Posts Tagged ‘spelt flour’

© Dina Avila PhotographyI am nibbling on this as I write. Slightly warmed slathered in cultured butter, a cup of tea by my side.

Although, this Buckle would be perfect dipped in hot coffee. Or perhaps with a generous dollop of crème fraiche. How about baked with fresh ginger. Or maybe cardamom? Oh, for dessert with a giant scoop of Salt and Straw‘s Double Fold Singing Dog Vanilla ice cream. Or their Sea Salt Caramel Ribbon? Ah, yes.

See where I’m going with this? We have Kim Boyce to thank for this one. Huckle Buckle made with fresh blueberries from, you guessed it, Good to the Grain. I just can’t get enough of that book. If any of you have a favorite baking cookbook please share! Especially if they incorporate whole grains and dark meaty flours like Kim does.

If you make this Buckle I’d love to hear what variations you’ve come up with.


PS Thanks to Adam’s mom Kathy for the blueberries! Sending a bit of the Buckle with Adam for you to try :)

Blueberry Buckle

Courtesy of Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

I’ve listed Kim’s recipe exactly, but I did vary it just a hair by using sheep’s milk yogurt and also by reducing the sugars just a bit. Also, my brown sugar was hard as a rock so I used Muscavado sugar as a substitute.

What you’ll need~

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup whole-grain pastry flour

1/2 cup spelt flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1 egg

Dry Mix

1 1/4 cups spelt flour

1 cup whole grain pastry flour

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

© Dina Avila Photography

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

Wet Mix

3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup plain yogurt

4 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups or so blueberries


Preheat your oven to 350 and butter a baking dish.© Dina Avila Photography

For the Streusel

Sift flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl.

Cut the 3 tablespoons of cold butter in 1/4” chunks and add them to the mix.

Press and rub the mix with your hands breaking the butter in to small bits.

Continue until the mix is like cornmeal. Do this quickly.

Whisk the egg and scrape it into the streusel mix.

Again, use your hands to mix the dough together.

For the Batter

Sift all of the Dry Mix ingredients into a large bowl.

Add the softened butter and using a hand or a stand mixer, blend on medium speed until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, egg yolks and vanilla until well blended.

Pour the milk mixture in with the dry ingredients and blend on low speed until the batter is smooth and creamy.


Pour half of the batter in to your buttered baking dish.

Pour a layer of berries onto the batter.

Scrape the rest of the batter onto the berries and spread evenly.

Sprinkle the rest of the berries on top of the batter and top with the streusel mix.

Depending on the depth of your dish, baking can take anywhere from 55 – 70 minutes. I checked on it every 5 minutes for the last 15 minutes by inserting a skewer in the middle. When it comes out clean, your cake is done.

Let the Buckle cool in the pan before serving.

© Dina Avila Photography

© Dina Avila Photography


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When Adam and I first got together I told him that I didn’t want him to bring me flowers on special occasions. I didn’t want the obligatory flowers on Valentine’s Day, or any other retail holiday, for that matter. I wanted him to bring me flowers when he was overwhelmed with a wave of inspiration or romance, not because the calendar and commercials on TV said it was time. So, of course, in our more than three years together he’s brought me flowers only once, and that was because his mom had just harvested some peonies from her garden (oh, I can’t wait for peony season this year!) and she sent some home with him.

Buying flowers is something that just doesn’t occur to Adam, but picking up my favorite fruit tart for no occasion at all, does occur to him. Or running around town helping me find the perfect props for a job when I’m in a state of unbelievable stress and the only thing going through my head is chaos and he is the only calm in my world, well, that’s the sort of thing he does.

Cooking for Adam, sitting at the table sipping wine and conversing about the world is my idea of a perfect romantic evening. Long walks around town talking of books and art, doesn’t get much more romantic than that. Lounging in our overstuffed chair reading while he plays piano for no one in particular? Sublime. Sitting in bed watching movies in our jammies- bliss.

So, no, I don’t need (nor want) Adam wandering the red and pink card aisle of Freddie’s looking for that “perfect” card. I don’t want him elbow to elbow with other men picking out roses or tulips. I want the long walks, the afternoons in bookstores and antique stores, the late night conversations, the constant, and I mean constant support (ok, tearing up now), the calm, old soul wisdom that is well beyond his years.

And the occasional fruit tart.


Dark Chocolate Espresso Heart Cookies

After making these cookies, there are a few things I would change about this recipe to make it much better. Adam really liked them, but I didn’t feel they were good enough to share.

I will give you the link to the original recipe to consider your own inspirations, however. It is not a bad recipe, by any means, just needs a bit more to make it interesting and delicious in my book. For example, I really wanted these cookies to be more chocolaty. Next time, I will stir in whole chocolate chunks or chips to the batter to offer a burst of chocolate with each bite.

Adapted from Gourmet or Gourmand

What you’ll need~

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 oz, or more, bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Chocolove Extra Strong Dark, 77%)

1 1/2 cups spelt flour or all-purpose

3/4-teaspoon baking powder

1/4-teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick of butter at room temperature

3/4 cup of sugar (when I make this recipe again, I intend to increase the sugar by 1/4 or add brown sugar)

1-3 eggs, depending on the size of your eggs. Mine were tiny.

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 teaspoons instant espresso dissolved in a tablespoon of water (I used Medaglia D’Oro)

Coarse espresso salt to finish, optional

Combine cocoa, chopped chocolate and 1/4 cup of flour in your food processor and process until the chocolate is a fine powder. I didn’t process it quite that long as I wanted bits of chocolate in the batter.

Add the remaining 1 1/4 cup flour, baking soda and salt and pulse to blend.

In a large mixing bowl add butter breaking it apart in to small chunks with your fingers (that really is as wonderful as it sounds). Stir in sugar and cream together. Beat in egg(s), vanilla and espresso. Add flour mixture and stir well.

At this point you want to chill your dough. The original recipe calls for shaping it into a disc and wrapping in plastic wrap. I left the dough in a ball in the bowl and popped in the fridge for about an hour. I think this dough would have responded better with a longer, or even overnight, chill time, but it rolled out just fine. You may have to experiment to see what works for you. If your dough is sticky, add a bit of flour to it and re-chill.

Preheat your oven to 325 a line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface. A trick I learned from Kim Boyce is to use rice flour to flour your surfaces. Rice flour won’t incorporate itself into your dough and thus altering the consistency. Pretty neat, huh?

I felt these cookies were best rolled out a bit on the thick side. The espresso and chocolate flavors didn’t really sing with the thinner, crispier batch.

Using the cookie cutter of your choice cut out your shapes and gently lay them on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with espresso salt, if using, and pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes rotating half way through.

I really think these cookies are meant for dipping, so be sure to serve these with the milky beverage of your choice.

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It has been ten days since I last posted on my blog, and it’s killing me. The past ten days have challenged any notion of sanity I think I may have had eleven days ago.

Sadly, as much as I would love to share the source of my torture with you, I can’t go into details. What I can tell you is that this morning I woke up knowing that I would finally be photographing something simple. And you can’t get much more simple than buttermilk biscuits. Few ingredients, fewer props. Clean, straightforward biscuits.


Buttermilk Biscuits with Rosemary and Fennel

What you’ll need~

1 cup unbleached, all purpose flour

1 cup spelt flour

1/4-teaspoon baking soda

1-tablespoon baking powder

1-teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon roughly chopped fennel seeds

1 stick cold butter

3/4-cup buttermilk

Coarse sea salt.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks and blend in with your hands until mix resembles coarse meal.

Add buttermilk and stir until combined. Add more buttermilk if batter appears dry.

Sprinkle flour onto your cutting board and turn dough. Use your hands to gently pat the dough out until it’s about 1/2 inch thick.

Use a biscuit cutter to cut in to rounds and place on a cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with fresh rosemary, a few fennel seeds and a pinch of coarse sea salt.

Bake for 10 minutes rotating pan at five minutes.

Serve with butter or jam.

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Last night we closed all of the windows and this morning we’re padding around the apartment in thick socks. Fall is shouldering her way into Portland and summer is gently following the geese south. I’ve been talking about fall a lot lately. I think we all have. She appeared quickly this year, as summer was a small town. Blink, and you missed it.

Fall is also my favorite season. If you’re lucky to live in a region that has seasons, the vibrancy of summer changing into fall is awe-inspiring in the northern states.

The changing leaves always entice me and my camera and soon I’ll be sharing some pictures of autumnal Portland. For now, I’ll share a recipe.

I found inspiration in Kim Boyce’s recent cookbook Good to the Grain. Even if you don’t like to bake, I encourage you to pick up this book. Or at least spend some time with it in the bookstore. It is visually gorgeous. Cozy and comforting like fall, Quentin Bacon’s photography truly captured the essence of Boyce’s recipes.

My carrot muffins are a little different that Kim’s. I prefer my muffins to be more savory than sweet so I chose to forgo the streusel topping. I also replaced the brown sugar with maple syrup and I tossed in a few teaspoons of poppy seeds because, well, it sounded nice. I didn’t have any buttermilk on hand so I used coconut milk with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Replacing powders with liquids is a little tricky, so instead of using a full cup of coconut milk, I reduced the amount of coconut milk by four tablespoons.

These are the sort of muffins that will make your apartment smell wonderfully homey. I wanted to share them with some friends, but Adam said I wasn’t allowed to share. He wanted them all to himself :)


Carrot Poppy Seed Muffins

What you’ll need:

Dry mix

1 cup spelt flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup oat bran

1/4 cup sugar (I used a bit less than that)

1/4 teaspoon each cloves and nutmeg (or use 1 tsp allspice)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 teaspoons poppy seeds

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup grated carrots (my carrots were small so I used 3-4)

Wet mix

1/2 stick butter melt and slightly cooled (Kim prefers unsalted, but all I had on hand was salted)

1 cup minus 4 tablespoons coconut milk or buttermilk

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar if using coconut milk

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Generously rub muffin tins with butter.

Sift all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Stir carrots into dry mix.

Using a small bowl, whisk butter, egg, coconut milk and apple cider vinegar together. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients and give it a good stir.

Spoon (I used an ice cream scoop) batter in to muffin tins so the batter is just mounded above the edge of the tin.

Place in oven and bake for 30–35 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through.

The muffins will be a beautiful dark golden brown when they are ready. Remove the muffins from the oven, and twist the muffins out of the tin placing them on their side. This is the coolest trick out of Kim’s book. Placing them on their side to cool helps them to stay crusty. Neat, huh?

Serve with some hot tea and a slab of butter on the muffin.

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