A wicked sweet

Remember that post I wrote a while back? The one about being more careful about organics and pasture and hormones and plastic and asking more questions about how our farmers are raising our food? 

Well, that meant asking myself more questions too.

I have a wicked sweet tooth. I love baking and bowl-licking and tasting the final product. I like to imagine I eat a lot less sugar than the average American, but the truth is I could do better. I could do better in the all-purpose flour category, too, and so I decided to do something about it. Why should I be eating foods I wouldn't give Sally?

The result has been a lot more homemade breads and a lot fewer home-baked treats. We've been having all whole-wheat sourdough and spelt soda breads and plenty of all whole-grain cornbread. It hasn't felt like deprivation. The breads have been smeared with pasture butter and dipped in olive oil, and they've been tasty. We've still had a few squares of 70% dark chocolate after dinner, and even sometimes, if need be, with coffee. 

But I still believe in some treats. Alex asked the other day if I might make Something Sweet, so I  paged through book after book and finally settled on a batch of oatcakes from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day. My mom got it for me for my birthday, and it's a gem. It's where that crispy kale recipe comes from, and it's choc-a-bloc full of whole grains and alternative sweeteners. The original of the oatcakes recipe calls for natural cane sugar, but I used honey instead. I figured you couldn't make a baked good too moist, and that turned out to be a safe bet. These oatcakes are nutritious, delicious, easy to make, and produce a very tasty batter to lick. 

Best of all, I have no qualms about sharing them with Sally.


Heidi calls these oatcakes, but I'm already too confused about the true definition of oatcakes to call them that. Since they're baked in a muffin tin, we're going with sweet oat muffins packed full of good nuts, fats, grains, and sweets. 

3 cups organic rolled oats (we buy ours in 50lb bags from Wood Prairie Farm in Maine)
2 cups whole grain spelt flour (from our grain CSA)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup flax seeds
3/4 cups chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1/3 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup pasture butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin. Stir together the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, flax seeds, and walnuts in a large mixing bowl. 

Combine the coconut oil, butter, maple syrup, and honey in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the butter is just melted; you don't want to get the mixture too hot or it will curdle the eggs. 

Pour these wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and start to mix. Add the eggs and mix until the dough just comes together. Divide the dough evenly between the muffin tins; it should just fill each one to the top. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of each muffin are golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, then use a fork or knife to loosen the muffins and tip them out. Enjoy warm or cold. We like ours with a tall glass of milk.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.