Merry Christmas and whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies for everyone!
In case I don’t post anything before this weekend I wanted to say merry Christmas to all the BiD readers I know in person, on the internet and in outer space. Nothing says ho-ho-ho like good chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven; and since I can’t make them for everyone I’ll have to settle for providing you a blueprint to bake your own.
This recipe is a favorite around my home and one of the most requested by our friends. The credit goes to Kim Boyce who’s a former pastry chef for Spago and Campanile, and the author of Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours(Amazon). Her recipe relies on whole-wheat flour and dark chocolate to give it a distinctive taste. My wife went to high school with her husband, so we’re pals.
While they’re not technically health food, if you’re going to eat cookies you might as well eat the good stuff, and when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, these are indeed the dope. Proper etiquette forbids reproducing a recipe found in a book that’s still in print, but Kim gave us the OK to publish this one so let’s get the show on the road. I quote from Good to the Grain…
These cookies are the size of your palm, with thick, chewy edges, soft centers, and big chocolate chunks. It’s surprising just how delicious this whole-wheat version of an old classic is. Unlike many of the recipes in this book, this cookie is made with 100 percent whole-wheat flour, which gives it a distinctive, nutty taste. Use a good bittersweet chocolate for these cookies, as the flavor of high-quality chocolate pairs best with whole-wheat flour.
8 oz. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (we use chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa content), roughly chopped into ¼- and ½-inch pieces
And here’s how you do it:
Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (Although you can butter the sheets instead, parchment is useful for these cookies because the large chunks of chocolate can stick to the pan.)
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
Add the butter and the sugars to 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. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is combined. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend on low speed until the flour is barely combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the chocolate all at once to the batter. Mix on low speed until the chocolate is evenly combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then scrape the batter out onto a work surface, and use your hands to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
Scoop mounds of dough about 3 tablespoons in size onto the baking sheet, leaving 3 inches between them, or about 6 to a sheet.
Bake the cookies for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies are evenly dark brown. Transfer the cookies, still on the parchment, to the counter to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.
These cookies are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day. They’ll keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
This dough is made to go straight from the bowl into the oven. However, for freshly baked cookies anytime, you can refrigerate some of the dough for later. Be sure to scoop out the balls of dough before chilling, as the cold dough is too difficult to scoop. Also remember that cookies baked from chilled dough will be thicker than those made from room-temperature dough. This dough — scooped, chilled, and wrapped in plastic — will last in the refrigerator for one week, assuming it doesn’t get eaten first!
The result is a chocolate chip cookie that has an earthy, somewhat nutty taste that’s complimented by the honest dark chocolate and kosher salt. And note, use real chocolate because life is too short to eat anything else, besides, candy doesn’t taste so good with whole-wheat flour.
Enjoy with milk, coffee, or even better pair these with a full-bodied red wine. Something spicy and bold like a good Zin or Petite Sirah should cause a spontaneous smile. Happy baking and merry Christmas!
ps: a here are a few other items we’ve baked in our kitchen using Kim’s recipes (yes I want to photograph food for a living when I grow up):