My husband gave me one of the most frivolous but wonderful things for my birthday this year. It was back in June, but I have gotten somewhat out of the habit of blogging, so I didn’t think to post about it when I first received it. Recently, Joe Pastry started a series of posts on flour, discussing extraction rates, grades, and protein contents, and it got me thinking that I really should start experimenting more with my new toy. What is it?
So, how do you make stone ground whole wheat chocolate chip cookies? Well, first, you go to the local organic flour mill, and pick up a big bag of hard wheat berries. Then, you weigh out the amount you need for your recipe, and dump them in the top of your mill, put a bowl under the spout, flick the switch, and watch the flour come out the other end.
It’s kind of fun to watch. Ok, it’s really fun to watch. Well, maybe you have to be a bit of a nerd to think it’s fun to watch, but I’m ok with that.
The rest of the process is just like any other chocolate chip cookies. Get your mise en place together. I started with the Betty Crocker Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies and started tweaking the recipe a bit. I think I’ve made these 3 times now, and I’m still not quite satisfied with them, but my husband tells me I’ve perfected the chocolate chip cookie, so what do I know?
125 g unsalted butter
100 g shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
250 g wheat berries (aka about 245 g whole wheat flour, by the time you’ve lost a bit to the chute/stones)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups-ish chocolate chips
While your mixer is creaming the butter, shortening, and sugars, mix up the flour, baking soda and salt. Then add the egg and vanilla to the sugar mixture. Gradually add the dry to the buttery, mixing as you go. Stir in the chocolate chips at the end. Scoop it out onto cookie sheets. To get “perfectly” round cookies, the simplest thing is to use a disher like Lunch Lady Doris would use for mashed potatoes. As for the cookie sheet, I always use my silpat for baking cookies, but parchment or even just the plain cookie sheet works fine.
I did a little bit of experimenting with the dough at this point. One sheet, I put in the oven right after scooping. I also did 2 sheets that I’d stashed in the fridge before baking. One was in the fridge for 20 minutes, and the other one was in there for 10. I think the one that turned out the best was the one in there for 10, and baked for 8 minutes at 375. The one that had been in the fridge for 20 minutes took too long to bake – closer to 12 minutes – and I think that resulted in crispier cookies, whereas I prefer them a little soft.
I’m thinking the next time I bake these, I might make the dough a day ahead and leave it in the fridge overnight, prior to dishing. I’m thinking the pan getting cold is what caused the 20-minutes-in-the-fridge batch to be less than ideal. I want to give the flour a bit of time to hydrate and soften, prior to baking, and see if it makes any noticeable difference in the end result.
So far I’ve used home stone ground flour for 100% whole wheat bread and whole wheat brownies. The brownie recipe was pulled straight from King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Brownies. They were good, but I forgot the chocolate chips, so I’ll definitely have to make them again! I want to tweak the bread recipe a bit, so I’ll post about my experiments here the next time I make a batch.
Oh, and how are the cookies? Crispy on the edges, soft in the middle (at least until day 3 or 4), and they almost taste a little bit fruity. The flour itself is sweet, so I’m thinking about cutting back on the sugar a little bit, but I’ll have to think about how to balance that adjustment out.