Monday, February 12, 2007

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's already started snowing and there is a winter weather watch through Wednesday. What's better than baking cookies when cooped up inside? I love chocolate chip cookies and have been working on making them a little healthier, giving them some nutritional value and trying to eliminate those big sugar highs and lows when I eat too many. I've been experimenting with agave nectar and whole wheat flours and unfortunately have thrown out many batches.

This batch turned out pretty good. I gobbled up two cookies right away and am resisting very hard right now. This is an adaptation of Cooks Illustrated's Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm very pleased with the whole wheat flour and reduced sugar ... next up, reduce the fat level.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/8 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour -- (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter -- (1 1/2 sticks) melted and cooled until warm
1/2 cup organic evaporated cane sugar (or light brown sugar)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix melted butter, agave nectar and sugar until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in desired amount of chips.

3. Refrigerate batter until cold, preferably overnight.

4. Form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. I use a scooper, it looks like a small ice cream scooper. Place formed dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets, about 9 balls per sheet. Flatten dough with slightly wet fingers or back of spoon. Dough balls should be about 1/2 inch thick.

5. Bake until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and slightly puffy, 10 minutes (start checking at 8 minutes). Do not overbake (unless you like cakey cookies). Immediately move parchment with cookies onto a rack to stop cooking and cool. Once they are cool, I like to freeze the cookies I won't be serving right away. When thawed and re-warmed, they are just like fresh baked.



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