Saturday, February 12, 2011

My new favorite grain...Spelt!

Since I purchased the book, "Whole Grain Baking,"  I have learned so much about a wide variety of whole grains.  My most recent cooking adventure included spelt flour, which I had never heard of.  Spelt is a whole grain flour that is delicate and light to bake with.  It has a surprisingly mild flavor that differs from whole wheat, but packs a punch of high fiber and protein content. It does have gluten, but it is imperative not to over mix spelt because it breaks down easier than that of the gluten found in other flours.  Spelt is low on the glycemic index, which means the carbs break down slower and therefore your blood sugar rises slower, and this is better for your body. 

The first recipe I tried using spelt was a bar cookie and was quite successful.  Of course, I began with the original recipe but added my own touches to make it even more healthy.   I replaced the butter with a combination of Mrs. Macs butter/olive oil spread that I make and applesauce.  The spread is simply 1/2 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of light olive oil with a pinch of salt.  Beat well and refrigerate.

My husband loved the dessert.  We were both pleasantly surprised by the delicious flavor and texture of this recipe.  If you are being careful about what you eat this would make a great Valentine's dessert.  Well, even if you are not being careful about what you eat this is a great dessert. 

Banana-Chocolate Chip Squares

1/2 cup Mrs. Macs butter spread
1/4 cup applesauce
1 /4 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
3 ripe medium bananas mashed to make about 1 cup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups whole spelt flour
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream Mrs. Macs butters spread, applesauce, and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth.  Beat in the bananas, lemon juice, vanilla, baking powder, salt and spices.  Add the egg and beat until smooth.  Stir in the flour, mixing thoroughly.  Spoon the batter into a greased 9 X 9 pan.  Allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes before baking.  That allows it to thicken as it stands.  Sprinkle the chips and nuts on top.  Bake at 350 degrees until the center is moist but not liquid.  Let cool on a baking rack.  If you allow them to cool over night the original recipe says that you get even better results.  We couldn't wait that long and dug into them as soon as they cooled.  They were absolutely delicious!

This recipe was adapted from Whole Grain Cooking.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'll make this recipe .. all I have is whole wheat flour (ground with my new wheat grinder :) .. will be a treat for Valentines Day! Let's get together soon to bake bread.