This weekend I made the best cookies I’ve ever made in my life. For someone who made cookies to sell in a restaurant for years that’s a pretty big statement.
For years my “go to” chocolate chip cookie has been Kim Boyce‘s Chocolate Chip Cookies from her book Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours. Published in 2010 she was one of the first noted pastry chefs with a restaurant background to seriously experiment with whole grain baking. The book ended up winning a James Beard award and for many of us was our first template to baking with whole grains. The first recipe I tried in the book was for Chocolate Chip Cookies. Strangely enough, I was never a fan of chocolate chip cookies, even as a kid. They were always too sweet for me so I thought maybe the whole wheat would temper the sweetness. Not that I really needed a way to make another food delicious for my palate but, well, you know.
The first time I made them I think I ate about ten in the first twenty-four hours after they came out of the oven. They were perfect. Not hippie-esque in any way which, of course, was my fear. They were exactly the right sweetness level, but the satisfaction was like they were food, not dessert. Everyone who ate them thought I was a genius. (Thank you Kim!) Besides sweetness the texture of her cookies was wonderful. The type you can make chewy or crisp by just changing the cooking time.
So last weekend after a long yard sale day I thought I’d make my crew a treat. I rummaged through my pantry looking for the whole wheat flour and the only bag I could find was our local Pasadena mill Grist and Toll‘s Hard White Wheat Pastry Flour. I’d never made the cookies with either freshly milled flour, which can act differently in a recipe, or with the more finely milled pastry flour. I was a bit thrown off my game but I continued, thinking how bad can it be? Not bad at all. Sort of like crack as it turns out. As they were baking I poked a cookie. It was ethereally soft. When they came out of the oven they had that cracked sugar sheen on the top. My friend Lucy was the first to grab one. She looked like a four year old eating her first great cookie. I used farmers’ market eggs which were kind of huge so the dough was a bit wetter than usual. I had used all the flour so I added a little Daughter’s Granola. Not so much to make them granola cookies but just enough to soak up a little wetness. That’s why you see a few little beads of amaranth in the photo above. I also used my own brown sugar. Frustrated by how light dark brown sugar is lately, I started making my own by adding molasses to white cane sugar. It’s very moist.
Recipe adapted from Kim Boyce’s Chocolate Chip Cookies in Good to the Grain