Monday, August 17, 2015

Griddle Cookies: Chocolate Chip & Walnut Welsh Cakes

CookBook Bites: Chocolate Chip & Walnut Welsh Cakes
Cookbook Bites Chocolate Chip & Walnut Welsh Cakes

We've been remodeling our kitchen this summer and the oven should get here in about a week. (Yay!) It was going to get here earlier this month, but we were told it was on backorder. I've been itching to bake so when researching griddle cookies, Welsh Cakes came up time and time again. A couple of years ago my mom made Welsh Cakes for our family Christmas party. They looked like little silver-dollar-sized pancake-cookies. I was wondering about making these in the electric skillet and maybe if they'd work without the currants, since I usually don't have those on hand.

My Welsh Cakes turned out a little bigger, because I used a biscuit cutter. They seemed more like a little scone and made a perfect tea cake. They're a sweet, soft biscuit. I hope you enjoy making these! The house smells great like I've been baking even though I had to use the electric skillet and not an oven or cast iron skillet. :) Learn more about Welsh Cakes on Wikipedia.

BTW - If you like the Welsh Cakes you might like the Blackberry Cobbler recipe reviewed on Cookbook Bites. The biscuits on the cobbler turned out just right!

Milka chocolate bar for the Welsh Cakes
Milka milk chocolate chocolate bar chopped and stirred into the flour for the Welch Cakes.

Adding the wet ingredients to the Welsh Cake dough.
Shows the process of making a "well" in the flour and adding the wet ingredients to the Welsh Cake dough.

Welsh Cakes dough, ready to roll out.
Very soft dough that sticks to the counter, knead in extra flour until it's workable and doesn't stick to your hands.

Welsh cake in frying pan while cooking.
Welsh cake in the electric fry pan while cooking.

Chocolate Chip & Walnut Welsh Cake
The finished "cookie" Chocolate Chip & Walnut Welsh Cake. They're the consistency of a flaky baking powder biscuit, but sweet like a cookie or dessert scone.

Griddle Cookies: Chocolate Chip & Walnut Welsh Cakes

Dry Ingredients
1 C Whole Wheat Pastry four
1 C Unbleached flour (+1/2 to 1 C to knead in)
2 T high fiber oat bran cereal
1 T baking powder
1/4 t nutmeg (fresh ground)
1/2 t salt
1/2 C Splenda
1/4 C granulated white sugar
1 C butter (Cut into dry flour)
1 bar chocolate chopped (about 1/2 C)
1/2 C walnuts chopped (optional)

Wet Ingredients
2 eggs
1/2 C milk
1 t vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Next create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, milk and vanilla and stir to combine, don't over mix. Turn out onto floured counter and add flour until it stops sticking to your hands. The dough should still be fairly soft. Flour countertop then roll dough out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out cookies with a round cookie or biscuit cutter. Melt small amount of butter in electric skillet and fry the cookie for 5-7 minutes on each side. Keep temps around 275-300 degrees, keeping an eye on them while they're cooking. The should look brown like a biscuit when done and will be flaky on the inside. Remove from pan to cool. The traditional recipes suggest sprinkling with sugar, but these were plenty sweet and I opted to not do that.

This recipe on Cookbook Bites was created by Suzanne Nikolaisen.

Related Research and Recipe Source Ideas:

Thanks for reading!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Waffle Maker Brownies

A lot has been going on. I was laid off about two weeks ago (I'm a web designer), we're finishing up remodeling our kitchen and last night I broke out the waffle maker and a package mix of brownies to see if I could make some brownies sans oven (which is arriving on August 8th).

Cookbook Bites brownie made in waffle maker with Cool Whip
Cookbook Bites: Brownie made in the waffle maker.

There's a secret to making brownies with a waffle iron. To give you fair warning, the batter and the subsequent brownie doesn't just behave like a waffle. When it looked done, I tried to lift out the brownie, but only chunks lifted out, and many little brownie pieces were left behind.

Waffle maker and brownie after cooling.

The Secret to Waffle Brownies? It Takes Time.

Let the brownie cool down before removing it from the waffle iron.

With the last bit of batter, the secret was revealed. It turns out that it's a lot like making brownies in the oven. Let the brownie cook until it's starting to turn brown around the edges, which takes a little longer than I expected in the waffle iron (high altitude), just keep an eye on it and don't leave the waffle unattended. (Let them set up for a couple of minutes before you start trying to see how it's going by lifting the top of the waffle iron.) When the edges have browned the waffle should "look" set up. Turn off, and unplug the waffle maker. Leave the waffle in the iron and let it come to room temperature. Only when it's cooled down do you remove the waffle, and only then will you have a lovely waffle brownie... at least that was my experience. They turned out more like a brownie cookie, crunchy, but a nice treat with Cool Whip.

Other Cookbook Bites Brownies you might want to try include: Brownies and Bonneville Jr. High School Brownies. You might also want to check out Alton Brown's Cocoa Brownies.

Suzanne Nikolaisen's Art
Samples of art by Suzanne Nikolaisen (me) listed on Etsy.
Since the layoff, I've been selling my artwork opening an Etsy store: Suzanne Nikolaisen Art. Prints of my art are also for sale at the Pizza Studio in Cottonwood Heights, Utah

I hope you're having a fun summer!

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Cranberry Clementine Almond Muffins

Cranberry Clementine Almond Muffins
Cookbook Bites: Cranberry Clementine Almond Muffins

I just finished baking breakfast for the coming week. The grocery store doesn't provide bran/whole wheat baked goods that taste as good as homemade.

Cranberry Clementine Almond Muffins

Mix Dry Ingredients
1 2/3 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 C oatmeal
2 T oat bran
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C Splenda (Next time I'm going to try 1/2 c, I think the clementines made these sweeter.)

Mix Wet Ingredients
6 T butter (melted)
1/4 C applesauce
1 1/2 t almond extract
1 egg
2/3 C buttermilk (2/3 C milk + 4 t white vinegar)
Zest of 3 clementines
Juice of 3 clementines (1/3 C)

1/2 C slivered almonds
1 C dried cranberries
1/2 C white chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold until just combined then stir in almonds, cranberries and white chocolate chips. Spoon into greased muffin tin and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.

Updated Note: This recipe was inspired/edited from the recipe I found on the bag of whole wheat pastry flour from Bob's Red Mill: Cranberry Orange Almond Bread. I tried to edit the recipe to provide a lower glycemic index, but I think the clementine juice, cranberries and white chocolate chips might have undone my efforts of adding fiber, and replacing the sugar with Splenda. These turned out good, just not as healthy as the Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffins.

Have a nice week!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (low GI)

Tray of Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Tray of Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I recently met with a couple of cracker-jack dietitians and among other things we discussed foods that have a low Glycemic Index. While snacking on edamame was discussed, chocolate chip cookies were not--I've been researching how to make a healthier chocolate chip cookie. From what I can tell, being new to low GI cooking, these chewy, rich oatmeal cookies seem to fit the bill (Splenda vs sugar, butter, whole wheat, oat bran, brown rice, oats, walnuts and even chocolate) and they're pretty filling. I made the first tray with no nuts and my daughter commented that the combo of ingredients still made it seem like the cookie had nuts. Everybody who tried the cookies liked them. 

Note: I've tried some other chocolate chip cookie recipes. If you are looking for a solid mainstream chocolate chip cookie try the Guittard Chocolate Chip Pan cookies these cookies became a family favorite. I also baked Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies, but the Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies give the Guittard cookies a run for the money, the same chocolate chips are in both recipes...

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (low GI)
1 C butter (browned)
1 C Splenda brown sugar
1/2 C Splenda white sugar (could probably go to 1/4 C)
2 t vanilla
2 eggs
1 C brown rice (cooked)
1/2 t salt (kosher)
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 C High Fiber Oat Bran Hot Cereal (dry)
1 - 1 and 1/2 C toasted oatmeal (I toasted the oatmeal in a dry pan)
2 C whole wheat pastry flour (I used Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. Keep an extra 1/4 C flour handy in case the dough is too soft)
1 C walnuts (chopped and optional)
1 pkg Guttiard milk chocolate chips (11 oz)

Here's how to put them together:
Put the brown rice on to cook (if you don't have leftovers, this takes about 45 minutes). Work on browning the butter. When the butter has browned I put it in the fridge until I was ready to make the dough--the butter will probably still be liquid and that worked out okay. Then toast the oats. In one bowl cream the butter, and the Splenda brown sugar, and Splenda white sugar, the vanilla, eggs and salt. Next add the brown rice and stir to combine. In a separate bowl combine the baking soda, baking powder, oat bran, rolled oats and the whole wheat pastry flour. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine. Last of all stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Use a cookie dough scoop to scoop out the dough and place on the cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Note: 3/24/15 - The brown rice will get crunchier within 24-hours. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to stay in it's cooked state even when the cookies are stored in a plastic bag. This said the cookie stays moist and the rice creates an interesting crunch.

Cookies in oven
Cookies baking at 350 degrees.

The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Research Project: Here are a few of the sites I used to research while pulling this recipe together. Thanks to all of these bakers for sharing what they're doing! It really helped me figure out how to combine all of these ingredients! I wasn't sure what the brown rice would do having never baked with it, but Dining with Alice was successfully baking with wild rice. Half Baked Harvest convinced me I could use more vanilla (they use 4 t!), while PJ Hamel and Joy the Baker got serious by browning the butter for their cookies. The great how to on browning butter from Serious Eats was super helpful and  the All Recipes how-to on Perfect Cookies explained why baking powder would make the cookies puffy. I've linked the articles on toasting the oats, browning the butter and low GI and chocolate above.
Source for this recipe and mashup of ingredients? Suzanne Nikolaisen

Take care! I hope you enjoy the cookies if you bake them!

Update: 8/19/15 - This has become a favorite cookie at our house! :)

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffin
Cookbook Bites: Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffin still warm with melting butter.

I signed up for a 5k today. A walk/run in May (Goldilocks) as recommended by my doctor and have been researching recipes that provide more along the lines of the Low Glycemic Index.

My research led me to a popular recipe on AllRecipes: No Sugar Added Blueberry Banana Wheat Muffin, which had lots of good reviews. So I decided to give it a try, taking some of the recommendations from the reviewers and doing my own thing adding walnuts, almonds (and almond extract), chia seeds and some brown sugar Splenda. Full on sugar and syrup seem to make me sick at the moment so I'm trying out some alternatives.

The Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffins turned out really good. The sweetness is light, but just enough. They're at their best fresh out of the oven, still warm with some butter (shown above). Since there's no salt in the recipe the taste of the butter pops. They've been a great make-ahead breakfast.

Dry ingredients
Dry ingredients

Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffin
Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffin

Nutty Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Wet Ingredients
1 C mashed bananas
1 egg
2/3 C water
1/4 C Splenda Brown Sugar
1/2 C applesauce
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract

Dry Ingredients
2 1/4 C whole wheat flour
2 T chia seeds
1 1/2 t baking soda
2 1/2 t baking powder 
1 C walnuts (chopped)
1/4 C sliced almonds

1 1/2 C frozen blueberries

1 T Brown Sugar Splenda
1/8 C sliced almonds

Mix the wet ingredients, then the dry in separate bowls then stir to combine. Don't over stir, then add in the nuts and blueberries. Spray Pam into the muffin pan and spoon batter out into 12 muffins (silicone muffin pan works well). Mix the topping and sprinkle over the muffins and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. These are for high-altitude. If you are at a lower altitude use less flour. Toothpick test to make sure they're done.

Take care,

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Original/Inspiration Recipe Source: AllRecipes: No Sugar Added Blueberry Banana Wheat Muffins


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