Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookie

Guys, my jaw is on the floor right now. You will NOT believe what just happened.

Background:

I have been trying to eat well/’clean’, for the past couple of years; it’s still a struggle and a process to find alternatives for refined/processed food, but it’s happening. So, I read about “2 ingredient cookies” by Blogilates (a totally awesome blog, BTW). It sounded too awesome to be true — and, in some respects, it was. The first time I made them, they were mushy and had this weird banana after taste (surprise, surprise?). They were okay, but they weren’t enough for me to give up ‘normal’, full fledged cookies.

Today, I read about reports talking about the dangers of processed white sugar. Apparently, it’s horrible*. I knew that, but now studies are directly linking it with some serious conditions (eg. diabetes, and heart disease). So… I decided to tackle the Blogilates recipe again.

I used her recipe as a base – and I think it’s perfect for that. You have the banana which acts as the glue, and the oats which act like the flour. From that stage, you can add ANYTHING you want!

So, I decided to go and take 1/2 a banana and 1/2 cup of oats together. I then added 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla extract.

That should give it some flavor, but then I remembered how the cookies were a bit soft, and I like crunchy cookies! So I went into our cereal cardboard and got some cereal that had bran flakes, puffed oats etc. and mixed it in. I also remembered that we had sunflower seed butter and decided to add that in to deepen the flavor (I’m sure peanut butter would work the same way).

This is the cookie 'batter'.

This is the cookie ‘batter’.

Finally, I added in a few chocolate chips because I’ve been craving chocolate and knew I would binge on it if I prolonged the torture any longer.

I plopped the (six) cookies on aluminum foil and slipped it into a toaster oven set, preheated 350F, for 20 minutes.

Off they go!

Off they go!

And… Ta-Dah!

The final product!

The final product!

Totally different from the first time, these were crunchy and the cinnamon and vanilla gave it fragrance. The banana was totally hidden and just acted as a binder. (If you don’t want them crunchy, bake for less time.)

Now… here comes the amazing bit.

My brother and his friend are over at my house, playing on the computer downstairs. They paddle upstairs and go into the kitchen looking for chips, cookies and pop. Forcing my brother to eat a salad or oatmeal is like pulling teeth. I told them to try the cookies I made, and they went “okay!”.

them: “Are these homemade?”

me: “yes”

them: “Are they fresh?”

me: “just took them out 2 minutes ago”

(I love how they have such qualifications for the food they eat…)

and then….

“Wow! These are great!”

My eyes went like this: O.O. I thought they were great, a good alternative to ‘normal’ cookies, but definitely not something I saw my brother eating.

I asked them, “you know these are healthy right?”

They both looked at me, “No, but it doesn’t matter… they’re good. Where are the rest?”

(Here I admit that I ate 4 of the 6 and they only had 1 each.)

Then… They asked me to make more.

WHOA. Okay, this is a keeper.

So, I urge you to try and experiment with the base, add in whatever you feel would make them good. You might surprise yourself (and others!).

Cookie Base

makes 1 dozen

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 banana
  1. mash the banana
  2. mix in the oats
  3. bake on an aluminum sheet, in a preheated 350F oven for 15-20 minutes (closer to 20 minutes for crunchy cookies, and closer to 15 minutes for soft cookies)

Here’s my variation:

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookie

makes 6 cookies

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon (any nut) butter
  • 1/8 cup cereal (e.g. puffed rice, bran etc) (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • chocolate chips
  1. mash the banana
  2. add in the vanilla extract and cinnamon, mix
  3. add in nut butter, mix
  4. add in oats, mix
  5. add in cereal, mix
  6. add in chocolate chips, mix
  7. put on aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350F oven
  8. bake for 15-20 minutes (closer to 20 minutes for crunchy cookies, and closer to 15 minutes for soft cookies)

Have you experimented with a recipe like this? What did you come up with?

—-

*great article, with sources to relevant studies

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Poppy-Seed Buns

Hi everyone!

This recipe is one of my FAVORITE foods of all time! I literally sit down when I finish baking this and almost eat all of it (my mom usually comes in and pries me away from the pan before I can finish…). I haven’t been able to find anything remotely like this in North American cuisine, so I hope you find this unique treat as lovely as I do!

First of all, you’re going to need to buy one special ingredient: poppy seeds. No, not the typical ‘dry’ poppy seeds you can find anywhere, but special poppy seeds called poppy-seed mass (with delicacies). I’m pretty sure the generic name for this is poppy-seed paste or filling. You will probably be able to find them in any slavic store; and if not, I will most likely post up a recipe on how to make your own (but this will be relatively far in the future; I’m still experimenting with it).

This what the can I used looked like.

I only used about 1/4 of the can for one recipe. You’ll have plenty left over to experiment with or to eat plain! Trust me, it’s very good.

Now that you have the one special ingredient required, we need to start making the bun part of the recipe.

Combine: room temperature milk, eggs and yeast and let stand for a couple of minutes.

Mmm…

After, add in the rest of the ingredients and knead until the dough forms (I used my kitchenaid mixer to make life easier).

Greased and ready to rise!

Grease the bowl the dough is in, cover and let rise for an hour. After an hour, beat down the dough and let rest for 10 minutes.

Here comes the fun part! Cut a portion of the dough off (about 1/5) and roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Brush the top part of the dough with a little bit of oil and then generously cover it with the mak (poppy seed).

This should be a nice rectangle, but who in the world is perfect?

Roll the dough up into a tube and cut out equally size portions of the buns (they look like Cinnamon buns!).

They are on top of my… HANDY-DANDY SILICON BAKING SHEET!

Place the raw poppy-seed bun into a greased pan, cover and let rise for at least 30 minutes. But, you can totally let it rise for longer; judge it yourself: the dough should be visibly fluffy.

After the dough has risen, pop it into the oven!

While the buns are baking: make the lemon-sugar glaze.

I hope you enjoy this yummy, yummy, YUMMY bun! I like it in ‘cinnamon bun’ form the best because I get the maximum amount of mak to eat.

-drool-

Recipe

serving: ~24

Bun (adapted from Clone of a Cinnabon, from allrecipes.com)

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • ~225g prepared poppy-seed mix (look for ingredients like honey and citrus when buying)
  • oil to glaze

Lemon Glaze

  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (add more if you like!)
  • dash of salt
  1. Add in milk, yeast and sugar together and leave for 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the rest of the bun ingredients into the yeast mixture and knead until a dough forms.
  3. Grease the bowl and dough lightly and let the dough rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
  4. Beat down the dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Cut the dough into five portions and roll out each portion to 1/4 inch thickness.
  6. Lightly brush the top of the dough with oil.
  7. Spread the poppy-seed filling on the dough, then roll it up.
  8. Cut the dough into similar sized portions of buns.
  9. Place the buns into a greased pan (or pan lined with silicon), cover and let rise for 30 or more minutes (until doubled).
  10. Place the buns in a 375F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown.
  11. Mix all the ingredient for the lemon glaze into a small bowl and whisk with a fork. It does take a bit of effort but the sugar does dissolve eventually!
  12. When the buns are golden brown on top, take them out of the oven and cover them with the glaze.
  13. Let them cool and enjoy!

Note: If you keep them in a relatively air free area (I place the plate of them in a bag and tuck the opening of the bag underneath the plate) this will keep for a few days. They taste just as good on the third day as the first (if they last that long!).

Hearty Bakers-yeast-free Bread

Привет!

How is everyone?

Today, I wanted to go a little out of the box. Today, I forewent bakers yeast and made bread without it. Yes, I am talking about beer bread. No, this is not Ukrainian cuisine. But, when slabs of kalbasa is put on top of it, I can pretend right?

I honestly have never heard of beer bread before…. Until a few weeks ago. I was super surprised by the outcome: it actually tasted like bread made with bakers yeast!

Some neat facts:

  • bakers yeast and brewer’s yeast come from the species of yeast, just different strains
  • yeast is a fungus
  • bakers yeast converts sugar to carbon dioxide; which produces the ‘fluffiness’ of bread
  • brewer’s yeast produces ethanol
  • brewer’s yeast is a good source of vitamins and, historically, has been used as a nutritional supplement (NOTE: I am not encouraging the use of brewer’s yeast as a nutritional supplement, I am stating this only as an interesting fact I have found)

This bread is great for anyone with a bakers-yeast intolerance or sensitivity; but who are fine with a glass of beer once in a while!

A key note in this recipe is to remember to sift. Sifting manually adds in air bubbles to the batter: the job of baker’s yeast. Since we’re not using the baker’s yeast, we have to do the work ourselves!

If you don’t have a sifter, a similar outcome can be achieved by manually spooning (with a teaspoon or tablespoon) the required amount of  flour into the mix. This allows the batter to be ‘fluffier’ and not densely packed as it would be if it was scooped out directly into a measuring cup.

Also, because we want to optimize the ‘lightness’ of the batter, be careful not to overmix it. Just mix until everything is coated; the batter will still be sticky but, don’t worry, it will come out fine!

The beer I used, and the batter.

Remember, if you would like a crunchy crust: pour the butter over top the batter. If you prefer a soft crust, mix the butter in with the rest of the ingredients.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful bread!

Yummy!

Everything is better with smoked salmon and feta!

Recipe

serving size: 1 loaf

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar*
  • 1 can (12 ounces) beer of choice, room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter**
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder.
  3. Add in sugar and salt.
  4. Add in beer a little at a time while mixing all the ingredients; be careful not to overmix!
  5. **If you would like the crust to be soft, mix the melted butter into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased or silicon loaf pan.
  7. **If you would like a crunchy crust, pour the melted butter on TOP of the batter.
  8. Pop it into the oven until the top is golden brown or a thud is heard when you knock on it. This should occur in about an hour.
  9. Allow the bread to cool for 20 minutes, or it will be gummy when you cut into it!

*different amounts of sugar may be required depending on the sweetness of the beer used.

Tell me how it turns out, and have a great day everyone!

Yeast-Free (thin crust) Pizza Dough with Homemade Pizza Sauce

If you asked my brother what the worst part of being intolerant to yeast and dairy would be, it would be that he can’t have pizza. Especially since he had to quit it cold-turkey earlier this year. My poor 8-year-old brother…

UNTIL TODAY.

For I, his amazing sister, have discovered brother-friendly-pizza!! It features yeast-free dough and cheese-free pizza sauce. Some of you may be saying, “Geez. I knew about this since 10 years ago!”  Well sorry my lovely reader’s, but better late than never right?

So I’m going to write about the basic recipe, but also suggest on how you could change it up to put your own spin on it. The toppings are all up to you of course!

First, the pizza sauce. You’re going to combine a bunch of lovely herbs together and let them sit for at least half an hour so all the flavors can mix together. Some of the key players in the sauce are: oregano, marjoram, basil and red pepper flakes (yup, it has some kick to it for sure!).

The pizza sauce.

For the pizza dough, knead together: flour, water, salt, oil, and baking powder. As you can see, this doesn’t have much natural flavor. I added some garlic powder into the dough to give it some flavor. You can experiment on your own and add your own personal favorite herbs.

Once the dough is kneaded, use your fingers to spread it out on a silicon sheet. If you don’t have one, grease the pan and dust it with cornstarch before the dough goes on top.

The pizza dough.

Before you add the pizza sauce, put a tablespoon of oil on the dough and spread it evenly around. This will make the dough really crunchy. Top it off with your favorite topping and pop it into the oven!

The other 1/4 of the pizza ‘magically’ disappeared when my brother came into the kitchen.

My brothers face when he saw this: O.O!


I topped my pizza with raw onion and smoked bacon. It tasted really good!

What is your favorite pizza topping combination? Please leave a comment below!

Recipe

Homemade Pizza Sauce (adapted from: Exquisite Pizza Sauce, allrecipes.com)

serving: makes enough sauce for 2 pizzas

  • 1 (6 ounces) can tomato paste
  • 6 fluid ounces warm water (fill up the tomato paste can with water to measure this)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red paper flakes
  • dash of garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for 30 minutes.

Yeast-Free (thin crust) Pizza Dough

serving: 1 pizza

  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • ~1 tablespoon oil for brushing
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, water, salt and oil in a bowl and knead until dough is very soft and slightly sticky (1-2 minutes).
  3. Spread dough out on silicon sheet, or greased and cornstarch-powdered pan. Try and make the dough as thin as possible.
  4. Brush the remaining oil on top before putting on the Homemade Pizza Sauce.
  5. Place the pizza into a 425F oven for 15 minutes.
  6. If your toppings aren’t fully cooked (or the dough isn’t golden brown) after 15 minutes, lower the temp to 350F and continue baking.

NOTE: this pizza dough is meant for a thin, crunchy crusted pizza.