“And then there was that time where everything I made tasted like bread.”
That’s the story I’m going to be telling my grandkids in a few decades.
Or you, in a few months, I suppose. Why does everything I make taste like bread, you ask?
Lately, all of my “health(ier)” recipes that I’ve modified have come out bread-like–probably from reducing the sugar, upping the flax, and trimming down on the fat. I ventured to go a level deeper yesterday and postulated that perhaps this is because I’ve been refusing to buy bread for months now, based on the argument that I can just “make it.” Why spend $4 on the seedy artisan loaf that I love when I can have even more fun making it at home?
The problem is, I don’t make it at home. I’m always put off by the thought of having to let something rise for multiple hours and maybe not even rise, if my yeast is feeling moody. So my longing for bread is manifesting itself through other things I make, including these cookies.
Do these cookies taste like bread? Well….sort of, but not really. But there IS a flax-y quality about them that reminds me of something more hearty and wholesome than a cookie. They’re slightly chewy and slightly crumbly and though it might not have the butter-based punch that traditional chocolate chip cookies have, these are addictingly good. They rise up to contained, puffy heights in the oven, and only by squashing them down with a spatula mid-way through can you get a more traditional looking cookie. AND. They’re healthier!
I was a big fan of these cookies. This is the kind of cookie if you’re on a streak of eating well, but want just a little sugar kick after dinner. It’s not the kind of cookie that seduces out of the oven, all gooey butter richness and melting chips, but it is the kind of elegant, refined and moderately healthy cookie that holds in its waist at sophisticated heights above its cousins.
I adapted this recipe by using white whole wheat flour, as usual, adding flax, and cutting down on the sugar, eggs and chocolate chips just a smidge. I had to wonder if this recipe was correct, because 1/4 cup of oil seemed like a very small amount compared to the usual two sticks of butter that go into a recipe. I also had to bake my cookies for long than the suggested 10-12 minutes because they were still sparkly and squishy in the middle and SUPER PUFFY, so I developed a spatula-patting method for these enthusiastic babies. At 15-20 minutes, I may have overbaked a few batches a tad, but I would say take them out when they’re still impressionable but not completely squishy in the middle.
Also! I call the below experiments in cookie composition: I heard somewhere that Cook’s Illustrated has a great cookie rolling technique that involves rolling dough into a ball, ripping that ball in half, and sticking the two pieces together with the ripped edges exposed.
Below: upper left has the ripped edges facing out on the left and right; upper middle has ripped edges facing up, and upper right has one half with ripped side up and the other half on top, plopped on its side. The bottom row are all simple balls, no fancy ripping.
This is what I mean by “one half with ripped side up and the other half on top, plopped on its side”
It turned out to be my favorite. I don’t know if it’s right, exactly, but I like how it gives you almost two layers in your cookie, perfect for maximum breakability. See yumminess in the below cookie in the foreground (and the two overcooked ones flanking it).
Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from California Olive Ranch
Yield: original says 15-20 cookies; I made 25 cookies, about the size of a heaping tablespoon.
- 2 ¼ cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed, mixed with 3 tbsp warm water
- 1-2 tbsp of milk (or rice milk)
- generous 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Combine sugars, vanilla, and olive oil. Beat in the egg and gelled flax miture. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, then add in 1 tbsp of milk to help the dough come together, more if the dough is still too dry. (I used 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon).
Roll the dough into balls with your hands and place on a greased and/or lined baking sheet. If you want, use the Cook’s Illustrated technique (discussed in my note above.)
Place cookies in the preheated oven. Check after 10 minutes. They should be puffy and most baked, but still too soft to take out. Press down lightly with the back of a spatula to flatten slightly, or keep as is for super puffy cookies. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until lightly golden and just set or very nearly set in the middle. Allow to cool for a minute or two on the baking sheet, then move to another surface to finish cooling.
Nutrition facts (per 1 cookie or 1/25 recipe): 115 cal, 3.5g fat (1g sat), 19g carb, 1g fiber, 11.5g sugar, 2g protein
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