keito potato

Whole-Wheat Gingersnaps
December 21, 2010, 8:37 pm
Filed under: desserts, recipes | Tags: , , ,

A new favorite Christmas cookie from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain.  When arranged on a holiday cookie tray, the decorated orange-cardamom star cookies might draw more visual attention, but these little ginger cookies are generating more comments among friends and family because of their assertive ginger flavor.


My only alteration of Kim Boyce’s recipe is in the finish.  Instead of rolling the balls of dough in plain sugar, I use my mom’s trick of rolling cookies in orange-sugar instead.  To make orange-sugar, simply combine orange zest with sugar in a food processor, and pulse to combine.  Using this method, you can make all sorts of interesting sugars in the future (like sugar cookies rolled in lime-zest-sugar).



Butter for the baking sheets

Wet Mix:

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsulphured (not blackstrap) molasses
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, from about a 2-1/2 inch piece
1 egg

Dry Mix:

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup sugar


1. In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugars, molasses, ginger, and egg.  Sift the dry ingredients over the butter-sugar mixture, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.  Stir to form a batter.

2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight for the flavors to marry.

3.  Position 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350F.  Rub 2 baking sheets lightly with butter.

4.  Make the orange-sugar by combining the orange zest and sugar in a food processor.  Pulse until combined and fragrant.  Place the orange-sugar in a shallow bowl.

5. Pluck out balls of dough about 1-tablespoon in size.  Roll them into balls, then toss them into the orange-sugar to coat.  Place the balls on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  The balls that don’t fit on this round of baking can be chilled until the oven is available for the next round of baking.

6.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through (top to bottom and front to back), until the color is dark and even all the way across the cookie.  Remove from the oven, slide a thin spatula under each of them, and transfer to a baking rack.

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
November 28, 2010, 12:35 pm
Filed under: desserts, recipes | Tags: , , , ,

An excellent version of a classic, and completely whole-wheat.

I discovered this chocolate chip cookie recipe in my favorite baking book, Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce.  Because she’s a top pastry chef, she uses whole-grain flours to show off the distinctive flavors and textures of the grains (rather than using whole grains in a stodgy way out of guilt).  Every recipe I’ve made from the book has created something exquisite, surprising and delighting guests with complex flavors and perfect texture.  This is one of the top cookbooks I recommend to friends.

The whole-wheat flour in these cookies creates a rich, nutty taste (almost fooling you into thinking you added nuts to the dough).  The combination of dark brown sugar and the right amount of salt creates a hint of that sensual salty-caramel taste in the dough.  None of my friends or family have ever guessed that these were whole wheat.  They taste too good to seem healthy, which means we need to work on erasing the culture’s myth that health and good flavor are enemies.  This is the perfect cookbook for reminding us, one recipe at a time, that the most healthful foods are usually the most delicious.

A single batch of cookies calls for 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.  Make sure you use  high-quality chocolate because the distinctive flavor will pair better with the other quality ingredients.  This week I made a double-batch using 16 ounces of chocolate, which means I used most of a gigantic 17.6-ounce chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s.  I was thrilled to use the majority of that surrealistically-enormous bar.




parchment paper for the baking sheets

Dry Mix:

3 Cups Whole-wheat flour (I sometimes use whole-wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Wet Mix:

8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Cup dark brown sugar
1 Cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons 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 oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.

2. 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.  Set aside.

3. In another large bowl, or a bowl of a standing mixer, add the butter pieces and both sugars.  Mix on low speed until they 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 is 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.

5. Scoop the dough into mounds and arrange on the parchment-lined baking sheets.  Ms. Boyce makes large cookies out of 3-tablespoon scoops (fitting 6 cookies per baking sheet).  I tried that once, but found the enormous cookies to be daunting.  Smaller cookies seem more inviting to me, so my scoops are roughly 1.5 – 2 tablespoons each (fitting 9 cookies per baking sheet).

6. Bake the cookies, 2 pans at a time, in the oven for 11-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.  Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.  Repeat with the remaining dough.