Oatmeal and Spiced Rum Raisin Cookies with Whole Wheat Flour

Oatmeal and Spiced Rum Raisin Cookies with Whole Wheat Flour

First of all I need to take a moment to show my appreciation for being Freshly Pressed yesterday.  I am completely honored, humbled, and overwhelmed by this.

If you are a new follower to my site, I want to say “Welcome!”  I also want to take the time to visit each and every one of your blogs.  Just bare with me.  It will just take me some time to get to everyone. With that being said, here we go with installment #2 of my “Cookies Are The New Cupcake” Series.

Oatmeal and Spiced Rum Raisin Cookies with Whole Wheat Flour

My sous chef, Wyatt

One of the things I promised when I started this series was to be informative about the science of baking.  So I wanted to focus on different kinds of flours in this post.  In my last recipe “Soft and Fluffy Blueberry and Lemon Cookies” I used cake flour.  This brought up a lot of questions about different kinds of flours and how they can be substituted for each other.

Oatmeal and Spiced Rum Raisin Cookies with Whole Wheat Flour

The whole reason I used cake flour in my last recipe was to create the kind of texture I was looking for: which was light, fluffy, airy, and soft.  That being said, other flours can be used in substitution, however, the texture will be somewhat different.

All-Purpose Flour is obviously the most well known and used flour.  There is no leavening agent added (unlike self-rising flour) and it has a moderate protein content.  The reason protein content is important when determining what kind of flour to use in relation to texture is because the protein creates gluten when mixed or kneaded in the dough.  The higher the gluten content the more chew there will be to the baked good.

Bread Flour has the highest protein content of any of the flour we will talk about here.  In a recent post I developed a recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Bread flour was used here to create more chew due to more gluten.  You can substitute bread flour for all-purpose flour cup for cup.  Just remember the texture will be more chewy than with all-purpose flour.

Cake Flour has the lowest protein content which is why it is most commonly used in cakes.  Cake flour produces the tender crumb we desire in cakes.  Because of the low protein content, cake flour also weighs less than all-purpose flour.  When substituting cake flour for all-purpose flour add 2 tbsp per cup.

Self Rising Flour is nothing more than all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt already mixed in.  I once used self rising flour in my cookies because I purchased it by accident and could not figure out why my cookies tasted so salty.  After researching I learned that the salt was already in the flour and I had added salt as I normally would to the batter.  I really never use self-rising flour in any recipe because I like to control the amounts of leavening and salt in my recipes.  But for your information 1 cup of self rising flour has about 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt already mixed in.  With this knowledge you can make adjustments as needed.  You can also use this knowledge to make your own self-rising flour if a recipe calls for it and you only have all-purpose.

Whole Wheat Flour is flour that still has the bran and germ in it, as opposed the white flour that has been refined and the bran and germ removed.  These parts of the flour have more nutrients which is why a lot of people prefer to use them over white flour.  In baking, if you want to substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose subtract 2 tbsp per cup.  You should also know that whole wheat flour has a more rough texture than that of soft white flour due the bran.  This is why a lot of people do not prefer it.  I often use half white flour and half whole wheat if I am wanting to up the nutritious factor instead of all whole wheat because of the texture.  Though I don’t know the science behind this, I also notice that cookies with at least some whole wheat flour in them do not get as flat as those with only white flour.  This is also a reason I often use half whole wheat, to get a taller cookie.

Oatmeal and Spiced Rum Raisin Cookies with Whole Wheat Flour

Gluten Free Substitutions are a hot topic right now due to the increasing number of people who are discovering they are gluten intolerant or allergic.  I have to admit that I do not have extensive knowledge at this time about gluten free baking, though I have done some of it.  I want to do more research and educate myself before I tackle this topic.  I think it is a big enough topic to have its own post.  So those of you are are gluten free, hang in there with me! You won’t be ignored!

How to Substitute Different Flours in Baking

Flour Substitution Chart 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour = 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour = 1 cup plus 2 tbsp cake flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp salt = 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour = 1 cup minus 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

It seemed as though whole wheat flour was an interest for quite a few people from my last post so I decided to share my base recipe for whole wheat cookies today.

Whole Wheat Flour Cookie Base Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour OR 1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour (this is how I do it.)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • mix-ins and flavorings of your choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and any other spices you add.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  4. With the mixer still on, add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla or other flavorings.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as needed.
  6. Fold in the mix-ins of your choosing.
  7. Use a large scoop and put rounded mounds of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment or foil.
  8. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 11-14 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned. Slide the cookies off the cookie sheet as soon as they come out of the oven to cool.
http://bakerbettie.com/oatmeal-and-spiced-rum-raisin-cookies-with-whole-wheat-flour/

How to Substitute Different Flours in Baking

Oatmeal and Spiced Rum Raisin Cookies with Whole Wheat Flour

Yield: 2 dozen large cookies

Oatmeal and Spiced Rum Raisin Cookies with Whole Wheat Flour

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour OR 1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour (this is how I do it.)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups raisins
  • spiced rum

Instructions

  1. Place raisins in a small bowl and pour in enough spiced rum to cover them. Let them soak overnight. Strain them before adding to the cookie dough. You can also use, whiskey/bourbon, red wine, or fruit juice. The liquid allows the raisins to plump up and gives them a different flavor.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  5. With the mixer still on, add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as needed.
  7. Fold in the oatmeal and raisins.
  8. Use a large scoop and put rounded mounds of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment or foil.
  9. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 11-14 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned. Slide the cookies off the cookie sheet as soon as they come out of the oven to cool.
http://bakerbettie.com/oatmeal-and-spiced-rum-raisin-cookies-with-whole-wheat-flour/

How to Substitute Different Flours in Baking

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Tea Biscuits

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Tea Cookies

Honestly, I don’t even know what a “tea biscuit” is or even if it is anything.  But I thought it sounded pretty and fancy so I went with it.

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Tea Cookies

How pretty are these?  Can’t you just imagine ladies sipping their tea and eating these with their crumpets? And speaking of crumpets.  What the heck is a crumpet?! Maybe I need to figure that out and make those sometime.

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Tea Cookies

Anyway, these would be perfect for a bridal or baby shower, or a luncheon, or even Valentine’s Day.

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Tea Cookies

I call these a biscuit instead of a cookie because they really do have that sort of texture. Almost like a short bread.  Sort of crumbly and flaky and not too sweet.  Paired with the sweet and tart lemon curd it is a perfect combination.

Buttery Tea Cookies/Biscuits

Buttery Tea Cookies/Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until the butter is evenly distributed and the dough is coming together. (At this point I find it easier to use your hands.) If the dough is able to form a ball at this stage then you do not need to add any water. If the dough is still very dry and crumbly add water, 1 tbsp at a time, until it forms into a ball.
  2. Knead dough a few times and form into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Meanwhile make the lemon curd.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 parts. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thick. Use a 1 1/2 inch round cookie cutter (I used the top of a champagne flute) to stamp out cookies. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12-16 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool before assembling.
http://bakerbettie.com/lemon-curd-and-raspberry-tea-biscuits/

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Tea Cookies

How to Make Lemon Curd- Homemade Lemon Curd

Ingredients

  • 3 Lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Using a microplane, remove the zest from the lemons into a large bowl, making sure not to remove the white part. Add the sugar and butter and cream together. Add the eggs one at a time and mix to incorporate. Juice the lemons and beat into the mixture. Mix in the salt.
  2. Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. This should take about 10 minutes. Pour through a fine sieve to remove lumps and large pieces of zest. Cool in the refrigerator.
  3. To assemble: Place a dollop of lemon curd on each biscuit and top with a fresh raspberry. Dust with confectioners sugar. Store in the refrigerator if not serving immediately.
http://bakerbettie.com/lemon-curd-and-raspberry-tea-biscuits/

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Tea Cookies

Homemade Marshmallows and Sweet Ideas to Decorate for Valentine’s Day

Homemade Marshmallows and Vintage Valentine Decorating Ideas

I don’t know what it is about Valentine’s Day this year, but I keep coming up with lots of ideas I want to share with you all.  Maybe because the last year of my life was spent wedding planning and I have decorating, party planning, and love on the brain.

Homemade Marshmallows and Vintage Valentine Decorating Ideas

But without getting too Sandra Lee on you, I had this idea for a black and white table set up or “tablescape” as she would call it.  I had been thinking about making homemade marshmallows for a while and kept thinking how pretty it would look with big white marshmallows floating in dark hot chocolate or coffee.

Homemade Marshmallows and Vintage Valentine Decorating Ideas

One of my favorite parts of our wedding was the pictures we put on the tables.  Old pictures in wallet size of our grandparents and parents.  I don’t know how we got so lucky to have so many adorable pictures of them.  But they are all so sweet.  And paired with a lacy tablecloth and a couple of old hats I thought it made the perfect Valentine’s Day table.

Homemade Marshmallows and Vintage Valentine Decorating Ideas

There is just something so romantic about seeing those who raised you and raised your parents when they were young and newly in love.  And there is a parallel between where they were in their life at this time and where we are now.  I hope someday our grandchildren will think our pictures are just as cute and romantic as we think these are.

Homemade Marshmallows and Vintage Valentine Decorating Ideas

Homemade Marshmallows adapted from Alton Brown

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray

Instructions

  1. Put the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment with 1/2 cup of the water.
  2. In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook until a candy thermometer raches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
  3. Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.
  4. While the mixture is whipping prepare your pan. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Grease a half sheet pan with non-stick spray and lightly coat it with the sheet pan with the confectioner’s sugar mixture, making sure you coat the bottom and the sides completely. Knock the extra back into the bowl.
  5. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  6. Use a cookie cutter of your choosing to stamp out the marshmallows. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
http://bakerbettie.com/homemade-marshmallows-and-sweet-ideas-to-decorate-for-valentines-day/

Homemade Marshmallows and Vintage Valentine Decorating Ideas

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Today I made a super easy and super adorable party dessert.  I made a double batch of these mini no bake cherry cheesecakes over my lunch hour today.  Half of them went to a party at work and the other half is being frozen for the party this weekend.

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Look at how cute they are!  And delicious I might add.  People always go crazy over anything that is a mini size of it’s original.  That also makes people feel less guilty about eating 2… or 10.

Enjoy!

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

No-Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Yield: Makes approximately 4 1/2 to 5 dozen.

No-Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Ingredients

  • mini cupcake foils (1 1/4 inch wide)
  • mini vanilla wafers
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 16 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Cherry pie filling

Instructions

  1. Line up the cupcake foils on a half sheet pan.
  2. Put a mini vanilla wafer (flat side down) in each foil.
  3. Pour the gelatin over the lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until incorporated.
  5. Microwave the gelatin/lemon juice mixture for 30 seconds until the gelatin dissolves.
  6. Pour this gelatin/lemon juice mixture over the sour cream along with the vanilla and mix.
  7. Add the sour cream mixture into the large bowl of cream cheese and mix until well incorporated into the cream cheese.
  8. If serving that day: Fill each foil with approximately 1tbsp of the mixture. Refrigerate for 3 hours until set. Top with 1 tsp of cherry pie filling.
    If serving at a later date: Fill each foil with approximately 1tbsp of the mixture. Store in an airtight container and freeze. Move the refrigerator 4 hours before serving. Top with cherries right before serving.
http://bakerbettie.com/holiday-party-made-easy-part-3-no-bake-mini-cherry-cheesecakes/

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