Saturday, April 18, 2015

Food Friday - Oh, Oh, Oatmeal!

from Kris B.

As a musician by profession, I have always felt that you can tell a lot about your compatibility with someone not only by knowing what kind of music they like to listen to, but also knowing what they will not listen to.  I remember a conversation with Weber early on in our dating relationship.  I asked him if he was familiar with the band Snow Patrol.  He wasn’t, so I told him a little about them and their music.  He then said, “I thought you were a classical musician not a rocker chick.”  I’m not sure if his comment meant that he was worried or relieved.  Whichever the case, it apparently was not a deal breaker.  My tolerance for various genres of music is probably greater than his, but again, not a deal breaker.

I learned much later into the dating process, after the point of no return, that one should also discuss what kind of cookies you both prefer to eat while you are listening to music.  I have mentioned before that Weber does not like chocolate in any way, shape, or form in baked goods, though he does like chocolate candy, as he often reminds me when I mistakenly say that he does not like chocolate.  On the flip side, though I like raisins by themselves, I don’t like them in baked goods.  So we can’t share a batch of either kind of our favorite kinds of cookies - no chocolate chip for me and no oatmeal raisin for him.

As is necessary with many things in relationships, we have worked to find a middle ground.  We both like spices, so that is where we meet - over spice cake instead of chocolate or carrot cake (unless you use Tracey’s recipe because she too dislikes raisins in her carrot cake), cinnamon rolls instead of chocolate iced doughnuts, and oatmeal chai crisps instead of oatmeal raisin cookies.  Weber also prefers crispy cookies to my chewy preference, but I can deal with that.  It keeps me from eating too many cookies.

So this week’s recipe is one of our cookie compromises.  The actual recipe is the marrying of several others that I have found over time.  An added bonus is that in addition to spices, it  also contains oatmeal, another mutually agreed upon ingredient!

These are fairly simple cookies to prepare, but there are a few places where the process is is not terribly forgiving.  Yes, this is experience speaking!

For the chai spice mixture:
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg

For the cookies:
1 Cup of butter (Yes, really!  And don’t substitute.)
2 Cups light brown sugar
2 1/4 Cups rolled oats
1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 lightly beaten egg
2 TBS light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

The Oatmeal Chai Crisps consist of the chai spices, dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and the butter and brown sugar mixture.  The process proceeds much more smoothly if you make your spice mix, combine your dry ingredients, and gather your wet ingredients in one place before you begin the actual cooking process.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, Line your baking pan with a silicone baking mat.  Parchment paper will do in a pinch.

In a small prep bowl, mix all of the chai spices.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the rolled oats, flour, salt , and spice mixture.

In another small bowl, lightly beat the egg.  To save trouble after you begin cooking, you can add the corn syrup and vanilla to the beaten egg.  (I make my own vanilla by "marinating" three or four vanilla beans in a jar of vodka.  It takes a couple of weeks for the vanilla to get to its full strength.  You can then replenish it by adding another bean and refilling the vodka periodically.)

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar.  Stir continuously.  A silicone or wooden spoon works best.  Bring the mixture just to the boiling stage.  Once you begin to see bubbles, remove it from the heat.  Stir in the dry ingredients.  Once they are mixed in, add the wet ingredients.

Here is the most important step of the whole process!!!

Using a regular teaspoon (not a measuring spoon) scoop about a half a spoonful of batter for each cookie.  Drop them on the cookie sheet leaving at least two inches between each cookie. 
Confession here, but no picture…it had been awhile since I had actually made these.  (That cup of butter doesn’t go so well with Weight Watchers.) I had forgotten how much they really do spread during the baking process. For the first batch that I put in the oven, I used too much batter for each cookie.  The result was one giant cookie!  On the positive side, it tasted great; it just wasn't very pretty. LOL  I guess, had I eaten the whole thing, I could say in all honesty that I only ate one cookie!

Bake for 7 minutes, until the edges turn dark.  Watch your first batch carefully as oven variation causes cooking time variations.  When done, remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool and firm up for a few minutes on the cookie sheet.  Then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store the Oatmeal Chai Crisps in an airtight container.

These are really tasty with ice cream or yogurt!

from Tracey G

It's been a heck of a week and a half. All the stuff going on with Harry has just had me not knowing if I'm coming or going. Now thrown into the mix is the fact we need to get him to a pediatric gastroenterologist for all the reflux and tummy issues he's been having. Let's just add that onto all the other issues the poor kid's dealing with, ugh. (and not to mention that therefore mommy is dealing too! LOL)

 Talking with Kris has found that her corner of the world has been just as stressful, only of course, different issues, but it's odd how our lives, all these miles apart, seem to mirror each other, be it for good or ill. And it's amazing how we can be really close to if not exactly on the same page when it comes to ideas for what foods we want to do for the week. I was coming up blank, my brain just too full of all the stuff going on, and the only thing that had enough energy to shine through all of that was my favorite blueberry muffins. I was needing something decent to eat as I was starting to just not care what I was eating, as long as I was eating - not helpful in my goal to shed a few pounds and get a bit healthier! So, I threw it out there to Kris, telling her that it was all I had, because it was something needed around here, and was there any chance she could work with that...well, she told me oatmeal something she could do, as it's been in her brain's world lately anyway, lol. So, here we are with our oatmeal starring goods ;-) 

I don't remember when I found this recipe, but I am so glad I did!! I was looking for a muffin that incorporated oatmeal, not really looking for a blueberry muffin (I don't think, lol) but I found this one. It turned out to be my favorite and only recipe I use now. It's super simple - very easy to whip up a batch and fairly healthy too, using egg whites and not a lot of sugar, plus the oil amount is low. I like to make it even lower by subbing some applesauce in for it too - although when I swap out the oil, I use 1 tablespoon of oil and a 4 oz applesauce cup. I like to keep the applesauce cups around for my baking. For the most part they're measured out just right and they don't end up going bad in my fridge like the big jars do when I buy them just for a recipe! ;-)

So, not only is oatmeal a star in this recipe....

....but so are lovely blueberries!! You can use fresh or frozen in this recipe, I usually use frozen as I usually have them in freezer. I try to freeze up my own late summer when they are in season and plentiful around here, nothing like fresh ones you froze yourself, as you know what quality you're getting when you use them down the line ;-) But any blueberries work well of course!

In a medium sized bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt baking powder and baking soda, which I forgot to include in the photo, lol. Oh well, things like that will happen around here I suppose! :-)

In another bowl, beat your egg whites, water and oil. If you're using applesauce, you'd add that as well. As I said earlier, I use a 4 oz cup of applesauce and add in only 1 tbsp of oil. 

Add your dry ingredients into your wet and mix until just combined. Then, fold in your blueberries. I have always tossed my frozen berries with a little bit of flour to help them not just sink to the bottom of the batter of whatever muffin recipe I'm making. 

This recipe yields 12 muffins, so I just divide my batter up into 12 muffin paper lined muffin cups. Before you bake them, you mix 2 tablespoons of sugar with a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and sprinkle on top of muffins. 

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan until removing them to a wire rack to cool. 

These also freeze really well, so I like to make a few batches at a time since they are so easy, and have some tucked away in the freezer for whenever I want a muffin. :-)

Blueberry Oat Muffins

Serves 12

1 1/4 c flour
1 c quick-cooking oats
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1/2 c water
1/3 c canola oil
1 c fresh or frozen blueberries
Topping: 2 tbsp sugar
               1/4 tsp cinnamon

1) In a medium sized bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. In another bowl, beat egg whites, water and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. 
2) Fill paper muffin cups or muffin cups coated with cooking spray, 3/4 full. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over muffins.
3) Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before removing to rack to cool. 

1 comment:

  1. Both of these recipes look awesome!!! Kris--variety is the spice of life right? And my thought on raisins--I was always disappointed when I bit into a cookie thinking it was going to be a chocolate chip and it was a raisin ( : Tracey--I need to do that applesauce substitution more often. I always have the jar go bad in the fridge too so I have started freezing it. I guess I am on a freezing kick ( : Great read!