We love our morning porridge, and have switched from 7-grain rolled cereal to our new favorite – Scottish Oatmeal. Scottish oatmeal is ground, and the flavor and texture is incredible. Of course, once I dump a little bit of brown sugar, a handful of toasted pecans and an ocean of milk on it, it’s maybe a wee bit less healthy…but so satisfying!
I finally broke down and bought a 25 pound bag of the stuff, and then felt obligated to use it in a recipe. Cookies turned out kind of “meh”. I’ll have to work on that idea. But the bread? It’s wonderful; hearty, dense, flavorful. Best of all, it doesn’t crumble when you slice it. And toasted? Mmmmm.
This beautiful glazed football really is a meatloaf; just not the kind you’re used to.
Instead of using beef, I combined ground ham and pork and held it together with ground oatmeal instead of bread crumbs, for a scrumptious, gluten-free entree.
You won’t be tossing this pigskin around – you’ll be dipping chunks into glaze or slapping a slice of it on a crusty piece of bread and chowing down!
The idea for this meatloaf came from an old Taste of Home recipe for Brown Sugar Glazed Ham Balls, which my family loves. I made a lot of changes, so it’s a loose adaption, but credit definitely has to go to them for the idea!
My first attempt was prettier. The football was baby-butt smooth and flawless. But after I took photos and we ate half of it, I realized I’d forgotten to add the cheese “laces”. I also decided that I wanted less filler. I am not a fan of frozen meatballs; they always seem spongy to me. My first meatloaf had excellent flavor, but was kind of spongy…reminiscent of (dare I use this word in my blog?) Spam. I wanted meaty!
So I cut the ground oats and egg in half, and we absolutely loved the second recipe. It had a little bit more flavor, and much better texture, though it wasn’t quite as pretty. Don’t get me wrong – the first meatloaf was very, very tasty – but if I have to choose, I’ll go with substance over beauty any day!
Here’s how smooth the first one was – just in case you LIKE a smoother texture, and/or want it to look perfect:
I ground a pork shoulder roast and a nice butt portion ham for my meatloaf. You don’t have to do this (see TIPS, below), but I wanted to play with my new grinder.
No grinder? Find ground pork at the grocery store, and grind the ham in a food processor.
Serve your meatloaf with dark rye bread or crusty French bread for hearty sandwiches, or just dip chunks of the meat in small bowls of the glaze. Delish!
I’ve been pouting all week because the Seattle Seahawks didn’t make it to the Superbowl, and in a fit of petulance I almost decided to hold out and wait to post this blog until next year – when they will certainly be going all the way. But I love you guys, and respect your right to root for an obviously inferior the team of your choice. I’ll be a good sport and post the recipe now.
If you don’t have a meat grinder, you should be able to buy ground pork (NOT sausage!) at the grocery store. You may even be able to coax a butcher into grinding a ham for you, but if you have a food processor, I recommend you do it yourself. A butcher is not going to take the time to cut all the tough skin off the ham, and you really don’t want that in your meat mixture.
When the football is cooked and the meat thermometer is removed, let your meatloaf sit for 10 minutes before adding the cheese, because meat juice will probably bubble out of the hole for a few minutes, so the cheese wouldn’t stick.
I use an old coffee grinder for grinding my oatmeal. A food processor or blender will work too. Grind it fairly fine, but not into flour!
If you plan to provide glaze for dipping or drizzling, you might want to increase the glaze recipe. You’ll have a good cup of glaze left over, but…it’s so good! (I like a little meat with my glaze.)
If your glaze gets too thick, reheat it gently on low. It will turn liquid again.
Use good brown sugar – pure cane. It can make the difference between smooth glaze and grainy glaze!
1½ pounds ground ham (Easy to do in a food processor!)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
½ cup grated onion (or you can chop VERY finely)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely ground quick oats (Grind in food processor, blender, or coffee/spice grinder.)
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
¼ cup pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon maple flavoring (like Mapleine) - OPTIONAL
Heat oven to 350 F.
Combine all of the meatloaf ingredients together well. (A stand mixer and dough hook is the easiest way to go.)
Press into a ball and place in a medium size casserole dish. With damp hands, mold into a football shape. Take your time and make it as smooth as possible. This meatloaf is very lean and won't shrink much, so what you see is what you will get!
Insert meat thermometer and place in oven. Bake for 40 minutes.
When the 40 minutes are almost up, make your glaze:
Combine all glaze ingredients in a medium saucepan. Stir well.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add maple flavoring if desired.
Remove meat from oven. Brush generously with glaze.
Return to oven for 20 minutes.
Remove and glaze meat again.
Return to oven for 20 minutes, or until meat thermometer says 165.
Remove from oven. Brush lightly with glaze and place on serving platter.
Allow meatloaf to sit for 10 minutes, then place thin strips of mozzarella cheese on top to look like laces.
You might need to find a locking cookie jar for these flavorful molasses cookies, because even though they are huge, one is not enough; at the very least, you need one for each hand!
These are very similar to the “Grandma Cookies” I adored in my younger days, though Grandma used sour cream instead of buttermilk, and was a little more frugal with the spices. I like to add the brilliant flavor of fresh ginger, too. They’re still milder than a gingersnap – closer to gingerbread. If you love spicy cookies, bump up the amount of spices a bit.
Glaze is mandatory, in case you were wondering.
I know this makes a large batch of dough, but since the cookies are so big, a regular-sized batch would only make something like 8 cookies – or a bunch of wimpy, sissy cookies. Pffft.
Make a pile of these – you won’t be sorry! Here’s what you’ll need:
Peel ginger before grating. The easiest way to do this is to scrape it with a spoon or the back of a table knife. Grate the juicy flesh, but stop when it gets too stringy.
If you don’t have fresh ginger, ground ginger is a perfectly acceptable substitute.
I don’t like to use shortening either, but in this case I make an exception. You can use all butter, but the cookies will flatten out more.
Make sure you thoroughly chill the dough before rolling, and use plenty of flour (I dump flour on a piece of parchment) for rolling.
Hate to roll out dough? You can use a large cookie scoop instead, though the resulting cookies might not be quite as pretty.
When you cut the cookies out, plan your cookie cutter placement with engineering precision – then move the scraps to a separate pile as you work. When the “first run” cookies are cut out, roll all of the scraps at once. Each time you roll out the dough, the cookies will get a little drier…and you don’t want that! (Though extra glaze can hide any flaws.)
If possible, treat the dough like biscuit dough – lift the cookie cutter straight up instead of twisting it. This will make it easier for the cookies to puff up.
2 tablespoons meringue powder (optional - makes a more brittle icing)
Water (3-4 tablespoons)
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and ginger well.
Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
In a medium bowl (mixture will expand) combine molasses and buttermilk, mixing until completely blended. Stir in the baking soda.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and spices.
Beginning with the dry ingredients and ending with the wet ingredients, add alternately (approximately ⅓ at a time) to mixture in the bowl, beating and scraping the bowl down after each addition.
Chill dough for at least 3 hours - overnight is even better.
Heat oven to 375 F.
Place half the dough on a very heavily floured surface, turning the dough to coat with flour and forming into a ball.
Roll dough out to about ⅓-inch thick. Cut into circles, using a 3-inch cookie cutter.
With a spatula, lift each round one at a time, placing in the palm of your hand. Lightly flip the cookie from one hand to the other, dusting off extra flour, and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 10-11 minutes. Cookies should be starting to brown on the bottom but will still feel soft on top. Place baking sheet on a cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
FOR GLAZE: Place powdered sugar and meringue powder in a small bowl. Drizzle water into dry ingredients a little at a time, whisking continuously until it creates a thin glaze.
Brush over cooled cookies and allow to dry completely before storing.
Grate some juicy, fresh ginger. (Yes, yes…you can use powdered instead.)
Beat butter, shortening, sugar, ginger. Add eggs and beat until light.
Stir baking soda into molasses and buttermilk. Add alternately with dry ingredients.
Coat chilled dough with flour and roll out to about 1/3-inch.
Flip dough from hand to hand to dust off extra flour.
Bake and glaze.
I’m not much of a cookie dunker, but I didn’t want to waste the cookies that were being dunked and photographed, so I heroically ate them. Oh, man. I’ve got to tell you: these cookies are flat MADE for dunking!
One bite and I’m back in Grandma’s kitchen, wiping clean dishes and bowls while the cookies baked. Heaven. Pure heaven!
Bring this dish to any football party and be a hero! A smooth, velvety, football-shaped cheese ball is surrounded by sturdy, homemade rye crackers…also shaped like footballs, because – well – football!
After a couple of attempts that yielded hard, very crunchy crackers, I finally got the knack for these. Add more flavoring if you wish – I kept this pretty basic, preferring to let the flavor of the caraway seeds predominate . These are delicious warm out of the oven…you’ll see!
I tried two different methods for adding the lacing to the crackers. I like the appearance of the little dough laces best, but cutting out all those tiny pieces and pressing them carefully and firmly on each cracker takes a lot of time, so I won’t blame you one little bit if you go the easy route and just press the designs onto the crackers with a table knife – Especially when you consider the crackers will probably be consumed by people jumping and screaming at the TV, and not paying close attention to the detail on each cracker!
This dough is really very easy to roll out, especially if you roll it between sheets of floured parchment. If you want to skip the football shapes, simply use a pizza cutter to cut the crackers into strips and put them, parchment and all, straight onto your baking sheet.
And…in case you’re wondering, they’re delicious with peanut butter slathered on them.
You probably have your own recipe for a cheese ball, right? If not, I’ll tell you how I made mine at the bottom of the post.
The crackers can also be cut into strips on the parchment, and then lifted (without separating them) parchment and all onto an ungreased baking sheet. Follow instructions for baking.
¼ cup cooking oil
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon molasses
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1 heaping teaspoon caraway seeds (more to taste)
1 tablespoon butter
Heat oven to 400 F.
Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the oil, buttermilk, water, and molasses.
Stir in all-purpose flour, rye flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, garlic salt, onion powder, and caraway seeds. Mixture should be thick, and slightly sticky. If it's very sticky, add a little more flour.
Lightly flour a large piece of parchment.
Place dough on parchment, sprinkle lightly with a little more flour, cover with another piece of parchment, and roll very thin...about the size of a baking sheet. Thin dough makes light, crunchy crackers!
Cut out shapes using a football cookie cutter, and place closely together on the prepared baking sheet. It's best to work with just one pan of crackers at a time, so wrap remaining dough in plastic and place in the refrigerator for now.
There are two ways to create "laces". You can firmly press thin strips of slightly moistened dough onto each cracker, or simple press the lace design into the cracker with a table knife.
Put crackers in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, brush with melted butter (if you make "laces" on football shapes, you may have to gently pat the butter on the surface to avoid dislodging the laces) and sprinkle with coarse salt. Turn oven OFF. Open oven door for 30 seconds (count it: one-chimpanzee, two-chimpanzee...), place pan of crackers back in the oven, close the door and leave them alone for one hour. Don't peek - it will let out the residual heat.
Move crackers to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
If you choose to do all of the crackers at once, test a cracker from each pan. If they aren't completely crunchy, return them to the warm oven for 15 more minutes.
Flatten lightly floured dough and cover with a sheet of parchment.
Roll the dough thinly.
Dough must be VERY thin for light, crisp crackers.
If you lack the patience for gluing tiny laces on each cracker, use a knife and just press in the design!
Baked! Both option for laces are shown here.
Here’s how I made my cheese ball:
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 cups of your favorite cheese, grated (I used sharp cheddar and white cheddar.)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped green onions
Optional: a few drops of hickory smoke flavoring, garlic powder, hot sauce.
1 cup finely chopped TOASTED pecans
1/4 cup finely chopped crisp-cooked bacon
Mix together the cheeses and Worcestershire sauce until well blended. I like to use my stand mixer with the dough hook.
Add green onions and additional seasoning, if desired.
TASTE! Between the Worcestershire sauce and the cheese, you probably don’t need to add salt, but now is the time to give it a flavor test.
With damp hands, press the cheese mixture into the shape of a football.
Combine the pecans and bacon. Press onto cheese ball, covering completely.
Transfer to a platter and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve – then surround with lovely rye crackers!
Since I have you here, and you’re actually reading this, may I just say:
I guess it’s time to admit it: I think I need an intervention. This maple addiction has gotten completely out of control. I’ve replaced a lot of my processed sugar with maple sugar, and have developed a love affair (in moderation, of course) with maple whiskey. Pure maple syrup is my go-to sweetener for cereal and tea, though I add a little Mapleine to it for more maple kick. Yep…I have it BAD!
Today I made Maple Streusel Rollups, which my husband said were “the best thing I’ve made in a long time”. There you have it, folks. You just have to make these!
I started with the recipe that I use for Maple Bars and Cinnamon Rolls, but made it a wee bit richer with the addition of butter and buttermilk, and sprinkled maple sugar on the dough before rolling. Then I covered the raised rolls with streusel and drizzled the baked rolls with rich maple icing.
Do I have your attention yet? If not, just look at THIS!
Light, fluffy, sweet and mapley (I’m pretty sure that’s a real word), and topped with a crunch pecan streusel, drizzled with a serious maple icing.
½ cup maple sugar (or ½ cup white sugar plus ½ teaspoon maple extract)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
4 tablespoons melted butter
⅓ cup finely chopped pecans (I toast mine first, but you don't have to)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons maple extract (I use Mapleine)
1 tablespoon milk (more if necessary)
In a small pan on medium low heat, combine the milk, shortening, butter and cinnamon. Heat until shortening and butter are melted. Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk. Set aside.
In a small bowl or ramekin, combine the warm water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon sugar. Allow the mixture to sit until bubbly (about 5 minutes).
In a large bowl, preferably using a stand mixer, combine the milk mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and ⅓ cup sugar. If using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook.
Slowly add flour and salt and knead by beating on low for 5 minutes. Dough should come cleanly away from sides of bowl, but still be slightly sticky. (If kneading by hand, knead for 7 minutes on floured surface.)
Place dough in greased bowl and allow to rise until double - about 1 hour.
Prepare a large 11x15-inch pan by either lining with parchment or spraying with an oil/flour mixture like Baker's Joy.
Punch down dough and divide in half.
Working with one half at a time, roll out on parchment (or lightly floured surface) to a 15x9-inch rectangle, with the long side facing you.
Spread half of the butter (1/4 cup) on surface of dough and sprinkle with half of the sugar. Roll snugly.
Cut roll into 12 pieces. and place in prepared pan, filling half of the pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap, and allow the rolls to rise until almost double.
Heat oven to 400 F.
Combine the streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Taste a spoonful (optional...just thought you might want permission to indulge) and sprinkle over the raised rolls.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the streusel is a browned - then remove from oven and place on rack to cool.
While slightly warm, combine the ingredients for the icing in a small bowl and spoon icing into a piping bag or a plastic zipper bag with one corner snipped off. Drizzle over the top of the streusel.