I had a hankering to bake cinnamon rolls. I mentioned this to Hubby and he said “can we make cookies?”. By “we” he meant me. So what type of cookies? He likes oatmeal but asked if we had chocolate chips. I told him I was not going to make his “loaded oatmeal cookies” but proceeded to do so anyway. I went to my mom’s recipe notebook and there I found a recipe to try. This comes from the back of a C&H sugar bag from way back. Mom has typed a note saying one can substitute 2 cups of oatmeal for 2 cups of the flour. Supposedly this will make 6 dozen cookies. I don’t need six dozen cookies; we’ll eat them all!
I figured I would make ordinary sized cookies using a cookie scoop which I believe is the medium sized.
First of all I saw no reason to boil the raisins. I also did not want to use 2 cups of raisins. I put 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup Craisins in a measuring cup and filled it with water. The soaking water is needed in the recipe but in future I would leave this out. I added walnuts, mini chocolate chips, and ginger bits to equal another cup. Those are the additions. I used 2 cups oatmeal and 2 cups all-purpose flour. I made Hubby grind the nutmeg. I almost forgot the spices and added them to the finished dough before putting in the fridge to chill. In general I followed the directions above using butter instead of shortening.
I did not expect the dough to spread out so much. I baked three batches with different amounts of chilling times, with and without parchment paper. Same result. It was a very wet dough.
The name of the cookie is “Jumbo”. These are cakey but tasty and easy to eat. Too easy to eat!
How does one make a birthday cake for a sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free dietary need? Luckily for me the particular family member is a grown adult who is open to experimentation in recipes and not a small child who doesn’t understand why they cannot have cake.
Looking into gluten-free flours it seems important to get the 1:1 product that contains Xanthem Gum. I looked at the Xanthem Gum and it was not inexpensive and why would I need that much anyway? Oh, and the gluten-free flour must also not contain any almond flour. I found a small bag and purchased it with the intent of experimenting on my standard cake recipes.
Sugar-free is a challenge. Approved sweeteners are honey, dates, and maybe, coconut sugar. I found a small bag of coconut sugar as well.
Dairy-free is simpler as there are so many dairy-free “not milk” products out there. I like oat milk which is better for the planet than almond milk. Soy has a mixed reputation but would more closely match the protein in cow’s milk. Plant-based butters are available but if you read ingredients carefully you can find margarine that is completely lactose-free. An olive oil cake won’t need butter at all.
I have a Betty Crocker snack cake recipe from the back of an ancient flour bag which I have used for almost 40 years. This recipe is actually vegan. I have chosen the first cake experiment for this recipe as it will only need two substitutions: flour and sugar.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (why is vanilla used in chocolate cakes?)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray or oil. I do this even though the original recipe does not direct one to grease the pan.
Whisk all dry ingredients together and then stir in the wet ones. Mix thoroughly and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes until done.
Thoughts: coconut sugar is brown in color with a vague caramel aroma. It also does not hold moisture as well as brown sugar (according to the internet). I was concerned the cake may be dry, but it was not. It may have been done just earlier than 35 minutes though. It did have a hint of a caramel/”burnt-but-not-really” flavor. Coconut flavor was not detected. And the texture was good and cake-like, spongy. Perhaps some espresso powder to enhance the cocoa would not go amiss.
I store my instant yeast in the refrigerator and had paid no attention to the length of time it has been there. A thought came to me out of the blue that perhaps it is past its prime even though the breads and rolls I have been baking over the past few months do rise some. “Some” is what was concerning me. Why did not my bread rise to the heights above the bread pan as shown in recipe books?
I truly have no idea how long that yeast I have has been. It has been there throughout the course of the pandemic and before. I looked on the internet for information on how long instant yeast should be stored. I found information that recommended anything from 4 months to one year. Then I went and purchased a new batch. And then made a loaf of bread.
What a difference the new yeast made!
This particular bread was flour, salt, water, and yeast with a touch of milk. The dough rose significantly higher than my recent bread endeavors. The baked bread was above the rim of the loaf pan.
I have put the date on the container that the yeast is in and will endeavor to use this up within a year’s time. Now that I am retired I will have more opportunity to bake bread and other goodies.