After-School Specials

After making the amazing Donut Loaf from this special book, I had to try a cookie. My husband picked this cookie which is a chocolate chip, oatmeal, and snickerdoodle cookie “rolled into one recipe.” Each flavor was distinct! They were definitely a crowd-pleaser.

This recipe was adapted from Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland by Shauna Sever. I weighed the dry ingredients, used semi-sweet chocolate chips, scooped the cookie dough prior to refrigerating, and modified the baking time.

By keeping the cold (pre-scooped) dough tightly wrapped in the refrigerator and baking the cookies in small batches just prior to serving, we ate them warm from the oven every time. Despite the title, I served them after-dinner instead of after-school. 😉 Great!

Yield: about 40 cookies

For the Dough:

  • 225g (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 300g (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 57g (1/4 cup) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 250g (2 1/2 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 256g (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, weighed or spooned and leveled
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda, sifted
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt such as Fleur de Sel or Maldon
  • 256g (1 1/2 cups) semi-sweet or bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips

For the Coating:

  • 100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the granulated and brown sugar and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until aerated and noticeably fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, giving each about 30 seconds of beating time to incorporate fully.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and fine and flaky salt.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly stir in the dry ingredients.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using a large cookie scoop, form the dough into 2-tablespoon balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
  8. Cover the cookie sheet tightly with plastic wrap; place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  9. Position 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and salt to make the coating.
  11. One at a time, form the refrigerated scoops of dough into balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar coating.
  12. Evenly space the dough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. (I placed 8 cookies per sheet.)
  13. Bake until golden and puffed, about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time.
  14. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Apple Cider Doughnut Muffins

These muffins were incredibly moist, tender, and delicious. Perfect for a special autumn breakfast. 🙂 I divided the batter between standard muffin and mini-muffin pans. Mini-muffins are such a perfect after school or lunch box snack.

The recipe was adapted from The View from Great Island.com. I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour and halved the amount of cinnamon-sugar topping. Amazing!

Yield: 20 standard muffins or 15 standard muffins plus 24 mini-muffins

Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (or 1 cup oat flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3/4 cup applesauce or apple butter
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (corn, canola, safflower)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Topping:
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, preferably on convection.
  2. Lightly butter muffins pans or coat with cooking oil spray. (I used standard and mini-muffin pans.)
  3. Place the rolled oats in the bowl of a food processor and process until the oats resemble flour. (Alternatively, use oat flour.)
  4. Whisk the dry ingredients together to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
  7. Scoop the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 19 minutes for standard muffins or about 10 minutes for mini-muffins.
  8. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and cinnamon together for the topping.
  9. Let the muffins cool for about 5 to 10 minutes, then remove from the pan.
  10. Brush the muffin tops with melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat really well. If necessary, coat twice to get a good coverage.

Note: Muffins keep at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Lighter Pear Crumble

By using maple syrup and brown sugar as sweeteners as well as whole wheat pastry flour, oats and almonds in the topping, this recipe succeeds as a lighter version of this classic comfort food dessert. We indulged a little and ate it with vanilla ice cream, of course. 😉 Without the ice cream, this dish could actually be served for breakfast.

This recipe was adapted from The Washington Post, contributed by nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger. Lovely.

Yield: 8 servings

For the Topping:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 T almond meal or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (whole wheat flour may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt

For the Filling:

  • 3 pounds ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used 6 Bartlett pears)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Spray a 10×9-inch (can also use an 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch) baking dish with cooking oil spray, or brush lightly with oil.

To Make the Topping:

  1. If using slivered almonds, process them in a food processor until finely ground; alternatively use almond meal. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. Add the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt to the ground almonds.
  3. Drizzle the mixture with 1/4 canola oil; stir until well incorporated. Set aside.

To Make the Filling & Finish the Dish:

  1. Combine the pears, maple syrup and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the fruit mixture with the cornstarch, cinnamon and ginger; stir until the pears are evenly coated.
  3. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  4. Crumble the topping over the pears.
  5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until bubbling and the topping is lightly browned.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

Applesauce Oatmeal Bread

This wholesome quick bread really caught my eye. I made it as a special after school snack for my kids (and me!). They enjoyed it with a glass of fresh apple cider. I thought it was absolutely perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

The recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour.com. I baked the loaf in a Pullman pan, used freshly ground allspice and freshly grated nutmeg, and substituted pecans for walnuts. Yum!

Yield: One standard or Pullman loaf

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or boiled cider
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, plus more for sprinkling top, optional
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • cream cheese, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection. Lightly grease a Pullman loaf pan or a standard 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and soda, and spices.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  5. Mix in the rolled oats, applesauce, and nuts.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  7. Sprinkle rolled oats over the top, as desired.
  8. Bake the bread for 40 for a Pullman pan or up to 60 minutes in a standard loaf pan, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool completely.
  10. Store cooled bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.
  11. Serve with cream cheese, or as desired.

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Pear Snacking Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

This cake was just calling for all of the Bosc pears that I’ve received in my CSA share recently. I love it when I have all of the ingredients readily available to make a special treat. 🙂

As a side note, I don’t really understand the idea of a “snacking” cake. This is definitely a CAKE. The brown butter glaze was absolutely essential and absolutely fabulous. Yes, it was easy to eat and, yes, it’s not a fancy layer cake. I also suppose it would be a wonderful snack! We enjoyed it for dessert. 😉

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour and decreased the amount of fresh nutmeg. I also omitted the nuts. Delicious!

I’m sharing this special “snack” at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #142 this week, co-hosted by Elaine @foodbod and Michelle @O Blog Off. Enjoy! 🙂

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup/227 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature, more to grease the pan
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup/100 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground clove
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 to 4 large pears (2 1/4 pounds/1 kilogram), peeled, cored and shredded or finely chopped (to yield 2 1/2 cups) (I finely chopped the prepared pears in a mini-food processor.)
  • 2 ¾ cups/350 grams all-purpose flour (I used 175 g all-purpose flour & 175 g whole wheat pastry flour)
  • ¾ cup/75 grams rolled oats
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped, optional

For the Brown Butter Glaze:

  • 5 tablespoons/70 grams unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons/25 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup/125 grams confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons/45 milliliters heavy cream or milk, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of coarse salt
  1. Prepare the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-2-inch square or 9-inch-round pan and line bottom with parchment paper. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  2. Using a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add sugars, baking powder, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and baking soda and beat for 1 minute.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  5. With the mixer on low, beat in half the pears, and then beat in the flour until smooth.
  6. Beat in remaining pears, then the oats, beating until well incorporated.
  7. Beat in nuts, if using.
  8. Spread batter in the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center of the cake, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Prepare the glaze: In a small saucepan, melt butter, then let it simmer until the foam on top falls to the bottom of the pot and turns brown, about 3 minutes. It will smell nutty and rich when it’s ready.
  10. Whisk in brown sugar until it dissolves.
  11. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla and salt until you’ve got a thick glaze with the texture of hot fudge sauce.
  12. Spread this over the cooled cake. Let the glaze set for at least 2 hours before serving.

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Oatmeal Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

It’s hard to beat a special summer breakfast loaded with fresh berries. Similar to the muffins in my last post, the whole wheat flour and oats in the batter make this special treat a substantial meal as well.

This recipe was adapted from New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Schulman. I decreased the batter resting time and increased the amount of blueberries. Delicious!!

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  1. Combine the milk and rolled oats in a bowl, and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the buttermilk and whisk together. Then whisk in the vanilla extract and the oil.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and quickly whisk together. Do not overbeat; a few lumps are okay. Fold in the oats and milk. Let sit for one hour, or refrigerate overnight. (I let it sit for 30 minutes without a problem.)
  5. If necessary, spray the hot griddle with pan spray. Drop by 3 to 4 tablespoons onto the hot griddle. Place six or seven blueberries on each pancake. Cook until bubbles begin to break through, two to three minutes. Turn and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute on the other side, or until nicely browned. Remove from the heat, and continue until all of the batter is used up.
  6. Serve hot with a small amount of butter and maple syrup.

Note: Keep these, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for a few days, or freeze for up to a few months.

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Banana Oat Muffins with Maple Syrup Drizzle

I have had this recipe from nancycreative.com bookmarked to try for a long time. I am always looking for new and tasty ways to enjoy my super-ripe bananas and the maple syrup drizzle in this recipe sounded absolutely delicious.

Ironically, when I assembled the muffins, I decided to top them with turbinado sugar prior to baking instead of using maple syrup. “What!?!?” you say? Well, you are not alone. It was a mistake… My entire family revolted. 😉 We enjoyed them immensely with both the turbinado sugar and the maple syrup!

As well as the additional sugar topping, I also adapted the original recipe to incorporate whole wheat flour and rolled oats. Great.

Yield: Makes 10 muffins

  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 3 T canola oil (or light olive oil)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • turbinado sugar, optional, for topping
  • pure Maple Syrup, optional, for drizzling over muffins (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per muffin)
  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F, preferably on convection. Line a muffin pan with 10 (parchment) paper liners; set aside.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. In medium bowl, mix mashed bananas, oil, egg, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract, blending well.
  4. Add banana mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with turbinado sugar, if desired.
  5. Bake at 375˚F for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire rack or serve warm.
  6. Right before serving, lightly drizzle some maple syrup on top, if desired.

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