Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

First of all, don't think this is some sort of health food post, ok? The whole-wheat adds some serious nutty, complex flavor that beats any tollhouse version. I'm on a "Good to the Grain" kick and this recipe called to me; I love taking old classics and baking them up with a bit of a modern twist. These cookies are big, thick, chewy on the edges, soft in the middle. Use good dark chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate chunks for these lovelies.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
by Kim Boyce

dry mix:
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

wet mix:
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cups dark brown sugar
1 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into 1/4 and 1/2 inch pieces

1. Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Although you can butter the sheets instead, parchment is useful for these cookies because the large chunks of chocolate can stick to the pan.
2. Sift the dry ingredient into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
3. Add butter and the sugars to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, mix just until the butter and sugars are blended, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is combined. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend on low speed until the flour in barely combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
4. Add the chocolate all at once to the batter. Mix on low speed until the chocolate is evenly combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then scrape the batter out onto a work surface, and use your hands to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
5. Scoop mounds of dough about 3 tablespoons in size onto the baking sheet, leaving 3 inches between them, or about 6 to a sheet.
6. Bake the cookies for 16-20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies are evenly dark brown. Transfer the cookies, still on the parchment, to the counter to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough. These cookies are best eaten warm from the oven or later the same day. They'll keep in an airtight container for 3 days.


Good to the Grain

I like to start my mornings with a good cookbook. I usually make breakfast and coffee and pick out some reading material. I know it's weird to look at food while eating food, I don't know what that's all about. I swear I enjoy breakfast more when it is accompanied by an inspiring cookbook.
Lately I've been reading "Good to the Grain" by Kim Boyce. Her book showcases all those lovely flours that most of us don't really know what to do with. What I like about this book is that it is coming from a taste, not purely health food, perspective on whole grains. She has a chapter for each different kind of flour which includes recipes that really capture the specific characteristics of that flour flavor, texture, etc. Her organization is also great because most of us don't have quinoa, teff, amaranth, and spelt flour hanging around at all times, so if you have a sack of buckwheat flour you can simply flip to that chapter and get baking. This way you can get a feel for each flour individually, learn how to work with it, and really let it shine.
I had a bag of buckwheat flour on hand, so I gave her Figgy Buckwheat Scones a whirl. However, I didn't have figs and they're expensive, but we do have jars and jars of homemade apple butter, so I used that instead. These turned out lovely, not super sweet, rich, and homey. I do think they would be even better with the fig butter because the flavors of buckwheat and figs are so similar, but in a pinch these would also turn out great with a good berry jam as well.

Figgy Buckwheat Scones

dry mix:
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

wet mix:
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1 cup fig butter (hollar at me if you want the recipe for this, ok?)

1. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
2. Add the butter to the dry mixture. Rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the butter is coarsely ground and feels like grains of rice. The faster you do this, the more the butter will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe.
3. Add the cream and gently mix it into the flour with a spatula until the dough is just combined.
4. Use a pastry scraper or spatula to transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. It will be sticky, so flour you hands and pat the dough into a rectangle. Grab a rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle that is 8 inches wide, 16 inches long, and 3/4 inch thick. If at any time the dough rolls off in a different direction, use your hands to square the corners and pat it back into shape. As you're rolling, periodically run a pastry scraper or spatula underneath to loosen the dough, flour the surface, and continue rolling. This keeps the dough from sticking. Flour the top of the dough if the rolling pin is sticking.
5. Spread the fig butter all over the dough. Roll the long edge of the dough up, patting the dough as you roll so that it forms a neat log 16 inches long. Roll the finished log so that the seam is on the bottom and the weight of the roll seals the edge.
6. Use a sharp knife to slice the log in half. Put the halves on a baking sheet or plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (The dough can be kept, covered, in refrigerator for 2 days.) While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. After 30 minutes, take both logs out of the refrigerator and cut each half into 6 equal pieces about 1 1/4 inches wide. Place each scone flat, with the spiral of the fig butter facing up, on a baking sheet, 6 to a sheet. Give the scones a squeeze to shape them into rounds.
8. Bake for 38 to 42 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The scones are ready to come out when their undersides are golden brown. They are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day.


Raisin Scones

I needed a homework distraction afternoon baking project. I decided to make scones from a recipe I bookmarked a while back. The original recipe calls for apricots, but I used raisins because that's what I had on hand. These would be yummy with chocolate chips or any other dried fruit.

Raisin Scones

(adapted from Orangette)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. table salt
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup sugar
½ cup raisins
½ cup half-and-half, plus more for glazing
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture, squeezing and pinching with your fingertips until there are no butter lumps bigger than a large pea. Add the sugar and dried apricots, and whisk to incorporate.

Pour the half-and-half into a small bowl, and add the egg. Beat with a fork to mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, and stir (with the fork; it works fine) to just combine. The dough will look shaggy and rough, and there may be some unincorporated flour at the bottom of the bowl. Don’t worry about that. Using your hands, gently press and shape the dough, so that it holds together in a messy clump. Turn the dough and any excess flour out onto a board or countertop, and press and gather and knead it until it just comes together. Ideally, do not knead more than 12 times. As soon as the dough holds together, pat it into a rough circle about 1 ½ inches thick. Cut the circle into 8 wedges.

Put the wedges on the prepared baking sheet. Pour a splash of half-and-half into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with a thin coat to glaze. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 small scones

Still here

I'm still here, I promise. I'm just trying to graduate college. I have some apple butter here for you. If you can believe it there are still some NC apples kickin' it round these parts. No recipe at the moment because I've got to do the homework thang, but I have future plans for scones...get excited.


English muffins and burgers


I had high hopes for these biscuits (literally). I was looking for flakey, cute towers. These turned out to be a nice, classic biscuit height and the flavor was lovely, but they didn't quite grow as prolifically as I had hoped.

I'm wondering if it could have been that I replaced shortening with butter or if cooking them in a cast iron would help.

I'm going to fool around with the recipe more and see if I can get the results I was envisioning, but until then, give these a try. They are scrumptious.


On the horizen

Aight. Get ready because on the Spoonfulls horizon we've got some exciting treats coming up.

There's been some recipes rolling around in my head recently, so I thought I'd list them out so that I don't forget them and so that I can hold myself more accountable to making them happen stat.

On the horizon...
1. english muffins
2. bagels
3. mile-high biscuits
4. granola
5. something with rhubarb
6. smoothies