What's Cooking (in Yvonne's Kitchen)?

I've changed the name of this blog to What's Cooking (in Yvonne's Kitchen) because I will be getting a kitchen of my own very soon, it maybe small but will be able to produce more goodies to share with everyone!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Healthiest Oatmeal Cookies

Yields 18 medium-sized cookies

I am in forever search of a "perfect" oatmeal cookies. And the word "perfect" means no-fuss, fool-proof, chewy and packed wholesome flavours of oat and whatever-you-have-on-hand ingredients kind of recipe. And I finally found it!

Even thought I have made many oatmeal cookies following recipes from the joy of cooking, Epicurious and Martha Stewart (all of my favorite recipe sites, they still are) but I was unable to find the "perfect" recipe that suits my oatmeal cookie taste bud.

Initially, I was rather skeptical about this recipe that I found from Whole Grain Gourmet, but I told myself that the only test to a good cookie recipe, is to bake and eat it!

So one fine weekend, I gathered all the ingredients the recipe calls for and with only a spatula and mixing bowl, I managed to prepare the batter in matter of minutes, plus a bit refrigeration, less than 20 minutes of baking... voila, the world's healthiest oatmeal cookies.

The recipe calls for natural and healthful ingredients such as honey to replace sugar, vegetable oil to replace butter.

The cookies look a little darker than usually because of honey and molasses, but these ingredients provide a healthier alternative to sugar and have a deeper flavour and colour.

I usually share half of my oatmeal cookies with my colleagues in the office, but I was rather "selfish" in sharing these, LOL! However, those who managed to sample them, raved about them. Now, I must fore warn you about these cookies, if you are looking for super sweet and buttery oatmeal cookies, this cookie may not be of your liking.

Ice-cream scoop is a useful tool in shaping the cookies before baking.

I would really like to thank LCheliak for sharing this recipe. I only tweaked it a little bit by adding ground flaxseeds and wheat germ but I really love the simplicity of the original recipe. If you are a novice baker, give this recipe a try. Bon appétit!

Dry ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (a pinch more depending on the moisture of the mix)
  • 1 1/2 cups of rolled oats or instant oats (smaller variant)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsps ground flaxseeds
  • 2 tbsps wheat germ
Wet ingredients
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (corn, sunflower seed, grapeseed) * you can also use applesauce to replace some of the oil if you wish*
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 egg (beat with 1 tbsp water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Flavourful ingredients
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup roasted pecans or walnuts
Combining flavourful ingredients like roasted pecan and dried cranberries makes these cookies irresistible!
  1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. (Hint: measure out the oil first before honey, so the measuring cup will be coated with a thin layer of oil and your honey won't stick).
  3. Mix the wet stuff with the dry stuff. Add the raisins and walnuts and mix. If the mixture seems too wet, add a bit of flour. If it isn't binding together very well, you may wish to add more egg white.
  4. Keep the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  5. Preheat the oven to 170°C (because honey burns more easily at high temperature).
  6. Scoop the dough with an ice-cream scoop onto your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press down with a fork to ensure even cooking.
  7. Bake for about 16-18 minutes or until golden. The cookies store very well in a container for and make a great snack! Enjoy.
When stored in air-tight containers, these cookies are good for 2-3 weeks.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fluffy Organic “Buttermilk” Pancakes
Serves 4
When I came home from work last night, I just felt like having some real comfort food that can be whipped up in minutes.
So the next thing I did was looking into the pantry for some inspiration, I could be pretty sure that the organic flours and flaxseeds literally shouting “Pancakes! Pancakes!” with excitement. Then I saw some lonely-looking kampung chicken eggs sitting on the kitchen counter; milk, baking powder, baking soda, salt vinegar, butter and honey in the fridge, so I was like “Pancakes it is, BUT not just any pancake, organic “buttermilk” pancakes served with butter and honey.”
These pancake ingredients are readily available in the pantry.
The good thing I love about pancakes is that they can be made from basic ingredients readily available in the kitchen/pantry. To prepare the batter, one just needs a few minutes of mixing and whisking with a fork. The variety of this comfort food is, however, limitless--you could make it with buckwheat, whole wheat flour, oatmeal, berries, chocolate chips etc.
The secret behind fluffy pancakes is the sieved flour. I sieved the flour, not once, or twice, but THREE times to ensure that there’s no lumpy business in the batter; while the baking soda aids the rising of batter to give an airy texture.
Sieved flour and buttermilk are some of he keys ingredients of fluffy pancakes.

I also love to make pancakes with buttermilk (instead of regular milk) because it gives a good tangy flavor. Instead of going to the store to grab buttermilk, I make the “buttermilk” by mixing fresh milk with vinegar or lemon juice and let it set for a few minutes until it turns to curd-like consistency. Then I will balance the sourness by adding some sugar in the batter.
Some people feel that there is a difference in the pancake texture between griddle-making and pan-making pancakes. But until I get my hands on a much-coveted Le Creuset griddle, I make do with my 8-year-old and still works like a stallion Tefal non-stick pan, which is way way way way lighter than the former.
Another wonderful thing about making pancakes from scratch is that you get to involve your little helpers (children) to be part of the preparation--sieving flour, breaking and beating an egg and measuring the ingredients. Chances are, they would love to eat the food that they partake in cooking/ preparing. I hope you enjoy the fun of making these pancakes with your cutie pie, Lee Shiang!
This recipe yields 12 medium-sized pancakes which is a perfect portion for a family of four. Bon appétit!

Serve the pancakes while they are still warm. For healthier alternative, use plain yoghurt instead of whipped cream and then top with fresh strawberries.

1 cup
milk, preferably at room temperature
¼ cup
white vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup
organic unbleached flour, or all-purpose flour
2 tbsp
granulated sugar
1 tsp
baking powder
½ tsp
baking soda
½ tsp
egg, at room temperature and lightly beaten
2 tbsp
butter, melted plus more for greasing the pan

butter, honey, maple syrup (for a luxe pancake-eating experience), ice-cream or sundae
In a non-plastic bowl, mix the milk with vinegar and let it set at room temperature for a few minutes, until the mixture set to curd-like consistency.
Combine all the dry ingredients—flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bigger mixing bowl.
Sieve the flour mixture at least three times until there’s no lump.
Add egg and butter in the “buttermilk”, mix well.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients slowly, whisk slow with a fork until all the ingredients are well-incorporated.
At medium heat, pour the batter into a greased pan, about 1-2 minutes. Flip the pancake when the batter bubbles, and cook the other side until it’s browned.
Serve warm pancakes with butter and honey, or ice-cream/sundae.
To sneak in healthy ingredients for children, consider adding grounded oatmeal or flaxseeds into the batter to make the pancake more nutritious and wholesome. They wouldn’t notice the existence!
Bon appetit!

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