Until I get a cease and desist letter from Kim Boyce, whose book “Good To The Grain” inspired me to buy six different kinds of flours last week (that led to a spelt olive oil cake with bittersweet chocolate), I’m going to keep blogging my experiences cooking from her book. The good news is that this particular recipe–a recipe for whole wheat chocolate chip cookies–has already had quite a life on the web. Molly blogged about it, as did Heidi (who made hers in a skillet!). And there’s a reason this recipe is so popular; Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies may sound wholesome, but the results are anything but.
What’s fascinating is that Kim Boyce doesn’t temper the whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour as she does with many of the other flours in her book. Here you do as you normally do with chocolate chip cookies; you beat together butter, brown sugar and regular sugar; then you add eggs and vanilla extract. Finally, you add the flour. Three big cupfuls of wholewheat flour that go in along with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Again, you may be wary but one taste of the dough and you know something good is happening here. What’s happening is that the whole wheat flour, which has a more complex flavor profile than just plain, all-purpose flour, lends the cookies a great deal of character. The texture doesn’t suffer at all; in fact, once they’re baked, you’ll find that they resemble your ordinary, every day cookies but have more shades to them when you take a taste. The whole wheat contributes a certain nuttiness and earthiness (not in the mushroomy sense, but in the grain-y sense) that just makes your cookies that much more alluring. Like a Rhodes scholar in a mink coat, only the mink coat is made of whole wheat flour.
The best part is that this recipe makes a lot so you can practice what I preach in this post and freeze the ones you don’t bake right away. Right now I have these babies in a freezer bag in my freezer, ready to go anytime we want them:
And want them, we shall. Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies may sound unpromising, but I promise you: these’ll be your go-to cookies from now on.
Recipe: Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Summary: The signature chocolate chip cookies from Kim Boyce’s “Good To The Grain.”
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/4- and 1/2-inch pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (you can use one to bake the cookies and the other to freeze the cookies).
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl, adding any large bits of grain or other ingredients that remain in the sifter.
Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed for abou 2 minutes, until just blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture and beat until barely combined. Stop to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed just until evenly distributed.
Now scoop your cookies. I like to use an ice cream scoop with a release button, but you can also just use a spoon and your hands to scoop up dough, roll it into a ball and flatten it on the sheet. When you finish, pop the cookies you want to bake into the oven for 15 minutes or so, until the cookies are golden brown on the outsides and fragrant. Let them cool for a bit on a cooling rack, then eat them!
If you freeze the others, leave them on the sheet in the freezer until frozen and then pluck them into a freezer bag. They’ll keep that way for a month or two. If they last that long.
You can easily cut this recipe in half (one stick of butter, one egg) but why would you, when you can freeze the ones you don’t bake?