Tuesday, November 29, 2011

strawberry sh(oat)cakes

A few weeks ago I hosted a brunch for an old friend and a new friend. It was so exciting to have our first house guests over for a meal. Until now, Todd and I have never had a table with four chairs in any place we have lived together. I have always loved the idea of having friends over for a meal, and we finally have the opportunity to do so! Brunch is one of my favorites, too. The setting is casual and light and there are so many delicious brunch recipes I have wanted to try. Todd and I used to love to go out to brunch, but now it's so difficult because everyone around me orders waffles and I just want to reach over and grab a bite. I know I feel so much better without gluten but, gosh, it's torture to be around those buttery waffles! Of course, I can make similar delicious treats without the gluten, from my own kitchen, where not even a trace of gluten has ever been, so I know it's safe for me to eat.

For my Saturday morning brunch, the main event was this lovely leek bread pudding that I made with gluten free bread. While shopping for leeks at the farmer's market, I found a festive bag of mixed greens and edible flowers. Lightly dressed with a little fig and walnut vinaigrette, the salad made a tasty side, along with some chicken apple breakfast sausages that I could just heat and serve. Easy peasy!

The dessert, however, was a bit of a challenge. I found some gorgeous strawberries, so I thought I would use the strawberries to dress up my usual breakfast of Greek yogurt, honey, and granola and serve it as dessert. The only problem was that I didn't have any cute bowls. I do have some adorable teacups but we needed those for tea or coffee. (My friend, Joy, brought this tea--it was divine!)

With no time (or money) to shop for cute bowls, I turned to my cookbook of the year again, Super Natural Every Day, and that's when I had the idea for . . . strawberry sh(oat)cakes! OK, I know it sounds stilly but it's very me. With a few adaptations to make them gluten free I had the most perfect desert. It was a brunch filled with great food and great friends, who I hope to see again very soon.

(adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson)

85 grams chopped walnuts
300 grams rolled oats
125 grams teff flour
100 grams gluten-free, all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
45 grams flax seeds
70 grams sugar
70 grams (or 1/3 cup) extra-virgin coconut oil
85 grams (or 1/3 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F with a rack in the top third of the oven. Measure out your walnuts and pop them into the oven until they are lightly toasted (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan and then use your kitchen scale to measure out the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flours (teff and all-purpose), baking powder, salt, flax seeds, and the lightly toasted walnuts. (This is all of the dry ingredients except for the sugar.)

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and set them aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the sugar, coconut oil, butter, and maple syrup. Stir the mixture and heat until the butter and coconut oil have just melted and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture into your bowl with the oats and stir to combine. Make sure that the mixture isn't too hot and add the eggs. (You don't want to cook the eggs.) Stir the mixture together into a wet dough and spoon the dough into the muffin cups, nearly filling them.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Take the pan out of the oven to cool for a bit and then remove the oatcakes and set them on a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

To turn your oatcakes into strawberry sh(oat)cakes, put a dollop of Greek yogurt that has been lightly sweetened with honey on your oatcake and top with sliced strawberries. Enjoy!

Yields 12 Oatcakes or Sh(oat)cakes  : )

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