whole wheat

cinnamon waffles + cranberry pear compote

cinnamon waffles

Coming to you live from an expansive Texan kitchen with beguilingly shiny black countertops, it’s me! I have returned! And I’ve got a recipe for you – something I made for lunch today. It come into existence a couple weeks ago, though. One 20-hour road trip with my best friend through the hills of Georgia and the endless swamps of Louisiana and five days of sailing, kayaking, movie-watching, and eating later, there I was, sitting at the kitchen table while a thunderstorm whipped angrily at the forest that is our yard. It was gloomy. So I cooked.

Now I bring good tidings of great waffles that shall be unto all people. For unto us some pears were given, and unto me some cranberries were brought. So what’s a person to do but to shout, “Gloria in excelsis Deo!” and make some waffles as a vehicle for thick, sweet compote? There is no other option, so that’s what I did. Never mind the fact that I’d already planned to can, bake, and otherwise cook my way through the entire day. Ah well, sometimes you just have to follow your heart – er – stomach.cranberries

My stomach informs me that cranberries beautiful, flavorful, and excellent all year round. The rulers of the grocery store realm, however, seem to believe that cranberries should only be accessible during the holiday season. As if that’s the only time of the year one would want to eat tart, brilliantly red berries! How absurd. We like to buy up bags of cranberries in December and January and freeze them for use anytime, grocery store or no grocery store. They freeze splendidly, and I highly recommend it.

That way, you can make this cranberry pear compote any time. Because, it’s pretty tasty. The mild sweetness of the pears and a bit of sugar balances the tart bite of the cranberries without masking it entirely. And there’s just a hint of nutmeg and vanilla to warm everything up and bring it all together. And, bonus, it’s pink! While I personally detest wearing the color pink – it is, in my mind, nothing more than a sickly, sad excuse for its pure, vibrant cousin red – I quite enjoy eating it. “Eat the rainbow,” they said. And I took them seriously. Even though pink isn’t in the rainbow colors song.green anjou pear

The waffles would be just your average, hearty whole wheat waffles, except that they’re bursting with cinnamon. This can be achieved two ways: drizzling cinnamon sugar atop the waffle batter in the waffle maker or folding the cinnamon sugar into the batter beforehand*. While the former method is more dramatic, as it produces a swirling trench of crystalized cinnamony goodness in the top of the waffle, it does tend to make the waffle iron messy. However, that is easily remedied by pouring water on the surface of the griddle (with it off, mind you) and letting it soak for a while, before scrubbing the sugar bits off with a vegetable brush. Should you wish to avoid sugar trenches and waffle iron cleaning, you can just fold the cinnamon into the batter, for a more subdued, cinnamon-speckled waffle.

But let’s be clear. The real star of the show here is the cranberry pear compote. Of course, the cinnamon waffles compliment it quite perfectly, I’d say. In fact, I think they taste a bit like that cinnamon toast cereal. But if you make nothing else, make the compote.cranberry pear compote

Now a word on the photos accompanying this post. Firstly, it should be noted that I clearly have no idea how to take a flattering picture of compote. Secondly, this new kitchen has even worse light than our previous kitchen. Thirdly, despite performing admirably the first time I attempted this recipe, our waffle iron decided to rebel today – the day I took pictures. Hence the pile ‘o waffles. How annoying. It must have just been cantankerous, because the waffles stuck less and less as I doggedly (foolhardily?) continued to make them. I tested out a flour-and-water-only waffle in the iron, and it stuck a bit, too. That and my previous success, assure me that the fault was the waffle iron’s and not the recipe’s – which I shall now present to you.

cinnamon waffles and cranberry pear compote

Cinnamon Waffles

Waffle ingredients:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 + 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil (canola or coconut or even melted butter – whatever!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg (optional)

Cinnamon sugar ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter (or oil)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • *2 tablespoons sugar (if folding in) OR 1/4 cup sugar (if drizzling on top)

Combine all the waffle ingredients in a large bowl and mix until just combined. If you chose to use the egg to add some extra fluffiness to the waffle, separate the yolk from the white. Mix the yolk in when you mix everything else together, and whip the white until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg white into the batter. Combine the cinnamon sugar ingredients. *If mixing the cinnamon sugar into the batter, use only 2 tablespoons sugar, and fold it in at the same time as the egg whites. Pour about 3/4 cup waffle batter into your hot waffle iron. *Drizzle about a tablespoon of cinnamon sugar mix on top of waffle batter. Cook according to waffle iron’s directions and/or your preference. Enjoy with cranberry pear compote.

Cranberry Pear Compote

  • 1 + 1/4 cups cranberries (either fresh or frozen, but most certainly not dried)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large, ripe pear, ~2 cups chopped
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water (optional)

Combine cranberries, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce to a simmer until most of the cranberries’ skins have popped open. In the mean time, cut the pear into 1/2- to 1/4- inch pieces. Mash the cranberries a bit with a potato masher. Add the pear, nutmeg, and vanilla when the cranberries have popped. Continue simmering for 5 to 10 minutes, until pears are soft. Smash with potato masher until desired texture is reached. Remove from heat. If you prefer your compote to be thicker, mix cornstarch and water, and then pour mixture into compote. Stir. Enjoy compote warm with waffles or pancakes or toast or by the spoonful.

And here’s an idea of what may be coming up next: Mocha Meringues or Cranapple Pie with a Ritz Cracker Crust. Or something else entirely. No telling.

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blackberry banana bread

IMG_1787

For a brief space of time earlier this summer we were overrun with blackberries from our surprisingly productive brambles. It was a happy problem, short-lived though it was. The inability of our blackberry bushes to present berries of a decent size and flavor free of undeveloped drupelets never ceases to astound me. Of course my disgust with our bushes’ performance is never assuaged by my annual week-long stay at Grandma M’s house – that’s a marvelous tale of summer fun worth a post or three – that frequently coincides with the peak of blackberry season. Her thornless blackberry patch produces blackberries like a Tuscan vineyard produces grapes! Berries hang in dark purple clusters waiting to be plucked off the drooping canes in handfuls by violet-stained fingers. Uniformly large, perfectly sweet, and delectably succulent, these blackberries are the best in the world. Really. I’ve never had finer.

That is that standard against which I measure our berries, which of course pale in comparison. However, during this strange week or so our berries came as close as they ever have come. And there were lots of them. Maybe half a gallon bucket! Never mind that my cousins and I can pick four or five times that many in 15 minutes in Grandma’s garden.

With blackberries in such abundance and more tasty blueberries still to be eaten in preference, I needed to utilize some of the former. Banana bread, the perfect canvas for every flavor, offered the solution. Therefore: blackberry banana bread – a super-moist but oil-free and naturally-sweetened loaf full purple berry bursts.

Start with some basic whole wheat banana bread batter. Add a couple cups of fresh blackberries.

Pour it into a pan, bake it, and slice it!

Blackberry Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat the eggs. Mash the bananas well. In a small bowl combine the bananas, eggs, applesauce, brown rice syrup, and vanilla. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Carefully fold the blackberries into the batter. Pour batter into a greased, 9×5 loaf pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until bread has browned lightly and tests done when poked with a toothpick. Enjoy warm, obviously.

[100th post! Good grief. Took long enough.]

cranberry oatmeal cookies

These cookies have a boring name, I think. It doesn’t do justice to their true essence. Who wants to eat cranberry oatmeal cookies? Sounds rather dull.

But, the name really is necessary for the sake of simplicity.

This is the eye-full you’d have to read otherwise: Cranberry Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

So, Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies it is. I sacrifice accuracy for the sake of convenience. I wonder if that is a clue that I am part of the millennial generation?

The light sweetness of these perfectly chewy cookies contrasts wonderfully with the tartness of the cranberries within. Buttery macadamia nut bits and creamy white chocolate chips only improve them. All around, I think they’re pretty great.

They’re pretty, too!

Look at that radiant, golden glow. They know they’re pure deliciousness.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 + 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 + 1/2 cups frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix well. In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Fold the chocolate chips, nuts, and cranberries into the dough; use your hands if necessary as the dough may be a bit stiff.

Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes about 35 cookies.

[Per the recipe as it is these cookies are heavy on the cranberries and lighter on the nuts and chocolate chips. Switch up the ratio of nuts to cranberries to chocolate chips if you like, but I wouldn’t use much more than 2 + 1/2 cups total of the various mix-ins.]

the whole wheat flours study

Soon after I was forced to took up cooking I switched entirely to baking and cooking with whole wheat flours. The path to this jump, not a difficult one for me, was smoothly paved by Mother throughout my young childhood: all the peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese sandwiches of my life have been constructed strictly out of whole grain bread. I choked down the crusts, too. Mom said it would make my hair curly. More convincingly, she mandated I finish them before being excused. Regardless, I must have eaten too many.

Already used to the slightly more dense consistency and fuller flavor of whole wheat bread and rice, I baked a couple loaves of bread with half whole wheat and half white flour. That seemed half-hearted and noncommittal of me. I brushed off the cautioning recipe notes about complete whole wheat substitution and swapped out our Unbleached Gold Medal for King Arthur. Cookies call for white flour? Pfft. Whole wheat. Muffins? Whole wheatified. Homemade pasta? Hand me the wheat berries; I’ll grind them myself.

Little time passed before I noticed that groceries offered two types of whole wheat flour: red whole wheat and white whole wheat. Later I came across a third, much less prominent type, whole wheat pastry flour, though in reality it is merely a subcategory  of white whole wheat flour.

 

Once I finished reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, subsequently entirely swore off store-bought baked goods, and began baking bread weekly or twice weekly, I discovered another twist. Red whole wheat flour and white whole wheat flour do not act the same. Red is a stolid character that cooperates willingly and gets along well with everyone, despite sometimes being discriminated against at first for its coloring; red maintains authentic friendships everywhere. White looks more like a bright white star but really is a shallow impostor with a fickle mood that rises and falls without warning; sometimes, though, it surprises its acquaintances with true talent. These opposing personalities manifested themselves in this way: after carefully following the steps of two recipes of my favorite bread – one with white whole wheat and one with red whole wheat flour – the white wheat dough would be significantly stickier than the red but would also rise higher and then sink lower than the red and end up much lighter in color and somehow less appealing in taste. Two utterly different loaves of bread. Such divergent results from two flours lead me to wonder which I should preference in baking. I frequently combined the two. I had no idea what to do with the fine-ground, white whole wheat pastry flour.

 

So, just before our Europe 2012 trip, and about a year after my first experiments with whole wheat flours, I finally conducted a study to determine the best whole wheat flour. It was thorough. It was highly scientific. It was blind. It was The Great Whole Wheat Flours Study. And it included a grand total of eight participants. Nevertheless, it was conclusive.

 

I made three half-batches of buttermilk biscuits for a total of 18 biscuits – six each of red whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour, and whole wheat pastry flour. Even though the recipe called for half white flour, I used all whole wheat. I baked the biscuits just before our Wednesday evening prayer meeting at the beach so I could carefully ensconce them in cloth napkins, enclose them in tupperware, and bring them along still warm. At the beach I required willing participants to close their eyes as I handed them bite-sized samples of each of the biscuits in random order. I asked they determine their favorite based on flavor and texture and then provide some additional comments. I scrawled the results on an increasingly salty and crumpled piece of notebook paper.

 

Participant Number

 

Biscuit Preference

 

Comments

Participant 1

Anna

red whole wheat

Pastry and white flour biscuits taste a bit bitter.

Participant 2

Emily

whole wheat pastry

White and pastry flour biscuits have the finest texture; red is sweetest.

Participant 3

Mr. B

white whole wheat

Red flour biscuit has most flavor; white flour biscuit has finest texture.

Participant 4

Mrs. L

white whole wheat

Red flour biscuit tastes the most wheaty.

Participant 5

Mrs. M

white whole wheat

Order of preference: white, pastry, red.

Participant 6

Claire

white whole wheat

 

Order of preference: white, red, pastry. Pastry flour biscuit has bitter aftertaste.

Participant 7

Hannah

red whole wheat

Pastry flour biscuit is the most crumbly and least favorite.

Participant 8

Mallory

whole wheat pastry

Pastry flour biscuit is sweet and flakey. Close call between pastry and white.

After I and the seven other participants had tested the biscuits, we snarfed down most of the remaining fragments. People liked them. The winner was clear: white whole wheat. Fifty percent of participants named it as their favorite. Red and pastry flour split the other four votes evenly, though the general consensus was that the whole wheat pastry flour biscuits had neither good texture nor taste. I think the study was a success.

Based on the results of The Whole Wheat Flours Study, in the future I shall favor white whole wheat flour in my baking.

lemon blueberry buttermilk mug cake

I discovered Kirbie’s Cravings, and consequently, mug cakes, quite a while ago. I found the website the way I usually discover new food blogs: by sorting through the lists of my favorite food bloggers’ favorite food bloggers’ sites and clicking on the ones with names that catch my eye. In this case I think the unusual name “Kirbie” and its alliterative pair “Cravings” was what I fancied. I am glad I clicked on over.

Kirbie’s is a kind of food blog that I do not normally frequent. In her recipes, which appear between thorough reviews of San Diego restaurants, she uses ingredients like white flour and lots of butter. Many of her recipes – mostly cookies, cakes, and the like – are meant to be baked in a microwave. And you know what? It is fine by me. Her cooking with a microwave is ingenious, and Kirbie’s Cravings adds a bit of balance to the otherwise predominately vegetable-focused, long-form online cooking literature I read. Plus, I can always substitute whole wheat for white. Ha!

Anyway, once I saw these mug cakes I knew I had to make them at some point. But, I restrained myself for months because of the danger: the danger of always knowing that an individual serving of cake is just a few microwaved minutes away. I knew that once I tried them, there would probably be no return, no escape from the delightful grasp of instant homemade cake. Of course, I desperately wanted to sample them still. I needed a decent excuse. Enter best friend Hannah. She is always a good excuse for desserts. We had mug cakes for breakfast. Oh help.

Here I am, less than a week after consuming those first fateful mug cakes that – despite Hannah’s and my consensus that they could be improved upon –  opened the microwave door to the magical world of microwaved mug cakes. And I have my own mug cake recipe. There is no turning back.

There is more cake in the mug that in appears, by the way.

Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Mug Cake

[Inspired by and adapted from Kirbie’s Cravings]

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons white whole wheat flour (or pastry flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons sugar [or was it five? try four.]
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of one lemon ~ 1 tablespoon
  • 20 fresh blueberries
In a mug combine all of the ingredients except the blueberries. Pour half the batter into another mug. Drop 6 or 7 blueberries on top of the batter in each mug. Microwave for 2 minutes. If the cake batter is still a bit uncooked on top, microwave an additional 30 seconds. Enjoy warm with the rest of the blueberries sprinkled on top.

Looking over Kirbie’s list of mug cakes while writing this post, I noticed she actually has a blueberry mug cake recipe herself, with a much, much better picture, I must add. I should try hers at some point just to see how mine compares. Head over to her website to see how pretty mug cakes can be; her photos are superior.

our spartan kitchen: tuesday scones

Tuesdays are homeschool co-op days. Tuesdays are pizza for supper days. Tuesdays are running at the beach days.

Tuesdays are scones for breakfast days.

Not too long ago on a Tuesday in mid-March as something of a challenge, I arose around 6am and, working by the the faint light of  late winter dawn, mixed together some yogurt scones. Despite my best attempts at complete silence and stealth, my early-rising father emerged from his room, wondering who was, as he thought, eating breakfast at the unusual hour. In a stroke of daybreak brilliance he turned on the faint light of the microwave over the stovetop for me. Having baked the scones, I left them for my mother and youngest brother, who had just begun to stir, and for Dad, for breakfast, hopped in the nearest car, and rattled down our gravel driveway, heading out to the beach. The loop, which is not actually located on the beach itself, is a popular 3ish-mile elipse that crosses over the intracoastal waterway twice and is extremely popular with everyone in general: walkers, baby stroller-pushers, runners, dog exercisers, joggers, miscreant cyclists, et cetera. Running this wonderful oval of breezy, partially live oak-shaded sidewalk is most enjoyable before it become congested with other enthusiasts; therefore, my arrival with the sun allowed me to take full advantage of both the cool temperatures and temporarily sparse population of the cement. I love it.

Since then, it has become a Tuesday routine for me: get up, bake scones, go run, and return to eat the last scone. Alas, extenuating circumstances – namely, catering lunch for 18 and 28 people on two separate occasions! – forced me to temporarily abandon my scone making on two Tuesdays. Also, now that Mom and the boys’ co-op is finished for the year, I am uncertain as to whether I shall continue to make scones on Tuesday. I should. But I probably won’t.

All that to say, I tried to concoct a different scone every Tuesday, and, excepting one tragic lapse of photographical awareness, I snapped a quick picture or two of all of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yogurt Banana Scones with Walnuts and Dates

Ingredients:

  • 2-⅓ cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2-½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cups + 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 2 whole very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1 cup plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons brown sugar, to make a moist but minimally sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. On a floured surface form dough into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the scones have browned and test done. Enjoy!

I snarfed down the last of the strawberry scones before it ever occurred to me to take a picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Strawberry Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2-½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cups + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons sugar, to make a moist but minimally sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. On a floured surface form dough into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes until the scones have browned and test done. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specialty Dark Double Chocolate Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2-3/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2-½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup specialty dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup specialty dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1-3/4 cups plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Combine all of the ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons sugar, to make a moist but minimally sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. On a floured surface form dough into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes until the scones have browned and test done. Enjoy!
Perhaps you are starting to get the idea that the baking instructions for these scones are nearly identical. It’s not just you. They are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dried Cranberry Orange Scones

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Combine all of the ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons sugar, to make a moist but minimally sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. On a floured surface form dough into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes until the scones have browned and test done. Enjoy!
There you have it: scones ad nauseum.

our spartan kitchen: rosemary fig whole grain muffins

Three items:

1. WE GOT KITTENS! Rescue kittens, that is. They are both so lively that it is nearly impossible to get a well-focused picture of them facing the camera.

Easter, who we estimate is four weeks old, was dropped off in the back of someone’s truck on Easter Sunday.

Sherbet (shur-burt), who is six weeks old, was “owner surrendered,” as the people at the Humane Society say.

2. I burnt my thumb. I have no picture to prove it, but I do indeed have a nice, blistered second degree burn on the pad of my poor left thumb. The top of that pan really did not look that hot!

3. I finally made these muffins, the idea for which had been bouncing around in my brain for weeks. I just needed to acquire some figs. Thanks to my friend Anna and Whole Foods [cue heavenly music] in Raleigh, the other day I did just that.

Whole Foods actually offered two types of dried figs. In their apparent goal to bound above and beyond the limits and expectations placed on a single grocery store, Whole Foods actually offers two types of figs. And, in my enthusiasm at being inside a Whole Foods and discovering figs, I purchased both. For my muffins I somewhat arbitrarily decided to utilize the mission figs instead of the Turkish ones. The mission figs seemed a bit more moist, which I figured would render them easier to chop.

I made a sad and pathetic attempt to photograph the ingredients I used before I actually made the muffins. Of course, I left multiple ingredients out of the picture and added in cloves, which never enters the recipe scene. Oh well.

For me the most exciting part of the whole recipe was tasting and using brown rice syrup for the first time. Whole Foods provided me with that opportunity also. I cannot wait until one opens up here in town this summer! Oh my goodness. I will be able to spend hours wandering the aisles, drooling over the produce, and staring, enraptured by the array of bulk food dispensers. What a wonderful thought! My anticipation is great.

Brown rice syrup is so delightfully thick and sticky-sweet; it is like molasses but properly, purely sweet instead of nastily bitter.

Let it be known throughout the earth: I like batter. After scraping this bowl to a sufficient degree in my mind, I and one of my dear brothers – alas, I must sometimes compete for extra batter – used a spatula, a fork, and our fingers to clean it well. I presume that the “waste not, want not” saying applies to batter as well as to food one does not prefer.

 I must admit that just about the only clean item after I finish baking something is, in fact, the bowl that used to hold the batter. I make a mess, despite my constant cleaning up and putting away in the middle of things.

It was a miracle we had cupcake liners!

These are perfect breakfast or snack. I guess you could even eat one for dessert if you are strange and dislike properly sweet desserts. I cannot fathom people like that. It blows my mind. If it has lots of sugar, I will probably eat it.

Rosemary Fig Whole Grain Muffins

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup barley flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • ½ cup oat flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup milk (dairy or otherwise)
  • 2  eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup, agave nectar, honey, or a combination
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 cup dried mission figs
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry.

Briefly soak the figs in water to soften them. Cut off their hard stems. Coarsely chop the figs a size you like. Add the figs and rosemary to the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix until combined, but do not overmix.

If using them, place cupcake liners in a muffin pan, and spray with baking spray. If not using cupcake liners, simply grease the muffin pan well. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake the muffins for 15 to 20 minutes, until they test done. Enjoy warm!