I am not much of a baker, rather more of a “cooker”. Baking is more of a science in that you have to be precise with measuring each ingredient in order for the product to turn out well. To me, cooking is more of an art, allowing more flexibility and creativity with ingredients, mixing and matching whatever is on hand or what seems like should be added.
As part of my CSA share, I acquired whole-wheat pastry flour from the Missouri Grain Project. I used small amounts of the flour for fish batter, but in order use up all of the flour, I realized I would have to awaken the scientist in me and get to baking.
I decided to make Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Squares based on a recipe from Woman’s Day magazine (Sept 2011). I chose this recipe since cookies are a forgiving type of baking, allowing a bit more flexibility with the ingredients. I also like dessert recipes that offer some nutritional value. Ingredients for this cookie bar include cinnamon, nutmeg, oats, dark chocolate chips and dried cherries, each providing a boost in vitamins and minerals. I used the whole wheat pastry flour in place of all-purpose flour for additional nutrients and fiber. With so much goodness, one can almost justify eating these for breakfast! Baking soda, vanilla, salt, butter and sugar are also ingredients certainly not helping the nutrition profile but are necessary to make the science happen and the end product taste good!
Tip: when a recipe calls for nutmeg, use a microplane to grate whole nutmeg-it really makes a difference!
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (Missouri Grain Project)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted, softened butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs (Good Earth Egg Company, Bonne Terre, MO)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries
Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Then slowly add in the eggs and vanilla.
Slowly add in the flour mixture until just combined. (this is important in baking: if you over-stir, you will create too much gluten and your product will be tough)
Spread in a prepared 13x9 baking pan.
Bake at 350 F for about 16-18 minutes until golden brown.