Baking | Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt and Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies … cookie l♥v

“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.”
Robert Fulghum

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt and Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies 1Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt and Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies … Cookies Cookies Cookies. The events of the past week asked for something comforting … the call was for cookies! Last months Daring Bakers challenge was meant to awaken the cookie monster in us, which it did. Sadly,  I never did get down to posting them.

Pistachio & Craisin Cookies Excuses? Plenty and thankfully not too lame. Exams! Then the internet has played truant. The service provider refused to acknowledge the basic problem. A month later, after trying every solution under the sun, they finally agreed to redo the wiring {which is what we asked for in the first place}. Frustrating but true, like so many other things in life. I am happy to be back to blogging with less stress.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt and Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies Of late, I’ve been bitten by the brownie monster and it was just  a matter of time before I hit cookie mode. Daring Bakers in November set me off. Made two lots {downgraded from an ambitious 5-6}. Then the posting date passed by with intermittent internet and these poor cookies went into drafts. With the net now up and racing, I thought I’d better get them out before the bells begin to jingle louder. Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt and Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies and Gingerbread Men CookiesWhen the kidlets were younger, December always woke up the cookie monster in me. The jar was never empty. I was always elbow deep in dough {well almost}. My days {and often nights} would go in backbreaking baking, frosting cookies, doing stain glass cookies, hanging dozens onto the tree, making dozens more for the kids, their friends, for orders etc.

Wholewheat Gingerbread Men Cookies 2Then the ‘forever hungry for pretty Christmas cookies’ kids grew up. I fell to easier and more practical cookies to make. I hardly ever do cookies that need dressing up and fussing over. Wholewheat Gingerbread Men Cookies are an exception though; I really enjoy doing these. {Ceramics courtesy Urban Dazzle}

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt Now I consider myself lucky if freshly baked cookies even get a chance to ‘cool completely‘! Before I know it, dirty grubby teen ‘lad’ fingers hesitatingly come forward to grab a few, while the older sister bites gently into them. The two are ALWAYS game for cookies.

Pistachio & Craisin Cookies 1I started off pretty early in November. First out of the oven were Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies. Simple, crisp and delicious with craisins and pistachios adding beautiful flavour. The craisins were orange flavoured, so slight hints of orange teased the palette! Good beginning!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt 3Then I happened to see these chippers on a beautiful blog  Reclaiming Provincial. I instantly knew they were about to happen in the near future, pretty near future. I mentally ticked off everything I loved about them …

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt They are from a book I long to own {read yet another book} Good to the Grain, Kim Boyce. Wholewheat flour only. Brown sugar too. Seemed like a good deal! They certainly were! Watch them as they bake though … they can go from brown to dark brown in a heartbeat.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt 6My cookies didn’t flatten like the ones I saw. Maybe because our Indian wholewheat is heaps different from the American whole wheat pastry flour {I presume the original recipe uses wholewheat pastry flour}. Maybe the egg I used was a tad small. Whatever, but these are darned delicious cookies!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea SaltI did add a drizzle of honey; maybe I could have added another. There’s plenty of time for experimenting because these are good cookies and are going to show up more often! Sorry for the delay in this Daring Bakers post Peta.

Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking| Whole Wheat & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies … better late than never!

“Maybe now I`ll be able to have a couple of extra cookies or ice cream after dinner without feeling so guilty. Or, without my wife yelling at me.”
David Larsen

Whole Wheat & Oat Chocolate Chip CookiesEvery new year begins with indulgence as the daughters birthday is on the 2nd of Jan! We enjoy this guilty pleasure {’twas Chocolate Orange Almond Gateau this year}. Predictably, the next day I’m hit by New Year guilt pangs. It’s time to think everything on a healthier note, especially to give the year a good beginning blah blah blah…Whole Wheat & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies High on my list is plain flour substitutes,  as in my mind ‘plain flour = empty calories’. Extended vacations with growing kids means 24 X 7 Cookie Monsters, A L W A Y S    H U N G R Y! For me healthy doesn’t necessarily mean knocking the butter out of the cookies during winter … butter has important work to do in this incessant cold weather we are braving.Whole Wheat & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

The primary difference between different types of flour are the quantity of the wheat germ and bran that are milled with the flour, and the type of wheat used for the flour, and the relative protein content of that wheat.  Whole wheat flour is simply wheat that has been milled into flour with some, or all, of the germ and bran still attached.  Additionally, different varieties of wheat contain different amounts of protein, and the more protein is contained in the flour, the higher gluten it has. {Source:Hubpages.com}

India is traditionally a country where whole wheat flour {aata} is found in virtually every home, and freshly made whole wheat flat breads {rotis, chapatis, parathas etc} often accompany main meals. Until a few years ago, the use of plain flour was limited to cakes, biscuits etc. Unfortunately that is changing as people fall for the disguised charm that plain flour offers, deceptively increasing the luxury in our daily bread, yet sacrificing important proteins in the process.Whole Wheat & Oat Chocolate Chip CookiesThankfully though, there are an equal number of adventurous foodies who try to experiment with whole grains. I am one of the latter though I do tend to keep on middle ground; a little bit of plain and a little of whole grain. Other than whole wheat, I often try including buckwheat and oat in my bakes. Quinoa is one whole grain I would love to try, but the price is exorbitantly high as it is an import from South America. So my oft used alternate  is oats which are extremely nutritious, containing more protein and unsaturated fat than any other cereal grain.

Whole Grains are Much More than Fibre
Whole grains contain all three parts of the grain kernel – the germ, endosperm and bran. Most often during the milling process the bran and germ are removed leaving only the endosperm. This results in refined grains. However, whole grains contain all three parts of the grain – this makes them a richer source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Whole Wheat & Oat Chocolate Chip CookiesOats : The Super Whole Grain
Oats have more protein, calcium and Vitamin E than other common unfortified whole grains (wheat, brown rice or whole corn grain) on a gram per gram basis. Only oats have a high amount of soluble fibre (beta glucan) compared to whole wheat or rice. {
Source: Quaker Oats}.

Whole Grains are Much More than Fibre
Whole grains contain all three parts of the grain kernel – the germ, endosperm and bran. Most often during the milling process the bran and germ are removed leaving only the endosperm. This results in refined grains. However, whole grains contain all three parts of the grain – this makes them a richer source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

With all these inspired thoughts in my head, I set off to make cookies, or rather chocolate chip cookies for a healthier 2011! I made a small batch as I consciously stayed away from plain flour and knew not where I was headed. The resultant cookies were a shock to my system, and I now wonder why I even bothered to look at plain flour in my chocolate chip cookies for so many years. I have always included some whole wheat by default, but was taken aback to see that using whole grains alone still gave them a fabulous texture, and handsome bite.Whole Wheat & Oat Chocolate Chip CookiesTry these, they’re worth every bite even though they don’t look very pretty. The cookie mightn’t be as indulgent as a plain flour smooth cookie if thats what you make. For me, the transition from part whole wheat to whole whole wheat was like I had won the first prize; including oats and demerera sugar giving me the runners up too. I must admit I used my precious stash of Ghirardeli dark chocolate chips in hope that the Ghirardeli would make up for loss of flavour and quintessential chocolate-chip cookie indulgence. I was soon to eat humble pie because they just added to an already delicious cookie.With this new cookie under my belt, 2011 began to feel better already almost! To prove me otherwise, the pre-teen & the teen hit the kitchen this afternoon, shrugging off the cold, and indulged in piling the calories onto my so called healthy cookies. The daughter made delicious ‘Cookies & Cream Strawberry Sundaes‘ for themselves {low fat cream being small consolation}; the son playing the loyal slave. He knew he wouldn’t get a crumb if he displeased his elder sibling; even then wasn’t ‘allowed’ as much as a lick of cream off the spatula!!Cookies & Cream Strawberry SundaeSo much so for my inspired beginning … thankfully this was just 4 cookies. The rest retained their ‘healthy’ status!!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking| COFFEE CHOCOLATE-CHIP COOKIES… and a winner for the ice-cream maker giveaway!

Baking chocolate-chip cookies – an act that makes all seem right with the world….”
Dorie Greenspan on twitter

Don’t you just love that line? I chanced upon the tweet from Dorie Greenspan a few days ago and the words stuck to my mind. Strangely enough I had a batch of chocolate chip cookies in the oven at the time. Sounded so true and all seemed good with the world. Come to think of it, cookie baking time is always therapeutic, chocolate chip cookies more so. The dough gets together without a fuss, doesn’t need special attention, and the cookies are ready in next to no time!

The hub was leaving for HKG that night and likes to carry some home made cookies with him. It’s always been like that. No matter where he goes, he finds it comforting to carry some with him. This is a basic recipe I have used for ever, and am not sure where I got it from. What I do know is that I’ve played around with the basic recipe to suit our tastes, and it accepts additions pretty whole heartedly. Throw in some walnuts, substitute some alternative flour like buckwheat, use brown sugar for white … always gives good results!

It was coffee on my mind again, so in went some instant coffee, all the time a song playing in the back of my head, “Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?” It was the Cookie Jar Song which we often sung as kids in school, and through the long days of summer vacations under the hot Indian sun. Cookies weren’t typically baked in Indian households, and our window to these delightful goodies were from virtual tuck boxes in Enid Blytons Malorie Towers, Secret 7’s and Famous 5’s! Mom sometimes baked cakes, no cookies, and the cookies we got in India from bakeries were always referred to as biscuits (boring old ones). At that time, the very idea of stealing cookies from a jar was exciting and intriguing. Who was to know that life would come full circle, and I would be baking cookies to fill jars one day?

Before we go any further, I’d love to announce the winner of the CSN Stores giveaway which I had blogged about on this post STRAWBERRY MASCARPONE EGGLESS ICE-CREAM & A CSN STORES GIVEAWAY! I had offered one lucky winner a choice of either the Cuisineart Ice Cream Maker or Delonghi Retro Panini Grill.

The winner picked by the Random Number Generator from about 190+ comments is Simply_complicated, a Canadian thirty-something, mother of two, a crafty kind of gal who loves cooking, baking, and experimenting with recipes and patterns. She blogs at Left of average, south of normal! Here is what she said in her comments …

simply_complicated said…
what a great looking recipe! what a nice giveaway! you’re wonderful! if i were to win, i would definitely pick the ice cream maker… just the thing to make tasty summer treats for my family!

Congratulations to you!! Do send me your address and contact details as soon as possible so I can arrange for the Cuisineart Ice Cream Maker to be delivered to you. Wish you an exciting summer ahead, with loads of chilled goodies!

COFFEE CHOCOLATE-CHIP COOKIES
Makes about 2 dozen cookies. I always make a double batch.

Ingredients:
100gms unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup vanilla sugar (or granulated)
1 egg
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method:
Sift the flours, baking soda and salt. Keep aside in a bowl.
Place butter, sugar, egg, coffee powder and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl, and whisk with a hand blender until well mixed. {You can even do this by hand if you don’t have a blender. In this cake, just beat the egg lightly with a fork first.}
Add the sifted flour mix and chocolate chips to the bowl, and mix well.
Drop tablespoons on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving about an inch between each to allow for spreading.
Bake at 180C for 12-15 minutes till golden brown.
Allow to cool on cookie sheet for a minute, and then transfer to rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight box in a cool place for 4-5 days.
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
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