Thursday, January 19, 2012

White Out Oatmeal Choco Chip Cookies

I am so excited about this recipe.
1: It was a shot in the dark that worked!
2: It's a healthier version of something we all love!
3: It received my husband's seal of approval! He said, "They're really good, Babe!" It doesn't get much better than that for me. :-)
I started out to make some cookies for some friends and decided to get creative and come up with a chocolate chip cookie devoid of white sugar. I'm sure it's been done before, but not by me. I always thought chocolate chip cookies were the one place where you just shouldn't mess with the original basic components. I was wrong! WooHoo!!!


Maple Syrup

PURE maple syrup. I love the stuff! You can use it in so many different places to sweeten so many different things, and it's better for you than granulated sugar. Granted, it should still be used in moderation just like any other sweet thing, but it's good stuff. I used it in this cookie recipe in place of the white sugar. I had to increase the amount of dry ingredients to compensate for the extra liquid. The results were a crisp cookie on the outside and soft light cookie on the inside. In this particular batch I added white chocolate chips because that's what my husband likes, but to make a pure "white out" cookie, just leave them out. I hope you enjoy them!

White Out Oatmeal Choco Chip Cookies
Copyright 2012 Brendilly Bakes, All rights reserved

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
2 Eggs
1 t. Almond Extract
2 1/2 cups Quick-Cooking Oats
1 1/2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour (I use King Arthur's - milled from hard white spring wheat rather than red wheat)
1 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Kosher Salt
1 t. Baking Soda
1/2 bag White Chocolate Chips
1/2 bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (or a whole bag of semi-sweet if you're going for a pure "white out" recipe)
1 cup Dried Cranberries

Preheat oven to 375
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, creme the butter and brown sugar until well combined and creamy.
Add the maple syrup, eggs, and almond extract. Mix on medium speed until well combined.
Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and mix on low speed until combined. Continue adding the dry ingredients in thirds, mixing after each addition until well combined.
Add chips and cranberries, mix quickly at medium speed of mixer, or mix by hand until chips and cranberries are well incorporated.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake 10-11 mins.

NOTE: Health food stores also carry carob chips and other types of chocolate chips made with natural sweeteners. I don't know how they would work in this recipe, but it might be worth a try. Maybe that will be the next thing on my list to play with.......

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sweet Potato Pancakes

My little one wanted pancakes again this morning and I had some leftover mashed sweet potatoes from last night's dinner, so I obliged her with Sweet Potato Pancakes, and they turned out quite yummy if I must say so myself. She also loves her pancakes heart-shaped, thus the picture.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
Copyright 2012 Brendilly Bakes, All rights reserved

2 1/2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
4 t. Baking Powder
2 T. Brown Sugar
1 heaping t. Cinnamon
1/2t. freshly grated Nutmeg
3 T. Flaxseed Meal
1 cup Milk
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Canola Oil
2 Eggs
1 C. Mashed Sweet Potatoes (Recipe follows)

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well with a wire whisk. In a large glass measuring bowl/cup (such as a Pyrex), measure the milk, cream, oil, and eggs; combine well. Add sweet potatoes to milk mixture and whisk until smooth and incorporated. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.

Drop by half-ladelfuls (approx. 1/3 cup) onto heated non-stick skillet or a 300 degree griddle. Cook until bubbles form, flip, and continue cooking until done. Serve with real butter (better for you than margarine) and pure maple syrup. Enjoy!

To peel or not to peel, that is the question.........and my answer is NOT. First off, peeling potatoes is a lot of work and that just doesn't appeal to a lazy person like me. Second, most of the nutrients in potatoes are in the peel. Third, I LIKE the peel. So, why would I put myself through a labor intensive chore in order to rob myself of something I like that's good for me? I wouldn't. You, however, must decide for yourself whether perfectly smooth and creamy potatoes with less nutritional value is worth the work. It's still a free country. Take advantage of it. :-) So, now that the politics are out of the way, here for you, is my recipe for non-peeled mashed sweet potatoes.

3 med. sized sweet potatoes
Heavy Cream
Maple Syrup

Wash and cut sweet potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Set to boil. Once boiling, lower heat, cover and simmer until fork tender. Drain potatoes and pour into a bowl. Add butter, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and maple syrup to taste. Mash slightly with beaters before turning on the hand-mixer, then beat on medium speed until smooth.

I really feel the need to apologize here. I am notorious for not measuring when I cook. The only place I measure is in baking (it's a much more exact science). I cook by instinct and senses, and that just comes from experience. I've been cooking since I was 9 and I am now 51 - you do the math, because I'm terrible at it. Start with small amounts; look, smell, taste. Does it need a little more? Add a LITTLE more, then; look, smell, taste......until it's just the way you want it. It is so much easier to add more than to take out if you add too much. After a while, you just come to know how much is too much and how little is too little. The biggest thing is, don't be afraid. There are fixes for some things we mess up, and there is the trash can and takeout for things we can't fix. Cooking is about expression (yes, it's a bit of an art) and having fun. So, HAVE FUN!

Buon appetito! :-)

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