This Sunday was much less of a baking frenzy than last weekend when I produced three different items in one day (OK, I cheated: one of them was a bread machine loaf ^.^). Having finished my batch of these corn muffins, I needed to make a new snack for the week to come. I flipped through various recipes I’d collected and was attracted by the simplicity of this one and the opportunity to use up the wheat germ I bought to make this wholemeal coffee cake.
Here’s the recipe from Bob’s Red Mill:
DOUBLE WHEAT COOKIES
1-3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 cup Butter
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup Toasted Wheat Germ
Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside a large cookie sheet.
In a large mixer bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar and the 1/4 cup wheat germ till light and fluffy. Stir in the flour.
Form into 1″ balls. Roll in additional wheat germ. Place on cookie sheet; flatten with tines of a fork.
Bake for 10-12 minutes Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.
Makes 36 cookies.
I opened a new pack of Organic Dark Brown Sugar from Wholesome Sweeteners – my first time trying their brown sugar, and used my usual Waitrose stoneground wholewheat flour. Almost forgot to dry-fry the wheat germ in a pan over low heat to toast it.
Having learnt my lesson with inadequate creaming, I took pains to do the creaming properly and even after adding the flour, the mixture was so light and fluffy! Although I’ve blogged about creaming for cakes, do note that the creaming step for cookies is shorter than that for cakes, so as to limit the amount the cookies rise in the oven. According to the book Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (p.88),
Even though cookies are essentially little cakes, most cookies should have a crisper exterior and a denser interior than cake. The shorter creaming time also means that the butter or shortening stays cooler longer. If the dough becomes warm as you mix and shape it, the cookies spread too much and run into each other. When the batter remains cool until it goes into the oven, cookies spread out at the correct rate, producing a thin, crispy edge and a softer, higher centre. (Dough or batter for cookies that are intended to spread will contain a significant amount of butter to encourage this.)
The reason why I don’t often make biscuits is because it’s so tedious and time-consuming to shape each one individually. No wonder Chinese New Year cookies are often made using a cookie press! I used the two-teaspoons method here but it’s hard to get each ball of dough exactly the same size. I forgot about the melon-ball scoop I bought ages ago, which would have helped me get evenly-sized scoops of dough; they would have been much smaller than the 1″ balls recommended in the recipe though. I used quite a fair bit of untoasted wheat germ to roll the dough in as well, at least another quarter cup.
Although the cookies are meant to be round, mine are squarish from being pressed against each other on the baking tray — I managed to squeeze the 35 cookies onto one large tray. I didn’t expect to rise much, but they really did expand! It’s the result of the high proportion of butter and hmmm, I wonder if I was too enthusiastic from the creaming? I could also clearly see the butter in the dough melting when I rolled the dough balls in my hands to shape them. Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (p. 89) says cookies should be placed 1 to 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. I knew it would be better to leave more space between the cookies also so that hot air can circulate properly around each cookie, but I was too lazy to switch multiple baking trays from bottom to top rack in the oven, rotate them and deal with the problem arising from the fact that I only have one large baking tray, and the other two are smaller ones made of different materials that produce different results!
I don’t often bake cookies so I wasn’t sure if they were done at the end of 15 mins because they were so soft to the touch. Remembering my experience from baking Anzac cookies, I thought they would probably crisp up upon cooling, and this turned out to be true. Slightly over-brown because of the longer baking time I gave them, but I do love that burnt taste.
Despite these various minor imperfections, the end result was simply wonderful! They were so light and crumbly and very delicious. The high ratio of butter has a lot to do with the light texture. I stored the cookies in a box between layers of kitchen towel and the tissue is now drenched in oil!
I was also surprised at how sweet they tasted even though there didn’t seem to be much sugar in the recipe. I would probably reduce the amount of sugar next time.
Because of their fragile, crumbly texture, these cookies need to be carefully packed. I’ll have to pay special attention when I pack them in my bento boxes this week. Oh dear, I’m not sure there will be enough to last all week – they are so yummy, I’ve eaten about 8 or 9 of them in the last 5hrs!