"Search" by Hester Knibbe + Einkorn Oatmeal Cookies

Einkorn Chocolate Oat Cookies

Can you think of a scenario when cookies do not provide comfort? I cannot.

Cookies are simple yet complex, nuanced with echoes of vanilla or spice. They are tender and chewy, yet firm around the edges. They can be singular. One can make us whole again. If one cookie is not enough, there are others. It's how they are made.

Cookies have also changed. While my heart still holds true to the classic chocolate chip variety, my baking has shifted over the years, incorporating more whole grain flours, healthier fats, and less sugar, so naturally the variety of cookies I consume has changed as well. And not only me. As a nation, as a family, as food bloggers, there has been a collective awakening about food in recent years that I've enjoyed being part of. 

Especially around this time of year, we're looking for foods to be more wholesome. It doesn't mean we don't indulge now and again, but there are solid alternatives when a craving strikes. Like these cookies from Tim and Shanna's debut, The Einkorn Flour Cookbook

Our entire relationship was made possible by the internet, I should note. I reluctantly joined Twitter when a friend (the same friend who encouraged me to start blogging) said at the very least I should create an account and claim my name before someone else does. Fair enough. That was February 2010. In the months that followed I, also reluctantly, began sharing posts and replying to tweets of bloggers I admired. Over a long period of time (we're talking years, not days or weeks), I even became friends with some of them.

That's how many of us food bloggers got to know each other at first. It was an easy way to have a short conversation or say hello without screaming "be friends with me!" in an obnoxious fan kind of way. Shanna was one of those people. Tweets turned to reading each other's blogs. Reading turned to emails. Emails turned to one crisp afternoon in Chicago when we finally met face to face (along with her husband Tim, Erin, and Alex and Sonja, too!). So now we're real life friends, which is the best. I love that about the food blog community.

So you can imagine my delight when this cookbook arrived at my door. And after I'd read through it, made my notes, and ordered a bag of einkorn flour, I settled on cookies. And when I took a bite, standing alone in the kitchen gazing out at the trees beyond my kitchen window, I sensed a poem should be found and the search began. It's title then, is entirely appropriate. 




Wandered tonight through a city
as ruined as a body with broken
ribs and a bared heart. Looked for you 

there with cookies in my pocket, searched 
for a sigh, for movement in demolished 
streets and alleys. Tonight

since I’d forgotten for a moment where you are,
I searched for you with hope in my bones.
But no matter how I lured you with my voice
and my eyes, walls of debris 

grew up steadily around you, cellars seemed
to creep around you. I remained alone
with those cookies in my pocket
and kept calling and walking.

Source: Poetry (May 2010).

Einkorn Chocolate Oat Cookies

In this poem we return to comfort. The cookies in the speaker's pocket are desperately needed on a cold night when she is wandering through a ruined city. A war? An earthquake? A relationship broken into pieces? We might never know, but the cookies are symbolic enough to trigger memories in each of us. Whether we're sitting around our childhood table dunking cookies in milk, smearing rounds with ice cream, breaking a off a warm piece to share with our spouse, or walking around a deserted city with crumbs in our pockets, cookies lead us home.

Einkorn Chocolate Oat Cookies


Einkorn was new to me until Tim and Shanna introduced it on their blog Food Loves Writing. Although I don't have gluten sensitivities, I do appreciate having a variety of flours to call on in my baking. 

These cookies bake up thin, crisp on the outside where the edges turn a bit golden, and tender in the middle. The hint of coconut reminds me faintly of one of my favorite girl scout cookies, Samosas, but far more healthful. The chocolate adds a nice decadence, too. 

Recipe slightly adapted from Tim and Shanna Mallon, The Einkorn Cookbook

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1 cup cane sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose einkorn flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to sir together all ingredients except the oats and chocolate, until well mixed. Finally, add the oats and chocolate and stir until just combined.

Drop dough by the spoonful onto prepared baking sheets, leaving at least an inch between cookies (they will spread). Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until firm and golden.

Makes 20 cookies

On Finishing Books + Strawberry Oat Breakfast Crisp

Living With Poetry is an occasional series where we explore how poetry infuses our everyday lives. Catch up with past features here.

Strawberry Oat Breakfast Crisp | Eat This Poem

I started reading The Lowland last October, when Andrew and I went to Santa Barbara for a long weekend. There on our terrace, and on a cushioned chair at the pool, I read the book I had pre-ordered months prior, that I told my friends about, that I couldn't wait to for. I was planning to use the book to usher in fall, start fresh, get back to reading for the sake of it. 

Fifty four pages was as far as I had time to get that weekend, but reasoned there would be more reading to do when we returned home and lovingly placed the hardback by my bed, where it stayed unopened for months. (It has now been so long that the book is available in paperback.) I'm almost embarrassed to admit that it's taken me approximately 10 months to finish one novel. Oh, I've been reading plenty (this one I just finished, food magazines, cookbooks, all of Pablo Neruda's odes) but fiction has been illusive.

Strawberry Oat #Breakfast Crisp | Eat This Poem
Strawberry Oat #Breakfast Crisp | Eat This Poem

The difference in my life when I first began the book to now is profound. New job, new home, new neighborhood, new perspective, new challenges, new kitchen. Now that I'm starting to feel more relaxed, there is both space and time to enjoy simple pleasures again, like reading for no reason on a Saturday afternoon, then again Sunday morning while waiting for breakfast to bake.

I've told you about Whole-Grain Mornings before, but it bears repeating. I find myself cooking from it often, especially on the weekends, when breakfasts are for lingering and pancake making and such. I'd marked this breakfast crisp months ago but felt an urge for it when I pulled the book from its perch on the shelf. In between prepping dinner Saturday night, I sliced the strawberries, coated them with lemon juice, and gently mounded them with damp crumbs of oats, almonds, and butter. Into the fridge. 

Strawberry Oat #Breakfast Crisp | Eat This Poem

Sunday morning I woke up promptly at 7 am, still wanting to read The Lowland. I tiptoed to the kitchen and turned on the oven, slid the crisp inside even before it had finished preheating, then propped up two pillows and read in the blue morning light for 35 minutes, until the crisp was golden and bubbly. Five minutes before my timer went off, the strawberries came. Lost in a passage, a mother drinking tea on a terrace in Calcutta, wrestling with the memory of her sons, one killed and the other far away in America, my breath was steady, in and out. The next inhale brought sweetness, the perfume of roasted strawberries collapsed in the heat, telling me it was time to close the book. To live poetry instead of read it.

I wiped sleep out of my eyes, pulled the crisp from the oven, waited impatiently for it to cool, saw down to write a blog post, sipped water from a small glass, smaller than my husband's sitting just beside it, lost myself in a story, watched light filter through the blinds as I finished my  bowl, got up to scrape a spoon through the pan for one last bite of summer. 

Strawberry Oat #Breakfast Crisp | Eat This Poem


Very lightly adapted from Whole-Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon

I already had almond meal from Almond Milk LA stored in the refrigerator, so I made the topping in a stand mixer instead of a food processor.Preparation will take little time, but waiting for the crisp to cool will likely be a struggle. 

Serves 4 to 6, because I'm hungry and adore strawberries. 

1 1/2 cups almond meal1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons muscovado sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup whole milk

1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
1/3 cup natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter an 11 by 7-inch baking dish. (Or, you can prep the crisp the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight before baking.)

To make the topping: Add the almond meal, flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and nutmeg to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are whisked. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until the butter breaks down and it begins to resemble coarse cornmeal. Slowly add the milk and continue mixing until the liquid has been  evenly distributed. The dough should have some together and look clumpy, but not be too wet. 

To prepare the filling: Toss the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Scrape into the prepared baking dish.

To assemble and bake: Place the topping over the strawberries in an even layer and place in the oven. Bake until the top is golden brown and the juices begin to thicken and bubble, 30-35 minutes (in my oven). Remove and cool for at least an hour before serving (although I got away with about 25-30 minutes) before serving.

Living With Poetry | Caught in the Rain + Almond Granola

Living with Poetry is an occasional series where we explore how poetry infuses our everyday lives. Catch up with past features here.

Almond Granola from Eat This Poem

The day it took me two hours to drive to work was the same day I was caught in the rain during my lunch break. 

I knew it was a risk taking the walk when I did, but decided to chance it because the clouds weren't quite gray enough to assume rain was imminent. Also, given the morning I had, I was determined to enjoy some fresh air. 

Everyone who lives in Los Angeles knows that traffic is part of the deal. It's what we Angelinos dislike most about the city, by and large. We grumble and plan outings based on which side of town an event is being held, at which time of day, on which day of the week. You get used to it, because what the city requires of your time in traffic, it makes up for in culture, food, and sunshine.

Almond Granola from Eat This Poem

I have a longer commute than most would consider "normal" for LA. Thirty-two miles one way from the westside to the suburbs takes me 40 minutes in the morning on good day, but occasionally there are bouts of unpredictability. A series of accidents on the 405 caused an amazing amount of backup, and I made it to work two hours later, worn out and disoriented. By the time lunch arrived, I quickly heated up my spaghetti from the night before and set out on my walk.

I usually walk down to the library about half a mile away and bring a book to enjoy when I reach my destination, but this walk was more purposeful. By the time I made it to the library and started my loop back, it began to drizzle. Not hard, and if it had stayed that way for the next 10 minutes, I would have hardly been affected, but with every step, the bushes on either side of the sidewalk began to hiss. It was the sound of raindrops hitting dried leaves and bouncing off sticks. It was loud enough for me to hear through the Dave Matthews song playing in my iPod Shuffle. I quickened my pace, but I still had at least eight minutes to go, and the rain was coming.

I thought about this quiet poem by Peter Everwine.

"Toward evening, as the light failed
and the pear tree at my window darkened,
I put down my book and stood at the open door,
the first raindrops gusting in the eaves,
a smell of wet clay in the wind."

-from "Rain" by Peter Everwine

Wet clay in the wind. That scent filled my body when I came to the signal, the last one to cross before reaching my office building. My sunglasses were covered in water, and as I reached up to wipe it away I heard someone yell. It was a kind woman rolling down her window to offer me a ride. I laughed and told her how close I was, and thanked her before rushing across the street before the signal turned. 

Then I started jogging. In my black Theory slacks and blouse and cardigan, up the road to my office. I couldn't help but laugh. I needed the rain. Needed it in my hair and on my sunglasses, not just outside my office window. I smiled thinking about the kindness of strangers, and once I tousled my hair a bit and dried off, I consoled myself with a bowl of homemade granola and a splash of my favorite almond milk.

Rain calls for granola, I think. I've been making a lot more of it this year thanks to Megan. Her master recipe in Whole-Grain Mornings is a splendid template for experimenting with your favorite flavors, and I've finally settled on mine for the time being. I use a combination of olive oil and maple syrup as she suggests, and swap the measurements for cinnamon and cardamom. It's such a satisfying thing to eat at any time of day, rain or shine.

Almond Granola from Eat This Poem

Almond Granola

Adapted from Whole-Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Mix the oats, almonds, seeds, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add the oil, maple syrup, and almond extract. Stir again until very well combined and the oats are well-coated.

Spread on the prepared pan and pack the granola down in an even layer using the back of a wooden spoon. Bake until light brown and fragrant, about 35 to 40 minutes. Stir every 15 to 20 minutes, and be sure to check on it at the 30 or 35 minute mark. When you take it out, the granola might not seem fully crisp, but as long as it's golden brown, it will crisp up as it cools.

Let cool completely on the pan and stir in the raisins. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.