Recipes: Breakfast Cookies, Two Ways

Breakfast cookies

Banana oatmeal breakfast cookies (top) and apple oat breakfast cookies

As I said a few weeks ago, there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating cookies for breakfast.

I don’t see anything wrong with eating any dessert item for breakfast, for that matter. A piece of birthday cake is basically a muffin with icing on it, right? And, ice cream is totally fine because it’s just frozen milk, after all.

As fun as this philosophy is, it sadly, does not benefit one’s waistline. Especially if one is trying to find hers again after having a baby.

So, what’s a girl to do when she wants something sweet, but healthy, for breakfast?

Enter the breakfast cookie.

These oat-based baked treats are hearty, satisfying, and have just enough sugar to satisfy a sweet tooth. And, they are ideal for those mornings when all you have time to do is grab something on your way out the door (or between baby catnaps).

Each recipe below takes less than an hour to make from start to finish. So, you can throw them together the night before (if you are super organized) or the early morning (if you are a procrastinator like me). Plus, they are a great way to use up fruit that is probably already sitting on your counter and other ingredients that are pantry staples.

Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

From: Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

I picked this recipe based on the fact that everything could be thrown into the same bowl. Ain’t nobody got time for doing a ton of dishes.

The ample amount of oats in these cookies made them pretty hearty. Their chewy texture reminded me of baked oatmeal. I thought these had a great combination of flavors, that got even better after the cookies sat overnight.

I stored these cookies in the refrigerator because I felt like the slightly sticky texture and the chocolate chips would become a melted mess if left on the counter. They would probably freeze well, too.

What you will need

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about three small ones)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Drop onto greased cookie sheet (Note: I again used my medium sized cookie scoop and got just over 20 cookies from this recipe).
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until bottoms of cookies are light brown.
  5. Cool on wire rack.

Apple Oat Breakfast Cookies

From: Yummy Mummy Kitchen

These cookies had a soft, crumbly texture (almost like a scone) and are a great way to take advantage of all of the apple varieties that are in season right now. Next time, I think I will probably throw a handful of dried cranberries in as well.

What you will need

  • 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup fresh apples, diced (I used an Empire)
  • Sugar for sprinkling (optional)

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl.
  3. Mix together butter, milk and egg in another bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.
  5. Mix in apples.
  6. Scoop heaping tablespoon balls of dough and place on cookie sheet a few inches apart (Note: I used a medium sized cookie scoop and got about 20 cookies from this recipe).
  7. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake until light brown, about 10 minutes.
  8. Cool slightly on rack.

 

Recipe: Flour’s Sticky Sticky Buns

You might already know this about me, but I like instant gratification. Especially when it comes to baked goods. That’s why cookies are one of my favorite things to bake. The batter tends to come together fairly quickly and a dozen are in and out of the oven in 15 minutes or less. That aligns perfectly with my attention span and seemingly endless desire for dessert.

You know what’s a real test of patience?

Waiting NINE HOURS for sticky buns. Most of this is inactive prep time, since the dough needs to proof twice before baking, so you won’t be slaving over the oven the entire time.

Toasting pecans

Toasting pecans

But, still. It’s a two day project.

Fortunately, at the end of this process you won’t have just any old sticky buns. These will be the famous Sticky Sticky Buns from Boston’s Flour Bakery.

Remember that every time you open the refrigerator during those first six hours of proofing time, and that pale ball of brioche dough taunts you with the knowledge that you’ll have to wait until sometime the following day to get your fix.

Brioche dough after proofing for six hours

Brioche dough after proofing for six hours

(However, the protracted prep time does make it a perfect project for a lazy, three day weekend, since it also allows for two hour naps during the process if you so desire. And, I did).

All rolled up

All rolled up

Ready for the oven after two more hours of proofing

Ready for the oven after two more hours of proofing

Friends, they are totally worth the wait. They are tender and chewy in all of the right places (particularly, in the center) and dripping in warm, caramel “goo” (yes, that’s the technical name for it) and toasted pecans.

Finally.

Finally.

Next time, I’ll be a little more liberal with the pecans and I’ll make some extra goo to drizzle over them before serving. Then, they’ll be exactly like what I remember from the shop. God bless Joanne Chang for making this recipe publicly available for the times when I just can’t make the trip to Boston and I really NEED a sticky bun.

This was the first recipe that I tried from the Flour cookbook and I’m looking forward to others. One of the things that I like best about this book is that are recipes are very detailed, with great descriptions of how the mixtures will look, feel and even sound as they make their way around the mixing bowl at various stages in the process. So, even if you are still working on your baking skills, you’ll feel a little bit more confident about taking on the more challenging recipes.

Flour’s Sticky Sticky Buns

From: Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe

by Joanne Chang

What you will need:

For the brioche dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1-ounce fresh cake yeast
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 3/8 cups (2 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces.

For the goo:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped

What to do:

For the brioche dough:

Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and 5 of the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients are combined. Stop the mixer, as needed, to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.

With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.

Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny, another 15 minutes. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually it will turn smooth and silky. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. Test the dough by pulling at it; it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in 1 piece.

Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof (that is, grow and develop flavor) in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight At this point you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

For the goo:

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, to combine (it may look separated, that’s ok). Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey, cream, water, and salt. Strain to remove any undissolved lumps of brown sugar. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature. You should have about 3 cups. (The mixture can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

Putting the buns together:

Divide the dough in half. Use half for this recipe and reserve the other half for another use.

On a floured work surface, roll out the brioche into rectangle about 12 by 16 inches and 1/4-inch thick. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you.

In a small bowl, make the filling. Stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and half of the pecans. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral. Trim off about 1/4- inch from each end of the roll to make them even.

Use a bench scraper or a chef’s knife to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches wide. (At this point, the unbaked buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed.)

Pour the goo into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans evenly over the surface. Arrange the buns, evenly spaced, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot to proof until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft and the buns are touching-almost tripled in size, about 2 hours.

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350 degrees F.

Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top.

The buns are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, and then warmed in a 325 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes before serving.

Recipe: Classic Banana Bread

I pretty much will only eat bananas that are totally yellow on the outside. Bananas with brown spots are gross. I know that they get sweeter as they ripen, but they also get a mushy texture that I just don’t enjoy.

The only sensible thing to do with these kinds of bananas is to turn them into banana bread. In fact, the riper the bananas, the better the bread.

When I first got into baking a few years ago, banana bread was the first thing that I made. I’ve tried a few different recipes over the years, but my favorite continues to be the Classic Banana Bread recipe from Cooking Light. The yogurt in the batter makes it incredibly moist and tender. I have doctored it up once or twice with nuts and chocolate chips, but it really doesn’t need anything since the banana flavor is so intense.

Although it’s tempting to cut into the loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven, I personally think that the flavors are even better after the bread sits for at least a few hours. You could also make muffins from this recipe, freeze them, and take them out for breakfasts throughout the week as needed.

Classic Banana Bread

From: Cooking Light

What you will need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.
  4. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended.
  5. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.
  6. Spoon batter into a buttered loaf pan.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Recipe: Cranberry-Pecan Granola

I eat yogurt every. Single. Day. And, from time to time, I get incredibly sick of it. But, it’s the easiest thing to throw in my bag for a mid-morning snack, so I keep buying it.

You know what makes yogurt tolerable, though?

I mean, aside from it being of the soft-serve, frozen variety and topped with chocolate chips and a bit of peanut butter?

Granola.

I’m not really a fan of store-bought granolas, though. They contain quite a bit of sugar and are sometimes so hard that I fear I’ll break a tooth. So, I decided to try making it myself.

The process could not have been any easier and only takes one bowl, a cookie sheet, and about an hour from start to finish. When you add up the cost of ingredients, it will probably cost you more to make from scratch than if you bought a box (probably around $10, versus around $5 for a box. Nuts are pricey!). But, you will be able to control the sugar content and add the ingredients and flavors that you like the best. It can also be a great way to use up leftover oats, nuts and dried fruit from other recipes so that nothing goes to waste. In my case, for example, I had the cranberries and pecans on hand already.

The rich, toasted flavor of this homemade granola just seems more…natural. It was perfect with yogurt, or just straight out of the container by the handful. I just finished the last little bit of my batch today and it was still fresh and crunchy even after a week.

I think this is going to become a habit.

Cranberry-Pecan Granola

Adapted slightly from: I Heart Naptime

What you will need:

  • 5 cups rolled old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped

What to Do:

  1. Mix ingredients, excluding the cranberries or other dried fruit you might be using, in a large bowl and stir until combined.
  2. Spread mixture onto a greased cookie sheet (I used my Silpat, since I didn’t have cooking spray on hand).
  3. Bake at 300, stirring every seven minutes, until dry and toasted (I left mine in for a total of 21 minutes, but I have a pretty lame oven. Yours may be ready sooner).
  4. Remove from oven, stir in cranberries, and let cool.
  5. Store in an air tight container until ready to serve.

 

Recipe: Toblerone Muffins

I always associate Toblerone with traveling, since they sell the big bars of it at the Duty Free shops in many airports. I recall one occasion where I bought one, promising myself that I would just have one piece on the plane and save the rest for later. But, inevitably, one piece turned into two or three, and before I knew it, I was trapped in a middle seat, nowhere near the city of my final destination, with a massive sugar high.

I hadn’t had a Toblerone in quite awhile, however, until Chester got a big bar of it for Christmas. My love for it was instantly reawakened. When I decided to make ice cream last week, I thought about doing something with Toblerone, but went in a different direction when I found the (awesome) Double Cookie Dough recipe. Then, Chester came across a recipe for Toblerone muffins. Toblerone for breakfast? Yes, please!

The concept of this muffin is amazing—a chocolate base, with chunks of Toblerone in the batter, plus more bits sprinkled on top. The finished product was good, but not as amazing as I had hoped. With a few small tweaks, it would be even better.

First, the original recipe didn’t call for salt, but I added some since it really brings out the flavor—especially of chocolate—in pastries. In the future, I would also add a bit of vanilla extract and adjust the ratios of some of the dry ingredients. There was definitely a bit of a floury taste to the muffins (I only mixed about ten strokes, so I don’t think the taste was the result of overworking the batter) and maybe a little less flour and a bit more cocoa powder could do the trick. I’ll have to play around with this recipe a bit and let you know how it turns out!

As a side note, on the advice of America’s Test Kitchen, I didn’t use paper liners when baking the muffins. The muffins baked up much higher than usual, and they had a nice crust on top. I’ll be saving trees from now on, and just greasing my pans when I make muffins and cupcakes.

Although this was a good first attempt at a Toblerone focused creation, but I’m still on the hunt for something really amazing. Have you used Toblerone in your baking projects? Please share your recipes, if so!

Toblerone Muffins

Adapted slightly from: Blue-Eyed Bakers

Makes about 18 muffins

What you will need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 bars of Toblerone, roughly chopped

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a large bowl and combine well. Mix in sugar and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, butter and milk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in 1 cup of Toblerone chunks.
  4. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full and bake muffins for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Halfway through baking time, remove muffins and scatter remaining chocolate over muffins.
  5. Allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe: Cranberry Orange Scones

We had some leftover dried cranberries hanging around from a salad we made a couple of week’s ago, so I decided to try making scones for the first time. I used an America’s Test Kitchen recipe for cream scones, which was super easy. In fact, I had a harder time figuring out how to assemble and operate the food processor that we got as a wedding gift almost two years ago so that I could make the dough.

Cream scones are a British invention. Unlike the thick, slightly dry versions you usually find in coffee shops in the U.S., these scones are light, tender, and delicate–almost like a biscuit. There is a minimal amount of sugar in the dough, but in this case, the orange zest lends a nice, bright flavor. They would probably still be tasty with a smear of butter and/or jam, although they don’t really need it. Along with a cup of coffee (or tea, if you want to have the full English experience), they are the perfect snack for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Cranberry Orange Scones

From: America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Makes 8 scones

What you will need

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces and chilled
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh orange zest
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in food processor to combine (about 3 pulses). Scatter butter evenly over the top of mixture and continue to pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with a few slightly larger lumps of butter (about 12 pulses).
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in cranberries. Stir in cream with rubber spatula until dough begins to form (about 30 seconds).
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it forms a slightly sticky ball. Press dough into a 9-inch cake pan. Unmold and cut into eight wedges.
  5. Place the wedges on baking sheet and bake until tops are lightly golden brown (about 12 to 15 minutes), rotating the pan halfway through baking time.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack and cool about ten minutes before serving (this will allow the scones to firm up and improves their texture).

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

The only time I really like blueberries is when they are in muffins. More specifically, I enjoy the big, fat 5 million calorie blueberry muffins with the crumb topping that they sell at Starbucks. Fact: The Starbucks in the LAX airport has the best blueberry muffins. 5 a.m. flights back to Philly were always a bit better with one of those.

I had been craving blueberry muffins recently, and came across an easy recipe from Cooking Light. I had never made anything with buttermilk before, and was surprised to find that it wasn’t loaded in fat like the name suggests. It actually adds very little fat to the recipe—definitely less than what is in a Starbucks muffin—but produces an end product that is moist, rich, and soft. The blueberry/lemon combination is perfect for summer, and although they don’t have a crumb topping, the tangy lemon glaze on top is nice. If you aren’t a fan of nutmeg, you could omit that. I honestly couldn’t taste it,  though.

With a container of Chobani Greek yogurt, these made for a pretty satisfying breakfast.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

From: Cooking Light

What you will need

Makes a dozen muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Cooking spray (this would be used, if you are forgoing the muffin tin liners. I prefer to use the liners to make the clean up easier).
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1/2 cup powdered sugar to make the glaze

Preparation

  • Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • Combine buttermilk, egg, and rind; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Gently fold in blueberries (Tip: If you coat the blueberries lightly in flour, before stirring in, you an keep them from sinking way to the bottom of all your muffins. I did this, and there was a nice distribution of berries throughout each one).
  • Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until the muffins spring back when lightly touched. Remove muffins from pans immediately, and place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Combine lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze evenly over cooled muffins (By the second day, the glaze had kind of soaked into the muffins and pretty much disappeared).