By: Sydney Duhaime

Now that it’s February, the month of sweet things and L-O-V-E, I wanted to share something I love with you—barley desserts!

If you are new to barley, the “it” ingredient of 2015, adding barley into your desserts may sound a little bit strange. But barley has a sweet and nutty flavour that lends itself well to everything—savoury meals like soups, salads and stews, and even dessert favourites.

So I took to the kitchen again to bake up some barley desserts from the cookbook Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain. This award-winning cookbook offers over 100 recipes including some delicious sweets perfect for your sweetie. So take a read through my experience baking with barley—you may find a new favourite. Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Brownie

When I think of Valentine’s, I think of chocolate. So for the love of chocolate (or at least my love of chocolate), I decided to make Double Chocolate Brownies.

I started my day of baking by preheating the oven to 325° F (160° C) and gathering the ingredients for this delectable treat. Following the recipe’s instructions, I measured and mixed together the dry ingredients: barley flour, cocoa powder and salt. To that I added the wet ingredients, which featured honey as the sweetener instead of sugar. Once combined, I added chopped nuts, spread the batter evenly into a greased pan and topped it off with semi-sweet chocolate chips. I placed the pan into the oven and baked it for 35 minutes. I then pulled the brownies out of the oven and inserted a toothpick; since it came out clean, I knew the brownies were done.

Tip: Before you measure honey, spray a little bit of cooking oil into the measuring cup; not only will you get every drop of honey, but it also makes cleaning up a breeze.

Barley Cream Puffs

As the brownies cooled, I gathered the ingredients for the next recipe of the day, Barley Cream Puffs. Up to this day I had never made cream puffs, so I was excited to see that our website features a tasty barley cream puff recipe. All together, these puffs only require five ingredients: water, canola oil, barley flour, salt and eggs. Following the recipe’s instructions, I preheated the oven to 400° F (180° C).

While the oven was preheating, I set a saucepan on high and brought the water to a boil. Then I removed the saucepan from the heat and worked quickly to mix in the oil, salt and barley flour. I then beat the mixture with an electric mixer while slowly adding the eggs one at a time. I then spooned this mixture into small mounds on a greased baking sheet and placed them to bake in the oven for 15 minutes. When I pulled out the puffs, they were golden—and perfectly puffed. To keep these puffs looking great, I used a knife to pierce each one—this released the steam to keep the puffs crisp. Once cooled, I filled each puff with whipped cream to officially create cream puffs! For a little extra sweetness, I served these with raspberries and chocolate sauce.

Tip: To get the most puff in your cream puffs, make sure your oven temperature stays at 400° F (180° C) and avoid opening your oven to check on them.

Chewy Caramel Squares

As the Barley Cream Puffs cooled, I moved on to the next recipe, Chewy Caramel Squares—which also happened to be the recipe I was looking forward to the most. While the oven preheated to 350° F (180° C), I began melting butter in a pot over medium heat. Once the butter was melted, I removed the pot from the heat to add in brown sugar, an egg and vanilla. To that I added the remaining ingredients, including barley flour and shredded coconut (I used unsweetened shredded coconut for this recipe). Once the mixture was combined, I spread it evenly into a greased pan and placed it in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.

About 15 minutes into baking, the scent of caramel filled the office, much to the excitement of my co-workers who were patiently waiting to try the sweet treats from the day. These Chewy Caramel Squares were oh-so-satisfying and, at only 80 calories per square, I will definitely be making these again.

Tip: Add extra nuts and even dried fruit to make this recipe a healthier and more filling snack that satisfies your sweet tooth.

Final Thoughts

After testing out these recipes, I can honestly say that I love the sweet and nutty flavour that barley flour brings to desserts. It makes it a great addition to any sweet treat—in fact, barley flour is now a staple in my pantry—and I am looking forward to more baking with barley.