Jackie Kai Ellis, owner of the French-influenced Beaucoup Bakery in Vancouver, recently spent a few days in Toronto with me and took on my challenge to produce a whole-grain breakfast biscuit that was healthy and attractive – no small task. She came up with a dazzler that hit the mark.
Whole-grain baking is a way to bake healthier and tastier products, but it's not necessarily gluten-free baking. Grains such as wheat, barley, oats and quinoa, retain both the bran and germ. The valuable vitamins and minerals reside in the grain itself but are lost if the grains are refined.
Use a whole-grain cereal blend such as seven-grain cereal, preferably organic, or follow Ellis's instructions here for a homemade version.
Making it tonight? Instagram the results with the hashtag #cooklikelucy.
Ready time: 2 hours including cooling time
Whole-grain cereal blend (optional)
¼ cup quinoa
¹/8 cup barley flour
¹/8 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon buckwheat
1¼ cups whole-wheat flour
½ cup whole-grain cereal blend, uncooked
3 tablespoons coconut or brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
¾ cup coarsely chopped dates or dark raisins
½ cup cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup buttermilk
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon ground green cardamom
2 tablespoons icing sugar
12 ripe apricots, sliced
Any whole-grain cereal blend can be used in this recipe. But if you’d like to try Ellis’s homemade version, begin by grinding the quinoa in a heavy-duty blender until grains are medium-sized pieces. Add the remainder of the cereal ingredients and grind into a coarse meal. (Yields 1 cup.)
To make the biscuits, combine flour, cereal blend, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, orange zest and dates in a food processor.
Add butter to the food processor and pulse to combine, leaving some small chunks of butter distributed throughout the flour.
Whisk together buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Slowly pour over flour mixture. Pulse a few more times to combine.
Transfer dough to a bowl and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a metal baking tray with parchment paper.
Turn out dough onto prepared tray and gather gently into an 8x6-inch rectangle, keeping the mixture loose and rustic-looking. Cut rectangle into 6 squares and carefully pull apart, leaving 2 inches between each.
Whisk egg and salt in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the shortcakes and sprinkle with flax seeds.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are golden. Cool on a rack.
Whisk the yogurt, cardamom and icing sugar until soft peaks form. Place a biscuit on a plate. Serve with whipped cardamom cream and sliced apricots, butter and jam or as is.