Archive for the 'Morning Tea' Category

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Glorious Morning Muffins

These yummy muffins are an adaptation from the ‘Morning Glory Muffins’ you can buy at Whole Foods. I used spelt instead of whole wheat flour, maple syrup for the sugar, less oil and added zucchini, dried apricots and apple sauce to the mix. I made them in my son’s school once and they were a huge success.

Makes 12-14


1 cup whole spelt flour

1 cup unbleached white spelt flour

1/4 cup oat bran or wheat germ

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup real maple syrup or 1/3 cup honey+1/3 cup agave syrup 

1/4 cups buttermilk or yogurt

1/3 cup apple sauce

 1 medium to large apple, cored and grated (peel on)

1/2 cup dried unsulfured apricots, chopped (or 1/2 cup of sultanas, chopped)

2 medium carrots, grated

1 small zucchini, grated

1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

2 tablespoons dried flaked unsweetened coconut, optional          


Preheat oven to 350°F (180 C). In a large bowl, mix together flours, bran, ground flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; sift and brake up any clumps.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, vanilla, maple syrup, buttermilk and apple sauce. Mix in apples, raisins, carrots, walnuts and coconut. Add to flour mixture and gently stir just until combined.
Spoon batter into 12-14 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Here’s the recipe to my most asked for cookies of all times, the ‘Oh-so-good Oatmeal Cookies’. I found it years ago on the Whole Foods website and have made them on many occassions ever since.

Cheddar and Chive Spelt Scones

These scones are crunchy on the outside and light and cheesy on the inside. No extra butter or cream required. They are quick and easy to make and would fit nicely on a brunch table or in your kids’ snack box.

You could also use this recipe to make sweet scones. Add 1/3 -1/2 cup of raw sugar to flour mixture, cut salt to 1/2 teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon vanilla to egg/buttermilk mix. Omit chives and cheese.

1½ cups whole spelt flour       

1 cup white spelt flour          

1½ teaspoons baking powder                

½ teaspoon baking soda 

1 teaspoon sea salt 

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened  

1 large egg plus 1 large egg beaten for egg wash

½ cup organic buttermilk

4 oz (120 g) mature cheddar cheese, cut into small (1cm or less) cubes   

3 tablespoons finely chopped chives                                              

1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200 C) and line baking pan with parchment.

2. Combine the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and with a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter in until it is well combined and resembles course crumbs. Alternatively, use standing mixer with paddle attachment and mix flour and butter on slow speed until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal (about 1 minute).

3. In a separate bowl, lightly beat 1 egg and whisk in the buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture, and gently combine. Fold in cheese and chives.

4. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface, and pat into a 9-inch circle. Using a sharp knife, cut circle into 12 wedges. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet; brush tops with egg wash. Place in oven; bake, rotating baking sheet halfway through cooking, until outside is crusty and inside is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Cranberry Apple Muffins

This is one of those recipes I have made for years now. They are my oldest son’s (Nicholas) favorite muffins. Morning Glory – look of disappointment, banana walnut – not already again, carrot ginger – please no veggies in my muffin, are the responses I get from him for any muffin other than these. It’s hard to make everyone happy!

I use frozen cranberries all year around, but fresh should work just fine. They contain A LOT of FRUIT, so if you want more muffin than fruit, use a little less.

This batter can also be used to make a delicious cake. Put 3/4 of batter without fruit into 8 or 9 inch (20 – 22.5 cm) round greased baking tin and top with fruit. Put remaining dough in small dollops on top of fruit and sprinkle almond-sugar mixture over it. Bake for 50-60 min. until wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12


  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 1 cup whole and 1 cup white spelt flour)
  • 1/2 cup finely ground almonds
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup almond, olive or coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries


  • 1 tablespoons ground or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar



Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

Place apples and cranberries in small pot. Cover and cook on low heat until apples have slightly softened and cranberries are defrosted, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from stove.

Sift together flours, almonds, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix buttermilk (or yogurt), egg, apple sauce, oil, maple syrup (or sugar) and vanilla extract. Pour into dry ingredients and gently mix to combine. Do not over-mix, mixture can be a bit lumpy. Fold in apples and cranberries.

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups. Spoon batter into cups. The muffins will rise, but hold their shape pretty well, so spoon as much batter in each cup as it can hold.

Mix remaining almonds and sugar and sprinkle on top of muffins.

Bake for 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Spelt Cinnamon Rolls

It’s almost time to go on holiday, but before I can go, I promised to post the recipes and a few picture of the May/June cooking classes. Not really knowing what to expect initially, I really enjoyed the experience, except on the day when just before class, I jammed the most gigantic splinter in my index finger by throwing a stick for my dog. It took 3 lidocaine injections before the doctor could pull it out, but thankfully that kept my finger numb for the rest of the morning and we went ahead and cooked.

My family loved all this new food on the dinner table almost every night. Once my husband looked in the pot just before dinner time and said disappointedly “Oh, we have had this before”. So yes, they got pretty spoiled. The experiments for the “sweet delights without the guilt” were especially popular, although quite a few ideas got thrown out because they tasted just a bit too healthy. Not so the cinnamon rolls, which need a chunk of butter and plenty of brown sugar to go with. Not really sure what to expect, when we took them out of the oven, we took one bite and oh what bliss. The flavor and texture turned out just amazing, if I say so myself. Since we already ate about 3 different types of cakes that day, I froze half of the rolls. I have been counting the days until I can take them out again and today’s the day. I’ll  let them defrost on the counter over night, stick them in the oven for 25 minutes in the morning and more bliss:-) Check them out, I even added a few pictures documenting the process. Sorry about the poor photo quality, the new camera is on it’s way!

These can be filled with any filling of your choice. Dried cranberries or cherries are nice, as are walnuts, but pecans with maple syrup got to be my favorite.

To avoid having to get up at 5 am for the rolls to be ready at breakfast time, make the dough the day ahead, fill it, roll it up, cut it into rounds and place in baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge overnight (freezer is fine too, they’ll stay good for about 1 month- but need about 12 hours defrosting on the counter overnight). In the morning, remove wrap, brush rolls with remaining butter and sugar and bake. Yummie!

For the dough:

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 2 cups white spelt flour plus a little extra if dough is too sticky

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, orange juice and sugar.  Add the yeast and stir to combine.  Leave for 5 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface. (If nothing happens, start with a new package of yeast.) Mix in yogurt, egg and oil. Add the salt, oats, and one cup of the flour.  Gradually stir in the remaining flour until the dough begins to form and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead, adding a little more flour if dough is too sticky. Once you have a smooth dough, place is in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until almost doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).

When you are ready to shape the rolls, mix the sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup and salt together in a small mixing bowl and set aside.  Lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish or cake pan and set aside.

Punch down the dough, and roll out, on a lightly floured surface, into a large rectangle, 18 to 20 inches long. Spread about 3/4 of the melted butter over the dough, leaving one long edge uncovered so that your roll will stick together later.  Then, drizzle the sugar/maple mixture over the butter and spread evenly. Finally, sprinkle with nuts.

Roll the dough lengthwise (so that you end up with 18-20 inch roll), starting with the side that has the filling right up to the edge.  Press the uncovered edge down to seal the roll so that the rolls will not come apart when you cut them.  Cut the cinnamon rolls by looping a piece of dental floss underneath the dough, criss-crossing the ends over the top, and pulling tight to slice through the dough, or use a sharp knife.  This recipe will make about 15 large and thick cinnamon rolls, but you can also cut smaller rolls, if you prefer. Transfer each sliced roll to the greased baking pan, placing them cut side down. Spread them out evenly in the pan, cover, and let rise for about 1 hour.


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180C).  Once the rolls have risen, brush the tops with the remaining melted butter, and drizzle with maple syrup.  Bake for about 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

A Great Start

About a month ago I taught my first ever cooking class. The theme was ‘breakfast’ and what we call in Australia ‘morning tea’. It all happened in my own kitchen, which I had scrubbed and polished for an entire day. Six friends, who are eager to explore a healthier way to cook, were my “guinea pigs”. Within minutes of their arrival, they turned my kitchen (my sanctuary, my refuge…) into buzzing chaos. They paired up in twos and started to measure, chop, whisk and bake, waisting no time. For 2 hours  we worked hard, talked about everything from picky eaters (mostly husbands and a few kids) to the best places to shop for groceries and had a bit of champagne in between. Thankfully, except for one baking tray full of black, unrecognisable lumps, everything turned out delicious,. We spent the last hour eating through piles of pancakes, muffins, cookies and more and when nothing was left to eat, we probably all felt very full rather than healthy. Everybody went home excited to try something they learned in their own kitchen and from what they told me, once they did, their families were eager for more. What a great start to a new chapter in my life!

 German Apple Pancakes

These pancakes are baked in the oven and come out raised and fluffy. I first came across a version of these not while growing up in Germany, but when looking through my collection of Martha Stewart Kids magazines. I tried to make them a bit healthier, as I usual do with her recipes (despite my respect and total adoration for this woman), added whole grain flour, took away some of the sugar and swapped most of the butter for canola oil. I made mine with pears and they came out super tasty. They have become my children’s favourite weekend breakfast.

The sautéed apples/pears are also great as a side dish for plain pancakes or for desert over vanilla ice-cream.




1/3 cup whole spelt flour

1/3 cup white spelt flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large crisp apples, (pears work well, too)

3 eggs

3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons brown sugar, divided

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup buttermilk

confectioners’ sugar for dusting


This recipe makes 6 pancakes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (225 C). Brush each muffin cup with canola oil; coat with extra brown sugar. Peel, core and slice each apple into twelve wedges, then cut each wedge into three pieces. Toss with 2 teaspoons brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and sauté, turning occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes, until caramelized. Remove pan from stove; let cool 5 minutes. Divide the caramelized apples among the muffin cups.

Put flours, baking soda, salt, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, canola oil, eggs, and buttermilk in the bowl. Whisk until batter becomes smooth and runny. Pour batter over apples. Place tin in oven and lower heat to 400 degrees (200 C). Bake 15-17 minutes. Pancakes will puff up during last 5 minutes of baking.

Take tin from oven and remove pancakes with a fork. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.