Tag Archives: oatmeal

Aunt Cherry’s Rhubarb Cake

This has been a week for appliances and household items to take a shit.  Our air conditioning broke during a heat wave (of course). Now we find out we need a new furnace and heat pump.  Our new washing machine began to leak and created a nice little flood in our laundry room (on the upside, the floor has never been cleaner!).  Our way too expensive, professional quality steam iron decided to leak water through the cord (that seems a bit unsafe).  Our clock stopped working.  Our thermostat broke.  After turning on the outdoor hose bibs for gardening, we realized that this is the year for them to start leaking incessantly (they’ll need to be replaced).

Oh, and now that I think of it …  one of our window blinds broke the other day.  On the same day that my daughter fell off a swing and broke her arm.  WTF?  I’m starting to scare myself.

So, when I recently saw a puddle of murky water in the refrigerator, I was pretty sure that it was the next thing to go. But alas, it was just a puddle from some decomposing rhubarb that I hadn’t used up — because I never use up my rhubarb.  I guess I just don’t see the point of eating something that requires five cups of sugar just to make it palatable.  I cook it down, make rhubarb applesauce or the occasional strawberry-rhubarb pie or crisp, but there’s always a never ending supply.  And then even more in the freezer from last summer.

I decided to take a tried and true, delicious recipe, Aunt Cherry’s Oatmeal Cake, and see what some rhubarb would do to it.  It was very good, but not surprisingly, because nothing could really mess up Aunt Cherry’s cake.  It is a sticky, oozy mess of a dessert that you can eat for breakfast.  And the rhubarb version makes a delicious dessert with some whipped cream or ice cream, but I also served it as rhubarb coffee cake for breakfast with guests.

I’d like nothing more than to bake one right now, but I must go down a rabbit hole into customer service and extended warranty and “we’ll be there between 2 and midnight” hell.  Oh, just a moment.  This is shocking.  I just went to enter a warranty claim for my washing machine and guess what?  The system is down.

Aunt Cherry’s Rhubarb Cake

Makes one 9 inch by 13 inch cake

Cake:
1 cup oats (I used old fashioned)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 eggs
2-3 cups of diced rhubarb

Topping:
1 cup pumpkin seeds (or other chopped nuts), toasted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup of milk
6 T butter, melted
1 t vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut (not sweetened)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together dry cake ingredients: oats, white sugar, brown sugar, whole wheat pastry flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.  Make sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar.

3.  Add boiling water to dry ingredients.  Using an electric mixer, beat in softened butter (1 stick).  When incorporated, beat in eggs one at a time.  The batter will be thin.  Pour into greased 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan.  Stir in diced rhubarb.

4.  In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients:  pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, white sugar, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and coconut.  Drop in small dollops all over the unbaked cake batter.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.  Remove and cool on a rack.

 

 

Whole Grain Orange Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Am I the only one who *hates* making cut out sugar cookies?  They are just so fussy.  And there is no instant gratification — make the dough, chill the dough, roll the dough, chill the dough, cut the cookies, re-roll the dough, bake the cookies, cut some more cookies, chill the freaking dough again, remove the cookies, cool the cookies, decorate the cookies.  I am just so much happier with a drop cookie that can be mixed and baked and thrown into the freezer before the children eat everything meant for Santa.

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In a different life, I think I might have been an OK chef … but pastry chef?  No way.  I am way too impatient, way too rammy, and definitely not into precision work.  I can do big bold flavors and I can make just about anything taste good, but I am not one for being meticulous — which would have made me a terrible surgeon too. Actually what would make me a terrible surgeon is my penchant for having panic attacks every time I’m in a hospital-like area.

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So, here’s a recipe for one of my favorite drop cookies.  This year I made them whole grain and cut back on the sugar a bit.  They are delicately flavored with orange zest and then drizzled with chocolate.  And they are fabulous for breakfast with a cup of coffee or on a platter for Santa.  You will find them right next to the cut out cookies.  Because you know I’m going to get guilted into making them anyway.

Whole Grain Orange Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Makes 2 to 2 1/2 dozen

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oats (not quick cooking)
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 cup, plus 2 T butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup molasses
Zest of one large orange
1 t vanilla extract
1/8 t orange extract
5-6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Mix together sugar, oats, flour, and baking powder.  Add in melted butter, milk, honey, molasses, orange zest, vanilla extract, and orange extract.  Stir until well blended and let dough sit while oven preheats (5-10 minutes)

3.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop dough in heaping teaspoons.  You will not want more than 6 cookies on a traditional baking sheet because they spread considerably. Flatten and smooth your heaping teaspoons of dough into circles.

4.  Bake for 12-13 minutes until golden.  They will get very crispy as the cool.

5.  When cookies are cooled, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.  Allow chocolate to harden and store cookies in refrigerator or freezer.

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Honey Apple Oatmeal

I feel sort of silly posting a recipe for oatmeal.  But I have only recently discovered how easy it is to make oatmeal from scratch on a weekday morning. I honestly always thought it took like an hour or something and never investigated further — continuing to buy little packages of oatmeal at the store.  But if you think about it, those packets are ridiculously expensive considering they contain some ground up oats, dehydrated apples, sugar (lots of sugar!), and various chemicals…  Now I didn’t do price comparisons today at the store, but a quick online search told me that a 42 oz. container of old fashioned oats was about $4 and a 14 oz. box of instant oatmeals packets (10 pack) was about $3.59.  Even after adding in a few apples and some honey to that 42 oz. container, I still think it’s pretty easy to see which choice is more economical.  And it’s quick.  And it contains nothing that you don’t want to put in it.   And less packaging.

So, give it a try.  I swear it doesn’t take any more time than prepping a packet and throwing it in the microwave for two minutes.   And I think you will instantly notice how awfully much sugar they put in the packaged stuff.  That may take a bit of getting used to, but with fresh fruit and a bit of honey, we are getting over it.  

Honey Apple Oatmeal

1-2 cups old fashioned oatmeal (I usually do about 1 1/2 or 2 cups which makes plenty for three with a bit leftover)
Water (3-4 cups depending on how saucy you like your oatmeal)
Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt 
Honey (or Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup, etc.)
Vanilla Extract
One chopped apple
Milk or Cream 

Put oats in a medium saucepan with a pinch of salt.  Cover with 3-4 cups of cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring a couple of times so they don’t stick.   Add a little more water if necessary.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes depending on how tender you like the oats.   Stir in a bit of honey to taste, a splash of vanilla, and some cinnamon.  Serve in a bowl with chopped apples, a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a bit of milk or cream (if you like).

Be creative with the many potential variations — different fresh or dried fruits, spices, nuts or seeds, etc.  

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Crispy Oatmeal Cookies

I have never particularly loved oatmeal cookies.  They are generally too cakey or too raisiny or too something.  It’s not that I wouldn’t eat them — but they just don’t come to mind as something I’d set out to bake.  Unless of course, I loaded them with chocolate chunks.

Yesterday, amidst an impromptu playdate that erupted in our backyard (btw, how can I nicely tell the entire neighborhood that our backyard is not the park?), I decided to take a few recipes for crispier oatmeal cookies and meld them into something more delicious, yet whole grain with less sugar.  So many recipes call for at least 1 cup of sugar, and I am attempting to cut our sugar intake considerably.  The more I read about how much sugar we consume (about one half pound a DAY per person … when 100 years ago we ate about one pound per YEAR per person) and it’s negative health effects, the more I have attempted to retool recipes with less.

And while I was on an Agave Nectar kick for a while, I have come to feel as though it may be as processed and refined as many other “bad” sweeteners — as well as being entirely fructose (a la high fructose corn syrup).  So my goal has been to cut back on all sugars and use primarily honey in smaller doses.  Honey is a pure, natural sweetener that is not processed and refined.  And research has also shown that it is helpful for environmental allergies when you consume local honey from your area (it sort of acts like a mini-allergy shot exposing you to local pollens).

Tomorrow I may find out that my approach on honey is entirely wrong, but for now this is the direction I am going in.   And lest you think that I am June Cleaver… when the cookies were done, I didn’t take them out on a plate for all the kids.  I told them playtime was over and called my kids inside to have one.  OK, so maybe two.  These were oatmeal cookies I could get behind.

Crispy Oatmeal Cookies

(adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

1 cup butter, softened (two sticks)
1/2 cup honey (preferably from a local source)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg (set out at room temperature for a bit to warm up)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (not instant or quick cooking)
1 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup of add-ins if you like (ideas: dried blueberries/cranberries/raisins, pumpkin/sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and set aside.

Cream softened butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Mix in honey and brown sugar and turn mixer up to at least medium speed and cream for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides as necessary.  Add in egg and incorporate completely (if the egg is too cold, it might all look like lumpy because the butter has chilled too much, but it should work it’s way back to being emulsified if you keep mixing it).  Add in vanilla extract and mix until everything is incorporated.

Slowly mix in flour mixture a little at a time so you don’t get a face full.  When the flour looks almost incorporated, turn off mixer and use a wooden spoon to finish mixing by hand (so the cookie dough doesn’t get tough).  Stir in oats and any add-ins you might like.  We did some with dried blueberries and dry roasted pumpkin seeds which were great,  but the plain old cookies were delicious.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Take a spoonful of the cookie dough and form into ball.  (Between one and two tablespoons, depending on how big you want the cookies).  Place the ball onto parchment and flatten to about 1/2 inch high so they spread evenly.  I was able to fit a dozen on a sheet without them running together, but they spread considerably so you might want to err on the conservative side for the first batch — especially if you are making bigger cookies.  Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool slightly on sheet and then cool completely on wire racks.  And then send your backyard friends home so you can enjoy them all for yourself!

Makes 2-3 dozen

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