Last Friday my kids were home from school and I was looking for a short and sweet activity to do with them, so I suggested we bake cookies. Some of my loveliest childhood memories involve baking with my Mum, so for me baking with my kids is an essential family ritual. As we were measuring out the ingredients, I noticed that the whole wheat flour had a sour, rancid smell. I like to buy my flour at our local farmers market and if I don't use it within a few months it tends to go bad, unless I keep it in the freezer. Most of the time, I use it quickly enough, but this time I lost a good three cups. Children (at least mine) are not great at managing disappointment so I had to find a quick substitution. I opted for some more recently purchased sprouted spelt flour, hoping that it wouldn't compromise taste and texture too much. Thankfully they turned out every bit as delicious as the whole wheat version, and also stayed fresh for the two days it took us to eat every last chewy, chocolately bite.
I don't typically eat chocolate chip cookies for my health and I think it's entirely unethical to offer someone a homemade chocolate chip cookie that's dry, grainy and tastes like something intended to resolve a digestive "back-up". So why bother making chocolate chip cookies with 100% whole wheat flour? Because as Kim Boyce, renowned Chicago-based pastry chef and creator of this recipe says "It's surprising just how delicious this whole-wheat version of an old classic is" This recipe is truly delicious. It meets all of the criteria for the perfect cookie - soft, chewy and full of chocolate with a subtle nuttiness provided by the whole grain flour. The slightly improved nutritional profile is just an added bonus! The cookies maintain their softness for few days in an airtight container, which is also a major selling point for a whole grain baked good. I was happy to see this recipe included in my recently purchased copy of Food 52's Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That will Change the Way You Cook because when I first made them a few years ago out of Kim Boyce's book Good to the Grain they most definitely made me feel like a cookie genius and changed the way that I bake cookies.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
From Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours by Kim Boyce
3 cups whole wheat flour (or spelt)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated or organic cane sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips (the recipe actually calls for 8 oz roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate)
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two cookie sheets with parchment.
2. Sift the four, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, pouring back any bits of grain.
3. Mix butter and sugars in the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes or until just blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla . Add the flour mixture and blend on low until just combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the chocolate and stir until combined. The recipe suggests you use your hands. I just use a wooden spoon.
4. Scoop out mounds of dough about 3 tablespoons in size onto baking sheets, leaving 3 inches between them or about 6 cookies to a sheet. (see note)
5. Bake the cookies for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets half way through, until the cookies are evenly dark brown. Transfer the cookies still on the parchment paper, to the counter to cool and repeat with remaining dough.
Note: I've made these as 1 tbsp size and one dozen cookies to a sheet and it also works fine. The bigger size is obviously more decadent and the texture is slightly better.
Makes 16 to 20 large cookies or 3 to 4 dozen smaller cookies