Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Soft "cookie-buns" with milk chocolate chunks: an idea for kids breakfast and snack

Soft "cookie-buns" with milk chocolate chunks

In my original intention this recipe should have not been published on the blog, because it was an experiment, a real experiment that only the family should have tried. I had to make something for my kid's breakfast, and I wanted that it was first of all healthy, then easy and fast, but also tasty (sometimes healthy things are not really appetizing, especially for kids). With this goal in my mind I put together a mix of flours (all-purpose and whole grain spelt), some unrefined cane sugar, a good amount of plain yogurt (in order to eliminate any kind of oil or butter), one egg to keep everything together, baking powder to add softness and milk chocolate and vanilla to balance the yogurt sourness. What came out was something in the middle between a cookie and a soft bread, not too sweet, airy and really enjoyable; it's difficult to believe it does not contain any butter.
A very satisfying result both for me and my kid: he was happy to eat them and me to have achieved all of my objectives. So I changed my mind and decided to share the recipe: I thought that maybe there are many other moms wishing to make something easy, fast, healthy and yummy for their children (and - why not - also for themselves) and this recipe is perfect.
Moreover it is very versatile: you can change the filling depending on what is available in your pantry and decide to use chocolate or nuts or dried fruit or a mix of all; you can also modify the size, choosing a small or a bigger one, with a different result in terms of tenderness (be careful to adapt baking time to the selected size); or finally you can shape the dough into balls or into small hot-dog buns or whatever your fantasy suggests.
After deciding to share the recipe the most difficult task was to find an adequate name for the final "product": it is not properly a cookies, but not even a brioche (that would require a much longer rising time) not even a bread. After some thinking I coined the name "cookie-buns" because they remind me at the same time a cookie and a bun. If anyone finds a better name I will be very happy to re-name them.

Soft "cookie-buns" with milk chocolate chunks

Soft "cookie-buns" with milk chocolate chunks
makes about 18 small cookies or 8 big
100 g all-purpose flour 1
100 g whole grain spelt 1
150 g plain yogurt 2
1 egg
50 g unrefined cane sugar
8 g baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
80 - 90 g milk chocolate, chopped 3
Notes: possible alternatives
1 All-purpose and spelt flours can be substituted for any preferred combination of flours, including gluten-free ones, maintaining the total weight of 200 g
2 It is possible to use cow's milk yogurt but also soy yogurt in case of intolerance (in this case swap also the milk chocolate for some other filling)
3 Milk chocolate can be replaced with dark chocolate or any kind of nuts, chopped, or raisins, or other dried fruits

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and line with parchment paper one or two baking sheets.
Mix well the flours and baking powder (if using whole grain flours it is preferable not to sift the powders in order to preserve the unrefined part, otherwise it is better to sift them in order to combine perfectly).
In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg with sugar until pale, add the vanilla extract and yogurt and mix to combine. Using an ice-cream scoop, or two spoons (the dough is soft and sticky, so it is difficult to make this operation by hands) place balls of dough, evenly spaced because they rise and spread, onto the prepared baking sheets (I made balls of about 3 cm diameter, it is possible to make them bigger in order to have small bun-like cookies). Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the surface starts to turn golden. After few minutes transfer to a wire rack.
Since these cookies do not contain any fat, they keep soft only for a couple of days covered in plastic wrap or in a airtight container.
Soft "cookie-buns" with milk chocolate chunks

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