Smitten Kitchen, The Kitchn, Layne, and Wednesday Chef all recently featured this book, so I had to buy it. I'm glad I did as I want to bake every single recipe Kim Boyce dreamed up, from the maple scones to the rye-crusted apricot boysenberry tarts and kamut flour cookies. Boyce treats grains not as a virtuous replacement for refined white flour, but as the source of enticing flavors and textures. This, to me, is the far more appealing approach. One morning last week I baked Boyce's strawberry barley scones which were lovely, aromatic, and crumbly. Then Isabel tried the chocolate chip cookies which call for 100% whole wheat flour and sounded too healthy to be delicious. They turned out to be some of the best chocolate chip cookies any of us have ever tasted -- dark, crispy, buttery, more intensely caramel flavored than others Isabel has baked.
Here's another fine attribute of these cookies: you eat one and you don't feel like you have to immediately eat ten more as fast as you can. When it comes to food, is "addictive" really a compliment? I wonder. This cookie is perfect when you're eating it, and when you're done, you're done. I need more cookies like that in my life.
About a year ago, I asked a food editor at a newspaper what the policy was on reprinting recipes from cookbooks. She said that in the context of a review it was generally considered acceptable to reprint from one to three recipes, with attribution, as you would reprint a passage from a novel. I don't think it's quite the same thing, but because I really do review cookbooks, because the cat is already out of the bag, because I want to know what other people think of these cookies, and because I think they might convince you to buy her book, here's Boyce's recipe:
Whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment.
2. Sift 3 cups whole wheat flour with 1 1/2 tsps. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or salt that may have remained in the sifter.
3. Cream 8 oz. cold unsalted butter with 1 cup dark brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar just until the sugars are mixed, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl.
4. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is combined. Mix in 2 tsp. vanilla.
5. Add flour and mix until just barely combined.
6. Add 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chunks (you can chop your own, but Isabel used Guittard chunks.) Use your hands to finish mixing.
7. Scoop mounds of dough about 3 TBS in size onto the baking sheet, leaving 3 inches between them.
8. Bake for 16-20 minutes.
Revised cookie ranking:
1. Cakewalk by Kate Moses (Robust cookies flavored with espresso powder, irresistible and possibly unbeatable.)
2. Baking by Dorie Greenspan (The classic -- but better.)
4. All Recipes (Stout, chewy, more-ish)
5. Toll House (The classic.)
5. Ad Hoc at Home (Too much severe chocolate, too little cookie)
6. Joy of Cooking, 1975 (Thin, pale, unimpressive.)
The top three cookies are neck-and-neck so Isabel will ultimately have to retest. Can't wait.
She's going to bake David Lebovitz's recipe this week.