Oat Squares and Cookie Dough

>> Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I baked and photographed these beauties before work today. It was that kind of crazy morning. I woke up -- reluctantly -- at 6:30AM and immediately turned on Stephen's laptop. I hobbled downstairs to grab a bag of corn out of the freezer. I drank a glass of water. Took a multivitamin. Then hopped back upstairs to ice my knee. Under the covers. Laptop atop my lap.

(Say that last sentence out loud. It's fun!)

I start each day with a visit to Edible Perspective. Then Oh She Glows. Then The Front Burner. Now, my reaction time is a bit slow in the early hours. But . . . back up for a moment. Woah! Angela had outdone herself again: Healthy Strawberry Oat Squares with Homemade Jam.

You can get the full recipe (complete with gorgeous prep photos) on Oh She Glows. If you'd like muffin-y bars versus oat-y bars, you can follow my modifications:
  • 1 cup of white whole wheat flour to replace the Kamut flour
  • 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin to replace the maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar to replace the Sucanat
I followed Angela's method exactly for the oat base. But then I made blueberry jam instead of strawberry jam. (Not very shocking. I just didn't have strawberries.) I'm sure you can figure this one out on your own, but here's what I used.
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons chia seeds
(And prep tip: Instead of slicing the fruit -- once it was warm, I mashed it with a potato masher.)

And because I was ever-so tired and rushed, I forgot to set aside extra oat topping for the, um, top. I improvised by mixing together 1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 to 3 teaspoons Earth Balance. Worked like a charm. I also used an 8 x 8 inch pan versus the 9-incher Angela suggests (I just don't have one that size). I think the pan size combined with the pumpkin substitution contributed to the muffin-ness of it all.

I'm not complaining either. The bars taste amazing. I had two for breakfast. And I especially enjoyed the pre-baked state. Batter is always, always awesome. I would like to try the recipe again (and have plans to for a weekend party) with strawberry and a crunchier texture. Using a larger baking pan (good excuse to buy one!).

Who knew you could use chia seeds to make a fast, easy, and DELISH jam? I'm hooked. And making this recipe was a much better use of my time than taking a shower and drying my hair. (For those of you who are wondering, I do practice good hygiene. I showered after my run last night! Thankyouverymuch.)


Speaking of batter, though. I'm always scrounging around for asses cookie dough at night. (Sorry! Those of you who aren't fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm will definitely not get that joke reference.) Not cookies. Just the dough. Time and time again, I've made batches of cookies just so I could savor a few tablespoons of the dough. So much effort. Too many ingredients. Way more yield than I ever need. Enough, I said a few nights ago.

This cookie dough recipe is now what gets me through the night. On many occasions. Commit it to your memory -- NOW -- and you'll be forever grateful. I know. I'm kind-of awesome. You're welcome.

This recipe makes 10 heaping, healthy tablespoon-sized servings of oh-so egg-less (vegan) chocolate chip cookie dough. So, please excuse some of the screwy measurements.


What you'll need . . .
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance (I used the soy-free kind, you can also use butter)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon of "regular" sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 (or more) cups chocolate chips (I used Sunspire)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (optional, but recommended)

Method . . .
  1. In your electric mixer, cream together the Earth Balance, brown sugar, and sugar. Blend on high for 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Then mix in the flours, salt, chocolate chips, and coconut flakes.
  4. Line a pan (or plate) with wax paper and scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough.
  5. Keep refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap (or in another air-tight container). That is, if it lasts that long.

By the way. These dough chunks sure look orange. Don't they? I didn't play with the color in Photoshop. I actually made the ones you see pictured with pumpkin instead of the Earth Balance (butter). BUSTED. The ones I made (the REAL ones from the recipe) I made earlier in the week. At night. No photos. But they taste SO MUCH BETTER, so I seriously don't recommend subbing in the pumpkin.

Not this time, at least!

What guilty pleasure recipe gets YOU through the night? Are you a cookie dough fiend like me? Or maybe you're more of a savory kind of snacker. We'd love to hear your quick-n-dirty tips on how to get a good fix! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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