Recipe: Mat’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these cookies on December 4th. Snow, record cold, and my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew were on their way home from the hospital. My brother-in-law isn’t a fan of sweets so to find one he loves is surprising. He loves these cookies!

Mat’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup heaping granulated sugar
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 cup heaping unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together the butter, sugar, and molasses. Add in the flour, baking soda, extracts, and egg. Beat together until everything is mixed and the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans. Drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets 2 inches apart. These cookies do spread out a lot so 2 inches is important. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. They should be firm on the outside edge but soft in the center. Remove from oven and let them cool on the cookie sheets.

Recipe: ‘Everyday’ Cake

A quick whole wheat cake that can be made and enjoyed any day of the week, for any occasion. It is easily adaptable for whatever is in the refrigerator or pantry.

‘Everyday’ Cake

1/2 cup sour cream, yogurt, milk, or buttermilk
1 egg (OR 1/4 cup applesauce or mashed banana plus 1/4 tsp. baking soda)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup melted butter or oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or other desired flavor of extract)
1 cup whole wheat regular or pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Lightly grease an 8 inch x 8 inch pan and preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream and egg until well mixed. Whisk in the honey and butter. Add in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir it all together. The batter will be very thick at first but will loosen up as it is mixed. Scoop it into the prepared pan and bake for 15 to 25 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick to ensure it has cooked through. Let cool before serving.

The baking time will vary depending on what variations are used and baking altitude. The cake with sour cream, butter, and egg will bake in 15 minutes at high altitude. Top with desired toppings although it is delicious as is. The cake is best served at room temperature as it does harden a bit in the refrigerator. Store the cake, tightly cover, in refrigerator for a longer shelf life. It comes to room temperature in 10-15 minutes.

Recipe: Sweet Buttery Shortcrust Pastry – Regular and Gluten-Free

Sweet Buttery Shortcrust Pastry
Regular and Gluten-Free

Makes enough for an 8 or 9 inch tart pan or as the base of 10 inch spring-form pan. It also makes delicious cookies.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
Cold water

In a food processor, add the flour and the butter. Pulse until combined. The mixture will be crumbly. Add in the honey and egg. Pulse until the mixture comes together into ball. Add cold water if necessary to help the dough formation. Remove the ball and place in a covered bowl. Put the ball into the fridge for at least an hour before using. It will keep in the refrigerator for week and also freezes well.

For a gluten-free version: 1/3 cup coconut flour, 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and 2 eggs. Assemble as directed above.

Recipe: Oatmeal Pancakes – Whole Wheat & Gluten-Free

I love these with melted unsalted butter and warm maple syrup. The texture is not like traditional pancakes and can be unsettling to some folks as they are chewier, nuttier, and heartier than the typical buttermilk pancake. They also make an excellent accompaniment to savory dishes.

Oatmeal Pancakes – Whole Wheat and Gluten-Free
 
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)*
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
2 eggs*
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Additional milk
 
In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, milk, and vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs then add in the sour cream. Add the whole wheat pastry flour to the oat mixture and mix well. Stir the egg mixture into the oat mixture until well combined. At this point, add additional milk if needed to get the desired consistency of batter. The batter’s consistency varies due to weather, ingredients, and personal preference**. Stir in the baking soda. Spoon the batter on a hot greased skillet. Smaller pancakes work best as larger ones have a tendency to break apart. When the edges bubble and start to dry out, flip and cook the other side till golden.
 
** A thinner batter will yield thinner pancakes and a larger quantity of them. Conversely, a very thick batter will yield a small amount of very thick pancakes
 
*For a gluten-free version: Use gluten-free oats with 1/3 cup coconut flour and 4 eggs. Combine the oats, coconut flour, milk, and vinegar then let sit for 20 minutes. You will need to add additional milk to the batter as coconut flour soaks up a lot of moisture.

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Chips

My newest snack obsession since cutting all sweeteners except for honey and maple syrup. I also like to take the chocolate sauce and make peanut butter cups with homemade peanut butter. The finished product is very dark and rich.

Honey Sweetened Dark Chocolate Chips

1 cup butter (coconut oil can also be used)
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, cocoa powder, and honey together. Once smooth, mix in the vanilla. Pour the finished chocolate sauce on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer. Freeze for 3 hour or until the chocolate is completely hard. Turn the chocolate block out onto a cutting board. With a sharp knife, chopped the chocolate into chips. Bag up the chips and return them to the freezer. Toss them frozen into favorite recipes like Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.

Recipe: Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Honey Frosting

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Honey Frosting

Cake:

1 ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup unsalted butter at room temp
¾ cup honey
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
½ cup water with 1 teaspoon instant coffee or ½ cup strong coffee

In a bowl, sift together the pastry flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and honey. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, sour cream, and water/coffee. Mix well until combined. Pour mixture into greased and floured 8”x8” pan.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick come out clean from the center. Once cooled the cake is cooled, frost if desired.

Honey Frosting:

Makes enough to frost the top of an 8”x8” cake

1 cup milk powder (organic is preferred)
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
1/3 cup honey
3 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
Water

In a bowl, beat together the milk powder, butter, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, beat in a little bit of water. Frosting should be kept refrigerated even when it is on a cake. If frosting a cake after refrigeration, let it warm up at room temperature for at least 30 minutes until it is soft enough to spread. Using the microwave to soften the frosting is discouraged as it can cause the butter to seep out and “break” the frosting.

The cake and the frosting firm up with refrigeration. The cake tastes best after sitting out for 15 to 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Recipe: Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 6

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnut pieces (any nut or seed will work)
1 cup raspberries (any type of berry work) {optional}
2 cups milk of choice
1 large egg
3 tablespoons oil of choice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/4-inch slices {optional}

Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 8 by 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.

Line the baking dish with one cup of oats. Top with the banana slices, half the nuts, and half of the berries. Top with the remaining oats then the remaining nuts and berries.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and egg. Whisk in the honey followed by the milk, baking spice, baking powder, vanilla extract, and salt.

Pour the milk mixture over the oat layers. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the milk mixture to soak through the oats.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. Serve warm or chilled with a drizzle of honey if desired.