Thursday, August 11, 2011
Last Tuesday, I woke up at 7:52am and made myself breakfast. I considered my options, I could toast the lone butt slice of bread lying forlorn on the bottom of the fridge, or pour myself some sugar frosted wheat cereal. Though the latter seemed more enticing, there was no plate, no bowl, no spoons in the kitchen. What could I eat it out of? My palm? My mouthwash cup?
I emptied the styrofoam box that held lunch leftovers and dropped a handful of shredded wheats into one side, drowned it in milk and ate each square with my fingers. I never eat breakfast standing up, but since I've been packing, wrapping and taping up all my belongings to for a new home, I didn't have a choice. The kitchen cabinets were stripped bare, and my mom had foolishly forgotten to leave out a bowl and a spoon on our moving day so we could fuel up for our big move.
Random items like pens, magazines, old letters, and eyeliner sharpeners, scattered the table, abandoned, because I had no idea where to pack them. Just to get to the couch, I had to snake through the maze of cardboard boxes that covered every flat surface in the living room. In hopes of killing the bedbugs who ruined my life last year and who may have found their new home in the pages of my cookbooks, I stored my books in garbage bags and left them on the balcony for a year, allowing the damned insects to die a painful death in the long winter months. Finally, last week, on a hot summer afternoon, I had a mini reunion with my cookbooks, my heart skipped a beat when I saw their beautiful front covers again.
As I recovered the chocolate cookbook that my friend Claudia bought for me, I yelped with glee as I flipped through the 167 glossy pages devoted to chocolate desserts in all forms conceivable: soft, sticky, runny, chewy, crunchy, oozing, cakey, and fudgy.
But I haven't been able to decide on what to make from my cookbooks yet, though I do have something else just for you, dear readers, I got whole wheat chocolate chunk cookies.
Repeat after me: whole wheat chocolate chunk cookies. Don't you love how that rolls off your tongue? Actually, it sounds ten times better in a British accent. Whole wheat chocolate chunk cookies. I'm licking my lips just thinking about them.
I baked nearly 3 dozen cookies and gave half a dozen to my aunt who promptly tore threw one particularly plump cookie while watching tv, talking to me and leaving a shower of crumbs on her floor. I gave one cookie to my friend, Liz. Her treat was still warm from the oven and because I was in a rush to meet her, it didn't have time to cool. So when she unwrapped it for a mandatory snack break, the chocolate had melted and clung to the foil, without hesitation, she smeared her cookie into the chocolate and popped it into her mouth. On the same day, my mom went to the movies alone—well not really alone, she brought two cookies with her and nibbled the first one ever so slowly, fighting the urge to finish the second one right away. Take that buttered popcorn!
These cookies are like those tall handsome men you eye from across the bar, with impeccable wavy hair like McDreamy, with a smile so striking, it gives you goosebumps (in a good way) and those piercing green eyes seem to beckon you to walk over and croon Oh hellooo there.
But before you run to your kitchen and dig out your measuring cups, consider yourself warned. These are lethal. Lethal in a sense that they will permeate your walls with the irresistible aromatic combination that is butter, sugar and chocolate (Essence of Butsulate? Harhar, how I amuse myself). Your home will still smell like these cookies hours later. And if you dare bite into one, it will make you weak in the knees, its thick exterior gives way to a soft, chewy cookie, riddled with bittersweet chocolate, the whole wheat flour adds a dimension of subtle nuttiness and complexity you don't normally expect from an innocent looking chocolate chip cookie.
And while we're at it, go get some ice cream (you need to cool down after talking to that handsome fellow anyway), scoop a hefty portion onto a cookie, press another cookie roughly the same size on top, and treat yourself to an ice cream sandwich--it is summer after all.
So friends, go bake yourself a batch of these dangerous cookies. Meanwhile, I'll be scouring my cookbooks for the next best thing.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce via Orangette
I used cold butter, as indicated in the original recipe; this helps prevent the cookies from spreading too much in the oven and yield a thicker cookie. You can use butter at room temperature if you wish, but do chill the dough at least 1 hour before. Although Kim Boyce says that the recipe isn't designed for the dough to be chilled, I learned from here that cookie dough matures its flavor ten fold when its chilled overnight, and really, what's better than having cookies in the morning?
I don't have a stand mixer (yet), nor are my mixing bowls large enough to safely cream the butter and sugars without the ingredients spraying in various directions. So I used a wooden spoon to blend the butter and sugar, I'll be honest, it was an arduous task, but worth the effort. I sat on the couch and watched tv during this step! If you do have a handheld beaters or stand mixer, lucky you! They will work wonderfully.
Lastly, I prefer to use chocolate chunks in cookies. 1. Because I like chopping up chocolate bars. 2. I like how each cookie has various sizes of chocolate and the little pieces make it seem like you have more chocolate. Also, I like combining salty and sweet, so I added just a touch sea salt to the top of every cookie dough before they went into the oven.
Yield: Depending on the size of your cookies, it varies. I made 30 cookies, though I think the original recipe makes 20 cookies.
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes (see note above)
1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces (about 1 cup) dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa content), roughly chopped into ¼- and ½-inch pieces, or bittersweet chips
1. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, and whisk to blend.
2. Put the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, mix just until the butter and sugars are blended, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the bowl, and blend on low speed until the flour is just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the chocolate, and mix on low speed until evenly combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and then use your hands to turn and gently massage the dough, making sure all the flour is absorbed. Chill dough for at least 12 hours.
3. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. (If you have no parchment, you can butter the sheets.)
4. Scoop mounds of dough about 3 tablespoons in size onto the baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between each cookie (I fit 6 on my baking sheet). It helps to use an ice cream scoop here, this way, your cookies will turn out fairly uniform in size. Sprinkle each with a smidgen of sea salt.
5. Bake the cookies for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies are evenly browned. Transfer the cookies, still on parchment, to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.