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Oats; in cookies, oatmeal, breads, and more.

Oats

Do oats have life beyond cookies and porridge?Surprisingly, this member of the grass family has many guises beyond the familiar rolled oats, and its nut-like flavor is good in both savory and sweet preparations. Here, we explore different oat forms and present classic recipes, as well as some unexpected choices.

Are all oats created equal?

Processing makes the difference. Afterharvesting, oats are dried and toasted to enhance their flavor, then hulled. At this point, they're called groats. From here, the groats can be steel-cut or rolled.

Steel-cut oats resemble cracked wheatand, like groats, cook more slowly than rolled oats; they're also chewier--ideal for pilaf or hearty porridge.

Rolled oats come in varying thicknessesthat determine how fast they cook. The commonest--from thickest to thinnest-- are regular, quick-cooking, and instant. Quick-cooking and instant have been cut up to hasten cooking. Rolled oats are popular in porridge and also in baked goods, such as breads and cookies.

What's in name? Shopping tips

Grocery stores usually stock rolled oats.At health-food stores, you're likely to find oat groats, steel-cut oats, and thick and regular rolled oats. Trips to gourmet and British and Irish import stores should uncover additional choices--Scotch and Irish, which may be steel-cut or rolled. The oats we found ranged from 60 cents to $2.50 per pound; imports were generally the most expensive.

For a traditional start on the day, we giveyou some variations on wholesome oatmeal porridge. Scottish oatcakes are a great cracker alternative for cheese or jam. Our basic oatmeal cooky recipe offers chewy or crisp options. The oatmeal-buttermilk bread is quick to make, as is the crunchy topping for apple crisp. Steelcut oats or groats are the basis for a flavorful pilaf.

Fruit and Spice Oatmeal Porridge

This porridge and its steel-cut variation,following, have a slightly chewy texture. If you prefer creamier porridge, use the instant or creamy oatmeal porridge recipes that follow:

2 3/4 cups water

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg andground allspice

1/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pitted dates

1 1/3 cups regular or quick-cookingrolled oats, or oat groats

Milk or half-and-half (light cream)

In a 3- to 4-quart pan, bring water, cinnamon,nutmeg, allspice, raisins, and dates to a boil over high heat. Stir in oats. Cover and simmer until almost all the water is absorbed, about 8 minutes for regular oats, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes for quick-cooking, or 35 to 40 minutes for groats. Spoon into bowls; add milk. Makes 4 servings.

Steel-cut Oatmeal Porridge

Follow directions for fruit and spice oatmealporridge, preceding, but increase water to 3 1/4 cups and use 1 1/3 cups steel-cut oats instead of rolled oats. Cook, covered, until almost all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes; stir occasionally. Makes 4 servings.

Instant Oatmeal Porridge

Follow directions for fruit and spice oatmealporridge, preceding, but do not cook. Instead, in a large bowl, mix 4 packages (1 oz. each) regular-flavor instant rolled oats with the raisins, dates, and only 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon each nutmeg and allspice. Decrease water to 2 1/2 cups; bring water to a boil, then stir thoroughly into the oat maxture. Let stand 2 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Creamy Oatmeal Porridge

Follow directions for fruit and spice oatmealporridge, preceding, but use regular or quick-cooking rolled oats. Add oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, raisins, and dates to cold water. Bring to a boil, then cook, covered, stirring often, until almost all the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes for regular oats, 1 1/2 minutes for quick-cooking. Makes 4 servings.

Scottish Oatcakes

1/2 cup steel-cut oats

1 cup regular rolled oats

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons melted butter ormargarine

1/3 cup hot water

In a blender or food processor, whirl steel-cutand rolled oats until coarsely ground.

Place all but 2 tablespoons of the oats in abowl with flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder; stir until combined. Add butter; stir until evenly distributed. With a fork, mix in water until evenly moistened. Pat dough into a ball, then flatten slightly.

Sprinkle reserved oats on a board. Rolldough out 1/16 inch thick. With a 2 1/2- to 3-inch round cutter, cut dough into rounds. Reroll and cut scraps. Place oatcakes about 1 inch apart on 2 greased 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.

Bake in a 325| oven until oatcakes aregolden, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Serve, or store airtight at room temperature up to 2 days. Makes 26 to 30.

Tailor-made Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

If you prefer, you can omit spices, raisins,and nuts.

1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter or margarine

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon each ground allspice andground cloves, optional

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon,optional

3 cups regular or quick-cookingrolled oats

1 cup raisins, optional

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

In large bowl of an electric mixer, beatbutter and granulated and brown sugars until creamy. Beat in eggs until well blended, then mix in vanilla. Stir together flour, salt, soda, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add to butter mixture; stir well. Stir in oats, raisins, and walnuts until evenly moistened.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons ontogreased 12- by 15-inch baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake in a 375| oven until cookies are golden but centers are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes. If using 1 oven, switch position of pans halfway through cooking. Transfer cookies to racks to cool. Serve, or store airtight up to 3 days. Makes about 4 dozen.

Tailor-made Crisp Oatmeal Cookies

Follow directions for tailor-made chewyoatmeal cookies, preceding, but decrease flour to 1 cup and omit baking soda.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons ontogreased 12- by 15-inch baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Pat dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Bake cookies in a 350| oven until well browned, about 12 minutes. If using 1 oven, switch position of baking sheets halfway through cooking. Let cool on pans for 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. Serve, or store airtight up to 3 days. Makes about 4 dozen.

Quick Oatmeal-Buttermilk Bread

1 1/4 cups regular or quick-cookingrolled oats

About 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon each salt and bakingsoda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons melted butter ormargarine

1 large egg

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons buttermilk

In a blender or food processor, whirl 1/2cup of the oats until finely ground. Place in a large bowl with 1/4 cup more of the oats, 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar. In a small bowl, whisk butter, egg, and 3/4 cup of the buttermilk until blended. Add to flour mixture and stir until moistened.

Scrape dough onto a lightly floured boardand knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape into a smooth round and place in a greased 8-inch round cake pan. Press lightly so bread is evenly thick and almost touches pan rim.

In a small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup oatsand 3 tablespoons buttermilk. Evenly pat oats on top of dough. Bake in a 375| oven until bread is well browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve hot or let cool on a rack. Cut into wedges. If made ahead, wrap airtight and let stand overnight; freeze to store longer. Makes 1 loaf, 1 1/3 pounds.

Oat Pilaf

1 large onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup steel-cut oats or oat groats

1 3/4 cups regular-strength beef broth(2 1/4 cups if using oat groats)

Parsley sprigs

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-highheat, cook onion in butter until onion is limp, about 10 minutes; stir often. Add oats and stir for 1 minute. Add broth.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer,covered, until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes for steel-cut oats, 40 minutes for oat groats. Stir occasionally. Garnish with parsley. Serves 4 or 5.

Apple-Oatmeal Crisp

Golden Delicious apples hold their shapebetter, but Granny Smiths are tarter.

4 large (about 2 lb.) Golden Deliciousor Granny Smith apples, peeled if desired, cored, and sliced 1/3 inch thick

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Oat-streusel topping (recipefollows)

Whipped cream or ice cream(optional)

In a shallow 2-quart baking dish, mixapples with lemon juice. Pat fruit into an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with streusel. Bake in a 375| oven until apples are tender when pierced, 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve warm or cool; or let cool completely,then cover and hold at room temperature up to overnight. Accompany with cream, if desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Oat-streusel topping. In a bowl, rub withyour fingers until crumbly 2/3 cup butter or margarine, 1 1/4 cups regular or quick-cooking rolled oats, and 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar.

Photo: Old-fashioned porridge can be madewith any form of oats. Flavor it with spices, raisins, and dates

Photo: Processed oats are available whole, with hulls removed, as groats (in scoop). They can be further refined to make steel-cut oats (top) or rolled oats in varying thicknesses: regular (bottom right), quick (bottom center), instant (above groats)

Photo: Thin or thick? Crisp or chewy?Tailor our basic recipe to create your favorite style of oatmeal cookies

Photo: Fresh-from-the oven treats include oat-topped quick bread, oatmeal cookies, and thin Scottish oatcakes that go well with butter, jam, or cheese

Photo: Oats and onions? Add toasted oat groats(or steel-cut oats) to sauteed onions, then cook with beef broth for flavorful pilaf

Photo: Sprinkle topping of oats, butter, andbrown sugar over sliced apples; bake to make homey and satisfying apple crisp
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Feb 1, 1987
Words:1676
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