For the last two years, my every-chip cookies have been one of those things my co-workers expect come mid-December. I found a great chocolate chip cookie recipe in Allrecipes.com that I usually halve and change the mix-ins to include dried cranberries, pecans and pistachios in addition to semi-sweet and white chocolate chips. This year, I have been reworking my recipe using whole wheat pastry flour in order to sneak in more whole grains and fiber.
When I prepared the first batch, I substituted the 1 ¼ cups of all purpose flour the recipe calls for the same amount of whole wheat pastry flour. After combining the ingredients in my stand mixer per the directions, I noticed that the dough was not as cohesive as it would have been had I used the regular A/P flour, so I added an extra quarter cup of the whole wheat pastry flour. It seemed to do the trick; the cookies from that first batch turned up chewy, and moist. I took them to a party, and they disappeared off the tin fairly quickly, with enough compliments for me to decide to keep working with the ‘healthified’ version (in quotes, because – who are we kidding here – it’s still one cup of sugar and a stick of butter).
They don’t look that healthy, but I’d like to pretend otherwise.
This weekend, I prepared a batch of dough and baked half of it, omitting the decisive ¼ cup of whole wheat pastry flour and using the suggested amounts of chips instead of going crazy and throwing in chocolate and nuts without restraint. The mix this time around did not seem as thin/runny as it had the week before, so I just went with it ‘as is’. The cookies turned out flatter, but not necessarily crisper. This time around, DH asked if they had coconut in them, which led me to believe that the nuttiness of the whole grains, paired with the white chocolate, brought out that flavor. I still have cookie dough in my freezer from this recipe and really need to see if these are acceptable enough for gifts or if I should attempt to add extra flour to get something closer to the original cookies.
And that’s where my objective taste-testers come in.
I work with engineers, and two of them are probably the most vocal fans of my cookies. Girl engineer suggested I baked mice shaped cookies when we adopted a kitten. Boy engineer always asks for cookies for his birthday. Given that they love the original version, and yet can appreciate anything I put in front of them, I gave each two cookies and a photocopy of this very scientific poll:
Poor use of office supplies?
The jury was split on texture, with Girl Engineer stating that the cookie had structural defects (what?!) because it was very crumbly/brittle. Girl engineer also thought that the prior versions of the cookie had more chips and cranberries going in. Boy engineer found the texture and chip/stuff ratio adequate, and both of them thought they were good, but not as tasty as their predecessors. They were even called too sweet, which leads me to believe the semi-sweet chocolate plays off the sweetness of the cookie and white chips. A third impromptu/non-survey taking participant issued a ‘who cares, they are good’ opinion and agreed with DH as to the coconut aftertaste.
Given that these are holiday treats and not everyday – heck – every month indulgences, the general consensus is to keep the less healthy incarnation of the recipe with all-purpose flour. The minute they become a recurring obsession, I would revert to the whole wheat flour and try to find the right proportion of agave nectar to substitute the processed white sugar. In the meantime, I’ll sneak in an extra half cup of chips/cranberries/nuts to the half batch in my fridge and will increase the baking time to get a thinner but crunchier cookie.