JAM IS A POPULAR ITEM at our place. Especially strawberry, especially in the morning. So when I saw a recipe for Strawberry Vanilla Breakfast Cookies in my Sneaky Chef to the Rescue cookbook, I jumped at the chance.
WHAT A TREAT to be interviewed by writer and friend Haley Krischer on behalf of Organic Authority. My first piece of “press” is very fun, especially considering that I used to be press myself. Anyway, if you need a few new breakfast ideas for kids…enjoy!
ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER PLAYGROUP, ANOTHER BAKED GOOD. This time we tried something even more healthy…but it didn’t start that way. Barefoot’s corn muffins promise to be moist and delicious, which is easy to believe when you consider the half pound of butter called for in the original recipe. That won’t work for us so we started experimenting. And this time it worked! [Read more...]
WE’RE ON AN OATMEAL KICK HERE IN ROME. The temperatures are cooling off and Phoebe has recently discovered dried cranberries which means oatmeal every morning, naturally. We’re just doing the quick oats which cook in one minute…except they don’t. It takes several minutes to boil the water, then another couple to cook the oats. I’m not saying it’s difficult, I’m saying that it’s not that quick. This is because I have a two-foot tall person squawking at me, pointing to her high chair and maniacally eagerly awaiting the grub.
However when the oats are done, they’re boiling hot, literally. The steamy cauldron that is Phoebe’s little oatmeal bowl actually takes longer to cool than it did to cook. We’ve settled on putting an ice cube in the middle and pouring cold milk over the top, which works okay. But there’s still a five-minute blow, blow, blow, “hop?”, “yes it’s hot” routine so, a substitute was in order. And what better place to start than…The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.
Once again I’ve done my best to cut down on sugar and fat and add a little more nutrition. But Barefoot is Barefoot, and these are scones. So there is butter, serious butter, in the batter. It’s evened out though, sort of, by using whole wheat flour, oatmeal and raisins–and only one tablespoon of sugar because you get a great kick of sweet flavor by using maple syrup.
The verdict? All smiles here. And no slimy pan to clean out today. Yahoo! And yes, these are going into the freezer for Friday’s playgroup.
OATMEAL RAISIN SCONES
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
The original recipe makes twice as much dough; I halved the ingredients and used a smaller cookie cutter for toddler-sized baked goods. If you want bigger scones–or more scones–just double the recipe.
Makes 24 small scones
- 2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour flour
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/4 cup cold buttermilk
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Use an electric mixer with a paddle attachment to combine the flour, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Keep the butter in the fridge until you’re ready to use (ditto for the buttermilk); once the dry ingredients are blended, add the butter on low speed until it looks worked it but still chunky. You should see pieces of butter about the size of peas. Add the cold buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs to the flour-and-butter mixture. Add the raisins last. Move quickly but mix until just blended. The dough is very sticky.
Dump it out out onto a well-floured surface. Flour your hands and pat the dough until its 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut into 2-inch rounds with a plain cutter (even a drinking glass works) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done. DON’T OVER BAKE these though. Keep an eye on them because my first batch came out much more brown and much less tasty.
The glaze is simple: combine the maple syrup and vanilla. When the scones are done, drizzle each warm scone with a teaspoon of the glaze. While the syrup is still sticky, sprinkle some raw oats on top.
No buttermilk? Use regular milk and add the juice from a quarter of a lemon. Stir gently and let it set up in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Buttermilk is actually a low-fat, high-flavor option so don’t shy away from feeding it to your little ones–or yourself.
THEY’RE SO MUCH BETTER THAN THEY SOUND, REALLY. And Phoebe loves them. Every morning this week I’d ask, “do you want a muffin?” She’d nod as emphatically as someone can without being hauled off to an institution, start saying “mmm, mmm, mmm” and jamming her finger into her empty plate so hard I thought it might be injured. So, she likes them. [Read more...]
FINALLY, A BAKED GOOD that Phoebe likes! And not a moment too soon. We started a play group this week and I’d been told ahead of time to bring a “healthy snack”. I wasn’t sure how the group would go but I knew this for sure: the last thing we needed was a lousy snack for our Ladybirds debut. And after the banana-carrot mini-muffin fiasco, the pressure was on.
YOUR HELP NEEDED. Please. What originally caught my eye about this recipe, besides the stunning photographs at 101 Cookbooks was this: it’s sugar free. And it involves cream cheese frosting. Sugar free cream cheese frosting. That means three of my favorite things for Phoebe. Something sweet, something new, something without sugar. However, Phoebe hated them.
Here’s what happened. I went about adapting Heidi Swanson’s carrot cake recipe into mini muffins for tiny tots. It’s a good idea for a morning snack, along with a nice slice of cheese and some fruit for both Phoebe and my pregnant self. My husband doesn’t eat breakfast. He is skinny. That’s another post altogether.
However I have to admit something straightaway: my best attempts at baking these muffins were a total flop. A failure. The first time she tried them, Phoebe would only half poke, half stab at the cool white frosting with her finger, licking it off before shrugging and poking again and only doing that halfheartedly. Poke. Poke. She wasn’t even excited about the frosting. So obviously there was no eating the muffins. Not whole, not halved, not broken into pieces. Not even sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. That’s right, I caved immediately and tried to re-offer her the muffins with a sweet sprinkle on top. Refused.
The only cute thing about this project is that Phoebe is in the kitchen with me more and more these days. Making herself at home under the breakfast table, trying on the oven mitts which go all the way up to her doughy little armpit. And always, always sampling as we go. For these muffins, she had bites of banana and crunchy nibbles of carrots. That’s back when she’d eat the ingredients, before they became muffins.
BUT I CAN’T quit yet.
I think there’s hope for these (soon-to-be) tasty treats. I’ll make them again but I’ll change the recipe even more.
Here’s my new plan, below.
Want to try it too? And offer your suggestions?
Please post your thoughts…and may you be luckier than I was.
Banana Carrot Mini-Muffins
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, heated until just melted
3/4 cup prunes
3 ripe bananas (1 1/4 cups), mashed well
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 3 medium)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs, lightly whisked
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons 100% maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bowls of a mini-muffin pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the wheat germ.
When the butter is melted but not quite hot, add the prunes and put the mixture into a food processor. Pulse until the prunes are ground up entirely; if you have a baby food maker, even easier.
In a separate bowl combine the bananas, raisins and carrots. Stir in prune and butter mixture, yogurt and eggs. Add the flour mixture and stir until everything just comes together. Spoon into the prepared pan, filling the cups about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
While the cake is baking whip together the cream cheese and maple syrup. Add as much maple syrup as you like but be careful not to get the mixture too runny. About 3 tablespoons should do it.