Saturday, January 21, 2006

2 Whole Grain Recipes

After a day of no cooking yesterday, I was definitely ready to get back into the kitchen this morning. I decided to try two recipes. One is a whole-grain scone recipe that I was a bit hesitant to try, but it sounded different and was outside of the box for me. The other is a recipe that I have tried before and really, really like, but I wanted to modify it to make it a bit healthier.

This is a recipe from Andrew Weil and Rosie Daley's cookbook The Healthy Kitchen. It was posted by a fellow Cooking Light participant on this whole grain thread. I have been meaning to try this recipe (along with many of the others on that thread) for quite a while now. It's a bit different than the typical recipe I am drawn to which made it even more intriguing. No reason for hesitation on this recipe - they are wonderful. The crumb is nicely tender and light and the scones have plenty of flavor and sweetness. In fact, they were sweet enough that I skipped the glaze (though it would have been pretty). According to the nutritional statistics, these have just over 5 grams of fiber - not bad for something that tastes like a sweet treat. I should add, however, that these are not like a typical scone. I've had scones of different textures, but I think of scones as flaky, melt-in-your mouth pastries. These have more of a muffin texture to them. Without butter, I doubt you can attain that flaky texture.
The second recipe has a bit of a story behind it. There is a health food store in a nearby town where I sometimes shop. One day I tried something that they baked on the premises called a Breakfast Cookie. The texture was more of a muffin in a cookie shape, but nonetheless, they were absolutely delicious. I was hooked and wanted more, more! Every time I went back to that store, they were out of these heavenly treats.
The next time they had them, I inspected the ingredients, determined to figure out how to make them at home. I turned first to my favorite recipe resource - the internet. I typed in Breakfast Cookie and came upon a few recipes and one stood out - this recipe from Bob's Red Mill. There were a few obvious problems. First, the batter was obviously too wet to place these "cookies" free-form on a cookie sheet. Since they were really the texture of a muffin anyway, I tried that first. The muffins had that great flavor that I was craving, but they did not rise much, not surprising given the copious amounts of butter in this recipe. And they were far too greasy. I didn't want the batter to go to waste, so I baked the rest in little mini-tart pans.
Clearly I needed to do some major tweaking, but I wasn't really used playing around with baked goods. Unlike regular cooking, there's a delicate chemistry in baking that isn't always forgiving. So, I turned to my favorite group of foodies/cooks over at the Cooking Light Bulletin Board and posted this thread. Val, a wonderful baker, quickly came up with a great adaptation for an actual cookie using these ingredients while I eventually came up with a working muffin recipe.
Today I tweaked the recipe a bit further. As much as I love, love, love the combination of brown sugar and butter, I am trying to eat as healthfully as possible. I'm not necessarily trying to go super low-fat, but I would like avoid saturated fats wherever possible. Therefore, I subbed canola oil for the butter today to see how things would turn out. The resulting muffins are very good, but not as flavorful and wonderful as the all-butter muffins. They are still a bit greasy too, so the fat could be cut back further. I will continue to tweak these - possibly trying a bit of whole wheat flour too - and see what I can come up with. Verdict - the oil version produces a more-than-acceptable muffin, but without the oohs and ahhs the all butter version inspires.

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