Monday, January 30, 2012

Between Dreams and Reality

I just came back from a stress-free weekend visiting family in Southern California. It was sunny and 75 degrees outside. I wore a skirt and sandals to the beach. There were strawberries in the farmer's market - both local and seasonal. Is it any wonder my entire being was screaming "No!" at the idea of coming back to the reality of work and several months before spring?

These whole wheat chocolate chip cookies helped ease me back into real life, without slapping me in the face too harshly. They are comforting enough to harken to that dreamy land of suspended reality, yet they have enough nutrients to fit into the real world where calories count and fiber is a necessary part of life.

They taste great, a little nutty from the whole grains, a little bitter, a little salty, and just enough sweetness to keep you reaching for one more. Chocolate Chip Cookies that are 100% whole grain? It's a perfect balance of escapism and what your body really needs. (Need pictures? Check out these.)

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Based on a recipe from Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain

3 cups whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
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 (I used Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate chunks - perfect!)

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.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the bowl, and blend on low speed until the flour is just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the chocolate, stirring in with a wooden spoon. Refrigerate the dough until cold, about 30 minutes.

Scoop mounds of dough about 3 tablespoons in size onto the baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between each cookie. (I made smaller cookies; about 1 inch balls of dough.)

Bake the cookies for 16 to 20 minutes (check after 12 minutes). Transfer the cookies, still on parchment, to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

Yield: about 20 big cookies or 36 smaller cookies


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