Friday, 7 November 2014

Oh, for the love of OATS!

Someone recently told me his new favourite food is papaya.  We were having a great discussion on food and what we've recently developed a love for.  He turned to me with the question: What is your favourite food?  It only took me a quick second to think and I replied, "Oats!"  I think he was almost a little disappointed by my response because that conversation quickly ended.  Oh, the humble oat, so ho-hum in appearance, but how great your potential!  With oats being one of the few flours I'm able to use in my recipes, I have good reason to love them.  Perhaps if you're able to eat them, you'd agree also.

You see, there's so many possibilities with oats.  Yes, the flour can be difficult to work with.  I'll admit that.  It becomes pretty gummy if stirred too much, the finished product dry in others instance.  But I see the possibilities.  Nay, I have tasted them.

One of my most favourite cookies to make are my Oatmeal Cookies.  SO. MOIST.  So moist you can leave them on the cooling rack overnight and they'll be even better the next day when they're stale.  This recipe also has the thumbs up approval of all the raisin lovers within my department at work.

Oatmeal Cookies

1 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/4 cup +3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
around 40 drops of English Toffee Stevia drops (or other flavour, or even fewer drops if you don't have the massive  sweet tooth I have), or 1-2 tsp of vanilla though this will not add any real sweetness
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup add-ins (being the raisin and coconut lover that I am I usually put in 1/2 cup of each)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your chia egg with 1 tbsp of ground chia seeds and 3 tbsp applesauce combined in a small dish.  Set aside to do it's magic.  In a large bowl, stir your coconut oil and sugar together until well combined and as smooth as possible.  Add your applesauce, your stevia drops and chia egg.  Stir well.

You could use a separate bowl for this next step but I'm often to rushed and too lazy to do extra dishes SO add the rest of the ingredients to the mixture all at once, being sure to not stir until every remaining dry ingredient is in the bowl, THEN stir.  But stir only until just combined.  Like I just mentioned before this recipe, oat flour can get gummy.

Drop large spoonfuls (1/4 cup is my scoop's size) onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, squishing them a little flat, and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes until they're golden brown on the bottom, even a little bit golden at the edges.  If you opted to make your cookies smaller, it would take less cooking time, perhaps 8-10 minutes.  Let's be realistic, who wants small cookies?  No one.

So after they've baked you can enjoy them warm (if you like them in their falling-apart-delicious state), when they're cool or even better, THE NEXT DAY.  That's right, I said it.  Try leaving them out on the cooling rack for an entire day.  Let them get "stale."  It's near impossible.  There's so much moisture in them they can weather the storm of a day's time.  Now letting them wait until the next day, that's the hard part.  Often this is the one time I can exercise restraint because I know how good they'll be the next day.  Try it all three ways and let me know which is your favourite.

Other favourites for using oat flour include Babycakes Erin McKenna's Irish Soda Bread which she shares with the world in her book Babycakes Covers the Classics.  I've also enjoyed many a Nilla wafers using oat flour and the recipe from that cookbook.  It makes me a little sad that my friend and I were never in the area of the Babycakes bakery when we were in New York.  It just always seemed to be at the other end of wherever we happened to be.  Oh well, next time!

Vegetarian Times also featured a great Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe that I made "Lisa friendly" by doing this:

"Lisa-Friendly" Oat Flour "Chocolate Chip" Cookies

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup coconut sugar
1 chia egg (see previous recipe)
2 tsp vanilla extract (it often verges on 1tbsp)
2 1/4 cups oat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sweetened dark carob chips (I don't often eat things with processed sugar, I've heard it only makes existing eczema worse, but sometimes a girl just has to feel like she's eating chocolate chips in cookies, doesn't she???)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix sugar and oil together until smooth, add "egg" and vanilla.  Then add all your dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined.  I drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets, smush them a little flat and bake in the oven for about 15 mins or until the bottoms are golden brown.  Cool on a cooling rack before eating unless you want to burn the roof of your mouth on hot carob chips, which I often do.  Mmmmmm...

That recipe is surprisingly similar to an ACTUAL chocolate chip cookie with "normal" ingredients such as wheat, dairy and real chocolate.  So to get your fix when you're allergic to many a "normal" chocolate chip cookie, I suggest this one.

It really does astound me how awful I am at keeping track of my recipes.  There's this one oatmeal pancakes recipe that I thought I had lost forever.  One day I went looking for it on Alicia Silverstone's the Kind Life and could not find the recipe on the website any longer.  I googled it to death and still couldn't find it.  I tried making it from memory and that only proved frustrating and a complete waste (never trust my memory).  Eventually, I had to give up looking for it (imagine, the lights fading until dark).   Then one day, as I was looking for a completely different recipe, what happens?  I come across a print out of the Oatmeal Pancakes recipe, mixed among other printouts in a notebook.  I do a happy dance.  I quickly make them my next available opportunity.  I made them TWICE for this summer's camping trip (a hit cooked in bacon fat, sorry to those who are vegan) and now that I want to share my love of oatmeal with you do you think I can find that recipe?  Not a chance.  So now that I have dangled the prospect in front of you, please know that as soon as I find the recipe again, I will pass it on.  YUM.  Until then, have fun making cookies, or Irish soda bread or a giant bowl of oatmeal.  Whatever this post inspired you to do with my beloved Oat. 

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