Monday, December 10

Wholesome Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a bit of a whole wheat nut. Whole wheat bread was my gateway drug. Then I started substituting half of the flour in any recipe with whole wheat flour. Now my kitchen is completely free of white flour. This hasn't been a problem for many of my recipes, but with baking it presents a unique challenge.

For Thanksgiving this year I decided I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies. These days so many people want to create a unique dessert with one spin on it or another, and I thought, it's been forever since I've had a good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie. But of course, since I'm on a whole wheat kick now, I wanted to make them with whole wheat.

There's a reason the experts warn against trying new recipes for the first time the day of an event. My first chocolate chip cookie experiment was a disaster. To any of my family reading this today, I apologize for the hard little chocolate chip balls we brought for dinner--especially if you chipped a tooth on them. I learned a lot from that experiment.

I had forgotten that baking with whole wheat increases the density of the final product, so either less flour must be used or more liquid must be added. And since the dough will be more dense, it requires more leavening to "lift" it when baking. And I had also forgotten that sifting the flour is a crucial step, as it aerates the flour, which helps create a fluffier texture in the baked good.

With this in mind, I made some tweaks to the recipe I tried on Thanksgiving (adapted from Jacques Torres' Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe) and tried again for my friend's Christmas party on Saturday. They turned out perfectly!

Please don't let the whole wheat turn you off of this recipe. I really didn't notice much of a change in taste using the whole wheat. They did have a more wholesome feel to them--I didn't feel like was going to give myself diabetes by eating a half a dozen in one sitting--but even my friends who don't eat whole wheat at every meal enjoyed them before they knew they were whole wheat, so that is a success in my book.

I used raw sugar in my recipe, but if you prefer, you can substitute equal parts white and brown sugar.

Wholesome Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 cups raw sugar
2 eggs

2 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2  tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

2. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Take care not to over mix, as this will produce a tough cookie.
3. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes to allow easier shaping (dough may be refrigerated up to 3 days).
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
6. Bake until lightly browned, but still soft; about 15 minutes.
7. Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: 4 dozen cookiesCalories per serving: 120 cal per cookie

To Freeze the Cookie Dough
If you'd like to make the dough ahead of time to bake at your convenience, simply shape the dough into 1-inch balls and freeze on a cookie sheet, then transfer to a Ziploc freezer bag. They should freeze well up to 6 months. When ready to bake, allow them to come to room temperature while the oven is preheating before baking them. They may need and extra 2-3 minutes in the oven to bake.

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