By Rick Nelson
OK, I'll admit it. I'm not a huge oatmeal-in-the-morning kind of guy.
However, I do enjoy finding ways to make use of rolled oats, particularly when they're as good as the fresh-flaked oats from Marty and Darrold Glanville at Sunrise Flour Mill in North Branch, Minn.
In search of a way to make an impression with the standard oatmeal cookie, I ran across this recipe from New York City chef Katy Sparks. Wow. In all the years that I've been hauling baked goods to office, I've never seen a cookie disappear as fast. Yeah, they're really that good.
OATMEAL-CHOCOLATE CHIP-PECAN COOKIES
Makes about 3 dozen.
Note: From “Sparks in the Kitchen” by Katy Sparks (Knopf, $30).
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 c. rolled oats
2 c. chopped pecans
2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt and vanilla extract and beat until well-mixed, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour mixture to butter mixture. When flour is incorporated, add second half and mix until just incorporated. Stir in oats, pecans, orange zest and chocolate chips. Drop dough by generous tablespoons onto cookie sheet and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, cool 2 minutes and transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Since I purchased several pounds of the Granvilles' flaked oaks last weekend at the Mill City Farmers Market, I'm going to spend the weekend test-driving the following recipes:
Makes about 12 pancakes.
Note: From “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook” (1950 edition).
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
Butter for griddle
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt and reserve. In a large bowl, whisk together oats and buttermilk. Add eggs and whisk until combined. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Preheat griddle over medium heat. Lightly grease griddle with butter. Pour batter from tip of a large spoon or from a pitcher in pools a litte apart. When pancakes puff and are full of bubbles (but before bubbles break), flip pancakes. Cook until pancakes are browned. Remove from heat and serve.
BEST OATMEAL EVER
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. From “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen” by Rebecca Katz (Celestial Arts, $32.50).
1 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. dried cranbeeries, cherries, raisins, currants, blueberries, or a mixture
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (or 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger)
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/4 c. milk, optional Chopped toasted almonds or walnuts for garnish, optional
In a medium bowl, combine oats, lemon juice and 2 cups water and soak overnight at room temperature. When ready to cook, drain oats in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse well under cold running water. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine oats, 2 cups water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, stir in dried fruit, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom and cover. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes (for less-moist oatmeal, remove cover for last 3 to 4 minutes of cooking). Stir in maple syrup and milk (if using) and serve garnished with toasted nuts.
SCOTTISH OATMEAL SCONES
Makes 16 scones.
Note: From “100-Calorie Snack Cookbook” by Sally Sampson (Wiley, $18.95).
1 c. flour, plus extra for kneading dough
3/4 c. graham flour
3/4 c. rolled oats
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 8 pieces
2/3 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, graham flour, oats, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (alternately, using a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine flour, graham flour, oats, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder and pulse until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal). Add buttermilk and mix until just combined; do not overmix. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead 4 times. Pat dough into 2 1-inch-thick circles and cut each circle into 8 small triangles. Transfer scones to baking sheet and bake until they begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: From “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman (Wiley, $21.95).
6 c. peeled, cored and sliced apples
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 c. brown sugar, divided
5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into bits, plus extra for greasing pan
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. flour
1/4. shredded unsweetened coconut, optional
1/4 c. chopped nuts, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter bottom and sides of an 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan. In a large bowl, toss apples with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon brown sugar and spread apples in prepared pan. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine butter, oats, flour, coconut (optional), nuts (optional) and remaining cinnamon and brown sugar and pulse several times until mixture is well-incorporated but not uniform (alternately, to mix ingredients by hand, soften butter slightly, toss together dry ingredients and then work butter in using your hands, a pastry blender or a fork). Spread topping over apples and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until topping is browned and apples are tender. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Here's another rolled-oats tip. In “How to Break An Egg” (Taunton Press, $19.95), the editors of Fine Cooking magazine collected reader-contributed cooking tips. This one sounds intriguing, even for a less-than-enthusiastic oatmeal eater like myself.
“Before bedtime, I put a cup of oats into my slow cooker with 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon cinnamon or apple pie spice, plus 1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit," writes reader Donald Matesz. "The in cover the cooker and put it on low to cook overnight. In the morning, I just give the oatmeal a quick stir and add milk and maple syrup for a hot, hearty breakfast.”
How are you cooking with rolled oats?