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Pumpernickel Oat CrispsWhen I was young, I had, like most children, a long list of “disliked foods.” This included a number of the usual suspects—lettuce, oatmeal, mushrooms, and tomatoes—as well as some more unique choices such as bananas, peanut butter (I don’t know what was the matter with me; aren’t kids supposed to love peanut butter?), and Swiss cheese.

Cocoa-Caraway Oat TuilesBut after two stints at culinary school, I’ve finally acquired a thoroughly grown-up palate. Except for an abhorrence of bell peppers that I suspect I will never outgrow, none of my old grudges remain, and many foods that I used to regard with disfavour are now my particular favourites: onions and cabbage being the two cases that stand out most drastically.

But my acceptance of caraway has the most interesting story. I truly couldn’t stand it as a child. I found its strong flavour completely detestable. However, right after I graduated from pastry school, I went to work in a German bakery, where the shelves were crowded with rye breads of all shapes and descriptions. Caraway figured prominently in these breads. We even put caraway seeds in our Irish soda bread, which was a seasonal item that we made for St. Patrick’s Day.

The trouble was that I absolutely adored that soda bread. It was a sweet, raisin-studded variation, completely inauthentic and utterly delicious. It combined a soft, cake-like crumb with a thick, crunchy gold crust. Irresistible. So, ignoring the unpleasant sensation I experienced whenever I took a bite that concealed a caraway seed, I ate it anyway. A lot of it.

Quite a while after this, I reluctantly tried some rye bread with caraway at a restaurant in Cincinnati, without the slightest expectation of liking it, and was amazed to discover that I found the flavour of the bread absolutely delicious. Forcing myself to endure the caraway in all that soda bread had cured me of my dislike.

Ingredients for Caraway-Cocoa Oat Crispsspice-trail-badge-longSo I was excited to have the chance to bake with caraway for this month’s Spice Trail challenge, hosted by Vanesther of Bangers and Mash. I wanted to do something Scandinavian, but my sole Scandinavian cookbook did not produce any recipes that contained caraway. Undaunted, I took a recipe for havreflarn, a sort of oat tuile, and adapted it to use caraway.

Orange, Caraway, and CocoaI also added cocoa and orange, because I’ve seen both of them used alongside caraway in recipes for pumpernickel bread.

Mixing the tuile batterBatter for Cocoa-Caraway Oat CrispsThese are lovely, delicate cookies, packed with intense flavour. They don’t really taste like pumpernickel, but I still couldn’t resist calling them pumpernickel tuiles. They’re good and dark at any rate, and, like pumpernickel bread, their flavour improves as they age.

Pumpernickel Tuiles

I am also submitting the tuiles to The Biscuit Barrel Challenge, run by Laura over at I’d Much Rather Bake Than . . . This month’s theme was chocolate, in honour of Valentine’s Day.

Biscuit Barrel Challenge logoThe tuiles are my contribution to Tea Time Treats as well. Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Jane of The Hedgecombers co-host this blogging challenge. This month it was Karen’s turn to host, and she also picked chocolate as the theme!Tea Time Treats Mosaic

Cocoa-Caraway Oat CrispsPumpernickel Tuiles

Much adapted from Patisserie of Scandinavia

Ingredients:

2 ½ oz. rolled oats
4 ½ oz. granulated sugar
2 oz. all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ oz. cocoa powder
½ teaspoon crushed caraway seeds
3 ½ oz. unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons orange zest
 

Technique:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Thoroughly grease a baking sheet or line it with a Silpat.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, sugar, flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and crushed caraway seeds. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the butter, golden syrup, cream, and orange zest.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Scoop out 2-teaspoon portions of the dough and place them on the prepared sheet pan, spacing well apart. These cookies will spread completely flat in the oven, like tuiles or florentines.
  5. Bake until the cookies are bubbling all the way through and the edges have darkened, 8-10 minutes.
  6. Let the cookies cool on the tray for 5 minutes, and then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  7. Re-grease the tray and repeat procedure until the dough is used up. Three trays will probably be sufficient.
  8. Store the crisps in an airtight container in a cool place. They will soften slightly as time goes by, but the flavour improves.

Yield: 2 dozen 3-inch cookies

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