ROASTED STRAWBERRY OAT BARS

These may look deceptively simple, and possibly even basic, but they got rave reviews from all tasters this weekend. I’ve made a version of these bars before from Karen DeMasco’s book, The Craft of Baking, but they were much more buttery and shortbread-like. This version is lighter. The recipe called for jam, but I was all out and had a quart of fresh strawberries, so I roasted them with raw sugar and a pinch of salt. The kitchen smelled amazing and the fruit gets jammy and dark-edged. Mixed with more raw sugar, they make a much better substitute for jam. They have a deep roasted flavor and I think using fresh fruit is the key to making these bars great. The dough seemed too crumbly to hold together at first, but press it carefully into the pan, and once they cool, I recommend refrigerating them overnight. Once they have chilled, they hold together perfectly.

ROASTED STRAWBERRY OAT BARS
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen and Take a Megabite
Jam Layer
1 quart fresh strawberries
pinch of salt
2 heaping tablespoons raw sugar
Oat Layer
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Slice and quarter your strawberries. Toss them with the salt and raw sugar and spread them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, until jammy and starting to brown on the edges.
Increase oven to 375 degrees. Butter and line an 8 inch round baking dish (I used a cake pan; you could substitute a larger dish for thinner bars). In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the flour, oats, butter, sugar, baking powder and salt (you could also do this by hand). Once the dough is crumbly and well-mixed, press 2 cups of the dough into the pan. Make sure it is all pressed down. Add the roasted strawberries on top with a couple extra tablespoons of raw sugar (depending on how sweet you like it). Mash the strawberries into a jammy layer. Add the remaining dough on top and press lightly.
Bake for 25 minutes, until the top begins to get golden brown. If you eat it warm, it will be a little looser in texture. So perhaps over ice cream? With cream? Go wild.

 

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LEMON ALMOND COOKIES

LEMON ALMOND COOKIES
Adapted from Good Things Grow
2 1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
4 tablespoons honey/maple syrup (I used half of each)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 large lemon
Whisk the almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, combine the coconut oil, honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest, mixing well. Pour into the dry mixture and stir until everything is well moistened, the dough will be slightly crumbly, but should hold when pressed together with hands.
Lay out a piece of parchment and use your hands to sort of squeeze the dough together and transfer to the parchment. Carefully roll into a large log about 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Place in the freezer for 1 hour or until firm. You can freeze the dough overnight or for a few days. Make sure to thaw it slightly before you use it.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking pan with parchment.
The dough is tough to slice because it crumbles very easily. You can either pinch of pieces and roll them into balls, which will give you a shape like the second photo above, or you can unwrap the chilled dough and cut into 1/4-inch slices, then lay the parchment back over each slice, one at a time, and roll it out flat with a rolling pin. Then they will look more like the top photo (I prefer this method).
Place cookies on lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Make sure to check after 8 minutes, and take them out once they start to brown around the edges. Allow to cool on baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack, as they are very delicate and will break if they aren’t cool yet.

MALTED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

A few years ago, the New York Times published an article on a cookie dough recipe. While chocolate chip cookie recipes are pretty much everywhere these days, the recipe was unusual because it has you refrigerate the dough for at least 24 hours. Apparently this gives a much better flavor to the cookies, and also in my opinion gives you a chance to try and see how long you can hold out and practice restraint with a bowl of cookie dough in your kitchen. I’d read elsewhere about adding malt powder to cookie dough as a good flavor addition. Personally I am a SERIOUS ADVOCATE of adding Grape-nuts to cookies, so I figured trying another add-in couldn’t hurt. I couldn’t find straight malted milk powder, so I used Ovaltine (total childhood throwback). Highly recommend these cookies–they are the soft, slightly crispy variety but not the chewy, flat variety. Feel free to increase the amount of malt powder, but if your powder (like Ovaltine) includes sugar, you might want to dial back the amount of regular sugar in the recipe.
MALTED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Adapted from the New York Times
1 c. cake flour
1/2 c. plus 1/3 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 c. plus 1/8 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chocolate chips or disks (you can increase this as you like)
1/4 c. malted milk powder (I used Ovaltine)
sea salt to finish
In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well-combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar and malt powder. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer, beating until incorporated. Add your chocolate chips and any other additions you like (coconut, Grape-nuts, raisins).
Refrigerate your dough for at least 24 hours. Cover in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scoop the dough into equal-sized balls and flatten slightly. Place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown

CINNAMON SUGAR PULL-APART BREAD

I’d seen this bread in several places and wanted to try it. Not just because it is beautiful, as you fold pieces of cinnamon-sugar-dusted dough together in a loaf, but also because it is bakes up gooey-ly together in a way that even a pan of cinnamon buns can’t. Several words of wisdom regarding this bread: a) make it for friends, because people will ooh and ah over it, and it is nice to make that happen for people you love and b) don’t use a small loaf pan! I did, and as you will see, it overflowed in a very comical fashion (delicious, yet comical).

Once you tackle the method (sounds complicated, but isn’t), you can make many variations on this (like garlic and cheese, or lemon and ginger).

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
Adapted from Joy The Baker

For the dough:
3 c. flour
2 oz. unsalted butter
1/4 c. sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. water
2 large eggs, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla

For the filling:
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 oz. butter, browned

1. Whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons lukewarm water. Add a pinch of sugar and let sit for 5 minutes until it foams and bubbles.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 c. flour, sugar, yeast and salt and set aside.
3. Whisk together eggs in a small bowl.
4. In a saucepan, melt together the milk and butter until butter just melts. Remove from the burner and add water and vanilla. Let it stand for a minute.
5. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add the eggs and mix into the batter. This will take a bit! Add the remaining flour and mix into a sticky dough.
6. Place dough in a  large greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let it sit in a warm spot until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
7. Deflate the dough and knead 2 tablespoons flour into it. Let it rest for a few minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a large rectangle (try and do 12 x 20 inches). Brush the melted butter across the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
8. Slice the dough vertically into 6 strips and stack them on top of each other. Then slice in 6 equal slices (you end up with 6 stacks of 6 squares). Layer the squares into the loaf pan. Place a towel over the pan and let it rise for about 30 minutes.
9. Preheat over to 350 and bake the loaf for 30 to 35 minutes. Let it rest for 20 minutes or so before you take it out of the pan, or eat it warm straight from the pan!

CHOCOLATE OLIVE OIL COOKIES

If you run out of eggs, and have no butter, but do find yourself with a serious chocolate craving, you can make these! The olive oil makes a brownie-like batter. Scoop the dough with a spoon into rounds and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. The result? Fudgy, salty-sweet, soft chocolate cookies.

CHOCOLATE OLIVE OIL COOKIES WITH SEA SALT

Adapted from Take a Megabite

3/4 c. flour

1/3 c. cocoa (use Valrhona dark if you want to get serious)

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. sugar

2 1/2 T. olive oil

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. hot water, plus 2 T.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Add oil, water and vanilla. Beat until the batter is stiff (it will have a brownie batter-like consistency).

Drop heaping spoonfuls of the batter on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse or flaked sea salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.