Tag Archives: blueberries

Office baking: Blueberry Coconut Almond Baked Oatmeal

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Hi. Remember me? Brown-haired, smudged-glasses-clad, Gilmore girl of the pancake-loving sort? This post may help explain the time lag as I’ve entered a new stage of cooking. In fact, if I were doing a market analysis of cookbooks/blog offerings, I’d say I’m filling a gap here. It’s called “analyst-office-baking” and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Here’s how I’ll let you know if you’re cut out for this sort of cuisine: do you find yourself wishing you had time to make breakfast before work in the morning? Do you sometimes make smoothies for breakfast but then feel too bougie and adult and basic be–(you get the picture) and want real food? Do you find yourself at the office OFTEN??? I think I’ve described a very large population of people. Last question is, are you committed to steppin it up knotch?!!? That’s the big question peeps.

I was talking to someone the other day about living out what you say you’re going to do and really, it’s hard. Do you say you want to cook more and eat healthier? I surely do but then find myself eating leftover Cookout milkshakes for dinner (peanut butter has protein, OKAY). So here’s the sort of thing you do when you want to eat healthier but “don’t have time.” You bring. it. to. the. office.

Maybe not the most ideal thing to do, but hey, if a few oats and the wafting smell of warm butter and coconut luring from the 2 inch wide snack room put a little pep in your step, I’d say it’s a win for this week.

Many of you may have heard of my oatmeal-cart dream. Well, while I haven’t been so good about saying-I’m-gonna-do-it-and-doing-it, I have been slowly working my way through kinds of oatmeal recipes. It all starts back in college when I made the microwave kind and it would ALWAYS blow up in the microwave. Why does that happen? Lately I’ve even explored pumpkin baked oatmeal!

These days, I’m usually working with steel-cut oats of the McCanns kind, but I have wanted to venture into the baked oatmeal side of the species. To be honest, I also REALLY wanted to see my co-worker Jon, dubbed “johnny springtime” on a particularly nice day, become overjoyed at what he’s described as his favorite style of oatmeal.

Key ingredients to making this kind of cooking work:

  • The bag – make sure you’ve got your yuppie Whole Foods reusable tote to carry your ingredients in
  • A toaster oven at your office
  • Tups – get some good tupperware, preferably mason jars if you’re cool and can and stuff
  • Hungry eaters to taste test – nuff said

I chose to take a stab at Heidi Swanson’s Baked Oatmeal. I couldn’t 100% tell you why Heidi is such a legend in the blogging world, but she is. You’ll see her referenced often, and I wanted to finally test out one of her recipes.

The great thing about this is that you can really substitute out any nuts or berries. I have frozen blueberries on hand usually, and the good thing about that is that if you’re office baking, it’s probably thawed by the time you’re at work. Unless in fact, you work from home, in which case I shouldn’t have to instruct you on how to office bake.

I am just now realizing that many of my friends reading this may walk/subway to work. A few strategies to making this work for you:

  1. Drag a wagon to work with your cooking ingredients, thus saving your shoulder the stress of carrying a heavy bag of ingredients
  2. Introduce yourself to a cute girl/guy on the subway and ask them to help you carry your ingredients to work
  3. Buy ingredients at the grocery store close to your office
  4. Fill a large backpack with all your ingredients, strapping eggs to your stomach wrapped in bubble wrap so as to not crack them.
  5. LOL, I’m giggling at the suggestions above. Please let me know if you take me up on them

Okay, ready to cook??

Blueberry Coconut Almond Baked Oatmeal, adapted from Heidi Swanson

  • cups rolled oats
  • cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2teaspoon fine-grain salt
  • cups almond milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • large egg
  • tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • half a bag of frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  1. Preheat toaster oven to 375 and butter a 8×8 square pan
  2. In a bowl, combine, oats, baking powder, salt, and half the nuts. Listen to your co-workers joke by the coffee maker and ask them to make you a cup while you’re prepping ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, milk, half the butter and vanilla together
  4. Spread about half the berries in the pan and then sprinkle the oat mixture over it.
  5. Pour in the milk mixture, shaking the pan slightly to ensure the liquid gets in the pan evenly. Then pour the rest of the berries evenly over the top, sprinkle the coconut, and sprinkle the last bit of nuts.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the pan is nice and golden brown. During the time that this is cooking, check email, make another cup of coffee, say hi to your boss, twiddle your thumbs, and most importantly, get excited breakfast is on the way!!!!
  7. Take the pan out and let cool for a few minutes. Cut in slices and top with more butter and syrup. Enjoy with your co-workers Patrick and Jon (oh wait, that’s just me) and carry on with your day! Carpe diem!!

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White Chocolate Shortcake with Strawberries, Blueberries and Whipped Cream Frosting

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I’ve been perusing Etsy lately for new cannisters for my flour and sugar and then I started judging the cannisters based on how much rust they had on them. And then I got really self conscious thinking about the fact that I am searching the interweb for a vintage-y kitschy looking tin can and still considering purchasing it from those South Dakotans (yea that’s how you refer to them) who collect these things even though the can has RUST all over the inside of it. And then I took a deep breath and realized I had too much caffeine.

You know, when did the Container Store fall out of fashion and rusty South Dakota cans make a come-back?

Did you guys also love the Container Store circa 2006? It was absolutely the coolest thing to go and get rando trinkets and your day planner from there during summer break. Instead of buying those sleek Oxo bug-proof jars, I’m trying to find a jar with a print not as creepy as a gnome garden yet not as sleek as an Ikea esque white box. The things I do to procrastinate….

Speaking of flour and sugar….THIS CAKKEEEEE. If I had to describe a cake that would connect a wide variety of people’s sweet palettes, it would be this one. I am one to enjoy the most decadent of sweets, with cake layers full of butter and buttermilk topped with headache inducing frostings (and if you’re really lucky, two types of frosting and some kind of caramel brittley thing in the middle). On the other hand, there are those people born without a soul who like the “lighter” side of desserts.

Yes I am speaking to you, tart frozen yogurt lovers, sorbet-orderers, MERINGUE fans, and the worst – those who JUST SAY NO to dessert. This cake will woo even you!!

It’s a cake that is light enough to be dubbed a shortcake, yet dense and moist enough to satisfy the decadent sweets lovers like (hand-raised) me! There’s even some white chocolate chips snuck in there. The white chocolate gives the cake just enough sweetness that you don’t even notice that this frosting isn’t even really frosting at all. It’s whipped cream!

I made this for my office May cookout a few weeks ago with the help of my baking aficionado friend Tim. While I insisted it probably wasn’t the best idea to break into this cake before bringing it to the office, we made a mini version with the overflowing bowl of batter and made sure the recipe was legit. Here are my tips for assembling cakes after my cake-toppling incident a few years back:

Bake your cake layers the night before if you are gonna make this. Then wrap each one in plastic wrap and cover overnight. In the morning, transport the layers and frosting separately if you’re gonna have limited fridge space because this frosting isn’t the greatest for sitting out. Assemble the cake with the frosting and fruit right before eating!

For all of you who want the recipe – buy JoytheBaker’s Homemade Decadence book!!!

Creaming some butter and sugar (view the sweet potato blondies I also made below)

2015-04-30 19.45.272015-04-30 19.45.582015-04-30 21.19.02sawiinngg batta batta

2015-04-30 21.19.06Here are my tips on getting cake out of the pan. Take your spatula and point it straight down around the edge of the cake. Do this a few times until you know the cake is free from the edges. Then start to go down then under the cake and gently pull up slightly on the cake, but don’t actually try to take the whole thing out. Once you’ve primed the cake, place a plate over the cake and count your self down to a flip (I had Tim help with this). 1-2-3 flip!!! Then tap the bottom of the cake pan which is now facing up as you place the plate down on the counter. This will get any last bit of the cake out. Gently pull the pan up – and there ya go.

If you can feel that the cake didn’t in fact come out of the pan (gasp), just flip it over, look both ways to make sure no one saw you, and give it a few more minutes 🙂

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2015-04-30 20.32.03You know, just use a big pot to make your whipped cream when all your mixing bowls are taken….

2015-04-30 20.32.262015-04-30 20.32.47Watching this progression above, this is what happens when you don’t let your mini cake cool and just drop dollops of whipped cream on top :/

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I buckled it in shortly after. This is my recommended safety position for your cake.
2015-05-01 12.06.22Oh just assembling my cake at the office

2015-05-01 12.22.55Shoutout to my coworker Michael who helped put this together!!!

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ohhhhh yeaaaaaa

Blueberry Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies

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My friend JP likes to preface every discussion over which type of baked good to make with, “How about something that makes me feel like it’s really healthy but it tastes really NOT healthy.” Frozen fruit combined with chocolate and oats? I think you’ve found your mate my friend. I’ve always been a huge fan of the trail mix cookie, or as I like to think of it, pantry dump baking. In the past I’ve made popcorn cookies, and dumped graham cracker crumbs, broken pretzel sticks, and granola into my cookies to add texture and flavor to the classic cookie.

At my apartment, we are partial to certain types of baked goods – mostly muffins, bars, and cookies. I’ve made fewer cakes and pies in the past year because they’re not as portable/shareable. Tell me if you agree with me here – a warm plate of cookies or muffins seems more homey and personal when bringing something to a potluck.

I just thought of the play out of a scene (go with me for a second) – you bring a warm plate of cookies to a party and as you set them down, the party-goers/cookie monsters all dive for dessert. The quickest hands grab one or two for themselves and a friend, disappear, and then as two singles go for the last cookie, they graze hands and awkwardly defer to the other. Before you know it, the two sweets-lovers are now sweethearts and you are now responsible not only for their cavities but eternal happiness. ALL BECAUSE of your blueberry oatmeal dark chocolate cookies. It’s hard being you, sometimes, is it not?

So – I’m not going to claim that that’s actually happened to me, but the point is, cookies are a crowd-pleaser and always a good dinner party companion. I brought these to a paella dinner at a dear friend’s parents house, and they warmed our hearts and stomachs on a cold January night.

When you make this for a crowd, will you let me know if you become the cookie match-maker and now have four beautiful God-children and recently find yourself as a main of honor/best man? Because then I’m going to write a match-making cookbook.

Blueberry Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies

adapted slightly from lady and pups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark, I used light)

1 large egg, at room temp

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt (fine grain or table salt)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

1 cup frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and both sugars together until fluffy (like a whipped butter). Then beat in egg and vanilla.

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3. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Slowly beat this mixture into the wet ingredients. Stir in oats slowly with a spoon. Then, fold in chopped chocolate and blueberries.

2015-01-19 17.39.41-1I had to put this picture in here because this Penzey’s cinnamon is a GAME CHANGER MY FRIENDS. My friend Mike got this for me for Christmas and it makes the biggest difference in my baked goods. Splurge if you are feelin lucky.2015-01-19 17.39.33

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2015-01-19 17.51.374. Roll dough into 1-2 inch balls and space out about 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.

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5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let rest in the pan for 1 minute, then remove and let cool on a baking sheet.

Enjoy!