I decided to try my hand at breakfast cookies after perusing the options at the grocery. I figured I could do better than $2/cookie, with better ingredients to boot. I started with my low-fat chocolate chip cookie and added lots of healthy grains. But I kept the chips because we all need a little somethin’ amirite?

These would be great for camping breakfasts. My kids walked by when they came out of the oven and scarfed them down.

Breakfast Cookies, Makes 36 3″ cookies

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. agave nectar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1/2 c. quinoa flakes
1/3 c. milled flax seeds
1-1/4 c. rolled oats
2 c. all-bran, or similar bran cereal – slightly crushed
1/2 c. wheat germ
1 c. spelt flour
1-1/2 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 c. mini chips
1/2 c. chopped dried fruit of your choice
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. nonfat plain yogurt

Cream the butter and the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs and the agave nectar.

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Add the vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Add the next 10 ingredients and mix well.

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Then stir in the applesauce and yogurt.

Preheat the oven to 375. Drop tablespoons of dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets and flatten slightly. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

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Cool completely and store in ziplock bags.

These freeze well, so just grab a few before you leave the house. They’ll be ready to eat at your desk with that first cup of coffee or tea.

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