Posts Tagged 'whole wheat'

Vegan Banana-Raisin-Nut Bread

Emily and I sometimes go a little dessert-crazy when we’re together. You saw the pretzel-M&M blondies. But what you didn’t see was the coffee-chocolate chip blondies, the coffee ice cream, and the brownies that we also made during the week she was here. And as much as I love baking stuff like that, I realize it’s probably best not to do it all the time.

Yesterday I told Mike I wanted to make chocolate chip banana bread but he gently suggested that it might be a tiny bit more reasonable to bake something healthy after our gluttonous weekend. So he suggested whole wheat banana bread with raisins and walnuts. I thought it sounded weird to put raisins in banana bread, but we made the deal that if it was good I would give him mad props on the blog. So here they are… GREAT IDEA MIKE!!!

I pretty much made this up as I went along, using a flax egg, sweetening with maple syrup, and using whole wheat pastry flour. Even with baking powder and baking soda the loaf is pretty dense and hearty, which I appreciate.

I haven’t talked too much about working out lately because last week I realized I might be done with the gym. Two days in a row, I got pretty dizzy and started having some mild contractions (which my doctor isn’t too concerned about, I may have just been a little dehydrated) on the elliptical, and switching to the bike didn’t make me feel any better.

BUT I’ve been doing way more yoga and it makes me feel awesome. Plus I can do it right here in the living room.  I want to try and do at least 20 minutes of yoga a day until the baby is born. I have no idea if that’s realistic, but I’m going to try. I have a few DVDs and podcasts, and nothing but time, so as long as I’m still feeling decent it should be doable.

And my last piece of baby news… we finally have a crib! As far as the nursery goes, that’s pretty much all we have – there’s still nothing on the walls (kind of like the rest of our house. We’re lame.) – but at least she’ll have a place to sleep!


1 tbsp ground flax seeds
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Start by greasing a loaf pan and preheating the oven to 350 F.

Stir the ground flax and water together in a small bowl and set aside for a few minutes.

Beat the coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed. Add the bananas, maple syrup, vanilla, and water-flax mixture and mix for about a minute.

Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and add to the banana mixture. Mix on low until just combined.

Fold in the raisins and walnuts.

Pour into the loaf pan and bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Whole wheat berry pancakes

This was the first thing I made in our NEW kitchen! I’m still trying to get used to the fact that we have plenty of cabinet space for all our stuff, and that Mike and I can both be in the kitchen at the same time without running into each other constantly. It’s pretty luxurious.

Our first night in this place was Friday. However because the kitchen was pretty much a complete disaster…
we decided not to cook. I realize it doesn’t look that horrible in that picture, but what you can’t see is that pretty much every kitchen item we own was in a box in the living room, so cooking wasn’t really an option.

We got pizza delivered and celebrated the move with bubbly…water.

Saturday we spent the ENTIRE day cleaning the old apartment then took a much needed break at the San Jose Earthquakes v. New York Red Bulls game.

When you’re used to watching English Premier League games the MLS looks…kind of weak. But it was fun, and the fireworks after the game were awesome.

This morning we made a little more progress unpacking and I made some patriotic pancakes for a little early Independence Day cheer. These are just buttermilk pancakes, but using half whole wheat flour makes them hearty and the berries add enough sweetness that you don’t really need syrup…a dollop of yogurt and some fresh berries are pretty much perfect.


makes 8-12, depending on size

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar or evaporated cane juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp butter, melted
about 1/2 cup mixed blueberries and sliced strawberries, plus extra for serving

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Stir the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently (it’s fine if the batter stays a little lumpy).

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick spray. Ladle a little batter onto the griddle, then sprinkle with a few berries. Let cook for a few minute, or until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook an additional minute or two. Repeat with remaining batter and berries.

Serve with plain yogurt and berries.

Whole wheat fig cookies

I was that weird kid that loved Fig Newtons. I’m not sure why, but figs have always been really appealing to me, even after I learned that they tend to have dead wasps inside (but don’t worry, commercially grown figs are pretty much wasp-free. I still suggest you google fig wasps, though. It’s a co-evolutionary relationship that is pretty fascinating. Or maybe that’s just the biology teacher in me.)

Anyway. Fig Newtons are amazing, but homemade cookies are even better. I wanted to make a homemade version of Fig Newtons, preferably with whole wheat flour, and this is what I came up with. The whole wheat dough isn’t as cake-like as commercial Fig Newtons, but I still love these even if they look a little rustic. I used white whole wheat flour, but I’m thinking maybe next time I’ll use whole wheat pastry flour to see if that softens them up a little bit.

These aren’t completely healthy – they have a stick of butter and a fair amount of sugar (I use evaporated cane juice, which probably isn’t any healthier than regular granulated sugar, but it makes me feel better). I started with dried black mission figs, cooked them into a jam, and put that between two strips of dough. They bake quickly and are highly addictive!

(adapted from GroupRecipes)

makes about 18 cookies

fig filling
6 ounces dried black mission figs, chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar)

wheat dough
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup evaporated can juice (or granulated sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups white whole wheat flour

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Soak the figs in the boiling water for about 20 minutes.
Stir in the sugar then cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes, or until it has a jam-like consistency. Set aside to cool.

Cream the butter in a stand mixer, then beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Gradually add the sugar and mix well. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir just until combined. Divide the dough in half.

Working on a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, pat half the dough into a long, thin (approximately) 18″ x 3″ rectangle. Spread the fig filling down the center. On a separate sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, make a similar rectangle and carefully place this on top of the dough with the fig filling. Press the edges together, then cut crosswise into 1″ lengths.

Place the cookies on a Silpat-lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.

Hot Cross Buns

I have probably only had hot cross buns once or twice in my life, and I don’t remember thinking they were all that great. For a large portion of my childhood, no baked good was worth eating unless it had chocolate or frosting, so the idea of a bun with raisins and candied citrus peel didn’t excite me at all.

I think I may have matured slightly, though, because when I saw that my Adopt-A-Blogger match, Wizzy, made some great looking Hot Cross Buns (and some adorable bunny buns as well) and I decided it was time to give them another shot.

I probably don’t even need to mention that I used white whole wheat flour. But I did, and as always I love the result. I also didn’t find candied citrus peel, so I just used a teaspoon of orange zest and it imparted a nice citrus undertone. I also added vanilla, because I think it makes most sweet things taste even sweeter. I also halved the recipe, so the ingredients call for 1/2 an egg. I just lightly beat an egg, eyeball half, and save the other half for something else.

I guess I’m a day late with these, since hot cross buns are usually eaten on Good Friday, but I think they’d be perfect any time!

(adapted from Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Punch)

1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
3/8 cup warm milk
1/4 cup milk at room temperature
1/6 cup butter, melted
1/2 an egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat or all purpose flour
1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1/8 tsp allspice
1/3 cup raisins

Flour Paste Crosses:
1/4 cup flour
6 tbsp water water

Sugar Glaze:
1 tbs granulated sugar
1/3 cup warm water

Stir the warm milk, yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar together in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.

Stir in the room temperature milk, melted butter,egg and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, vital wheat gluten, sugar, salt, nutmeg, allspice, and orange zest. Add the raisins and stir to combine. Add to the milk mixture and stir until dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise about one and a half hours, or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease an 8″ square cake pan. Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Arrange in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Mix the remaining flour and water together in a small bowl until a smooth paste forms. Place in a small plastic bag and snip off the end. Pipe crosses onto the buns. Combine the sugar and warm water to make a glaze, and brush evenly over the buns.

Bake for 10 minutes at 375 F, then turn the oven down to 325°F to bake for another 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through (buns are ready when they sound hollow when tapped on the base).

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

I have high standards when it comes to pancakes. When I was younger, my mom always used James Beard’s recipe, often with blueberries, and always incredibly good (particularly when drenched with maple syrup). I used to order pancakes when we went out for breakfast but now I don’t even bother because I can’t stand their spongy texture. The thought of using Bisquik to make pancakes makes me shudder. The bar was set very high, very early, and I don’t see the point of ever eating a sub-par pancake.

I don’t know where my sister in law found this recipe, but I do know that these are the best pancakes I’ve ever had. They’re Mike’s favorite too, so when I surprised him with these on Valentines Day morning, he was pretty excited.

I love them for their heartiness, the nutty flavor of whole wheat and the textural contrast of the oats. They cook up beautifully brown and lacy and are just perfect with a slather of jam. I love, love, love these pancakes. Unlike some recipes that make dozens, this makes just 6 4″ pancakes, so you don’t have to slave away over the griddle for hours trying to use up all the batter.

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use nonfat)
1/4 cup milk (more if the batter seems thick)
1 egg
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
pinch salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg

Whisk together the yogurt, milk, oil, honey, and egg in a large bowl.
Stir the remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl, then add to the wet ingredients and mix gently. If the batter seems especially thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk.
Heat a griddle and spray with nonstick spray.
Ladle out 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter for each pancake and cook until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook an additional 2-4 minutes, or until golden both sides.
Serve with butter, jam, syrup, honey, molasses, applesauce, or whatever else you enjoy with pancakes.

Soft Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

There are few things I love more with my dinner than a soft roll. (Sticky rice is one of those few things…but that’s for another post). I also really love baking with whole wheat flour, but that and softness don’t usually go together. Normally I don’t mind that healthy bread is a little drier and more firm than white bread, but I figured there had to be a way to make a dinner roll that was both pillowy and made with whole wheat flour.

I started with some white whole wheat flour, and added gluten because I like what it does to the texture of the bread I bake. I know gluten is a hot topic these days, and one that I know far too little about. What I do know is that it doesn’t bother my stomach at all, and it does really nice things to yeast breads. So I use it.

I packed 12 rolls into a 9″ cake pan, as you can see in the first picture. I think only baking 8 or 9 in each pan would make the rolls have a nicer shape, so that’s what I wrote below.

(loosely based on this King Arthur Flour recipe)

3/4 cup warm water (around 110 F)
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk, warmed up a little
2 tbsp softened butter
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp salt

Combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and stir to combine. Let stand for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast looks creamy and frothy.

Put the flour, salt, and gluten in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with a fork. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the warm water and yeast. Mix with the dough hook for about 10 minutes, or until you have a smooth, elastic dough (if it’s not coming together, add a little warm water and keep mixing).

If you want to knead on the counter instead of using the dough hook, knead until the dough is nice and stretchy and doesn’t tear. Then shape it into a ball, put it in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Grease two 9″ cake pans. Fold the dough over on itself a few times, then divide it into 16 or 18 little balls, and arrange them evenly in the pans. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.


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