In this week’s edition of “cooking the books”, Les Petits Chefs worked from Christine Tizzard’s debut cookbook, Honest to Goodness.
I’ll be reviewing this book in more detail in the next coupe of weeks so stay tuned for that but in short, the book has an “emphasis on raw ingredients and whole foods [and] shows you how to prepare accessible meals from scratch, utilizing the healthiest and most beneficial properties of everything you touch without skimping on taste or getting lost in culinary crazes.”
As I was looking through the book for something I thought might appeal to the boys, I couldn’t go past the “Insanely Good Banana Oat Squares” (apart from the fact that it looked like a great recipe, I knew the boys would love the name 😉 ) We don’t do a ton of baking simply because we only have such a short amount of time together but this looked like it might be just about d0-able in an hour and it would give the boys some valuable practice in measuring wet and dry ingredients and a little bit of math to boot!
The recipe calls for you to grind your oats into oat flour which stumped me a little to begin with. Many brands of oats are not certified to be completely nut-free (or, for that matter, gluten-free if that is something you are concerned about – make sure to read the labels!) so I wasn’t able to bring them in to work with. I did finally find a brand of oats that was school safe so I brought those along, although I was unsure if our old food processor would be up to the job of grinding them. Thankfully it was (because I have since made this again using pre-ground oat-flour and it’s most definitely a lot finer in texture so it changes the consistency of the finished squares/ loaf).
We made 2 batches of the recipe divided over 4 groups so the boys had to do a little math with all of their ingredients, dividing by half. For this session, I made sure their math was correct at the start and provided them with the exact measures they’d need – sometimes having them search for the 1/2 teaspoon etc. when they are in the middle of cooking can result in less-than-ideal results! Mise en place is so very important!
The boys did a good job measuring their dry ingredients:
We baked these in small loaf tins as opposed to the 9 x 13-inch pan the recipe calls for so I knew we wouldn’t be making “squares” and I adjusted the cooking time accordingly (the loaves took about 35 minutes so some of the boys went home empty-handed because it wasn’t ready in time. No matter, it was THE BEST snack the next day!).
Lucky for you, I have permission from the publisher to share this recipe with you because you all need to make this right now. I made another loaf for the staffroom yesterday and it was GONE by 8.45am. Seriously. Good.
Insanely Good Banana Oat Squares
These dense, moist, insanely good oat squares are packed with banana, chocolate and vanilla flavour. They have no gluten, no nuts, ground flax replaces eggs and ripe bananas replace all the sugar. Plus they bake in 15 minutes! These are perfect for a last minute dessert or your kid’s school fundraiser. Skip the chocolate chips and they are officially guilt-free.
3 1/2 cup (875 mL) large flake oats (gluten-free), ground into flour
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) nutmeg
2 Tbsp (30 mL) ground flax
Pinch of sea salt
4 ripe bananas
1/4 cup (60 mL) milk or unsweetened milk alternative
1/2 cup (125 mL) yogurt
1/4 cup (60 mL) melted butter or coconut oil, cooled slightly
1 Tbsp (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
1 cup (250 mL) mini chocolate chips
Coconut oil or butter for greasing pan
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease or line the 9 × 13–inch (23 × 33 cm) baking pan.
Grind oats into oat flour in a food processor, spice grinder or blender, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl.
In the same large bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients.
In blender or food processor, purée bananas with milk, yogurt, melted butter or coconut oil and vanilla.
Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour into a baking pan and spread batter evenly with the back of spoon or small offset spatula.
Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 15 minutes or until set.
Cool and cut into squares or bars.
Recipe by Christine Tizzard, excerpted from Honest to Goodness (Whitecap, 2017)
Cool Facts: Why grind your own flour?
I can’t image having the time to grind all my own flours, however people are doing this. This is truly taking whole foods to whole other level.
Whole grains are always going to be cheaper than those already ground. They are also going to taste better. You can buy stand-alone grain mills or grain mill attachments for stand mixers if this is something you are going to dive into. It is a great idea if your home is gluten-free and you really need to have complete control over your ingredients. Also, remember to store freshly ground flours in fridge or freezer if you are not using them within the first few days. They go rancid quickly.
And hey, you know what? noone even noticed that there was no added sugar at all (sweet enough with chocolate chips and ripe banana). Nut-free, gluten-free, could easily be made dairy-free AND tastes great? Now that’s an inclusive recipe!
Disclosure: I received a review copy of Honest to Goodness from the publisher. I was not asked to write about these books, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions my own.
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MY BOOK! In the French kitchen with kids releases July 31, 2018! Click here for pre-order details!