- The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Whole grains often come into the conversation these days, when healthful eating is increasingly the subject of debate, advice and shared information.

An easy way to include whole grains in the family diet is to find recipes that use them as an ingredient in versatile dishes with a wide appeal. The two here, one savory and one sweet, use oatmeal to add taste and texture as well as an element of wholesome nutrition. Each recipe takes less than an hour from start to finish.

A savory quick bread with Mediterranean flavoring, the rosemary olive scones have a tender texture characteristic of a Southern biscuit, combined with a touch of heartiness from the oats. Eat them as a snack or at a meal as accompaniment to another dish.

The maple pecan oatmeal bars are an appealing treat, lunchbox item or dessert to bake at any season, even when it’s not maple sugaring time. The maple syrup flavors both the moist and chewy oatmeal cookie base and the sweet pecan topping. The recipes are from the Quaker Oats Co.

Maple pecan oatmeal bars

21/4 cups oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt (optional)

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) margarine or butter, melted

1/3 cup maple syrup, or maple-flavored pancake syrup

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

For topping:

1½ cups chopped pecans (about 6 ounces)

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup maple syrup, or maple-flavored pancake syrup

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 13-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

For bars, combine oats, flour, sugar, coconut (if desired), baking soda and salt (if desired) in large bowl; mix well. In small bowl, combine butter, syrup, egg and vanilla; mix well. Add to oat mixture; mix well (dough will be stiff). Press dough evenly onto bottom of pan.

For topping, combine pecans and sugar in small bowl; mix well. Sprinkle evenly over dough, pressing down lightly. Drizzle evenly with syrup.

Bake 35 to 38 minutes or until edges are set but center is soft. (Do not overbake.) Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered. Makes 32 bars.

Nutrition information per serving (1/32 of recipe): 170 cal., 8 g total fat (1 g saturated) 0 mg chol., 100 mg sodium, 24 g carbo., 1 g dietary fiber, 2 g protein.

Rosemary olive scones

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon salt (optional)

8 tablespoons butter or margarine, chilled

1/3 cup half-and-half or milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup Kalamata or ripe olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet.

In large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, pepper and salt.

Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine milk, eggs, onion and olives; add to dry ingredients. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead 8 to 10 times.

Pat dough into 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick.

Cut into 8 wedges; place wedges on cookie sheet. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

Serve warm. Makes 8 scones.

Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of recipe): 240 cal., 13 g total fat (3 g saturated), 0 mg chol., 280 mg sodium, 26 g carbo., 2 g dietary fiber, 6 g protein.

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