Breakfast cookies

These breakfast cookies are the standard food I bring for new parents. They can be eaten one-handed while breastfeeding or holding a baby. They’re fast food but include protein, fruits, and vegetables (well, one vegetable). Also they are cookies. And they come with the stamp of approval from my friend’s then-three-year-old daughter Daisy.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

¾ oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup crystalized ginger, finely chopped or blended

Pinch spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg or similar)

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 banana

1 1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 5, peeled and trimmed)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 1/2 cup raisins 
(soak overnight, or microwave with water for 2 minutes and let sit half an hour. Just barely cover with water and allow as much to soak in as possible; if there’s excess water, save and add to the dough if it’s too dry)

2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (or whatever nut you like–pecans are also good)

1 1/2 cup ground up almonds (or whatever nut you like)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Soak the raisins (see ingredient list).

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

3. Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, ginger and nutmeg.

4. With a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then add the egg and beat for another minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the vanilla and banana.

5. Continuing on low speed, add the flour mixture in 2 or 3 batches and beat only until they just disappear into the mix. The dough will be very thick, but don’t overbeat.

6. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the carrots, coconut, raisins and pecans.

7. Spoon about three heaping tablespoonfuls of dough (or use a large cookie scoop) at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space between them. Using your fingers, ever so slightly flatten the tops of the cookies.

8. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cookies should be light brown and only just firm on top. Carefully transfer the cookies to racks to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Blackcurrant scones

DSCN1307

 

Scones are the best. I am not a morning person, but knowing there’s a batch of scones waiting for me makes getting up actually pretty enjoyable. I like my scones buttery, flaky, and only a little bit sweet. These are currently my favorite.

Currant scones are pretty common, and they’re tasty enough. These scones aren’t any of those currant scones you’ve had before. Currant scones are usually made with dried currants, which are… actually raisins. Not currants at all! What a cheat!

Last year I lucked into a large supply of blackcurrants and I’ve been making these scones all winter and eagerly awaiting blackcurrant season so I could share the recipe with you.

Blackcurrants are strongly flavored, wine-y and too tart for most people to eat out of hand. In the oven, they explode into small gooey pockets, like little dabs of blackcurrant jam.

I do realize it’s 87 degrees out. You don’t have to make these now. All you have to do is:

1. Go out and get your hands on some blackcurrants.

2. Measure them out into freezer bags, 3/4 cup of blackcurrants in each bag, and freeze.

3. When you feel like baking again, take out a bag and use it for one recipe of scones.

DSCN1286

This scone recipe is adapted from the fantastically detailed Bread Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum. The original calls for the dried-raisin kind of currants, so I’ve substituted fresh or frozen blackcurrants (frozen actually work better, since they don’t squoosh when you’re rolling out the dough), and I streamlined the recipe a bit because I am not patient.

The scones are delicious, and naturally they go very well with blackcurrant tea.

DSCN1282

DSCN1283

DSCN1288DSCN1289

DSCN1290

DSCN1291

DSCN1292

DSCN1308

Blackcurrant scones

Adapted from Flaky Scones in The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum

Makes about 12 scones

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (if you don’t have this, you can use all white flour)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or up to 1/2 cup if you like your scones sweeter)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen black currants

Methods

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the cold butter into 1/4-inch thick slices with a sharp knife.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, and salt.  Add butter, and cut in with a pastry blender until the pieces are about 1/2 inch in diameter. Then, using your fingers, flatten out the butter pieces to large flakes. Mix in the buttermilk or cream just until the flour is moistened and begins to form large clumps. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball.
  4. Flour a counter or tabletop and turn the dough out onto it. Lightly flour the top of the dough and a rolling pin.  Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and about 8 by 12 inches. Arrange the dough rectangle so that, if it was a print job, it would be Landscape, not Portrait.
  5. Place the blackcurrants on the bottom half of the dough. Press in gently. Fold the top half of the dough down over the blackcurrants.
  6. Roll out the dough one final time into a 1/2-inch thick, approximately 4 by 14 inch rectangle.  Make alternating diagonal cuts in order to form triangular scones.  Place scones about 1 inch apart on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (scones will rise, but will not spread).
  7. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until scones are lightly brown at the edges. Check the scones after 10 minutes to see if they are baking evenly, and if not, rotate the baking sheet. When done, transfer and cool on wire racks. The finished scones freeze well, too.