Strawberry Toast + Oatnut Bread

It’s summertime, and berries are at their peak. Sweet, succulent and juicy, strawberries are a fantastic way to cool you down and satisfy your sweet tooth. I was grocery shopping, and I was lured by the strong scent of the strawberries. Nothing beats the smell of ripe strawberries; which incidentally, taste nothing like strawberry-flavored candy. Growing up, berries weren’t something I ate with any frequency because they don’t do well in tropical Singapore. I was probably quite surprised when I had my first strawberry, wincing at its tartness and its complete departure from strawberry-flavored things.

I came up with the idea for this meal by cobbling together what I had in my fridge: strawberries that needed to be eaten, a large tub of Greek yogurt, and oatnut bread that I made a couple of days ago. You could use whipped cream cheese or whipped cream on your toast, but Greek yogurt offers the same creaminess and tang with much less fat and a lot more protein. This dish is basically a healthier version of the strawberry shortcake.

This bread was made with white whole wheat flour, oats, and walnuts. It’s a firm and hearty loaf that will stand up to spreads and drippy fillings, so it would be good for a sandwich. The original recipe called said vital wheat gluten was optional, but I didn’t have it. Whole wheat flour can be a little tricky in yeast breads, but don’t be discouraged. It might not taste or feel like the soft, fluffy prepackaged loaves you get in the supermarket, but it also doesn’t have a ton of unpronounceable additives.


Strawberry Toast

Makes a slice

1 slice of bread
2 strawberries, sliced
1 tbsp of Greek yogurt

Toast bread, if desired. Spread Greek yogurt on bread. Layer strawberries. Eat!

Oatnut White Whole Wheat Bread
Adapted from Baking Bites
Makes 1 9×5 loaf

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (100-110F), divided
3-4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats (whole rolled oats, chopped)
1 tbsp vital wheat gluten (optional)
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped

In a large bowl, combine the yeast (about 1/4 oz.) and 1/4 cup warm water. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.
Stir in remaining water, 1 cup of flour, the oats, vital wheat gluten (if using) and honey, and mix well. Add in salt, pecans and an additional 1 1/2 – 2 cups flour. Stir, adding remaining flour gradually, until the dough comes together into a ball a begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl (this can also be done in an electric mixer with the dough hook attached).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead, adding flour a tablespoon at a time as necessary to prevent sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-8 minutes.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
After dough has risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface again. Gently deflate dough into a rectangular shape. Fold up the two long sides of the rectangle and pinch the seam together. Place seam-side down into prepared loaf pan. Again cover the bread with a piece of plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
While the bread is going through its final rise, preheat oven to 375F.
Bake loaf for 35 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the bottom reads about 200F.
Cool loaf outside of pan on a wire rack completely before slicing.

Notes: I ended up using about 2.5 cups of flour total.

Banana-Oat Walnut Bread

Despite this being called a dessert blog, I don’t make dessert all the time. I might want dessert all the time, but I simply don’t have enough calories allotted to eat everything I want. So, I improvise. I fulfill my desire to create by adding a chock-full of healthy ingredients into what could otherwise be dessert masquerading as healthy food. This, is actually good for you. Bananas, bran, oatmeal and walnuts. No better way to put your digestive system to work.

Of course, the downside to using no fat and less sugar is that you get something that tastes like health food. I probably tweaked the recipe a little too much, but I’m going to reproduce the original so you know what to do.

Banana-Oat Walnut Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf
Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar (I used 1/3 cup)
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I omitted this)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup white whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup bran)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray a bread pan with non-stick cooking spray, and lightly dust with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in bananas, applesauce, milk, oil and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture, mixing just until blended. Fold in walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake in preheated pan until golden and a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour. Turn bread out onto a wire rack and let cool.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

I don’t usually keep butterscotch chips around the house, but I bought some for the Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars I made and figured to put the rest of it to good use. And since I had a hankering for something vaguely wholesome, I thought oatmeal would be a good ingredient to incorporate, and viola, the Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookie was born. Well, borne out of extensive research from my favorite baking blogs anyway. Apparently, this recipe was Cindy McCain’s in the cookie stand-off that Good Housekeeping usually hosts for potential first ladies.

This was an excellent cookie. It wasn’t very sweet, which I liked, and the good amount of rolled oats really gave it a nice chewiness with the occasional toasted oat texture. I might have added a little bit more salt than required but I thought it gave the cookie a nice savory note. The butterscotch chips are perhaps not my favorite chip but overall it really gave the cookie a wholesome, mapley flavor. I halved the original recipe and it still turned out excellent.

Oatmeal-Butterscotch Cookies
Adapted from Cindy McCain
Makes 30 cookies (recipe says 24)

3/8 cup butter, softened
3/8 cup sugar
3/8 cup brown sugar
1 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/8 tsp salt (I used a heaping 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cups butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Blend in eggs and vanilla until mixture is smooth.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into butter mixture, then mix in the oats and butterscotch chips.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls (large balls) of cookie down onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie to allow for spread.
Bake for 10-11 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.
Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies


One of the best recipes I’ve found. Right amount of cragginess, crispy and chewy, great texture. The use of brown sugar adds a pronounced molasses flavour. I overbaked them a little, but chilling them before baking helps to preserve height and cragginess.

Cooks’ Illustrated Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookie
Adapted from Cooks’ Illustrated
Makes 8 cookies

5/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5/8 cups rolled oats , old-fashioned
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/8 cup white chocolate chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
3/4 cups packed brown sugar , preferably dark
2 tbsp large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 1 large (18 by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, stir together oats, cranberries, and white chocolate.

3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat mixture; mix until just incorporated.

Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.

4. Divide dough evenly into 8 portions, each about 1/4 cup, then roll between palms into balls about 2 inches in diameter; stagger 8 balls on each baking sheet, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. Using hands, gently press each dough ball to 1 inch thickness. Chill for 30 minutes. Bake both baking sheets 12 minutes, rotate them front to back and top to bottom, then continue to bake until cookies are medium brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will seem underdone and will appear raw, wet, and shiny in cracks), 8 to 10 minutes longer. Do not overbake.

5. Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire rack 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.