A new wave of nonwheat flours are becoming popular with bakers in Minnesota. They include things flours made from rye, oat, barley, buckwheat or wild rice.
“I think they're really exciting because they have great flavor,” says Beth Dooley, author of a book, In Winter's Kitchen. “They're healthier for us. They're part of this whole artisan grain movement and they're part of our local economy.”
To hear more about alternatives to wheat flour, click play on the audio player above.
Classic oatmeal cookies
Makes about 30 to 34 cookies
Beth notes: These are terrifically oaty and chewy. They are best if the dough given a little time to rest either at room temperature for an hour or overnight in the refrigerator. Bake them on a greased cookie sheet (not parchment) so that they develop a lovely crunchy edge.
Two cups oat flour
One cup rolled oats
Half teaspoon salt
One teaspoon baking soda
One cup (half pound) unsalted butter, softened
One cup maple sugar
Two teaspoons ground cinnamon
Half teaspoon ground nutmeg
Two teaspoons vanilla extract
Half cup dried cranberries
Half cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts*
In a medium bowl, stir together the oat flour, rolled oats, salt, and baking soda.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, spices and vanilla then whisk in the eggs. Stir in the oat mixture and mix the batter until it comes together into a stiff dough. Stir in the cranberries and nuts. Let the dough stand at room temperature for an hour or cover and refrigerate over night.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Scoop up one tablespoon of dough per cookie and place about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake until the cookies are a deep golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Triple ginger rye cake
Makes a 10-inch cake
Beth notes: This richly spiced gingerbread is moist and dense and representative of the kinds of cakes that once filled homes with the holiday scents of warm spices. The flavors evolve and becomes more mellow and distinct if you make this a day or two ahead of serving. It’s the kind of cake that’s delicious with a dollop or rum or whisky spiked whipped cream and even better with a slice of Cheddar and a dark beer.
One cup sorghum or molasses
One cup stout
One teaspoon baking soda
Two cups rye flour
Two tablespoons ground ginger
One teaspoon ground cinnamon
Quarter teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Quarter teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One teaspoon baking powder
One teaspoon coarse salt
Two cups maple or brown sugar
One tablespoon grated fresh ginger
One teaspoon vanilla extract
Two-quarter cup unsalted butter, melted
Quarter cup chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cake pan with parchment paper.
Bring the sorghum or molasses and stout to a simmer in a small saucepan, whisking to blend. Remove from the heat, stir in the baking soda, set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, baking power and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, fresh ginger, and vanilla. Then whisk in the butter and molasses mixture. Add the dry ingredients and fold in the crystallized ginger until everything is combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake until a tester inserted into the center comes up clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and allow it to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cake to unmold.