Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I'm well aware that I haven't blogged in ages, and as usual, it's not for lack of things to post about. It's just that I surprised my family for the holidays (they were quite surprised!) and flew to New York. (I leave tomorrow night- ahh!!) Wanting to soak up every second with my parents and family, I sort of neglected the blog. And then it was Passover itself and I sort of felt strange posting about leavened baked goods on the holiday about not consuming leavened baked goods. Anyway, I made this recipe the weekend before I flew on the occasion of hosting my friend S for the weekend. (Stay tuned for the rest of the baked goods from that weekend!) This recipe was also the inaugural recipe for Josie, my new apple green mixer. :) This Struan recipe is Reinhart's latest incarnation from his book Artisan Breads Every Day. I adapted it to what I had in the fridge. I used it as an opportunity to finally finish the whole wheat flour and make a dent in the rye flakes I bought on a whim. I made one loaf and a bunch of rolls and let me say, I was in love with this bread. This was really delicious and deserves to be baked again as the recipe is written and in a million other adaptations. For now, this loaf will have to do. I'm sending it off to Yeastspotting!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Peanut Butter Graham Squares

With many of my girls either in Poland or already at home for the holidays, things have been pretty quiet around here. The bunch that is here for Pesach is quite bored, as am I, and so they come to hang out in my room to just chill out. One night, I offered to bake for them. I found this no bake recipe and decided to make it. Miraculously, I had just enough powdered sugar for this recipe, one girl generously donated some peanut butter and I was able to finish these tea biscuits-- the very last of my chametz gamur! The original recipe calls for graham crackers but since they are rare in Israel and I wasn't going to be making my own, the tea biscuits made a convenient substitute. If you so choose to use tea biscuits as your base, be sure to let the whole thing chill for a while so that they filling and crackers can meld. Otherwise, the crackers are likely to fall off as they did on the first night they were eaten. A good amount of them got eaten that night and the rest when off to the Botanical Gardens for a picnic that some girls were having. I used a mix of bittersweet and 60% for the topping- use whatever you have on hand.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Week of Whole Grain Baking, Day 8: Soft Barley Sugar Cookies

Yes, I am fully aware that there are only seven days in a week, but I just couldn't leave out these sugar cookies from the roundup, seeing as how they are whole grain and were a part of the baking marathon. (Rest assured, this is the last post in my series on whole grain baking! Sadly, even with all this baking, I didn't finish all the flour. On a side note, I have now made more than enough [winning] recipes from this book to give it a glowing review! Buy it!) Aside from the necessary overnight chill, these cookies, made with sour cream, were easy to make. The first line in the header for this recipe says, "These taste just like my Grandma's!" Now, these barley cookies definitely aren't my grandmother's, (now that I think of it I can't recall my grandmothers baking cookies..) but they do give off a comforting, homey scent. The cookies stay soft for a while, which is a major bonus. I'm guessing that's due to the sour cream in it. The recipe calls for making ten HUGE cookies but I made regular sized cookies. I made these the night the girls were set to head off to Poland and I think they were very much appreciated. What's amazing about this whole week of baking is that no one could tell these baked goods were whole grain, just delicious. This recipe included. I hope I've encouraged you enough to seek out some whole grain flours (if I can find them in Israel, you can!) and try some of these recipes.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Week of Whole Grain Baking, Day 7: Chocolate Graham Crackers

This week long, whole grain bake fest involved a lot of cracker making. While I was at it, I decided to try my hand at the sweet kind, namely the Graham Cracker. Having made regular graham crackers ages ago, pretty much at the beginning of my blogging days, I decided to go with the chocolate graham. Besides, who doesnt love chocolate? Right. Aaaand, it would make a bigger dent in the barley flour-- let's not forget the reason for this week of wholesome baking. Anyway, the dough comes along pretty easily by hand and then takes a time out in the fridge. It then gets rolled out, docked and baked. The smell of them baking pervaded the entire hallway with a luxurious chocolate scent. Yum! And they taste as good as they smell, a deep chocolate flavor with a nice crackery crunch. I cut some of the cracker dough in half and so the smaller pieces got burned and threw them away; with such a deep colored dough, it's kind of hard to tell when theyre done. My next batch, I took them out earlier, which made for a softer, hbendier cracker, which my girls actually loved. The last batch, I made normally. I plunked a jar of peanut butter down next to the crackers, encouraging the girls to eat them together. Most girls did. Classic combination. Feel free to eat them plain or crush them up in a food processor to use as a crust in your favorite pie. Or make a chocolate smore. Whip out your cookie cutters and make animal crackers. Let your imagination run wild!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Week of Whole Grain Baking, Day 6: Sesame Crackers

These are, hands down, some of my favorite things ever. Cracker + sesame? YUM! If you don't know this already about me, I love sesame, especially toasted sesame. I knew these were going to be winners before I even made them, so I don't know what took me so long. I guess I just needed the push of getting rid of flours to get me going. Seriously, I don't think I stopped munching on these from the time they came out of the oven until they were finished. These deserve to be made again (shocking!) this time with the addition of the optional sesame oil, to boost the sesame flavor. If you don't have it, don't fret- the toasted sesame really adds tons of flavor. By now you should be so used to the process of cracker making that you could do it with your eyes closed. Go on. Make them.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


A Week of Whole Grain Baking, Day 5: Sweet Spelt Sourdough

I figured that the easiest way to get rid of a whole bag of spelt flour was to make a loaf of bread. The only spelt bread recipe that I found in the Whole Grain Baking book was the Sweet Spelt Sourdough bread. Having been thinking about it all week, in preparation for Shabbat, I pulled out my sourdough starter. Let me tell you, that thing was severely neglected. Nevertheless, I discarded the nastiness that was on top of it, and began nourishing it anew with spelt flour. I seemed to be getting little action, which is not surprising as it had gone abandoned for so long and I didn't give it long enough to ferment properly. In any case, I disregarded this and proceeded with the recipe. In the end, I spiked the dough with 1 tsp of instant yeast to help it along. And it helped it along marvelously. (So much so, that should I ever want to make a spelt loaf, this is the recipe I'll use, adapting it as needed for a regular yeasted loaf.) The only other change I made was to use oil instead of melted butter. Additionally, I gave this loaf a rise in the fridge instead of baking it straight away. How did it turn out? AMAZING! that's how! With the very first bite, I tasted the sweetness of the spelt flour. The loaf had great, moist texture, perfect for sandwiches- and that's not just because the slices were nice and tall. The loaf didn't scream sourdough at all, but it was definitely there, the last thing you tasted in the loaf. Visually, this bread is one of my best yet; it slashed beautifully (I think because I was quick and confident!) and didnt collapse. The slashes opened up beautifully in the oven and I got a deep brown color on the crust. Pretty much, what I'm trying to say, is that I loved this bread, both by the slice and topped with dip. This one gets a repeat. I'm sending this off to Yeastspotting!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Week of Whole Grain Baking, Day 4: Multigrain Snickerdoodles

As previously mentioned, we had an in Shabbat this past weekend, and even though I didn't bake on a large scale for the girls, that didn't stop me from getting in the kitchen. One of the things I made was these Multigrain Snickerdoodles. It seems Whole Grains take very well to cookies, so when I saw these classic cookies made over with a twist, I set out to making them. The fact that the dough needed to have an overnight chill really appealed to my do-ahead nature, allowing me to check something else off my to-do list. Just like their white flour counterparts, these old-fashioned, classic cookies are, as one of my girls called them, Cinnamon French Toast Cookies. Heavily coated with cinnamon-sugar, these cookies are quite comforting. My only problem is, they turned out crunchy instead of soft. Mind you, this deterred no one from eating them, but I think I would try underbaking them more or adding a drop of corn syrup. This version is just as good if not better than the white flour ones, so I definitely would make this version over those for the benefit of the whole grains. That's assuming I dig myself into a hole again by buying more flours than I can handle....

A Week of Whole Grain Baking, Day 3: Gingered Apple Pear Crisp

I threw this crisp together a couple of nights ago after seeing the sad and neglected leftover apples and pears sitting in the dining room. I know I promised I wouldnt get myself into trouble taking more fruit than I could handle, but this time I took just enough to put to good use. Luckily, the perfect recipe was right in front of my nose (in the Whole Grain Companion, of course!) and I even finished up the crystallized ginger that a friend had given to me (thanks, S!). Points for me! After all these carbo-loading desserts, it was a nice change of pace to be making a fruit dessert- I remember how much I love making them and how much more virtuous I feel. Anyway, the original recipe called for just pears, but I used pears and apples as per what I had. The fruit filling simply has a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice and some chopped ginger. That's it! On to the topping. It calls for some spelt flour (finished the bag!!), whole wheat flour and gingerbread crumbs. (Truth be told, I used the rest of the spelt flour I had and made up the difference with whole wheat-- turned out great!) I didnt have any gingerbread crumbs, so I swapped in some oat flour instead, in an effort to mimic the texture. In addition, I upped the cinnamon and ginger. I admit this didnt make a tremendous size crumble, but nonetheless, it was gone in record time. I think they were nervous before flying to Poland. ;) This is definitely a keeper [base] recipe for fall, or whatever season has apples and pears in your country.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Week of Whole Grain Baking, Day 2: Wheat Thins

I am on a cracker kick. Once I tried my hand at making crackers (my first try was the rye batch), it seems I just can not stop. (And I probably won't stop until I try at least a couple other combinations, too!) Anyway, this past weekend, we had an in Shabbat, our last together before the girls head to Poland and/or home for the holiday. Since I had time, I decided to bake for myself. Just like last time, I made some bread (more on that later) and these crackers. The whole grain of choice in these Wheat Thins are whole wheat flour. They are flavored with a bit of sugar, paprika and vanilla. The vanilla and sugar add a bit of sweetness that is quite pronounced, so I would omit the vanilla next time, cut back the sugar, and sprinkle some salt on the top to highlight the savoriness of the cracker. They taste most like their real counterparts when they are well done, so don't be afraid to let them get there. These are quite addictive- you won't stop at just a handful. I know I couldnt.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Week of Whole Grain Baking, Day 1: Nutty for Oats Cookies

The countdown to Pesach has begun and with that, so have my efforts to rid my cabinets and fridge of all chametz and/or perishable items. Months ago, in my excitement about finding whole grain flours, I bought a load of them. I stashed them in the fridge for safe keeping, and periodically used them for something or other. Now that Pesach is right around the corner, I'm scrambling to use up those flours (I hate waste!!) and whatnot. In the flour category, we have barley flour (the toughest to use up, it seems!), spelt flour, oat flour, whole wheat flour and a bit of rye flour. All this means I've been baking A LOT and mostly from the KAF Whole Grain Baking book as it is the best source of recipes that I own to use the flours. And so I bring to you   this post that will be the first of a week of Whole Grain Baking recipes (or more, if need be, until those flours are gone!). Nutty for Oats Cookies are, as the name implies, made with peanut butter, bound together by oat flour and oats (nary a grain of white flour in sight), with a healthy dose of chocolate chips added for good measure. Pretty much three of your favorite types of cookie all rolled into one. The cookies come together quite easily. I subbed the oat flour that I already had instead of grinding whole oats, and used quick cooking instead of old fashioned, as that's what I had on hand. On the first bake of these cookies, I didn't flatten down the dough and they didn't flatten themselves in the oven so on the remaining batches, I flattened them down to get a more traditional (and more attractive, in my opinion) cookie. They are delicious and will disappear quickly- you can sort of feel good about them because they are full of fiber and therefore....virtuous? Perhaps that may be pushing it. Watch these carefully so their bottoms don't get too well done.

Mekupelet Cake

I'm happy to finally present to you the long awaited Mekupelet cake! Part of the reason it took so long to get this cake baked is because the recipe calls for self rising flour, a product that I have never bought and is quite pricey. I was going to make my own but...... A couple of weeks ago, I stayed in for Shabbat with two girls and asked them to buy my flowers because I think they really enhance the Shabbat table. One of the girls, who is very literal, came into my room with a small package of self rising flour (get it?). I was quite surprised and disappointed until I saw the second girl come in with real, beautiful flowers. When I got over the shock of the whole joke, it registered that this was exactly the type and amount of flour I needed to make this cake. So Tuesday, I finally made the cake. The cake is really easy to make, it's a typical butter cake enhanced with sour cream for moisture. Take care not to over bake the cake; I think I did slightly, and the cake was just bordering on dry, making this a great accompaniment for tea, coffee or just as a casual dessert. For those non-Israelis out there, without access to Mekupelet chocolates, use whatever you have.