Recipe: Whole spelt chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients getting a bit messy...
Ingredients getting a bit messy…(the syrup is for the banana pancakes I was making at the same time).

There’s a charity “cake sale,” which is the same as a bake sale, but English, at the Cavendish tomorrow, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a huge batch of cookies without any obligation to eat them (quite the opposite, in fact). This may sound weird, but since I no longer live with my parents and two brothers, I am the sole owner of the food that I make, and I can’t eat two dozen cookies before they go stale! (I have, in the past, solved this problem by making small batches and leaving them out for my housemates. That works, too.)

Do as I say, not as I do: this is not how you cream butter! It should be soft, not liquid, but I didn't plan ahead and was starting from frozen butter.
Do as I say, not as I do: this is not how you cream butter! It should be soft, not liquid, but I didn’t plan ahead and was starting with frozen butter, which melted unevenly in the microwave.

Anyway, I was planning to try the delicious-looking recipe for world peace cookies on Smitten Kitchen, but I was a little nervous about how they’d work using only whole spelt flour. Then I realized that I’d never made plain old chocolate chip cookies with whole spelt flour, and decided that for once I shouldn’t walk before I tried to crawl, as it were.

Chopped chocolate (mixed milk and dark), dry ingredients, and wet ingredients, all ready for final mixing.
Chopped chocolate (mixed milk and dark), dry ingredients, and wet ingredients, all ready for final mixing.

So I took a bit of inspiration from the spelt recipe listings on Nature’s Legacy for Life and a lot of inspiration from the lovely Orangette and tried to make me some delicious, classic chocolate chip cookies. I made the dough on Sunday (because, pro tip, letting your cookie dough chill in the fridge for a few days makes it so much better), wrapped it up as air-tightly as I could in plastic, and baked the cookies on Wednesday night. How did it go?

Ready-to-chill dough: it's disconcertingly soft, but that's probably because my butter was mostly liquid.
Ready-to-chill dough: it’s disconcertingly soft, but that’s probably because my butter was mostly liquid.

While the tiny scraps of dough I tasted were great, the final cookies turned out disappointingly flat and very, very buttery. Leaveners like baking soda and baking powder do react with time, albeit more slowly in lower temperatures, so 4 days might be a bit too long to age the dough in the fridge (this would partially explain the flatness). I think that most of the issue is a slightly higher butter to flour ratio than I generally like in my cookies.

First two sheets, ready to go!
First two sheets, ready to go!
Got my dough balls made up while the first two sheets baked.
Got my dough balls made up while the first two sheets baked.

I also noticed that the two different baking sheets I used seemed to produce quite different results; the cookies baked on a darker sheet had nice, crispy edges and soft centers, while the ones baked on a lighter sheet needed a bit longer to cook and were more uniform in texture. (It was also a smaller sheet, so that could have affected the baking time and texture as well.

Overall, it’s a decent recipe, but I think I may need to do some more experimenting in order to really get the perfect spelt chocolate chip cookie. Oh no… 🙂

Lighter baking sheet on the left, darker baking sheet on the right. Apparently it makes a difference!
Lighter baking sheet on the left, darker baking sheet on the right. Apparently it makes a difference!

Whole Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: about 20 big cookies or 50-60 smaller cookies.

Adapted from Orangette.

3 cups whole spelt flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 c lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 c sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces, or bittersweet chips

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, and whisk to blend.

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the bowl, and mix until the flour is just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the chocolate and stir until evenly combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and then use your hands to turn and gently massage the dough, making sure all the flour is absorbed.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. (If chilling longer than 24 hours, chill as described for a few hours, until dough has stiffened, then scrape dough into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic to prevent it from drying out; move back to a bowl when you take it out to bake.)

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 350°F/177 C. Line two baking sheets with parchment. (If you have no parchment, you can butter the sheets.)

For big cookies (Orangette version): Scoop mounds of dough about 3 tablespoons in size onto the baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between each cookie.

For smaller cookies (my version): Scoop mounds of dough about 1-1.5 tablespoons in size onto the baking sheets, leaving 1-2 inches between each cookie.

Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes (smaller cookies) or 16 to 20 minutes (bigger cookies), rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies are just getting browned spots on top. Transfer the cookies, still on parchment, to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

Serving suggestion: dunked in milk, tea, or coffee (proven to improve flavor, apparently), or with ice cream (I’d go with vanilla or maple walnut to highlight the rich molasses taste from the dark brown sugar).

OM NOM NOM.
OM NOM NOM.
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2 thoughts on “Recipe: Whole spelt chocolate chip cookies

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