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Whole Wheat Shortbread Cookies

29 Jul

True confession of the day: I actually don’t like whole wheat baked goods.  I KNOW it’s healthier for me and I KNOW I should be eating them, but you really can’t beat a good slice of sourdough bread, so why bother eating anything else?  This recipe, my friends, is exactly how you eat whole wheat baked goods and actually enjoy them.  So first, the story on how I discovered these cookies…

Me, being an overachiever, decided that for our 2 year anniversary I would surprise the boyfriend with a scavenger hunt, ending with a picnic basket of baked goods and a mini bottle of champagne.  Huckleberry is just a few blocks away from my apartment and is the end all and be all of baked goodies as far as I’m concerned.  I asked them to throw one of their whole wheat shortbread cookies into the box of goodies going into the basket only because it was shaped like a heart and I thought I should probably put something “love” related in there.  So later, after eating what I thought was the good stuff out of the box , I decided to give the cookie a try and I was floored at how delicious it was!  Whole wheat!  Amazing!  I almost thought they must be lying, because I was sure that whole wheat doesn’t taste this good.  It added just a touch of warm nutty flavor that made the shortbread even better than recipes that use all white flour.

Cut to a year and then some later and I was confronted with the task of bringing some healthy foods to a local harvest exchange.  That was where the plum butter came in and these cookies came to accompany.  I decided to scan the internet, thinking someone out there must have some vaguely close recipe for whole wheat shortbread cookies that come even marginally close to how delicious Huckleberry’s were.  Lo and behold…the first recipe I clicked on was an article on Huckleberry in which the pastry chef gave their recipe for whole wheat shortbread cookies!  Score!!

Note:  The original measurements for these cookies were in weight format, as that’s how most commercial pastry chefs measure ingredients.  I bought a scale and measured them all out so you, my dear readers, don’t have to buy a scale–but that’s why the random measurements look so random.  Also, these are extremely fragile cookies, so be warned that they don’t stack and travel well.

Whole Wheat Shortbread Cookies
Makes approximately 24 cookies
Adapted from Pastry chef Zoe Nathan of Huckleberry, Santa Monica

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (12 oz)
  • 1 1/8 cups whole wheat flour (6 oz)
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch (5 1/2 oz)
  • 9 sticks European style butter, softened (18 oz)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • extra sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees; in a large bowl combine both flours and the cornstarch.
  2. Cream butter, sugar and salt.  When you start out, it will be large clumps, then the longer you mix them, the lumps will get smaller and smaller until all of a sudden it will break and be a smooth batter.  It’s the same magic that happens when you make frosting.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine, being careful not to over mix.
  4. Be warned that this is a very soft dough.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ thick.  (I like to sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough and on the rolling pin as well–this dough is super sticky!)  Cut the dough out with your choice of cookie cutters.
  5. Transfer shapes to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper–cookies will not spread very much so you don’t have to worry about so much spacing between the cookies.  Bake until brown around the edges–my oven did it in about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the sheet from the oven and, without moving the cookies yet, sprinkle sugar over the cookies very very generously.  After the cookies have cooled for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, gently (gently!) move them to a wire cooling rack.
  7. Enjoy the cookies while upping your whole wheat intake for the day!

Chewy Chai-Spiced Sugar Cookies

8 Jun
Chai-Spiced Sugar Cookies

I know you guys were salivating over the placeholder picture of these cookies I had up for 6 months before actually getting a chance to start my blog…and here’s the recipe finally!  I’ve had a super busy week and I’m preparing to head over to New Hampshire for my cousin’s graduation on Friday, so I’ve been running around like crazy trying to get ready.  So with that said, please forgive me for just the one brief post this week, and a not very personalized one at that.   In the recipe’s defense, Cook’s put together a recipe so flawless that it doesn’t need any adjustments from me anyway and you should not hesitate to whip up a batch as soon as you can.  The long ingredient list is daunting, but not so scary once you realize that most of it is just spices that make the cookies delicious.  I brought a batch of these into the spa I go to and they were gone before my nails were dry!  A sophisticated twist on the well-known sugar cookie.

Chewy Chai-Spiced Sugar Cookies
recipe from Cook’s Illustrated November 2010
Makes 2 dozen cookies

[Cook’s Note: The final dough will be slightly softer than most cookie dough. For the best results, handle the dough as briefly and gently as possible when shaping the cookies. Overworking the dough will result in flatter cookies.]

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place 1 ½ cups sugar, cream cheese, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper in large bowl. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.
  3. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each (or use #40 portion scoop). Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per tray), discarding any remaining sugar.
  4. Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown (don’t overbake! – EB), 11 to 13 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.
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