Earlier this week, I felt a cold creeping in, and I decided to take precautions and make soup. Sunday had been sunny, and the gentleman presiding over the mushroom stand at the market had been in an especially chatty mood, delving into different pairings for his large assortment of mushrooms. He peeled off a tiny piece of Hen of the Woods, and extended it to me. It tasted woodsy and, well, very mushroomy, like a distilled essence of mushrooms. I left with two pieces the size of large rocks. We had conspired it would be for pasta in a creamy sauce, but now I knew it would star in my soup. I’ve been craving a ramen-style soup lately, full of flavor, with lots of slurpy noodles. I chopped up carrots and an onion, and stood above the stove stirring, the heat traveling up my arms. I tossed in odds and ends from around the kitchen- a wedge of celery root, parmesan rinds, an end of ginger, parsley stems- drowned it all in water, and went back to my desk.
When the cold hit full on, I was glad the soup was there, simmering. I strained it, placing the vegetables in a bowl and ladling some of the broth back in. I ate it at my desk, watching teeny, timid snowflakes appear in mid air as almost imperceptible pops of white. Soon, the snow began falling rapidly, in a frenzy of thick, feathery flakes, as if determined to lay down a coat before dark. For dinner, I tore the mushrooms into little pieces and stirred them into the clear broth, brought it to a simmer, and added ramen noodles.
Now, everyone agrees that when you’re sick you need soup, but I think cookies are no less crucial. I mean, in between teas and tissues and cough syrups, you need a little pampering, and, well, that’s where a cookie fits right in. I have been wanting to try The New York Times’ chocolate chip cookie, and on my last run to the store, I had bought the 20 ounces (!) of chocolate chips required. We all know how good I am at keeping my hands off of sweets, so finding my stash whittled down to less than half, I decided to try the whole wheat chocolate chip cookies from Good to the Grain, which, by the way, is a gorgeous, gorgeous book. Also, the NYT‘s recipe needs to chill for 24-36 hours, which is basically forever.
The dough came together quickly and easily, and into the oven they went. They emerged thick, with chewy, tender middles and crisp edges. Still warm from the oven, the chocolate takes center stage, all gooey and melting; as they cool, the nuttiness of the flour kicks in. Truth be told, we found them a little plain, but I’m sure it’s all a matter of taste. In any case, if you’re looking for a whole-wheat-centric variation on the classic, you might want to start here. Boyce’s instructions lead to palm-sized cookies, which I found a little too hearty- next time I would try for smaller, bite-sized cookies.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies are a hearty, whole-wheat-centric take on the classic. The whole-wheat lends a nutty, deep flavor to the cookies. I measured the brown sugar lightly packed into the measuring cup; for a slightly sweeter cookie pack it in tightly.
From Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
Yield: About 20
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 ounces (2 sticks/ 225 grams) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar (see headnote)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces (225 grams) bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips)
Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter and sugars are blended, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture, and blend on low until barely combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the chocolate, and mix on low until evenly incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Scoop mounds of dough about 3 tablespoons in size onto the baking sheets, leaving 3 inches between them, or about 6 to a sheet. (An ice-cream scoop makes easy work of this).
Bake the cookies for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies are evenly browned. Transfer the cookies, still on the parchment, to the counter or a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Dough keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week, covered in plastic.