It is nearly impossible to keep ahead of health trends. Wheat’s good. Wheat’s not good. Milk’s good. Milk’s not good. (Organic Valley milk is always good.) Vegetables need be plain. If you don’t eat vegetables with butter you don’t absorb this vitamin or that one. Bacon’s bad. Bacon’s good. (Organic Prairie bacon is always good, especially with maple syrup and cayenne.) I have driven myself nearly insane trying to keep up. To the point that Dave has come to refer to me as “The High Priestess of the Organic Order.” I may be a little out of control. But I really think Michael Pollan says it best, ” Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
This winter I spent a lot of time reading new cookbooks. And one of my favorites is Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day. She has beautiful photographs of inspiring dishes that are practical, satisfying, and healthy. Now this is a vegetarian cookbook and I am not one among those ranks, but I do cultivate the approach to food in which we carefully appreciate high quality meat by enjoying it sparsely and if it wasn’t for grass-fed cheeseburgers with bacon, I probably could go the veg route entirely. The winter months on the farm bring a slower pace to my life. I have a little boy who requires most of my energy to be spent at home with him and we dive into many a baking project. These oatcakes were one such project and they were a tasty success!
I like oats. They have a low glycemic index and when I have an oats based breakfast I feel that it sets the remainder of the day towards success. I know there’s an entire grain free movement afoot and while I certainly could reduce my carb intake, the truth is as a toddler, a farmer, or a builder (my target markets when baking) you need fuel. And in moderation, my take is, there’s no better fuel than stick to your ribs, fill you up, and keep you going oats. I did make the discovery this winter of sprouted grains and I’m a fan. The theory with sprouting is that it (simple answer) “breaks down the starches in grains into simple sugars so your body can digest them like a vegetable (like a tomato, not a potato). . .Sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, which is a substance present in the bran of all grains that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.” (http://www.organicsproutedflour.net/whysproutedflour.html)
3 cups rolled oats (I use sprouted organic)
2 cups spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour (I use a mix of sprouted red and white wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
1/4 cup flax seeds (I alternate between flax and chia)
3/4 cup chopped, lightly toasted walnuts
1/3 cup coconut oil (I use organic, unrefined)
1/3 cup butter (I use Organic Valley’s Pasture Butter)
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup natural cane sugar (I nixed this and just used 1 cup of maple syrup)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (preferably pastured organic poultry)
You can always add in raspberries or blueberries, etc. I use frozen ones we grow here and add them to wet ingredients in pan.
Preheat the oven to 325F with a rack in the top third of the oven. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan. (I use coconut oil)
Combine dry ingredients. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the coconut oil, butter, and maple syrup (and berries if using) and slowly melt together. Stir just until the butter melts and sugar has dissolved, but don’t let the mixture get too hot. You don’t want it to cook the eggs on contact in the next step.
Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture. Stir a bit with a fork, add the eggs, and stir again until everything comes together into a wet dough. Spoon the dough into the muffin cups, nearly filling them.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges of each oatcake are deeply golden. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for a couple minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges of the cake and tip them out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. I add a generous pat of Organic Valley Pasture Butter on top…why not gild the lily?
Makes 12 oatcakes.
(Recipe adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day.)