An excellent version of a classic, and completely whole-wheat.
I discovered these crispy chocolate chip cookies in my favorite baking book, Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. Because she’s a top pastry chef, she uses whole-grain flours to show off the distinctive flavors and textures of the grains (rather than using whole grains in a stodgy way out of guilt). Every recipe I’ve made from the book has created something exquisite, surprising and delighting guests with complex flavors and perfect texture. This is one of the top cookbooks I recommend to friends.
The whole-wheat flour in these cookies creates a rich, nutty taste (almost fooling you into thinking you added nuts to the dough). The combination of dark brown sugar and the right amount of salt creates a hint of that sensual salty-caramel taste in the dough. None of my friends or family have ever guessed that these were whole wheat. They taste too good to seem healthy, which means we need to work on erasing the culture’s myth that health and good flavor are enemies. This is the perfect cookbook for reminding us, one recipe at a time, that the most healthful foods are usually the most delicious.
A single batch of cookies calls for 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate. Make sure you use high-quality chocolate because the distinctive flavor will pair better with the other quality ingredients. This week I made a double-batch using 16 ounces of chocolate, which means I used most of a gigantic 17.6-ounce chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s. I was thrilled to use the majority of that surrealistically-enormous bar.
crispy chocoplate chip cookies
3 Cups Whole-wheat flour (I sometimes use whole-wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into 1/2 and 1/2 inch pieces
1. Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
2. 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. Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, or a bowl of a standing mixer, add the butter pieces and both sugars. Mix on low speed until they 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.
4. 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.
5. Scoop the dough into mounds and arrange on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Ms. Boyce makes large cookies out of 3-tablespoon scoops (fitting 6 cookies per baking sheet). I tried that once, but found the enormous cookies to be daunting. Smaller cookies seem more inviting to me, so my scoops are roughly 1.5 – 2 tablespoons each (fitting 9 cookies per baking sheet).
6. Bake the cookies, 2 pans at a time, in the oven for 11-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.