Monday, February 10, 2014

Back to Basics 19 - Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Behold, the humble chocolate chip cookie. Is there a better dessert? I think not. You can make it crispy or chewy, thin or fat, fill it with whatever you want, and it comes in a nice little convenient package. All you need is one free hand to savor it and you're good to go.
My favorite is thick and chewy, with dark chocolate chips and nuts. And to make us feel less guilty, we make it with whole wheat flour and oats, we also replace some of the butter with canola oil. Perfection.
Now, stop drooling over that picture and let's see how you can make these.


-1/2 cup oats, any kind you have on hand. Just not that stuff that comes in a packet with other add-ons.
-1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour. Pastry flour contains less gluten than regular flour which will help make your cookie more tender. This is especially important when using whole wheat because it can make certain things a little more dense. I would definitely recommend getting it, they sell it with the other flours at all grocery stores. But if you really don't want to, regular whole wheat flour is fine.
-1/2 teaspoon of baking powder (try finding an aluminum free one)
-1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
-1//4 teaspoon of salt
-1/3 cup of lightly packed brown sugar (learn how to make your own)
-1/4 cup of honey
-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature. I like to cut mine into chunks first, they'll come to room temp faster.
-3 tablespoons of canola oil
-1 and 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
-1 large egg, also at room temperature
-3/4 cup pecans, chopped as big as the chocolate chips
-1 cup of dark chocolate chips, or whichever kind you like. Dark is a little better for you.

-In a food processor or blender, grind the oats until they become fine powder. My food processor had an issue with this because the amount of oats was too small to weigh down and become powder, I don't really know how to explain it to you but either way, I added the flour and it helped.

-To the oats and flour, whisk in the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

-In a separate bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, honey, oil, and vanilla extract together. Beat until smooth.

-Add in the egg and mix well again.

-Add in the dry ingredients and beat until SORT OF well combined. This is when there's a danger you could overmix the batter and make the cookies tough.
What I like to do so I make sure I don't overmix is to mix the dry ingredients in, but not totally to the point where they are well mixed. You'll still see some dry spots. Then I stir in the pecans and chocolate chips and mix that until it JUST comes together.
This is because if you mix in the dry ingredients and the batter comes together perfectly, then when you are stirring in the add-ons, you'll be mixing it more than necessary. Does that make sense? I hope so.

-Refrigerate this batter for at least 1 hour or overnight. I've made these before with 1 hour of resting and they were good. This one I left in the fridge overnight and they were REALLY GOOD. That is definitely what I will be doing from now on. The New York Times had an article on the Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie and they let the same batter rest for 12, 24 and 36 hours. The 36-hour cookie was the clear winner. I actually tried this at home and I have to agree. The cookies were insane. Leaving them to rest for that long allows the wet ingredients to really hydrate the dry and it sort of caramelizes everything and makes them so much better. The cookie gets a little crispy on the outside while chewy and soft on the inside. Another bonus is when you scoop them onto a cookie sheet, the cookie holds its shape because it's still cold so they don't flatten out in the oven. I HATE FLAT COOKIES.

-This is what the dough looked like in the morning.
-Turn your oven on 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

-With a tablespoon or ice cream scoop, place them on the baking sheet. Space them out so they don't touch when baking.

-Bake them in batches until just golden, about 7-9 minutes.

-Cool them in the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

-Try to resist the urge to eat them now. Yes, they'll be ooey and gooey but once you let them cool a little bit, they won't be so runny. It sets up just perfectly.

Note: To store these, place them in an air-tight container in between layers of parchment paper.

Yields 24 cookies
Nutritional Info: 124 calories, 9g fat, 3g sat, 3g mono, 13mg cholesterol, 12g carbs, 7g added sugar, 2g protein, 1g fiber, 51mg sodium, 28mg potassium.

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