23 February 2013

That Cookie

Well, I'm late with it but joining the club. To the blogosphere, it goes without saying that there's been quite a following of Kim Boyce's whole wheat chocolate chip cookie, the cookie that trumps other traditional chocolate chip cookies and tastes delicious while being made with only whole wheat flour. So I wasn't sure I should post about them to begin with if I made them and add to the masses. We are always trying to come up with something brand new anyway. And also I was a little nervous to make them to begin with and I'd delayed for a few reasons-one being that I use whole wheat pastry flour so much I don't typically stock whole wheat flour itself. Then I needed more chocolate. Well, finally I had enough of everything, all together on hand at once, and started my research.

I'd poked around all the other blogger's entries who'd tried them and some who'd taken their own spin. Some that used white whole wheat flour, some that used whole wheat pastry, some hard whole wheat. Some that used cold butter as instructed, and others that followed the trend of creaming room temp butter and then chilling the dough before baking off the little balls off in the hot oven. Well, I found myself slightly confused about all these caveats others had found, as well as some people cried failure and claimed theirs came out like dry pucks, and I began fearing just starting them. But by then it was 3:30 and if this sweet treat was going to happen on a mellow Friday afternoon it was going to be within the ne

So I just started, using the recipe as Kim wrote it, except I halved it, as I am not about to have 30 cookies lying round my little apartment. Now halving bodes well in this recipe as you are now required 1 egg to one stick of butter to one cup sugar (half brown, half white)...no half eggs and other jazz like that. I was careful not to over-mix the dough and follow Kim's instructions to the tee. I had no time to wait for butter to soften, so pure whole wheat flour and cold butter it was, and into the oven they went after an itty bitty sprinkling of coarse sea salt. I made the dough, then baked 5 off at once, scooping the rest into ten more "ready balls" to chill for the coming days. As I was doing this, I smelled the 5 baking and thought, "well, hey, it does smell nice, so that seems to be on the right track." There was a depth there.

And as mine were a bit smaller than the recommended 3 Tablespoon scoop of dough per cookie, they baked for 16 minutes exactly, the lower end of what Kim instructs. As the time edges towards 15 minutes, don't walk away. Take a cue from the edges and the coloring. Kim instructs to look for them to be turning a darkish brown, and I really don't like a raw feeling cookie. And yet, an over-baked one isn't good either. So there is a precise moment of chemical transformation that you must watch for here.

And then, upon snatching them from the oven, I thought, in addition to the lovely cracks and big chocolate chunks visible on the surface at first glance, one of the most attractive things about this cookie is the fact that it does indeed turn a deep gold/brown. Lastly, I'm going to emphasized that chopped chocolate chunks (good chocolate of the Scharffen Berger variety) are essential here.

And the verdict? Ed and I liked these a lot. You get a crispy edge, a chewy center and melty chocolate, and and as a bonus, despite having a cup of sugar, they are not of the super sweet confection zone in that they ask you to grab at them. They are more like super elegant and sophisitcated and actually ask you to restrain. Maybe that's the whole wheat at work.

But the best thing was, I really haven't baked a chocolate chip cookie in a long time. Doing so was like a reminder of a classic, available simplicity, updated with a heady coolness. Or shall I say, warmth.


Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Makes 15

Parchment for the baking sheet

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur)
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
scant 1/2 t sea salt

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c dark brown sugar (I made my own with 1/2 T molasses and  1/2 c regular cane sugar)
1 egg
1 stick unsalted butter cut into tiny cubes
1 t vanilla
4 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped into 1/2 and 1/4 inch chunks
Coarse sea salt to sprinkle

Racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Oven to 350 degrees. Parchment on the baking sheet or sheets, depending on how many you want to bake at once.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, pouring any grain remaining in the sifter, into the bowl.

Set up your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Toss in cold butter and both sugars. Mix on LOW just until they are blended. Scrape down sides. Add the egg, mixing on low to incorporate fully. Scrape. Add vanilla, still low.

Add flour mix, blending on low until just combined, 30 seconds. Scrape. Add chocolate all at once. Mix until evenly combined on low. Scrape sides and bottom.

Now scrape batter onto a work surface. For me that was a piece of plastic wrap spread on my counter top. Use your hands to incorporate ingredients, then scoop out 2 T or 3 T mounds of dough and place onto the parchment. Depending on your sheet size, try not to fit more than 6 on a sheet. Leave a good 2 inches between them. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired.

Bake for 16-20 minutes depending on size. Rotate sheets halfway through. Look for the cookies to be evenly dark brown with crisping edges and softish centers still. Transfer from pan to rack, still on parchment.

They are best after a bit of cooling on a rack but still a teeny bit warm.

While they bake, make all your extra dough into balls and store. The balls keep 5 days in fridge wrapped or covered, or longer in freezer if flash frozen and stored in freezer bag.