Archive for: oatmeal
Quick cooking oats are an ingredient that I like to use a lot in baking, and they frequently show up in my recipes for oatmeal cookies and cakes. Quick cooking oats are rolled oats that have been coarsely chopped into smaller pieces to allow them to cook more quickly than regular oatmeal. Usually, they’re about 1/4 or 1/3 the size of a regular rolled oatmeal flake. They are larger than instant oatmeal, which tends to have a very powdery consistency.
Quick cooking oats, which are sometimes labeled “1-minute oats” on packaging, aren’t as prominent as regular rolled oats are when used in a recipe. Cookies that use them, for instance, will typically have a more uniform consistency and appearance. They also may be slightly less chewy (although this depends a lot on the baking time) than cookies made with the thicker whole rolled oats. Cakes made with quick cooking oats will typically have a finer, tighter crumb to them. In all cases, recipes that use quick cooking oats will have just as much flavor as those made with regular rolled oats, so it all comes down to a matter of personal preference in the end.
You can turn regular rolled oats into the quick cooking variety by pulsing them a few times in the food process to break them up.
This Applesauce Oatmeal Bundt Cake is a favorite cake of mine when the weather is still a little bit chilly, because the cake seems very homey and satisfying, the perfect thing for enjoying on a cool morning without any fuss or fanfare. The cake contains applesauce, rolled oats and honey – all of which work well together – as well as some cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg that serve to highlight the fruity applesauce.
Applesauce adds both moisture and flavor to this cake, and stands as its own ingredient (not a replacement for something else). Applesauce is easy to work with because it doesn’t need to be chopped, blended or grated, but it delivers a lot of fresh apple flavor. I recommend using plain applesauce, although a chunky applesauce with big pieces of apple in it can be a very nice addition to the cake, too. The oatmeal also adds a lot of flavor to this cake, just as it does to a batch of oatmeal cookies. You can use whole rolled oats for the most distinct oat flavor, but quick cooking oats will give the cake a slightly finer texture if you have that type of oatmeal and prefer to use it. Both will give you a great cake, and I tend to use what I have on hand (the cake pictured uses rolled oats).
This cake is not too sweet and, while it could be topped with some cream cheese frosting and served for dessert, it is an excellent breakfast or snack cake. If you leave off the frosting, you can even toast a slice and serve it spread with a little bit of butter or some confectioners’ sugar. The cake keeps well when stored in an airtight container, but the fact that it holds up to toasting means that you can “refresh” a slice of cake to enjoy with a cup of tea even many days after baking.
Maple syrup is a great ingredient to work with. It can finish off a stack of pancakes or waffles at breakfast and it can also serve as part of the glaze or marinade for a chicken or pork dish at dinner. It can lend a great flavor to baked goods, as well, and these Maple Oat Scones are a perfect example. You might not think of scones as the type of baked good that could benefit from an infusion of maple syrup, but the flavor and richness that they lend to these autumn-inspired scones will have you hooked.
These scones are delicious, with a subtle maple flavor that adds a good amount of sweetness to the scones and pairs well with the flavor of the oat. When they’re fresh from the oven, the scones have a crispness to their edges that contrasts well with the tender, soft interior of the scone. These aren’t the flakiest scones out there because the oats in the dough give them a slightly heartier, more rustic feel, but they do have a nice texture that works especially well with the flavors of the maple syrup and oats. I added a little cinnamon glaze on top of these for some extra sweetness. A touch of vanilla, instead of cinnamon, would be a good choice, to.
There are several grades of maple syrup out there to choose from. Grade B maple syrup – which has a deeper color, stronger flavor and thicker consistency than Grade A syrup – is my favorite type of maple to use in the kitchen and for all my baking projects. Grade A maple syrup will work just as well in this recipe and others, however. Don’t be tempted to substitute “pancake syrup,” which is really just flavored corn syrup, in this recipe. If you want the best results, stick with the real thing.
It is pretty easy to sneak whole wheat flour into a batch of cookies – especially if you’re already dealing with a batch of flavorful oatmeal cookies that will get a little extra boost of nuttiness from the whole grain. These Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies are a great example because you would never know that there is whole grain flour in there with all of those chocolate chunks.
Of course, it’s not really necessary to “sneak” whole wheat flour into foods and hide the fact that you’re adding some extra whole grains into cookies or a cake. You need to be sneaky about it because you don’t want to compromise the texture of the baked good when using whole wheat flour, however. Whole wheat flour can make things like cookies a little bit drier and a little bit more crumbly, and if the cookie dough you’re working with isn’t flavorful to begin with, the whole wheat flavor can actually take over the cookie. This dough is very flavorful, not just because it has a generous amount of butter in it, but because it uses brown sugar, vanilla and oatmeal and all three of those elements give the cookies a lot of body. White whole wheat flour can also be substituted for whole wheat flour in this recipe.
I used semisweet chocolate chunks in these cookies, along with some chopped pecans for texture. Chopped walnuts will work just as well if you have those on hand. I found that semisweet chocolate worked better than dark chocolate did for these cookies because the whole wheat flour adds an earthy note (by which I mean that it tones down the sweetness of the sugar), and the little bit of extra sweetness in the chocolate was just perfect. The finished cookies are crisp around the edges and have a nice chew to them. The recipe makes a fairly big batch, but the cookies keep well in an airtight container and are great for sharing.
There are three main types of oatmeal to choose from in the cereal aisle of the grocery store: regular oatmeal, quick cooking oatmeal and instant oatmeal. What kind of oatmeal is the best for baking? Sometimes, recipes will specifically call for different types of oatmeal and other times they’ll simple say “oatmeal” with no explanation. While it isn’t difficult to pick out which kind you want to have for breakfast, it can be difficult to know what works in a recipe.
Regular oatmeal, also often described simply as rolled oats, is the most basic type of oatmeal that you can find. This type of oatmeal is made with whole rolled oats that are steamed and then flattened. When it comes to breakfast, they cook in just a few minutes and have a nice, chewy texture. This type of oatmeal also lends a slightly chewy texture to baked goods and the whole oats are clearly visible in the finished product, leading to more rustic looking cookies and baked goods.
Quick cooking oats are rolled oats that have been coarsely chopped. Breaking them down into smaller pieces enables them to cook more quickly. They have the exact same flavor as regular rolled oats, but have a slightly finer texture. Cookies that are made with this type of oatmeal tend to look a little “prettier” because they don’t have big oats floating around in them and they give a baked good a very uniform texture. Quick cooking oats can be made at home by pulsing regular oatmeal in the food processor a few times.