Monday, March 14, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Thankfully for me, the "whole grain" movement is something I can joyfully welcome with open arms and hungry belly. It is though I have a genetic predisposition to crave the hearty, earthy tastes of pretty much any grain. Rice (in any of its varied forms) and I are soulmates, but I will also happily devour bulgur, quinoa, and couscous. I adore a hearty sprinkling of wheat germ on ice cream or as a toasty topping to homemade macaroni and cheese, and find flax seed on oatmeal (preferably steel-cut oats as prepared by my lovely mother-in-law) to be an excellent addition to an otherwise "not crunchy enough for me" dish.
Thus, it was pretty much no surprise to me that I wouldn't have a problem enjoying the nutty flavor of whole wheat pasta or fully appreciate the depth of flavor added to a baked good made with whole wheat flour. I think they're easily as tasty as their pasty, less nutritious counterparts-I'm talking to you, white rice, plain semolina pasta, and, HORRORS, white bread!
In order to continue to bolster my virtuous culinary ways, I decided to purchase Good to the Grain, a relatively recent cookbook that got quite a lot of great reviews in the blogging world and elsewhere last spring and summer. It's a baking cookbook, so there aren't a lot of recipes for whole grain salads and sides, but it's still very diverse, including sections for several different kinds of whole grain flours. Of course, as is usual with my cooking goals, it took me some time before attempting a recipe. Tons of them look great, but after reading this post on Orangette, my favorite food blog of all, I decided that whole wheat chocolate chip cookies were definitely the best place to start.
The results? AMAZING. Huge, delicious, cookies with a wheat-y, slightly subtle taste that made me almost feel as though I really was eating something good for me. Which they're not, I must admit, even though I tell myself that bittersweet chocolate is actually full of antioxidants and is therefore justifiable. Speaking of the chocolate, there is something so much nicer about finding slivers and uneven chunks of chocolate throughout the cookie, rather than perfectly formed chocolate chips. It gives the cookies a nice dimension and better texture, I think. I also can't underestimate the size-they're giant. I'm pretty sure that if you wrapped one or two up they'd be a perfect thing to take on a long hike. To serve as the kind of snack you might need in an emergency.
I'm fairly certain this version of a chocolate chip cookie is now my favorite. It's going to take a lot to convince me that there is something better out there! I suggest you make at least two batches, immediately!
*By the way, I didn't even crack open the cookbook, but instead followed the recipe on Molly's site, though I stuck to Kim Boyce's original specifications.