Saturday, September 06, 2008

Whole Wheat Decadence


I was trying desperately this afternoon to not accomplish anything. I start my Saturdays much earlier than I would prefer, heading out of the house before eight to get to the farmer's market and then to the soccer field for The Big Boy's extremely cute but largely unproductive "organized sports time" by 8:45 am. By the time we all return home, it is still much earlier in the day than I even used to wake up, and I'm already whooped. So today I threw all caution to the wind and made a concerted effort to ignore the laundry, the dishwasher that needed to be unloaded, the floors that were a day past needing to be swept, and the usual daunting pile of paperwork on my desk.
But I can't just sit around, you know. So I've long since learned that the best way to LOOK productive and to actually BE accomplishing something without really working is to make dessert. I mean, sure, cookies weren't exactly on my to-do list for the day, but who's going to call a woman lazy when she's in the kitchen baking cookies?
I'm not stupid.
In fact, I've been feeling a little restless lately, so I was trying to assuage my unrest by working on some new recipes. I even happened upon some very promising prospects as I paged through a few cookbooks, but I was down to my last stub of a stick of butter and was therefore operating under some strict limitations. In a fit of frustration, I pushed all the decadent chocolate cookbooks aside and went back through my binder of attempted Cooking Light recipes, some of which had been duds, but all of which used scant amounts of butter and were therefore fair game for the day.
Eureka. I had forgotten all about a White Chocolate, Strawberry and Oatmeal Cookie recipe that we had fallen head over heels for last summer and lo and behold, here I was with not only all the ingredients I needed, but a desire to experiment.
The last time I made these, I used rolled oats and straight all-purpose flour (as the recipe suggests) with wonderful results, but I've long ago grown tired of white flour and since I had used all the rolled oats making granola yesterday, I was down to a box of steel-cut oats. I had read somewhere that, in most baking recipes, half of the regular flour can generally be replaced with whole-wheat flour without compromising the original recipe too much, so I thought it worth a try. And frankly, I had no clue what steel-cut oats were but was willing to go out on a limb with them, even after I opened the box and saw that they looked nothing like regular oats. These were (don't I feel silly) cut into much smaller pieces (hence the, um, word "cut") but certainly seemed worth a shot.
So, shoot them I did, and oh my stars, these cookies were sublime. The outside crisped up nicely in the convection oven, and the inside was incredibly chewy and toothsome. The steel-cut oats provided fabulous texture and the whole-wheat flour did not make the cookies any more dense than would be palatable. And they were just sweet enough from the white chocolate chips, but were tempered by the slight tartness from the dried strawberries.
And hey, what with the oats, the dried fruits and the whole-wheat flour, they're practically a health food, aren't they?
*****
WHITE CHOCOLATE, STRAWBERRY AND OATMEAL COOKIES (adapted from Cooking Light, yields about 24 cookies)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup steel cut oats (or regular rolled oats)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), softened, plus a wee bit more for greasing the pans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried strawberries
  • 1/3 cup premium white chocolate chips (such as Ghirardelli)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and butter until well-blended.
  3. Add vanilla and egg to mixer and beat well.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture to the mixer, beating just until blended.
  5. Fold in the strawberries and white chocolate.
  6. Drop dough by approximate tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes on the convection setting, or 12 to 15 minutes in a regular oven, until cookies are lightly browned.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

These cookies sound delicious. Did you use whole wheat pastry flour (soft wheat)?
-V

Sarah Beam said...

V - I'm actually eating one of these cookies right now with coffee. They were the first thing I thought about when I got out of bed. I used regular whole wheat flour though not that I think about it, whole wheat pastry flour would work wonderfully.

Tudu said...

Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures lately. I know you have issues with doing them but they are wonderful.

Sarah Beam said...

Thank YOU, Tudu. I'm actually having fun posing the shots, but I also have a terrible complex about how little I know about photography. You just made me feel better.

Linda up north said...

Nice pictures! I am completely envious of your incredibly clean cookie sheet :)

Sarah Beam said...

Oh, Linda, about that: I purposely chose my newest one so that it would appear I keep my things cleaner than I actually do.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the cookie sheets are not dirty, they are seasoned. My cookies never stick!

Did these for the stepkids' after school snack yesterday and they LOVED them. Me too. Thanks!

Becky

Sarah Beam said...

Very cool, Becky, but I wonder if I can get away with referring to my whole house as 'seasoned.'

Doubt it.

I just ate the last of these cookies and I'm already craving more.

Fostermama said...

Hmmm. I've never even thought to use my steel cut oats in baking before. I assumed they wouldn't cook enough. Now I must try this!

Sarah Beam said...

Fostermama, don't be fooled. The steel cut oats definately added some nubbly texture to the cookies (a little more than might be expected), but we LOVED it.

Becky said...

Made them again to use up the white chips and used cranberries instead. They were different, but still very good and a lot sturdier than the strawberries, which have to be very carefully folded in.

With whole wheat and oats, and half the fat of regular cookies, this is a healthier treat that everybody loved.