I continued my year of baking with whole grains this week by trying out something my family loves — Chocolate Chip cookies. The King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book (I’m just going to refer to this as the WGBB) actually has TWO chocolate chip cookie recipes, one for chewy cookies and one for crunchy cookies. I decided to try out the chewy recipe, aptly entitled “Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies” (p.304). I opted for the chewy cookie in large part because I needed whole barley flour for the crunchy recipe and I didn’t have any on hand.
I had a few misgivings about this recipe starting out. First, it has corn syrup as one of its ingredients. I try to avoid anything with corn syrup in it. BUT… a cookie is what it is. It is going to have sugar in it (and in this case, chocolate!) Just because it is made with whole grains doesn’t mean it is healthy for you. So, I just rolled with the punches and got out the corn syrup. I also got my son all hyped up to make the cookies with me. He loves baking. Too bad I didn’t review the recipe first…but more on that later.
This recipe is (to me) extremely labor intensive in comparison with my trusted classic Tollhouse Cookie recipe. I realized that right off the bat when I had to melt the butter in a saucepan, and then add the brown sugar and heat it until it just began to boil.
My son was waiting eagerly to assist and I had to tell him that we would have to wait until the sugar mixture cooled to lukewarm before adding the rest of the ingredients. NOTE: the WGBB says you can do this step in the microwave, but I have absolutely no idea how long you microwave butter and sugar until it “just begins to bubble,” so I stuck with the tried and true stove top method.
Once the mixture cooled, my son came back and helped me add all of the other ingredients. Per the instructions, I put my standing mixer on stir while we added everything. One of the neat features of this recipe is that you add baking soda and baking powder, as well as cider vinegar, which makes the baking soda foam up. My son loved that part! I even took the extra time to weigh the flour rather than adding it by measuring cup (weighing is more accurate). Everything combined together and it looked, well, runny. Thinking I had made a mistake, I checked the recipe. Nope, everything was right. Next step, preheat the oven right? WRONG! First you have to refrigerate the dough overnight!!! (Note to Self: read the ENTIRE recipe before you start baking. I should have noticed that way earlier.) I had to tell my son the cookies would not be ready until the next day.
Fortunately, we have a second refrigerator in the basement with plenty of room for a standing mixer bowl of cookie dough.
Fast forward to the next day. I got the cookie sheets ready with parchment paper as instructed (it was either greasing them or the paper, and the paper was less messy). Another added bit of labor. Then I popped them in the oven, being sure to set the timer so that I could turn the cookies sheets at the halfway point (another added bit of labor!) I was also careful to let them cool for five minutes after taking them out of the oven before trying to take them off the cookie sheets. Seriously, this was the most labor intensive, finicky cookie recipe I ever made.
The dough (after refrigeration) reminded me strongly of those Pillsbury tubes of cookie dough you can buy in the grocery store, both in appearance and in flavor (although the whole grain dough is much darker, it has the same smooth texture). I was not sure the cookies would taste good.
Also, because I am working with a 1970s Easy Bake oven sized wall oven that has unreliable temperatures, the first batch came out a little dark. Turns out that the oven, which I set for 375 was actually just above 400. I didn’t check the interior oven thermometer before the first batch. (Second Note to Self: check the oven thermometer before baking anything!)
The Final Product
These cookies actually came out fine. They are very soft and chewy. I think they taste unpleasantly like corn syrup, but I’m willing to admit that may be my corn syrup prejudice talking. My husband and kids love them. My kids’ friends love them. They also do not taste like they are made with whole grains, which is a bonus. My little gnome cookie jar is almost empty a day after baking them! So I’m counting them as a success but I don’t think I will make this recipe again due to all the fiddly steps.
Next up: whole grain sandwich bread, crunchy chocolate chip cookies and Morning Glory muffins. not necessarily in that order.