The first award goes to Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flowers by Kim Boyce. This is the first book I have been able to find of its kind. I have always really enjoyed the hearty flavors of dense whole grain and seeded baked goods, so when I first saw this book mentioned on David Lebovitz's blog, I immediately put it on my Christmas list. The book is really well put together. I enjoyed reading the introduction on how she stumbled upon baking with whole-grain flours all from a box of Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Pancake Mix (which at the start of reading this book I was sure I would end up trying but after seeing Kim's pancake recipes I think I have a different agenda!). She then proceeds with techniques and tools, of which techniques is nice to read as she gives some helpful advice. And then...the recipes! Each grain is separated into its own section--whole wheat, amaranth, barley, spelt, multi-grain (of which she has her own recipe for making the perfect multi-grain mix), and more, totaling 12 different flours! Every section comes with an interesting history and description of the flours.
The first recipe I chose was from the spelt flour section (I had a lot of spelt on hand). Spelt is a hardy grain with a tough outer husk, making it appealing the organic farmers. The recipe was for currant scones; however, I substituted dried wild blueberries for the currants, making them blueberry scones. Oh my goodness they were wonderful! Light and airy but with a certain sweetness and substance from the spelt. My family and I all agreed that they were not as sweet as we expected, but maybe because we are too used to commercialized scones that are loaded with sugar (this recipe only used 2 tablespoons sugar). Definitely a winner, I suggest everyone purchase this cookbook and we can bake through it together :).
Fresh out of the oven and still warm :)
I decided to eat mine with a bit of homemade strawberry jam
Bluebery Spelt Scones (Adapted from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flowers)
1 1/4 cups spelt flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 dried blueberries (Kim used currants)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease two baking sheets with butter. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Make sure to add any bits that don't make it through the sifter (Kim says these are often the bits that add the most flavor and heartiness). Add butter to dry mix, crumbling with your fingers until the mixture resembles "fine cornmeal" (I had only ever cut butter in using knives but I thought this method was great). Add the currants and stir. Pour the cream into bowl and mix just until flour is moistened. Split the dough into nine mounds and place 4 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 18 minutes, until golden, being sure to alternate the trays halfway through (top to bottom and front to back).
The second recipe came from Living Raw Food by Sarma Melngailis. Sarma is one of the big names in the raw food world and is coowner of the NYC restaurant Pure Food and Wine. I have been to her juice takeaway bar in Chelsea Market many times, always loving everything I order. This cookbook (or maybe its more apt to say rawbook) is no doubt going to yield results just as delicious as when I head to the takeaway bar. The first recipe I decided to make from this rawbook is Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies. This recipe requires maple syrup powder, nothing more then dehydrated maple syrup. A great natural sweetener, maple syrup is also a good source of manganese and zinc (Manganese is essential in antioxidant defenses and Zinc in both heart and immune health). Requiring more good-for-you ingredients, this recipe took a bit of time to complete due the the soaking and dehydrating times (yes, you do need a dehydrator for this one and it takes a full 24 hours), however, the amount of work time isn't any more then 15 minutes. They were finally done this morning and the first thing I did when I woke up was head to the dehydrator to try one. Yum! For those of you who do not own a dehydrator, you can go to her website oneluckyduck.com and order some of the delicious cookies that she has in her two rawbooks. Also, if you are in Manhattan, I urge you to head to Chelsea Market. Sarma's takeaway bar is fantastic, and Chelsea Market has a lot of other great things to offer.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (from Living Raw Food)
4 cups oat flour
1 cup maple syrup powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquify
1/2 cup date paste (recipe below)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons filtered water
1 1/2 cup raisins, plumped in warm water for 30 minutes and drained
In a large bowl, sift together oat flour, maple powder, and salt. Add the coconut oil and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix date paste, vanilla extract, and water. Add liquid mixture and raisins to dry mixture and mix well. Drop balls about 1 to 1 1/2 inch on dehydrator sheets. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 24 hours.
Soak dates in warm water for 1-2 hours. Remove dates (saving the water) and bring dates to consistency of butter in food processor, adding reserved water as needed.
My next post will be about the Insanity workouts I have been doing so stay tuned!
Enjoy your day,