Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Baking with whole-grain flours: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies / Šokolaadiküpsised

One of my recent cookbook acquisitions is Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Wheat Flours. Kim Boyce is a former pastry chef, who has been experimenting with using much more whole-grain flours instead of refined white flours/wheat flours. The book is divided into 13 chapters, each focusing on one grain/ingredient - whole-wheat flour, amaranth flour, barley flour, buckwheat flour, corn flour, kamut flour, multigrain flour, oat flour, quinoa flour, rye flour, spelt flour, teff flour, as well as a chapter on jams and compotes. Plenty of good stuff in there to keep me busy baking over the summer!

The first recipe I tried was for chocolate chip cookies. Way too sweet for my Estonian tastebuds (as most American cake recipes out there), but delicious enough for me to give it another go just a few days later. I've changed the quantities into metric, and used only about 2/5th of the amount of white sugar in Kim's recipe. This had no effect to the flavour - these were still very sweet and delicious cookies. My cookies were much smaller - one heaped Tbsp of cookie dough yields one large cookie. If you want to follow Kim Boyle's advice, take three Tbsp of dough per cookie :)

These stay nice and crisp for about three days in a air-tight cookie jar.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Šokolaadiküpsised täisterajahust)
Yields about 30 cookies

Wet mixture:
225 g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes
150 g dark brown sugar (dark muscovado)
100 g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry mixture:
420 g whole-wheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
0.5 tsp finely ground sea salt

200 g dark chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate (I used Callebaut)

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a baking sheet with a parchment paper.

Place butter and sugar into the mixing bowl fitted with the beater blade or paddle attachment. Mix until just combined.
Add eggs, one at the time, mixing until each egg is fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract.
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, mix and then stir quickly into the egg-butter-sugar mixture.
Finally, add all the chocolate and stir until combined.
Take tablespoonfuls of the cookie dough and place heaps on the baking sheet. Leave plenty of room between the heaps of dough, as it spreads during baking. (I baked about 8 cookies at a time, 4 baking sheets in total).
Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, until the cookies are nicely golden brown on top.
Take out of the oven, let cool for a minute, then carefully transfer the cookies to a metal rack to cool completely (they'll crisp up during the cooling process).


Joanna said...

Thanks for the link to past buckwheat recipes, they are going to come in very useful in the months ahead as we have just planted a small field with buckwheat and hope to at least be able to harvest something from it.

You mention buckwheat porridge, how do you usually make this? We have found that buckwheat on its own is a bit strong for our tastes and so mix it with rice. We got put off buckwheat partly because we were fed buckwheat rather too many times one year when we visited Latvia and we couldn't quite face much of it since but I would certainly like to give your recipes a go.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Now this is my kind of choco chip cookie. I love buckwheat and the flavor it gives to baked goods. Will definitely try this one!

Agnes said...

I love those cookies, too. I have made them once and can't even remember having used caster sugar - maybe I omitted it altogether? (I, like you, find most american desserts too sweet). I'll see waht I think next time...

The cookies are delicious, and I imagine them at a late summer picnic with coffe and fruits...yum!

Jeanne said...

Oh I love this idea! Yo ucould even convince yourself you are eating a health food ;o)

Pille said...

Joanna- buckwheat is such an exciting crop to grow - hope it works out for you! When I make buckwheat porridge, I first fry the groats in some butter/oil, season with salt and add water. Simmer until done. But I use ready-roasted broken buckwheat groats.

Meeta - I must agree with the author - wholewheat flour and chocolate work really well together!

Agnes - how cool!!! Have you tried - and can recommend - anything else from the book?

Jeanne - I know!!! Replace white flour with wholewheat flour and immediately a choc chip cookie becomes a healthy snack :D

Joanna said...

Thanks, will give it a go

Agnes said...

@Pille: I made the oatmeal pancakes several times and love the way the gentle oat flavor shines through. But I don't have the book myself yet, so I anticipate many more wonderful baked goods coming in the future (once I get it)! It seems that Kim Boyce has a real gift for making the different whole grains show their best and add complexity and flavor, and the book is a definite musthave for me. I would love to hear what you think of some of the other recipes when you try them - especially regarding their sweetness!

Sara said...

I got this book nearly a year ago for my birthday and I love it! I almost made the barley scones tonight. Next time I'll try your version. Must be because I am American, but I did not find them to be too sweet. However, I'd love to try a lower sugar version!

Pille said...

Joanna - please do!

Agnes -thanks for the tip re: oatmeal pancakes. Have got all the ingredients, so I can make them soon. And I'll keep you posted about my future recipe trials from this book (esp. re: the sweetness ;))

Sara - that's the thing with sugar. Of course they're even crispier with more sugar, but you'll get perfectly - and actually very - good cookies with A LOT let sugar. (I find it especially hard with cakes - many of the recipes are just cloyingly too sweet. On the other hand, American readers have commented that they loved my cakes, but they would add more sugar next time :D)

Pange said...

just baked these, but i only made half the recipe and did smallish sized cookies. delicious!
(and i'm american but married to finn so i added just a *little* more sugar)

Pille said...

Pange, I'm so glad you liked them - even if you cheekily Americanized the amount of sugar ;)