Monday, July 19, 2010

Wholesome Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love chocolate chip cookies. And what's more satisfying and comforting than homemade cookies fresh out of the oven? I'm not sure. After I bake a few to eat, I scoop the rest out onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Then I freeze them, and store the frozen cookie dough blobs in a ziplock bag in the freezer to have just a few at a time whenever I want. Since I haven't eaten sugar in such a long time, it doesn't take much to get my fix. Understandably, Anjali loves cookies, too, so I have been adding the chocolate to individual cookies (for me) right before bake time so that she can have some chocolate-free. Come to think of it, she would probably love the addition of a few raisins in hers! Baking small frozen cookie dough blobs takes hardly any more minutes to bake than room-temperature dough. But, oh! How gratifying!

Here is my more wholesome version of the Joy of Cooking's "Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe.
Whisk together dry ingredients:
1 cup sprouted spelt flour (or bulgar wheat, freshly ground!)*
1/2 tsp baking soda
Blend till fluffy:
1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup (or more, to taste; remember: I don't like food very sweet) Sucanat or Rapadura sugar**
Add, and blend till well combined:
1 pasture-raised egg
1/2 tsp seasalt
1 tsp vanilla
Add, in increments, dry to wet ingredients.
Drop by the spoonful onto a greased, or parchment lined, cookie sheet.
Press into each cookie dough blob right before baking
(or after a few minutes in the oven, if the cookie dough blobs are frozen):
1/2 square (or more) high quality chocolate per cookie, chopped into pieces ~ right now for cookies I love Alter Eco's Dark Chocolate Velvet, with its "delicate touch of milk"
Bake at 375 until golden ~ soft in the middle and a little crisp around the edges.

*Even whole grain flours are not nutritiously sound unless they have been soaked overnight with an acid (like vinegar or whey), sprouted, or soured, as in sourdough. Taking the grain through these processes mimics germination. This activates the seed to release its nutrients and de-activates its anti-nutrients, called phytates. When eaten, phytates can spark or exacerbate digestive problems, reactions and sensitivities, and actually pull nutrients out of the body to process the grain. (Scientific details about that here.)
Sprouted flour is really nice to work with ~ it's light and fluffy, not heavy and sawdusty like some whole grain flours, and works well when converting many regular recipes to healthier versions. It doesn't compromise texture. It can be found online, but is rather pricey (though not bad if used only for the occasional cookie or biscuit recipe; for other things, like breads, just soak non-sprouted flour overnight). I use spelt instead of wheat much of the time for health reasons since it doesn't have as much gluten. For cookies and biscuits it doesn't seem to matter. But fortunately, if you don't already have sprouted flour in your freezer, bulgar wheat ~ used to make tabbouleh ~ is sprouted, too. And you can find it at most natural food stores; grind it at home for this recipe using a good coffee grinder (or grain mill or high-quality blender).
**These sweeteners are cane sugar with the natural minerals left intact (Rapadura is a brand name), making the occasional sweet treat more nutrient dense.

As always, I recommend organic ingredients. If you can buy them from people you know and trust, all the better!

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