Roasted mashed and cooled seminole squash ready for bread making
I’ve covered before how much I like seminole squash – they taste great, and they store a incredibly long time, and as a plant they resist pretty much any pest… the one drawback is that they take a relatively long time to mature… but with each growing year I’m selecting for earlier maturity.
So to take advantage of that great taste one of our favorite recipes is this Seminole Pumpkin Bread. It’s reasonably sweetened rather than cakey sweet allowing the sweet flavour of the pumpkin to shine. As with much of our baking we’re using whole grain flours. My preference here leans towards whole barley flour, but whole wheat is also a nice flavour, ground of course on the homebuilt grain mill. Either of these flour options provide a complexity that goes miles beyond a pumpkin cake loaf served in some green logo coffee shop.
Fresh Oatmeal Barley Raisin cookies packed for a day of skiing
You know those cookies from the store, the “fresh like” ones that are soft and chewy and oh so good. I have a soft spot for the Oatmeal-Raisin ones. These ones trump those. They taste better, feature all whole grains, and can be whipped together in under ten minutes. They go together quickly, if you are doing it by hand try to grab a Danish Whisk – you won’t go back to a wooden soon after you’ve tried it – or they can be made with even less effort with a stand mixer if you have one.
I think cookies have an undeserved reputation in some folks mind that they are a hassle. I think a big part of that can be resolved by using silicon baking sheets. They pretty much guarantee that you won’t suffer from the burnt bottom syndrome and they are reusable for many years – my oldest ones have been around for about ten years and are just about at the point that they need to be retired.
This recipe uses whole barley flour milled in the Homestead Grain Mill but you could just as easily substitute whole wheat, rye, triticale or spelt flour.
Waffles are decidedly the high class alternative to the pedestrian pancakes. Sure, they are slower to produce but they are a great treat for a breakfast or brunch.
Breakfast fixings, barley flour waffles, strawberries, bacon and maple syrup
While a variety of whole grain flours can be used to pull these healthy waffles together my favorite is unquestionably barley. There’s a sweetness to barley that plays perfectly in this recipe – and by that I mean you’ll be hard pressed to make enough to satisfy the crowd at your table.
You may be hard pressed to find barley flour in your local grocery store – it will probably take a trip to a specialty retailer if you don’t have your own grain mill. If that’s the case why not consider building a grain mill – it isn’t much more complex than the baking you are already doing, just in a different domain.
That said, like all whole grain products it will fill you up and keep you going – you won’t be getting hunger pangs mid-morning after a hearty breakfast where these are featured.
So oil up your waffle iron, get it heated up and get ready to wow with these whole barley flour waffles.
Super chocolaty brownies made with whole barley flour
These brownies are crazy awesome good. Frankly they are soooo chocolaty that it masks most (but not all) of the sweet nuttiness that I love from the whole barley flour. These are really really good, and so quick to prepare that you’ll be able to whip them up and have them in the oven in under five minutes – washing your bowl will take as long as the prep.
This recipe is also a great one to hand to new bakers (of all ages). Unlike cookies which are fun but can be a bit time consuming these brownies are pretty close to instant gratification and there is really little chance of it being screwed up.
If you have younger bakers you might find the mixing a bit of a challenge with a wooden spoon. Pick up some Danish Whisks and the kids will be able to do all of the mixing themselves. Once you’ve got them in your kitchen drawer they will end up being your default mixing tool they are that good.
I grew up picking blueberries around our cottage in Northern Ontario… and not just picking a sour cream container worth to get enough to sprinkle on cereal in the morning but rather enough to fill freezers with blue bounty to last until the next season.
I still pick large amounts of blueberries, I’ve become pretty practiced and can usually out pick the other members of my family and now I have my kids along with me – learning to be comfortable in the bush, as well as gaining an understanding of the lasting reward that hard work can bring through a year of blueberries in baking.
These blueberry muffins call for whole barley flour – my preferred whole grain flour for sweet quick breads, I find the taste sweeter than whole wheat flour. Given I also like to diversify the grains in my diet this is also a good means of achieving that. But, if you don’t have access to whole barley flour substitute whole wheat.
Enjoy these, and if you can get out picking take some time to sit in the bush, let your hands do the work while your mind gets to ponder over the issues of the day.
Whole barley flour works wonderfully in a host of baked goods – in most cases I prefer it to whole wheat flour for cookies and sweet quick breads – and so does my junior baker.
You might have a bit of trouble finding whole barley flour unless you mill it yourself, but that is one of the advantages of having your own mill.
Barley flour peanut butter cookies ready for the oven
While I know that these could be scaled down to bite sized if you engage the junior baker the cookies are always going to be jumbo sized. It’s not every cookie that will scale up nicely – but these do just fine, and you can adjust the baking time to suit the level of chewiness you desire – from wonderfully chewy to crisp.
Cookies are probably the greatest reason to get and use silicon baking sheets – they practically banish cookies with burnt bottoms, so don’t waste your ingredients or effort by forgoing its acquisition.
So, whether you have a junior baker or not these are great PB cookies so make yourself a batch.