Monday, August 27, 2007

SHF #34 - Oatmeal Dreams


Johanna announced the theme for Sugar High Fridays a while ago, Going Local. The challenge was to make something local - something typical of your region, and preferrably with local ingredients as well. Huh. That was a tough one for me. All I could think about was nicking a couple of apples from my neighbor's yard - it seems to be a fantastic year for apples - but I've already posted so many apple pie recipes, and I couldn't think of another one.

So, well, what to do? I went to a food fair called Smaklust this weekend. A huge outdoor market - with over 300 artisanal food makers. Very cool! And although I tried and tasted many things (I'll tell you about suovas tomorrow, smoked reindeer!) I didn't buy much. Except for skrädmjöl. I have no idea what this is called in Swedish, but it's a flour made from whole, toasted oats. It's light brown in color and with a nutty scent. My flour was made at Stöpafors Kvarn, an old stone-mill in Värmland. It's not very common, and not used for much (except for a very specific porridge) but the vendor had brought cookies and that's what sold me.

I've told you about drömmar before - dreams, translated. They're a very popular type of cookie. Jessika told me that she had posted a recipe for drömmar on Epicurious, and gotten in reply that they were incredibly crumbly and that they would add an egg next time. Don't. Don't even think about it. See, what makes this cookie special is that it's incredibly tender, and yes, crumbly. It will barely hold together. And that's how it should be.

If you haven't baked with baking ammonia before, you're in for a surprise. And not a very pleasant one. Be prepared for your kitchen to smell strongly of ammonia. It will. But it'll go away fast, and be replaced with a wonderful scent of fresh cookies instead. And no, you can't substitute it for something else. Without it, you won't get the same tender crunchiness.

So, let's have the recipe then! The original, which was on the mill's website, had regular sugar and added vanilla sugar, but I substituted my homemade vanilla sugar instead for most of the regular sugar, and some crunchy brown demerara sugar too. Very yummy!

Oatmeal Dreams
makes 40

160 g unsalted butter, diced
90 g homemade vanilla sugar
70 g demerara sugar
140 g skrädmjöl (toasted oat flour)
120 g white wheat flour
2 tsp baking ammonia

Mix butter and both sugars until soft and fluffy. Add the flours and the baking ammonia, and mix into a dough. Roll small balls (a little larger than a hazelnut) and flatten them. Put on a lined cookie sheet, and bake at 160°C for about 20 minutes. The cookies should color slightly (which isn't easy to see as they're brown to start with) and look cracked on top. I have a convection oven - you might need a few more minutes in a regular oven.

Recipe in Swedish:


linda said...

This sounds like a great cookie, looks like it too!

Kevin said...

These cookies looks great. The toasted oat flour sounds good I will have to look for it. I have never used ammonia in baking before.

Felicia said...

Ha! I also bought Skradmjol at Smaka! Now I'm gonna make me some Drommar.

african vanielje said...

Anne, isn't it funny that my SHF entry is also an oat biscuit (all the way from Africa). It's such a small world. Mine uses bicarbonate of soda, but what is cooking ammonia and what role does it play? I'm very curious

Anne said...

Baking Ammonia is a leavening agent - also called ammonium carbonate. Read more about it here! I've only ever used it for these particular cookies, and that's the only way I know how to use it :)

african vanielje said...

great link, thanks anne. that clears it up. i am going to try your yummy-looking cookies, but will have to try bicarbonate os soda if i can't find baking ammonia. wish me luck

Rosehaven Cottage said...

This photograph is just lovely! The composition is gorgeous and the lighting is too. Also, it makes my mouth water just looking at it. Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Aurora said...

They look really good. I only have access to regular oat flour; do you think if I toasted it myself in the oven that it would still work?

Anne said...

African Vanielje - I hope that works out! Let me know! :)

Cindy, thank you! :)

Aurora - oh, I'm sure it will work. Do try! :)

thepassionatecook said...

crumbly cookies is not something americans seem to do, but we have rather a lot of them in austria too. i am with you on that one. no egg. ammonia, though? never even tried or seen this - sounds like a heston blumenthal stunt to me ;-) will keep my eyes open. maybe this will answer many questions for me (at least some culinary ones)... thanks for your contribution!

Anonymous said...

I made these in school. We loved them! People who weren't in our class would beg to have a cookie. We'd say no, of course; they were just too good to give up!