So, obviously I did not make it back to Make’n’Tell last month. I still haven’t finished that sweater, though the end is finally in sight (and it turns out the deadline was May 12, not April, so at least I didn’t actually miss the deadline). I’ve been sick with allergies and busy doing lots of stuff with family (both the one I live with and my derby one), so I haven’t been making much, or at least not making new stuff.
Although, now that I think about it, I did cook quite a bit, and I really should have blogged that. One of the things I cooked(baked) was these delicious oat-nut bars — I love them for breakfast, and used to make them all the time, but I ran out of coconut oil and never restocked. But a member of my derby family recently was hospitalized with bacterial meningitis, and we wanted to show her some love at our last bout by baking some treats in her honor. I picked these because they remind me of her: Sweet, full of goodness and energy, a little nutty, and totally awesome!
I originally found this recipe on Half Baked Harvest, and modified it just a tad (mostly by adding the nuts).
Sweet Nutty Goodbars
A quick energy boost in every bite of these delicious bars.
In a large bowl, mix oatmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, oil, eggs, and vanilla
Beat until dough holds together -- it will be somewhat oily
Stir in chocolate and nuts
Turn batter into pan, smoothing and evening
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, until top is no longer shiny
Do not overbake
Allow bars to cool in pan, then lift out and continue cooling on rack
Slice in to 1 1/2" squares
* I have made this with different flour ratios depending on what I have on hand and it comes out just fine.
** You may sub another oil or combination of oils -- I sometimes do a few tablespoons of flax seed.
*** Use whatever chocolate you like. The batch shown has all of the leftover chocolate chips I had -- semi-sweet, dark, bittersweet, even a few minis and some white!
**** Y'all, my baking life has completely changed since I started lining things with parchment paper. If you prefer to butter or spray your pan, you do you. But I'll be over here stuffing my face full of these delicious bars while you're washing that pan.
Ever since Kit discovered he’s wildly gluten intolerant, I’ve been trying to recreate his favorite foods. The thing he always requested the most before he went all freeky* were my chocolate chip cookies.
The first thing I tried was just throwing in some gluten free all purpose flour mix. It turns out one of the flours used in most GF AP flour blends is tapioca…which makes my throat start to close up. So that’s no good. Also, the texture wasn’t great. Then I played around with a bunch of other combinations and found a mix of rice flours and oat flour that made a decent tasting but very crumbly cookie.
For Father’s Day last year, we got him a bunch of gluten free cookbooks, including one that had amaranth flour in just about every recipe for doughy things. It was also the only GF source I’d seen that didn’t recommend xanthan gum for everything chewy. (If you don’t know what xanthan gum actually is, go have a look. I’ll wait. Gross, right? Oh and bonus, if you’re sensitive to xanthan gum, which isn’t uncommon, it gives you the same symptoms as being glutened.) The only drawback to amaranth flour is that it tastes like dirt. Literal dirt from the ground. If you’ve ever had to clean something very, very dusty and gotten that taste in your mouth, that’s the taste of amaranth.
So I played a little more. Coconut flour was promising, but does have a strong coconut flavor. I happen to like coconut, but it’s not the flavor profile I was going for. I went back to the oat, which was nice, but you could still taste the amaranth under it. I added a little coconut back in, and bingo! Good taste, good chew, good cookie.
I was, frankly, shocked the first time I bit into one of these. It’s not a good gluten free cookie. It’s a good cookie, that happens to be gluten free. I am super proud of these. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
*Being gluten free sucks pretty hard. In an effort to lighten it up, we started calling it being a gluten freek. It turns out we are not the only clever ones — there are several blogs who use the term, and even a couple of gluten free beers.
Add half of each flour, the baking soda, and the salt, mixing until fully incorporated. (If you prefer to do this more traditionally, you can mix together all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add that mix half at a time. I just prefer not to dirty another bowl, because I am lazy and I haven't noticed it makes any difference at all in the final product.)
Add the rest of the flours and mix thoroughly.
Fold chocolate chips into dough, distributing as evenly as possible. (I like to use a wooden spoon for this, but whatever works is fine.)
Scoop dough onto lined cookie sheet in teaspoonfuls. (You can use one of those fancy cookie scooper things if that's your bag, but I just use a regular kitchen spoon.)
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until slightly brown and no longer wet looking on top.
Let cool on sheet for 2 minutes.
Transfer to cooling rack.
* Some people who have celiac cannot tolerate oats, even those labeled gluten free. If that is the case for you or your freek, I recommend using 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and a 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour in place of the oat flour.