Good to the Grain: Chocolate Chip Cookies

August 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m loving my latest library (that’s a lot of l’s) check-out.   It’s pastry chef Kim Boyce’s excellent book Good to the Grain that came out last year.  I think I first heard about this book via Orangette, but finally pursued it b/c we were headed to North Carolina for vacation, and my sister-in-law and I agreed we should try some new stuff while we were there.  I brought along Good to the Grain. (We both love to cook and we both are always looking for ways for food to be it’s best. Good, yes, but it can get annoying.  I think at some point we were trying to use up  extra peppers and when it was proposed that they go in a salad that contained bacon, I said “I’m having a hard time with that idea” or something equally obnoxious. See? A hard time? with peppers?)

Anyway, the cookies…

I was skeptical, I admit, that you could make a “real” chocolate chip cookie  with only whole wheat flour. Would it taste like it came from the health food store? Wouldn’t it be tough? Would it be bitter? Well, no.  I’m now convinced that chocolate chip cookies might be at their best with whole wheat flour. At the top of their game, the pinnacle of their career! It’s something about the nuttiness of the flour with the bold and bittersweet chocolate. Add salt, a GOOD portion of butter, extra vanilla, and dark brown sugar, and you’ve got a real deal, soft and chewy classic. I was amazed.

The things is, this isn’t the only good recipe in the book. Boyce doesn’t treat the grains she uses (what we would usually think of as “health food” grains like quinoa, teff, barley, millet, etc.) as something to be endured, just thrown into a recipe for health reasons.  She seems to have really gotten to know the flavor of each grain and paired it with other  ingredients accordingly.  It’s such a thoughtful way to cook; really evaluating flavor combinations.

I will keep this book as long as I can possibly hog it from the library, but until then I plan on continuing to make as many recipes as I can find (and afford) the flours for.  But I had to tell you about the cookies.  The cookies, oh, the cookies. They’re crazy, I’m telling you…

Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

Dry mix:

3 cups whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt  (I used sea salt the first time and loved it)

Wet Mix:

8 oz (2 sticks) COLD unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces (I used salted once and it’s good)

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into 1/2″ and 1/4 ” pieces

(note: she suggest Valrhona chocolate, but says any chocolate with a high percentage of cacao is good. That said, first time, I used Hershy’s special dark. Second, Ghirardelli big chips, still cut into pieces. Third time, a mixture of Ghirardelli and Publix mini chips.  None have been failures.)

Place your oven racks in the upper and lower third of your oven and heat it to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or you can butter them really well, if you don’t have parchment).

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl with a sifter.

With a standing mixer (or a hand mixer, using a large bowl if you don’t have one), mix the butter and sugars until blended, about 2 minutes (since the butter is cold, it takes a while to come together). Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix in eggs, one at a time, mixing until each on is combined.  Mix in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the bowl and mix, at a low-speed, just until the flour is combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl again.

Add the chocolate all at once and mix on low until the chocolate is evenly distributed.

Scoop mounds of dough (she says 3 tablespoons worth, but I did about two)  onto the baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between each. You will only get about 6 cookies on a sheet.

Bake cookies for 16 to 20 minutes (I was on the low-end), rotating the pan halfway through the baking for even cooking. Transfer the cookies either to the counter, still on the parchment, or to a cooling rack, and repeat with the remaining dough.

These will keep in an airtight container for 3 days (they won’t last that long…)

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