White Chocolate, Raisin and Oat Cookies

 

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My mother-in-law’s chocolate chip cookie recipe is something held sacred among her boys.

I, however, can’t ever get them right, even when I follow her recipe down to the most minute details. And trust me, have had lengthy conversations about her exact process, and I still really can’t figure out how she makes them so perfect each time. I have decided to stop beating myself up and attribute my past failures to the loss of 4.5K in elevation. But I still try! And, I tell ya, every time I make them, I always get a lack luster “yeah… they’re…good! But they just aren’t the same…did you change something in the recipe?”

At first…no, I wouldn’t change the recipe. But then after multiple failed attempts, I started to veer off and blaze a new trail.

Side note/Fun fact: I can never stick to a recipe. I always have to add a little this or a little that to make it more *me.* This aspect of my personality drives my other half absolutely bonkers.

Lucky for me, my daughter thinks it is super fun. If it were up to her, we wouldn’t use a recipe (or logic even) for anything we make.

Baking-Kid

Bless her heart, she just loves to be in the kitchen with me.

Most days of the week, my daughter asks if I want to make cookies with her. I know that she is ultimately asking because she is Cookie Monster’s mini-me, but I like to give her the opportunity to help out as much as possible in the kitchen and pass my knowledge on to her as often as I can. It’s a good life skill to have! So we usually make a little something together a few times a week.

Today, I had a container of oat bran staring me in the face (purchased to make Honey Raisin Oat Bran Muffins) My MIL’s chocolate chip recipe calls for oats, so I figured I would start with her recipe as a base and make a few…alterations.

First thing I did was swap out the Old Fashioned variety for Oat Bran.

Now, there isn’t anything wrong with old fashioned oats, it is just a little different than oat bran. Since I am super-pregnant at the moment, I need all the protein and calories I can get, I decided to opt for the bran (and here’s why…)

First, let’s have a closer look at oats:

WholeGrainKernel_WGC_0When oats are harvested, their inedible hull is removed and you have Oat Groats. Groats are made up of three parts: the Bran, Endosperm and Germ  (Click here for more information on those layers). In a nutshell…The BRAN layer is the outside layer, rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants and B-vitamins. The ENDOSPERM is the large middle layer that is rich in starchy carbohydrates, and also contains some protein as well as small amounts of vitamins and minerals. The GERM is the innermost layer that contains lots of healthy fats and b-vitamins as well as some minerals, protein.

Old Fashioned Oats come from a processing technique that steams the oats and then rolls them flat, giving you all three parts of the groat, thus making it a whole grain. Oat Bran is not considered a whole grain, because it is just the nutty outer layer that is full of fiber and protein.

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Looking at the nutrients side by side, Oat Bran provides significantly more fiber and protein, and has a texture closer to flour, so it works well in baked goods. Not saying one is superior to the other, they are just different.

Getting back to these delicious cookies…

Some other swaps I made were changing half of the flour to 100% White Wheat Flour, substituting honey for part of the sugar, and adding cinnamon.

The result was surprisingly delicious, probably the best luck I have had with this recipe yet!

White Chocolate, Raisin and Oat Cookies

  • Servings: 26 Cookies
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Shortening*
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Oat Bran
  • 1/2 Cup 100% White Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup (approx) Raisins
  • 1/2 Cup (approx) White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, shortening, sugar, brown sugar and honey in a mixer on medium-high speed for a few minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Add Oat Bran and Flours until combined. Add Raisins and Chocolate Chips according to taste.
  4. Space cookies at least an inch apart on cookie sheet, as they spread. Bake for 10-14 minutes (smaller cookies 10, larger cookies will need more time). With a spatula, transfer to cooling rack and enjoy!

Cookie-Perfection

 

*I really am not a huge fan of shortening, because most contain partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat) and other chemicals that don’t belong anywhere near our bodies. But I do seldom use it in some baked goods because it does create a superior texture for cookies. Trader Joe’s doesn’t have shortening (that I know of), so you can use 1 cup of butter as opposed to part butter/part shortening. OR if you have some lard on hand, try that.  I use All vegetable crisco baking sticks because they have no trans fat (the oil has been fully hydrogenated to saturated fat as opposed to partially hydrogenated to a trans fat), but they still aren’t the best option. I haven’t really found an alternative, so if you have any tips or tricks to replace shortening in cookies – leave a comment below!

Honey Raisin Oat Bran Muffins

Honey Oat Bran Muffins FFK

 

I love me a good Bran Muffin.

…and we’re not talking the healthy kind! The more the honey and sugar to disguise the bran, the better. It’s for this reason, my bran muffin consumption usually falls in the “special occasion” category.

BUT WHAT IF I WANT THEM ALL THE TIME?!?!

That’s where this recipe comes in. I found a Mimi’s copy-cat recipe on the internet, and made many tweaks to get the nutritional profile to a range that I would feel comfortable with calling this “breakfast” as opposed to “dessert.”

Some of the changes included swapping the regular flour for my favorite 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, swapping out the oil for a mix of melted butter and mashed banana, and drastically changed the glaze entirely (that one was painful).  I also added some extra flavor in the form of vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice.

Is it nearly as decadent as I am use to? No. But is it a whole lot healthier and tasty enough for me to enjoy? Absolutely.

This would pair really nicely with Vanilla Greek Yogurt and Berries for breakfast…and Coffee…Of course.

Honey Oat Bran Ingredients FFK

Honey Raisin Oat Bran Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Oat bran
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk (or milk + 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
  • 1/2 Mashed Banana
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Raisins
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Egg
  • Glaze:
    • 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
    • 2 Tbsp Honey
    • 1 Tbsp Hot Water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix first five ingredients (the dry ingredients)
  • In a separate bowl, combine the next seven ingredients (the wet ingredients).
  • Create a well in the dry ingredients, and mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated (don’t overwork this).
  • Grease muffin tin (I use the coconut oil spray), and place ~ 1 Tbsp of batter into each section. Should be 1/2-3/4 full.
  • Bake for ~ 20  minutes. While muffins are baking, whisk together all glaze ingredients in a separate bowl
  • Remove while warm and place on a plate. Cover with glaze (about 1/2 tbsp per muffin). Glaze will fall down the top of the muffin and gather at the bottom of the muffin.
  • Best when consumed immediately and piping hot!

Sweet Potato Waffles with Fresh Berries and Cream

sweet potato waffle

Last year for my birthday, I convinced my husband to buy me a waffle iron.

“But you never make waffles!” He would say.

“I know! That is because I don’t have a waffle iron!”

“But how often would you make waffles?”

“ALL THE TIME!”

I was really just saying whatever I could to get the darn thing, but now that I have it, I find that I really do make waffles all the time (and not just because waffles just-so-happen to be my toddler’s all time favorite breakfast food.)

The very first thing I made in my waffle iron was the whole grain waffle mix from Trader Joe’s. And, I thought it was awful. Very cardboard-y, pretty disappointing. I could do better (I thought to myself).

And so at that point, I set out to perfect a waffle recipe that did NOT use Bisquick (which is loaded with trans fat, one of the only exceptions to my “all foods fit” theory). My grandma and mom use Bisquick, so I couldn’t go to them for an amazing recipe that had been passed down from generation to generation. I was on my own for this one.

Sweet potato waffle ingredientsI tried whole wheat flour, I tried oats, I tried flax, I tried apple sauce, I tried using oil instead of butter…I think I went through every variation possible. Then I ended with this general combination, that included sweet potato in place of the fat (many recipes use a few tablespoons of oil or melted butter), and white wheat flour instead of dense whole wheat flour. I also added ground flax seed for a little healthy fat (since I had completely removed it with the sweet potato addition) and stuck with my 1% milk that I have in the fridge. I think coconut milk or almond milk would also taste great in this waffle, but, alas, I just don’t regularly stock it at my house (we are dairy drinkers around here).  In fact, sometimes I will even add shredded coconut to the waffle, for a little but of a chunkier texture, and it is great!

frozen toaster sweet potato waffles from the Fearless Flying KitchenThere are two things that I really LOVE about this waffle recipe:

  • You really don’t need to use any toppings. My daughter eats this waffle plain, and I do too sometimes. If you do feel like putting topings on, you really don’t need much. I sometimes like to fancy mine up with a tiny amount of agave maple syrup, diced berries and whipped cream. That just feels so decadent (but really isn’t that decadent, since it is a fairly healthy waffle).
  • frozen toaster sweet potato waffleEven if I make waffles for the whole family, there is always enough left over to make freezer waffles. I just use 1/4 cup (or a heaping Tbsp) of batter as opposed to a full 1/2 cup. The waffles come out in a square shape, just the right size for the toaster.

I also love that my daughter loves these, and I can feel good about serving them to her because they are full of vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, and not too much sugar.

kid tested, and kid approved sweet potato waffles from the Fearless Flying Kitchen

Sweet Potato Waffles

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1blogger-image--1584073228 cup 100% White Wheat Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground Flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 cup 1% Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Tahitian Vanilla extract
  • 1 Small Sweet potato

Directions:

  1. Preheat waffle iron. Cook sweet potato in a microwave by rinsing, poking with a fork, wrapping in a paper towel, and cooking for 5-7 minutes, until sweet potato is soft.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and slowly add the cooked sweet potato (removing outer skin), mashing the sweet potato as you go. If you want less chunks of sweet potato, you could also mix the wet ingredients in a blender or mixer. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of batter into preheated waffle iron and cook until ready.
  4. Top with fresh berries and cream or agave maple syrup.

Featured Product: 100% White Wheat Flour

White-Wheat-Flour

 

I love to eat healthy…but within reason. Veggies are wonderful, fruits are delicious, whole grains are great, lean protein is pretty tasty too. But some times, people take “healthy” food a little too far into the “in edible” realm (there is a reason it is sometimes called cardboard).

I have been perfecting my waffle recipe over the past year, trying to find the right mix of “healthy” and “delicious.” Often, whenever I would use oats or whole wheat flour, the final product would be too dense and earthy. Then, I discovered this 100% White Wheat Flour from Trader Joe’s. It provides the perfect backdrop for a healthy, yet flavorful dish. The perfect combination of white flour and whole wheat flour.

But don’t stop at waffles! I also use this for cookies, pancakes, pie crust, pizza dough…Possibilities really are quite endless! I actually find that now I rarely use traditional, white flour. The only thing I used regular flour for in the past 6 months has been for making cupcakes.

Here is a quick nutritional breakdown between the white flour and the white whole wheat flour:

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