Saturday, November 20, 2010

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's almost time for the holidays, and for me, the holidays mean cookies. In fact, one year I made so many cookies that I lived on a Starbucks and cookie diet. I actually lost weight that year, but I think it's because I was working in a very busy restaurant; when I tried the same experiment as a nurse, it had the effect one would anticipate.

While a cookie diet is not advisable unless you're burning about 3,000 calories per day, making cookies with wheat flour might make one feel a little less guilty about eating a few here and there. There's still a lot of butter and sugar in these bad boys, so they're by no means healthy, and that's not the point, really. The point of using wheat flour is that it lends the cookies a nice toasty depth of flavor, and it tames the sometimes cloying sweetness of the timeless treat. Once cooked, the wheat in the dough is not really noticeable, but it makes these cookies just a tiny bit more interesting than your standard chocolate chip (not that there's anything wrong with the standard chocolate chip).

Here's the difference between these cookies and your 'normal' chocolate chip cookies: when I bring a tray of normal cookies in to work, they get eaten through the course of the night, and people tell me that they're good. When a tray of these cookies are placed on the counter and I disappear into triage for a while, I return to the floor to be greeted by cries of "Leah! Yay!", and an empty plate. I would say that's a wholehearted endorsement, wouldn't you?

I made these cookies because Molly from Orangette highly recommended them, and even said that she might like them better than the famous New York Times recipe, which is quite a recommendation. Like the New York Times recipe, I find that chilling the dough in the fridge overnight makes for a more complex flavor, but it's certainly not necessary. In her post, Molly discusses whether it's best to use whole wheat flour, or white whole wheat flour. I decided to go with a combination of the two, and I thought it worked nicely. Feel free to play with the ratios, though. Just be sure to use bittersweet chocolate as opposed to milk chocolate, as the wheat would overwhelm the generally underwhelming milk chocolate.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce, and Molly from Orangette)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (see note above)
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes (see note above)
  • 1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into ¼- and ½-inch pieces, or bittersweet chips

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. (If you have no parchment, you can butter the sheets.)

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, and whisk to blend.

Put the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, mix just until the butter and sugars are blended, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. 

Gradually add the flour mixture to the bowl, and blend on low speed until the flour is just incorporated. Add the chocolate, and mix on low speed until evenly combined. (If you have no stand mixer, you can do all of this with handheld electric beaters and/or a large, sturdy spoon.) 

Using an ice cream scoop (not a huge one, though), scoop mounds of dough onto the baking sheets, leaving enough space for the cookies to expand a bit.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies are evenly browned. I found that the cookies are perfectly cooked when the middle parts are still very soft and fluffy and look almost raw, and the edges are getting a little bit firm, a little bit golden, and a little bit drier than the rest of the cookie. Transfer the cookies, still on parchment, to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

1 comment:

smilinggreenmom said...

Ooooh - these look so big and fluffy and moist! I have them bookmarked now :) We always love to use Kamut Wheat when we bake since it is an awesome whole grain w great nutrients PLUS it bakes well! Can't wait to try - thanks :)