Archive

Tag Archives: whole wheat flour


Most bakers are usually reluctant to bake in the summer time, because no one wants to have yet another source of heat bearing down on them. Out comes the no-bake recipes: no-bake cheesecakes, puddings, trifles. Icebox cake (or zebra cake) is one variation of the ever-classic trifle. I strongly believe that contrasting textures makes a dish especially compelling, and the basis of most trifles: a creamy spread and a cakey layer offers that palate-teasing complexity.

I opted to make my own chocolate wafers, but I’m sure you can purchase them if you preferred to save some time. However, these wafers are top-notch, and if you’re one of those people that prefer the cookie bit of an Oreo to the cream (it’s an atrocity but I used to discard the cream bit), these cookies would really hit the spot. I also added a couple of tablespoons of Bailey’s in the whipped topping – because why not, right? It added a subtle alcoholic touch to the dessert with an accented chocolate taste Because of how light this dessert tastes in your mouth, it’s very easy to eat quite a lot of it. Restraint, my friends, restraint.


Icebox Cake
Serves 3 normal people, 2 sweet-toothed people

1 batch of chocolate wafers (recipe below)
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
2 tbsps of powdered sugar
2 tbsps of Bailey’s (optional)

Whip the cream till stiff peaks form. Add in sugar and Bailey’s, if using. Alternate layers of chocolate wafers and whipped topping in a bowl, with the wafers forming the bottommost layer. Leave to set at least overnight or up to a day, until wafers soften and become cake-like.

Chocolate Wafers
Makes about 30 to 40 wafers
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cups (3.38 ounces) whole wheat flour
6 tbsps (1.2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of food processor and pulse several times to mix thoroughly. Cut the butter into about 1/2 inch chunks and add them to the bowl. Pulse several times. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small cup. With the processor running, add the milk mixture and continue to process until the mixture clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or a cutting board and knead a few times to make sure it is evenly blended.

Form the dough into a log about 7 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick (I went thinner, closer to 1/8 of inch. If you’re trying to emulate the store-bought wafers, slice as thin as you can, and watch the baking time carefully, as it might be less.) and place them one inch apart on the lined sheets (cookies will spread). Bake for a total of 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely. These cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks or be frozen for up to two months.

Note: These cookies should crisp as they cool. If they don’t, you’re not baking them long enough, in which case, return them to the oven to reheat and bake a little longer, then cool again.

I already have a seven layer bar recipe on this blog, but this one deserves a post on its own because it’s even more homemade. Usually seven layer bars are made with graham crackers, canned condensed milk, sweetened coconut flakes and chocolate chips. All highly processed stuff, and I’ve a great disdain for things that come out of a package. This seven layer bar takes homemade to a new level: I made the condensed milk out of milk, and the cookie base is made out of an oatmeal cookie dough. The chocolate chips were from a chopped up chocolate bar. I could up the ante by making my own sweetened coconut flakes… and mill my own flour. Hah, I could carry the homemade schtick a lot further.

Honestly the only real reason why I had homemade condensed milk around was because I bought some milk to make cinnamon buns, but then I realized my yeast packets were expired and they didn’t activate. Which sucked, because I really wanted to make bread. But never mind, I used up the milk to make some condensed milk. If you wanted the condensed milk recipe, you can click here. I really don’t expect you to, though. Mine came out a little bit grainy, but then it didn’t matter in the seven layer bar.

The oatmeal cookie base is quite lovely, it holds everything up well and I feel good about putting a little bit more fiber into my body. The recipe had way more cookie than I’d like, so I just made oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough with the rest and it’s now in the freezer, ready to be baked whenever I want some homemade sugary goodness.

Seven layer bars are so incredibly easy; I guesstimated all the proportions of the filling by just sprinkling it by hand. I like baking like this; I feel more at one with my food, you know?

From-Scratch Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars
Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes 1 9×5 inch pan

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

FILLING
1/2 (7 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I threw in some white chocolate chips in there)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture. Spread in the bottom of an ungreased 9×5 baking pan with the thickness to your liking; set aside. Spread condensed milk on cookie dough base. Sprinkle chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.

I recommend freezing the bars before cutting into them. It’s a lot easier to handle and you get cleaner slices.

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.

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.

My bran muffin obsession all started with the complimentary corn bread that L’Ecole offered. It wasn’t exceptional corn bread, but tasting it reminded me of how much I enjoy the gritty texture in corn bread and bran muffins. Bran muffins. I must have a bran muffin! I went to Trader Joe’s to get a box of their blueberry and raspberry bran muffins, and they were so tough and rubbery that it only spurred my quest for bran muffins even further. I decided that I’ll have to take on the task of making them myself if I ever want to be satisfied, and so I did.

And were these muffins the most delicious ones I’ve ever had! They have a nice crusty exterior with a soft and moist interior. You’d never think that the moistness comes only from skim milk and unsweetened applesauce. These muffins were awesome right out of the oven, but still provided a satisfying heartiness once it cooled.

They weren’t a particularly sweet muffin, but they were sweet enough. It’s pretty hard to find a baked item that you want to eat more than one of yet still escape without guilt, but these bran muffins really nailed it.

Bran Muffins
Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes 6 muffins

3/4 cup unprocessed wheat bran
1/2 cup skimmed milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 egg (I used two tablespoons of a beaten egg)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 F and grease 6 muffin cups. (Reviews said that paper liners were not recommended because of the texture of the muffin.)

2. Mix wheat bran and milk, let it stand for ten minutes.

3. In a large bowl, beat applesauce, egg, sugar and vanilla. Fold in bran mixture till combined.

4. In a medium bowl, mix flours, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to large bowl.

5. Divide batter into 6 muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops spring back when tapped lightly with finger.

6. Remove from muffin cups when muffins are cool enough to handle with bare hands.