These ones are good. And I know that 99.9% of chocolate chip cookies are good, but these are different – grown-up and interesting, like the chic mother of the ones you buy in paper bags from supermarket bakery sections. Not that they look exactly chic, in fact, they look exactly like any other big, lumpy round chocolatey cookie (i.e., I had to practice some serious distraction tactics not to eat them all as soon as they came out of the oven). But within the cakey interior lies deep, dark chocolate and a subtle, intriguing bittersweetness from the combination of treacly sugar and wholemeal flour.

The recipe comes from Kim Boyce’s ‘Good to the Grain’, which I’ve mentioned before, and may well again. In the introduction to this recipe, she says “It’s surprising just how delicious this whole-wheat version of an old classic is. Unlike many of the recipes in this book, this cookie is made with 100 percent whole-wheat flour, which gives it a distinctive, nutty taste.” In any other book, I’d read that sentence and think, ‘so – they’re going to taste weird, then’ but I knew I could trust Kim to deliver, plus, I’d read good things about this cookie on Orangette (reading this post again, her description of it as a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and a digestive is spot on). We took them on our first picnic of the year, where we ate them in the waning sunlight with homemade lemonade, fending off a group of large greyhounds. Ah, April, you have been good to us.

Chocolate chip cookies

Makes 20

I’ve rejigged the recipe slightly so it’s suitable for those of us unfortunate enough not to own a mixer. I also converted the measurements from American cup measures to grams – hey, you’re welcome – and I’m pretty sure I reduced the sugar somewhat in doing so; they were still sweet enough even for Tom, though you could always add a bit more regular sugar if you prefer.  

400g wholemeal flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

225g room temperature unsalted butter
200g dark brown sugar (I used Billington’s molasses sugar)
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

200g dark chocolate (I used 71%)

Preheat the oven to 180c and place the racks in the upper and lower thirds. Either line two (or more, depending on size) baking trays with greaseproof paper, or just butter them – I didn’t find that they stuck without paper.

Cream the butter and sugars together – you don’t need to be too thorough, they just need to amalgamate. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Mix in the vanilla. Sieve in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt (leave out the salt if you only had salted butter), but tip back into the bowl afterwards any bits of bran etc. left in the sieve.

Roughly chop the chocolate into chunks and stir in. Tip the batter out onto a work surface and use your hands to make sure all of the ingredients are fully incorporated (was this strictly necessary? It meant that instead of scraping out the bowl, I was scraping bits of dough off the worktop to eat, which is a bit less dignified, but I’ll leave that up to you).

Scoop mounds of dough of about 3 tbsp onto the baking trays (I used an ice-cream scoop). Flatten them slightly or not, depending on how thick you want the end result to be. You want no more than 6 cookies to an average sized tray, as they spread a bit.

Bake the cookies for 16-20 minutes (Kim is precise! Mine took 16) until firmish and darkened at the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Adapted from ‘Good to the Grain’ by Kim Boyce

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