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Cookies

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti “Make half your grains whole grains.”

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti … a nice way to feed the blog in the new year, a tad late perhaps. Life has been a bit of a whiz, things that happen often least expected, yet as they say, life goes on. Every time I thought I’d post on the blog, something new happened. Then I suddenly discovered a shop in the neighbourhood selling locally sourced buckwheat groats. Pretty mundane and boring for most of the world, yet almost a mini celebration for me.Buckwheat groats Buckwheat groats are gluten free seeds from a plant related to rhubarb. The outer husk is pulled away and the grain-like fruit is harvested and eaten. Buckwheat is very nutritious, making it popular in many nations across the globe. Buckwheat provides complete protein, including all the essential amino acids. These soft white seeds have a mild flavor, but when toasted or roasted, they have a delightfully intense flavor. Groats can be steam-cooked like rice for salads and side dishes or ground in your own mill into fresh flour. The robust flavor of this quick-cooking gluten free grain is perfect for salads, soups and cereal. Use buckwheat groats in any recipe that calls for whole grains.

buckwheat groatsFood connects are strange! These heart shaped seeds had me mesmerized. I still remember my fascination with this pseudo cereal when our Ukrainian friend fed them to our 6 month old daughter every morning in Moscow way back in 1996. She always talked about how good they were as cereal, how they had been brought up on them etc.  I’d heard a load about them, read a bit about them, often wondered if I should order them online, yet laziness got the better of me. Then the day I saw them on the shelf, they were mine in a heartbeat. I was so excited, so raced home to first get a close look at them babies! Chocolate buckwheat groats biscottiRather lost at sea with my new ingredient,  it was back to the google gods for help. I soaked some overnight and thought I’d do a salad with them. Left them to drain the next morning, and was making a batch of biscotti, and then thought why not? Why ever not can I steal some groats into my biscotti, and that’s just how this Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti came to be. The biscotti turned out to be quite good if I may say so myself. Attracted a lot of interest from a very curious dog too!

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti A few days earlier, in the first week of January, I was contacted by the the local TEDx team here inviting me to host a TED talk. Did catch me by surprise, and it took me a bit to figure out if I was good enough for TED. Well eventually after much nervous mulling over I said yes  and got together  a small talk. Deeba Rajpal TEDxFor the uninitiated, the TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences. TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.”

Be local, stay seasonalMy talk was in a light vein touching upon my graduation from refined foods to whole foods, briefly touching upon my journey from college to food blogging, recipe development and food styling. The mainstay of the conversation was of course to rethink what’s on our plate, and try and look beyond foods with no nutrition and empty calories. Not the words of a food researcher or historian, just ideas from someone who enjoys getting good healthy fresh food on the table.

Just desserts, wholefoodsThe audience was great, so enthusiastic and appreciative, that I think most of the nervousness melted away! I think they did hear me out to the very end, as my last slide mentioned this biscotti, and that I was carrying some in my bag just in case someone wanted a nibble. Sure enough, once I left the auditorium, there was a line of kids from the audience outside. One sweet lad hesitatingly asked, “Ma’am, you said you had biscotti in your bag. Do you?”

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti The rest, as they say, was history! The same evening I received a mail from a smart  bespectacled young lady from the audience, praising the biscotti, discussing recipes, and asking for advise! My closing line at the talk was meant to be “If you can inspire even one, you have left a mark in this world.”. I think I missed the line out there as the talk was extempore, but here it is anyway! I guess I left a mark!

Recipe: Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti your picture

Summary: Crisp, chocolaty, satisfying and wholegrain, this Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti is healthy delicious. Keep it on hand for a quick nibble! Makes approximately 30 cookies.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus resting time
Ingredients:

  • 150g wholewheat flour
  • 50g oats
  • 60g buckwheat groats, soaked overnight, drained
  • 75g dark chocolate, melted
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 15g yogurt
  • 50g butterscotch chips or chocolate chips
  • 15g brown sugar for topping

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a heavy duty cookie sheet, or line with parchment.
  2. Stir together the wholewheat flour, oats and groats in a bowl. Reserve.
  3. Place the melted chocolate, butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until mixed. Add the dry mix and mix on low speed until it all comes together. Add the yogurt if required. {The biscotti dough is meant to be quite firm}
  4. Stir in the butterscotch/chocolate chips, or walnuts if you like.
  5. Bring the dough together with your hands, divide into 2 and shape into logs.
  6. Transfer to prepared tray, spritz gently with water, and sprinkle over with brown sugar.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes until the logs are firm to touch.
  8. Take out from oven, and reduce the temperature to 160C.
  9. Slice the logs thinly, about 1/2″ slices, and lay flat on the cookie tray.
  10. Return to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until firm. {return to the oven if they feel a little soft. Biscotti should be firm and dry}
  11. Cool completely on cookie rack, then store in an airtight box.

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“Remember, there are cookies waiting here for you.”
Dean Koontz

Wholegrain brownie cookiesWholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies. A new baking recipe. An easy baking recipe. A chocolate chip cookie recipe gone healthier, yet still deeply satisfying. This is not your everyday quintessential chocolate chip cookie. This one is better. Deep dark chocolatey + chewy + fudgy = pure comfort food! I’m quite glad I got pushed into making it!

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie CookiesI’ve had a busy few weeks. Getting back to routine after a vacation is never easy. So much and more needs to be done, everyone and everything needs ‘urgent’ attention for some silly reason. So the boy complained the other day that I don’t bake nice stuff often enough any more! It took me a while to figure out what the issue was because the baking never stops here. Ahem. Too much fruit in baking of late; he was cringing something chocolate! On prodding further, the words tumbled out. “Chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake Mama please”!

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies Looked like it was cookie baking time again! I’ve done loads of chocolate cake recipes of late, and as always I was thinking of a new baking recipe for cookies. Not the trusted old wholegrain chocolate chip cookie recipe. That lives in my head; I’ve baked it SO OFTEN! That is what the kid asked for. I knew exactly the thing, Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies. The idea has been sitting in my head for long. Just took a few words from the bitterly complainingcookie monster‘ to get it off the back burner and into the oven.

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie CookiesSo I brought the brownie into the cookie, made it a healthier version, trimmed the butter, cut an egg, skipped the APF. In went wholewheat and oats, loads of dark couverture chocolate … the result was a deep, chocolatey, and very delicious chocolate chip cookie. Soft and melt in the mouth! Next time I might go for a gluten free version, maybe try going eggless.

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie CookiesEasy to bake recipes are fun. This was just that. Not quite a single bowl recipe like I would have wanted it to be, but pretty close. You can hardly go wrong with staple ingredients, but playing around has sometimes led to disasters. This one worked well thankfully, and the monster was happy that day! A healthy baking recipe which turned out to be delicious too was spot on!

Chocolate on vintage weighing scaleWhen things go well, it leaves me motivated to shoot. Even though I find chocolate a little tough to shoot, I enjoyed doing it this time. A lot. Actually the main motivation was this old weighing scale that I recently added to my ever growing prop collection. I find it so charming, that I want to shoot it all the time!

[print_this]Recipe: Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies
your picture

Summary: Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies. A new baking recipe. An easy baking recipe. A chocolate chip cookie recipe gone healthier, yet still deeply satisfying. This is not your everyday quintessential chocolate chip cookie. This one is better. Deep dark chocolatey + chewy + fudgy = comfort food! Makes 1 1/2 to 2 dozen cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 125g dark couverture chocolate {I used 72%}
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 30g good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 100g brown vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 15ml yogurt {1tbsp}
  • 80g oats {I used Saffola breakfast oats}
  • 75g wholewheat flour
  • 50g dark chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line 2 cookie trays with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl [in the microwave or over a double boiler}, whisk until smooth, then stir in the cocoa powder.
  3. Place egg and yogurt with brown sugar in a large bowl, and whisk until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract, salt and baking soda.
  4. Beat in melted chocolate mix.
  5. Fold in oats, whole wheat flour and chocolate chips. Allow to stand for 5 minutes for oats to absorb moisture. {If the dough feels a little ‘loose’, add an extra spoon or two of oats.}
  6. Scoop out dough with cookie scoop or drop spoonfuls on a tray, shaping as you go, at least an inch apart.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top feels set for a soft fudgy cookie, and extra 5 minutes for a firmer cookie. {I use double cookie trays for baking chocolate chip cookies, and the lower element only in my oven}
  8. Leave to cool on tray for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. Since these are quite soft and it is excessively hot here these days {42-45C}, I stored the cookies in an airtight box in the fridge.

[/print_this]

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“I figure it’s a European thing to eat cheese and crackers before a meal – that’s my afternoon snack, or I do it before dinner.”
Andrew Luck

Oats Nut Crispbread Oats Nut Crispbread … some pleasures in life are simple. These are one of those. Nibble, nibble, nibble. This crispbread is just the right thing for healthy snacking. Also just right for the cheeseboard, with dips, fruit, crumbled over salad, layered into a savoury parfait … or then, the dough baked into bite sized canapes.

Oats Nut CrispbreadNeed I say more? It’s a recipe I developed for the Saffola Fit Foodie website, and it’s one I now make often. It’s amazing how versatile oats as an ingredients can be, and also how much you can push your boundaries if you think out of the box. This recipe is just a small beginning to get you going, to encourage you perhaps to get off the refined way of life. Oats Nuts Crispbread It’s not that I don’t used all purpose flour at all, but I’m happy to say it might be a mere 5% of my baking that sees it. The odd birthday cake, some in a pizza base, maybe in bread dough paired with wholewheat, yet it’s an achievement.

Oats Nuts Crispbread And one of the easiest ways to make the wholegrain transition is via crackers. They are easy, versatile, can be rolled into submission, heartlessly broken into shards or daintily cut into perfect shapes. They are also an absolute treat to eat. Grab some really nice cheese, a chilled glass of wine if you like, fresh fruit and dry, salad leaves, micro-greens, cold cuts, some good company {else a good book} … settle yourself in a heap and get nibbling!

Oats Nuts Crispbread For me these are good any time of the day, any day of the year. Of course I love putting them together more in winter when beet greens and rocket are flourishing. Yet summer is here, a dab of feta, some caramelised onions & garlic jam, balsamic mushrooms, olives, sun dried tomatoes …. you get the drift? Now all you need to do is to make these! You knead to roll!!

Recipe: Oats Nut Crispbread
your picture

Summary: Delicious, light, addictive, versatile and simple to make, this Oats Nut Crispbread is very addictive and makes quite the perfect snack for a hungry nibble. If you are adventurous enough, you can even bake the dough into bite sized shells for canapes!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Ingredients:

  • 160 gm whole wheat flour
  • 115g oats {1 cup}
  • 40g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 20g white sesame seeds
  • 20g black sesame seeds
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp /30 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup / 175 ml water {approx}

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the flour, oats, salt, garlic powder, baking powder and walnuts in bowl of food processor, and pulse for a few seconds to chop walnuts. Add seeds and oil. Pulse briefly to mix.
  3. Turn into a large bowl, add 1/2 a cup of water and knead into a smooth firm dough, adding more water as required.
  4. Knead for 2-3 minutes, and allow to rest, covered, on the counter for 15 minutes.
  5. Roll out on a lightly floured counter, and cut into desired shapes with a fluted pastry cutter, a pizza cutter or a knife
  6. Place on prepared baking sheets and bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly coloured and golden brown on the edges.
  7. Cool on racks. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.
    Serve with dips, on a cheese board etc.

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