Check out my review of Whole-Grain Mornings, and get the recipe for blueberry breakfast bars.
I’ve mentioned before that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so much so that I’ve been known to eat breakfast foods for every meal rather than what one is “supposed” to eat. Of course, sometimes I get stuck in a rut of what to make, so it was perfect that I received a review copy of Megan Gordon’s Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons before Christmas.
In my mind the mark of a good cookbook is how many recipes I bookmark on the first read, and there are plenty of Post-Its littering the edges of this book. The first recipe I tried was the nutty millet breakfast cookies, as I had a bag of millet kicking around my pantry I wasn’t quite sure what to do with. The cookies were tender and hearty, with the millet adding pops of crunch in each bite. They’re a great breakfast solution for busy mornings.
The pear-hazelnut oat muffins were also quick and easy, though I felt the spices didn’t shine through the flavor of the hazelnuts, so I’ll be sure to add more next time. I also really enjoyed the bacon and kale polenta squares — even though I’m generally not a polenta lover, the combination of flavors made for a really satisfying dish.
The recipe that will surely become a staple at our house is the whole-grain pancake mix. We make pancakes nearly weekly, and I’ve dabbled at whole-grain recipes that are edible, but generally a flop in the taste department. Gordon’s version cooks up just as light and fluffy as our “regular” DIY mix, and the whole grains are hardly noticed. And when it comes to swapping out favorites of your children, that means a lot.
Gordon’s book is arranged by season, but don’t let the assigned season deter you when it comes to choosing what to make. She notes substitutions and encourages you to make the recipe your own, and doesn’t make a big deal about using frozen fruit over fresh. The photos are vibrant and show off each recipe without being fussy, and Gordon’s conversational tone makes the “whole grain” notion seem like less of a challenge. (Let’s face it, sometimes the whole grain versions of things are challenging!)
Included in the front is a handy chart on cooking whole grains, which is especially useful when it comes to the more unfamiliar grains, such as amaranth or wheat berries. Those ingredients, as well as other nonstandards, form the only complaint I have about this book. While I can get buckwheat flour, spelt flour, and a number of other “specialized” ingredients at my nearby suburban grocery, other ingredients require a trip to the massive Whole Foods or doing some online ordering. I’m glad Gordon has provided substitutions for many of the recipes, because I do hope those living in less urban areas will also enjoy cooking from Whole Grain Mornings.
Giveaway is now closed! Congrats to winner Elizabeth!
Thanks to Ten Speed Press, I have a copy of Whole-Grain Mornings to give to a lucky reader! To win, simply leave a comment on this post answering the question: What’s your favorite morning dish? The giveaway is open until midnight Monday, and the winner will be notified Tuesday. US residents only!
These fruity breakfast bars were a hit at our house. Because my son is so picky about blueberries, I swapped in some frozen blackberries I had saved from the summer, and the result was perfect. Gordon notes that if you don’t have rye flakes you can use more oats, which is what we did.
Blueberry Breakfast Bars
Reprinted with permission from Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons by Megan Gordon (Ten Speed Press, © 2013). Photo Credit: Clare Barboza.
3 cups / 720 ml fresh blueberries or 1 (12-ounce / 350 g) package frozen blueberries, unthawed
1⁄4 cup / 45 g natural cane sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon water
1⁄2 cup / 50 g rolled oats
1 cup / 100 g rye flakes
3⁄4 cup / 60 g sliced raw almonds
1⁄4 cup / 30 g raw sesame seeds
1 cup / 120 g whole wheat flour
1⁄2 cup / 75 g packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, beaten
8 tablespoons / 115 g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes, plus more for greasing the pan
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square pan.
To prepare the filling: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the berries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water. Stir over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer. Continue stirring until berries just begin to break down and the sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
To prepare the crust: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse together the rolled oats, rye flakes, almonds, and sesame seeds just until they form a chunky, mealy texture, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder and pulse a time or two to combine. Add the egg and butter. Add ice water slowly and pulse until mixture just begins to clump together.
To assemble and bake the bars: Press approximately half of the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Pour the berry filling onto the crust and spread evenly. Scatter the remaining crust mixture across the top as you would for a fruit crisp or crumble—messy and haphazard, but evenly dispersed. Don’t worry about pressing down; it will bake into the bars beautifully.
Bake until the top crumble is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan. Slice into bars. If wrapped and kept at room temperature, the bars will keep for 3 days.