A couple weeks ago, Andrew and I went to the New England Mobile Book Fair, which is an awesome discount book store. The cookbook section is the biggest I have ever seen, so naturally I was in heaven. Especially when I found out that some of the cookbooks were on sale for 40% off. I came home with the Flour bakery cookbook, Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table, and Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain (believe me, it took a lot of effort to pare down my selections to just those three). I'll be doing posts about all these books as I try them out, but for today, I'm focusing on Good to the Grain. I have heard a lot about this book, which has earned rave reviews from some of my favorite food bloggers. The book focuses on baking with whole grain flours, which is a topic that gets very little attention in other cookbooks. Different grains have a great variety of flavors and textures that can add a lot of baked goods, as long as the recipes are created with care (you can't really substitute different flours without knowing their properties really well). The recipes in Good to the Grain are supposed to be fantastic, and I'm excited to finally have a copy of the book.
Yesterday I baked a batch of the whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. I had a craving for sweets and figured I'd see how the whole wheat cookies compared to my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. This is the only cookie recipe I've tried that uses cold butter for creaming with the sugar instead of room temperature. I'm sure there's a good reason for that, though I don't know what it is. But it doesn't really matter - the cookies are great! They are sweet and chocolatey, nice and chewy in the middle but crisp at the edges, just the way I like. You should make these, and not because they are made with whole wheat. They're just really good chocolate chip cookies.
Whole wheat chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from Good to the Grain
Makes about 22 cookies
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into small (1/4 - 1/2-inch) pieces
Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 deg F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. If there are bits of grain or salt that remain in the sifter at the end, pour those into the bowl as well. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together at low speed just until they are blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and mix each until they are combined. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and add all of the chocolate. Mix until chocolate chunks are evenly distributed throughout the dough and then transfer the dough onto a work surface. Use your hands to mix and make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated (sometimes the stand mixer doesn't completely mix the stuff at the bottom of the bowl).
Scoop balls of dough (about 3 tbs in size) onto the baking sheet, with about 3 inches between them (you'll fit about 6 on each sheet). Bake cookies for 16-20 minutes, rotating pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the cookies are evenly golden brown. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool and repeat with remaining dough.
Note: If you want to save some cookie dough to bake later, you can scoop it out and refrigerate the balls of dough for about a week (wrapped in plastic). You can also freeze the balls of dough on a tray until firm and then transfer them to a freezer bag.