Showing posts with label walnuts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label walnuts. Show all posts

Monday, August 22, 2016

Healthy Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast cookies with soaked oats and raisins, sweetened with peanut butter before baking, then topped with a maple spread frosting. Start the day off right with these gems. A whole grain cookie that is naturally gluten free, free of refined sugar and a tasty breakfast, too!

a plate with a close up of healthy gluten and refined sugar free breakfast cookies

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Each school year starts with such promise--we will have LESS clutter, lose LESS papers, be MORE organized, waste LESS food and LESS time, be MORE productive, etc etc. You know the drill. The inspiration of those blank planner pages soon fades into the daily grind of getting up and out the door with everything you need for the day Oh-and-by-the-way-mom-did-I-tell-you-I-needed-a-solid-blue-shirt, shorts, and-socks-and-this-specific-brand-of-index-tabs-by-3rd-period?

image of 'as healthy as a bowl of oatmeal' breakfast cookies

Sigh. I can't help you with that brand of index tabs [it's a thing you stick onto a piece of paper to make it into a divider. I had to look it up]. We went to 4 drugstores and office supply stores to amass sufficient quantities for the classroom stash. [Should have ordered online.] But I can help you put something nourishing into your folks' bellies to get the day off to the good start:

These breakfast cookies.

close up of a healthy breakfast cookie on a cooling rack

My working title over the summer months while I was making test batches was As Healthy As A Bowl Of Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies, because that was my goal:  a breakfast cookie that had all of the nutrition of a bowl of oatmeal but in handheld form.

My search started when I wanted to encourage my son to keep up his oatmeal habit during summer. Some people [my spouse] can start their day with a hot bowl of oatmeal year round. Not me. I like to mix things up. I figured I'd grab a Breakfast Cookie recipe and whip up a bunch one day for breakfasts throughout the week. If you've followed the blog and seen how I make muffins with LESS sugar, LESS fat, MORE fiber and MORE flavor--you can guess what happened next.

a plate of healthy breakfast cookies frosted with maple spread

I kept finding recipes for breakfast cookies that were Cookies with some oatmeal and orange juice tossed into the dough. Cookies--starting with creaming butter and sugar. Not the building blocks for breakfast in my house! Please do not misunderstand. I love cookies, and a good cookie recipe starts with creaming butter and sugar. But that's for dessert. Not for breakfast. Each has it's time and place.

an image of a plate of healthy gluten and refined sugar free breakfast cookies

I went back to the drawing board and thought about how, when I soak oats in buttermilk overnight for my muffins, the resulting mixture is pretty darn thick. I experimented with turning that into a baked handheld breakfast item. Each batch became better, but missing the essential sweetness until I hit upon frosting them. I used maple spread from my farmer's market and whoo boy did that do the trick! If you cannot find maple spread I'd suggest making your own (see Note below) or using peanut butter, apple butter, or Nutella.

a bowl of batter that will become healthy breakfast cookies
All my optional add ins (nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut) stirred in. Ready to scoop and bake.

Note: this recipe starts the night before when you combine oats and buttermilk (or kefir). You can soak them in a bowl on the counter or in a container in the refrigerator. If it's hot out I use my fridge.
Note about maple spread: I get this from my maple syrup dealer at the farmer's market. It's a refrigerated item that is pure maple syrup cooked down even more into a thick spread. Update: Here's how to make your own Maple Cream (video).

Healthy Breakfast Cookies (makes 12, we eat 2 at a time)


  • 2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned kind)
  • 1+¾ cups buttermilk (my friend used kefir with excellent results)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (if you need to add sugar, I'd suggest ¼ cup here)
  • ½ cup raisins or chopped dates
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • ¼ cup roasted salted sunflower seeds (optional)
  • ¼ to ½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • ¼ to ½ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • maple spread (in my opinion NOT OPTIONAL, but substitute peanut butter, apple butter, or Nutella if you cannot locate maple spread--see Note above)


  1. The night before you want to bake these cookies, combine oats and buttermilk in a bowl. You can leave them out on the counter or refrigerate them. Your choice. 
  2. In the morning, add the salt, baking soda, flax meal, egg, peanut butter and raisins. Stir well, and let it sit on the counter for an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and use sheets of parchment paper to line 2 cookie sheets for best results (I found that the cookies will fall apart if you merely grease a cookie sheet, but they stick together until cool when using parchment paper).
  4. Stir in the optional add ins (nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut and/or chocolate chips).
  5. Scoop large cookies, about ½ cup size, onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Flatten with the bottom of a drinking glass, a spatula, or the back of your cookie scoop. These cookies don't spread out.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish.
  7. Frost with a dab of maple spread. It will dry so that the cookies can be stacked. Store these cookies on the counter for a day, in the fridge for a few days, or wrap up and freeze for a few weeks.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pear Walnut Sourdough Coffee Cake

Chopped pears and walnuts flavor this simple sourdough coffee cake.

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My sourdough starter is a toddler now, and moving into a big kid bed back onto the kitchen counter. When the starter lives on the counter, I feed it every few days and take out a cup or so with each feeding.

In the past year I've used that cup of starter to make countless loaves of Multigrain Sourdough Bread, monthly batches of sourdough waffles using this King Arthur Flour recipe, and the occasional treat:  this sourdough coffee cake.

During the summer, though, my kitchen is too warm to leave the starter out--it gets funky fast--so it lives in the fridge.  Out of sight, out of mind. I can't tell you how many times I realized we would need bread ready to eat before I'd have time to wake up the starter and bake a loaf--so off to the store we'd go--walking, for exercise but still. Blerg. I'm glad the weather is turning so the kitchen is cooling down. It's great for the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve, great for canning tomatoes, and great for the sourdough starter. Remind me of this fabulousness when there's frost on the inside of the kitchen windows, please?

While the recipe title says pear, I've also made this with chopped apples. Apparently the type of fruit doesn't even matter, because my son looked over my shoulder at the post title as I sat writing in the orthodontist's office--the free samples at Costco resulted in a lost retainer--and remarked "there was fruit in the coffee cake?" I try and try to nourish the family with wholesome food, and while it does get shoveled in the pie holes perhaps the subtle nuances in flavor get missed.

Note: here's the inspiring recipe for this coffee cake. I added fruit, used no sugar in the batter, changed up the spices, and pumped up the topping with oats because I love throwing my oats around. I also tried the method of starting it the night before--using unfed starter straight out of the fridge. This works fine in my kitchen. I've also let it rise in my oven on the bread proof setting until the top is gently puffed.

For more recipes using pears, please see my Pear Recipes Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Orange-Spiked Beet and Walnut Spread

Toasted walnuts, roasted** beets, and a kick of orange juice brightens up this vegan spread

Orange-Spiked Beet and Walnut Spread | Farm Fresh Feasts

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If you read Wednesday's post and thought I sounded conflicted about posting so many meat-containing recipes in a row, you're very perceptive.  I've got a Guinness-soaked easy meal, a terrific Thai cold-busting soup, and a Fast From The Farm Share supper on deck--but they all involve meat.  And I feel the need to share a vegan recipe in the midst of all this meat so here's one that's been percolating on my mental back burner for a while.
Why do I say percolating?  Well, the recipe I wanted to make just wasn't working for me.  I kept trying variations within the parameters I'd established, and when I hit upon the final concoction that worked I realized I didn't have the exact proportions to share with you.  So I'm going to explain the concept, give you some measurements as a jumping off point, and leave it at that.  I mean, with 6 ingredients [including salt and pepper] there's plenty of 'taste and adjust' for each of us to do.
I'm always on the lookout for new ways to love beets from my CSA farm share, so when I got an email from goop including a recipe for beet and walnut spread I mentally filed it under the 'Beet Recipes to Try' section of my brain.
Don't tell me you don't have a Beet Recipes to Try area of your brain? Pity.
This Beet and Walnut Dip is my inspiration, and I am sure it is delicious, but I a) was running low on tahini and had some hummus to make and b) desired to have another tahini-free appetizer in my spread.  So I took the beets, walnuts, olive oil and salt from that recipe, and was trying . . .  trying . . . trying . . . to make something other than BeetyWalnutButter.  I failed. I was about to grab the goat cheese and de-veganify it when I remembered how well beets and oranges go together (hello, Beet Juice Mimosas!). I grabbed some freshly squeezed Hamlin orange juice from the Band Fruit Fundraiser, threw the concoction back into the food processor to incorporate the juice, and DONE!  The orange juice and olive oil emulsify to fluff up the BeetyWalnutButter into an Orange-spiked Beet and Walnut Spread.

Orange-Spiked Beet and Walnut Spread | Farm Fresh Feasts

As much as I love my Beet and Goat Cheese Spread, I was looking for a vegan addition to my Awesome Vegetable Apps and Snacks collection (link to my Pinterest board) and this one works great.  I like it on carrots or crackers and spread on toasted sourdough bread in a sandwich.  I think it would be delicious topped with sautéed mushrooms, as the earthy flavors of beets and mushrooms make a nice pairing in my favorite Danish smørrebrød:  liverpostej.

Orange-Spiked Beet and Walnut Spread | Farm Fresh Feasts

If you've got beets, walnuts, an orange and a bit of time to use the oven, as well as a food processor or amazing knife skills, you can enjoy this vegan spread today.  It makes a colorful addition to an appetizer table.

For more recipes using beets, please see my Beet Recipes Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, or the garden abundance. More recipes! I'm pinning more recipes to my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like behind-the-scenes shots, please follow me on Instagram. When I encounter an article that makes me think or makes me laugh, I share it on my Facebook page--please follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?