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baking cookies

whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. with spelt, and fleur de sel, and cacao nibs.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
This week I got some nice little surprises from my dear husband: a gift certificate to itunes and a subscription to Saveur Magazine. Just because! I was rather excited, as music and cookbooks are at the top of my ‘ways to spend my time when everyone is sleeping’ list. So I was listening to music samples and flipping through pages, finding all kinds of goodness.
My heart skipped a beat when I came across this cookie recipe from Sarah Copeland, where the cookies are put together like puff pastry –  layers of dough rolled and then cut out. I yelled something like ‘of course! wicked genius!’ and knew I had to make them at once. However, we’ve been working so hard at cutting out excess sugar and white flour from our diets, I knew I had to do some tweaking. I made a lot of changes – whole wheat and spelt flour for white, cut out half the sugar, kept a little butter but added olive oil and maple syrup, cut the chocolate down but added some cacao nibs and fleur de sel to make up for it. It was a little of everything I loved.
I put on my new Fine Frenzy album and got to work. I overcooked the first batch, which was disappointing, but the flavor was great despite being dry. The next batch: success! They were gooey, but crisp at the edges, and had the perfect amount of salt and chocolate. The whole wheat and spelt flours added so much flavor to the cookies, and the cacao nibs just a bit of crunch. And the ultimate test? Adam brought them to work [even the dry ones] and got emails thanking him for the delicious cookies.
So now I’m sitting around, listening to Carla Morrison and dreaming of all the other cookies I can make with this layered method. Wicked genius.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies. With Spelt, and Fleur de Sel, and Cacao Nibs.
adapted from Saveur Magazine, October 2012

It’s important not to overbake these cookies – my first batch was too brown and tasted a little dry, but I pulled the second pan out when they were still a bit gooey and then: delicious! I didn’t give a measurement for the cacao nibs and fleur de sel – I just did a good sprinkle. If you don’t like extra salt in your cookies, you can omit it. I used olive oil here and liked the flavor it added, but you can use canola oil instead. I also used straight up whole wheat flour in these – you could substitute wheat pastry flour if you’d like.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup spelt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, soft
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive or canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 egg yolks
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
cacao nibs [optional]
fleur de sel

Heat the oven to 375. Whisk together the dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, spelt, baking soda, and salt. Place the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat for one minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the olive oil and maple syrup, and mix on medium low until combined and smooth [make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl]. Add the egg yolks and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Divide the dough into three equal pieces, and place each one on a separate piece of plastic wrap. Flatten each piece into a 4″ x 6″ rectangle. Chill for one hour.
Lightly flour your work surface and place one dough rectangle on it. Sprinkle the dough with half the chocolate [it will seem like a tight squeeze], a sprinkling of cacao nibs [if using] and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. Top with another rectangle, sprinkle with the remaining chocolate, and another sprinkling of cacao nibs and fleur de sel. Cover with the last rectangle. Lightly flour the top, and flatten the rectangles into a 9″ x 6″ x 1 1/2″ rectangle. Using a 2″ round cutter, cut out the cookies and transfer them to the baking pan. Space the cookies about 3″ apart. Sprinkle with a little fleur de sel if you’d like. Gather the dough scraps, reroll into a 1 1/2″ thick disk, and cut out some more cookies. Bake the cookies, one pan at a time, until lightly browned and set but still gooey, about 10-12 minutes.

 

  • Reply
    charlotte au chocolat
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 9:45 am

    These sound so delicious, Sarah! Can’t wait to try them.

  • Reply
    london bakes
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I felt myself nodding along to your proclamation of ‘wicked genius’; it really does sound like it. I’ve not come across that layering technique before but it seems like an insanely good idea. Super excited to try these!

  • Reply
    totesdelishblog
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Cookies with cacao nibs and WW flour?? Sign me up!

  • Reply
    eidolons
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Here’s where I sound like the bumpkin that I really am. Is fleur de sel just flaky sea salt? Could I use grey celtic sea salt instead – it’s… what I have?

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      You can use any salt you have – preferably coarse salt. Here’s a little explanation of fleur de sel, if you’re interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleur_de_sel
      But I think it’s basically what you are using.

    • Reply
      eidolons
      Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm

      Score! (:
      Now I just need to procure some cacao nibs (happily the local co-op has them in bulk!).

  • Reply
    erin
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    These cookies look amazing and I can’t believe I’ve never thought of that method either. I love all the substitutions you made!

  • Reply
    kankana
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    indeed genius! I am loving the concept here and must give an attempt! using cacao nibs is an excellent choice.

  • Reply
    Jenny @ BAKE
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    what a lovely hubby! he needs to teach my OH a few tricks! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Beautiful!

  • Reply
    Vanessa Larson
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I recently started baking with spelt and I was pleasantly surprised with how light and delicious everything I made was. I keep looking for more recipes that use it. These cookies look delicious and I love the addition of the fleur de sel! I can’t wait to try!

  • Reply
    la domestique
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    These cookies look so good- can’t wait to try this technique! Your little guy is SO CUTE.

  • Reply
    Sacha
    Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 12:21 am

    These cookies look lovely, and I really like the flavor of spelt flour. And they certainly are pretty little cookies, aren’t they?!

  • Reply
    Laura@Potpourri
    Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 6:35 am

    I had never thought to use cocoa nibs in baking before. What a great idea. Thanks for the post.

  • Reply
    thelittleloaf
    Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Sarah these look and sound absolutely divine. I’m looking for a cookie recipe to make as favours for my wedding next year but they all keep coming up too sweet. This may just be the answer and am intrigued by the technique too 🙂

  • Reply
    Courtney
    Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Yum! I’m all about chocolate & sea salt together in cookies, especially when you throw in some hearty spelt flour 🙂

  • Reply
    luke and pamela
    Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 4:34 am

    of course! why have i not tried this? i might try it tomorrow.

    sarah, i love what you have done with your blog and your photos and your pinterest and all your successes this past year. you are huge! i’ve been meaning to congratulate you. thanks for sharing it all in this space.

  • Reply
    Nicole
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve been meaning to try the original recipe, too, but I love the sound of your tweaked version! Beautiful cookies!

  • Reply
    ediblealphabet
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Oh wow… these look GOOD! Can’t wait to try!

  • Reply
    Cookie and Kate
    Monday, November 12, 2012 at 3:19 am

    These are my kind of cookies, girl! I am usually put off by baking recipes that require rolling and layering but these look worth the effort. Oh, and it’s hard for me to imagine alone time as a scarcity. Being single, living by myself, working from home… It’s just me, myself and Cookie all the time. I try to appreciate it (and I don’t hate it), but sometimes it’s too much.

  • Reply
    Ana Cooks
    Monday, November 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Wonderful Recipes! Great Shots 😉
    Thanks for all the inspiration!
    it’s always a pleasure visit your blog!

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    Harleen
    Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 6:24 am

    The other way around happened to me.I went on shopping last weekend and found ginger biscuit cookies out there in the market.My hubby likes anything with ginger.So I surprised him with buying it.I wonder how to make them alone.If anyone finds please publish it.I’m going to try this recipe as well.My kids will love them

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