Sunday, September 28, 2008

Seeking Variety

I never set out to make a name for myself in the cookie baking department. In fact, looking at my recipe index, it would appear I have a ways to go until that title is truly earned. But ask my coworkers what they expect to find in the break room on Wednesdays, and they'll quickly answer back with "Lael's cookies."

A particular recipe I made a while ago launched me into being a weekly cookie baker in my office and I have stuck faithfully to that recipe since. The wonderful thing about it is that within the same dough you can replace or add any number of things and get something new and different, yet still with a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

However, I am not always the best example of a creature of habit because while I like consistency in some senses, I can get incredibly bored with it. For one, I'm not the kind of person who eats the same thing for breakfast every single morning. And, while I love to give myself an extra half or full hour to exercise in the morning, the activity may range between walking, running, or any number of yoga sessions.

All that to say, I can't help mixing things up on Cookie Day sometimes. I try to stick to a similar type of cookie, at least, and last week's variation was subtle but still special in its own way. Instead of using powdered sugar, I used unrefined cane sugar and cut the amount of all purpose flour in half, replacing the rest with whole wheat. The eggs were left in the fridge, and a coarsely chopped chocolate bar was mixed in.

I cannot claim this adaptation as an invention of my own brilliance. In fact, it's an entirely different recipe. One from the mind of Dorie Greenspan, and the other from the equally admirable Alice Medrich. Both produce a cookie with similar proportions of ingredients and delicate flavor that spaciously fits in the palm of your hand.

I can't remember where I first saw this recipe, but when Googling it, I found that The Wednesday Chef had made it, and it's quite possible I first read about it there.

Whole Wheat Sables*

*Alice's recipe calls for cocoa nibs or chopped hazelnuts, both of which sound lovely, but I had an Endangered Species dark chocolate bar with espresso beans on hand, so I used part of that.

16 comments:

Klub Berani Baking said...

i think one person has her/his preference in making cookies, like you said. either or, it is just an interesting part of culinary world. do you agree? thanks for visiting my blog :) cheers.

Lael said...

KBB: I definitely agree. Thanks for visiting my blog, too!

GrantJM said...

Looks like they'd keep pretty well in a small box wrapped up and dropped in the mail :)

dad

SteamyKitchen said...

I'm not great at baking - and when I do, it's cookies! these look wonderful.

Lael said...

Dad: I can take a hint. And you're quite right, these get even better with a couple days in a tupperware (or box, in this case). I'll see what I can do :)

Steamykitchen: Thanks for visiting my blog. And, you are right, these are wonderful cookies.

wcs said...

They look great. I wonder if buckwheat flour would substitute for the whole wheat?

And I just happen to have some hazelnuts lying around...

Prudy said...

I'd love these-I love hearty whole wheat cookies with chocolate.

Rachel said...

Oooh these look great! Welcome to Tuesdays with Dorie--I just joined and it's lots of fun!

Lael said...

wcs: Buckwheat sounds like a great substitue. I'd love to hear how it works out...

prudy: These cookies really are lovely. The whole wheat gives them a heartiness without being heavy because they're so small and delicate. delicate & hearty? Well, somehow it works. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Rachel: I'm so excited for Tuesdays with Dorie! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Y said...

Great cookies! I usually try completely new recipes, but there are a couple I turn to frequently when I need a comfort-bake, and even then I often chop and change the ingredients too, just for something a bit different :)

Lael said...

Y: Yeah, it is pretty rare that I ever repeat a recipe, so the fact that these cookie measurements are ingrained in my memory is pretty impressive! The slice and bake cookies these originated from are perfectly appropriate to repeat. They're the kind of cookie/biscuit that go very nicely with a daily cup of tea.

wcs said...

Lael, I made the cookies with buckwheat flour. I increased the all purpose flour to 1 1/3 cups, and decreased the buckwheat to 2/3 cups. I did this to lighten the cookies a bit.

They were tasty, and very buttery, but I think I sliced them a bit too thin. Next time: thicker!

Thanks for the inspiration!

audrey said...

these look great!

i've also started baking a cookie a week and bringing it to work!

how do you present the cookies? i feel like the tuperware really takes away from the presentation. which have been the most popular at your office? the chocolate chip cookies seemed to have been a hit and there were raves for my fudge and also major complaints from the dieters! ; )

great blog - i'll definitely be reading along.

Lael said...

Audrey: I'm so glad you like my blog. Thank you!

As for the cookies, my presentation is often lacking, I'm afraid. I usually grab a tupperware because it's easier to carry on my walk to work. If one isn't available, I'll use a basic dinner plate with a good lip. I really should put more thought into it!

And, yes, the dieters complain (but more teasingly, since I know they enjoy eating the cookies too), and it's fun to see each person find their own favorite kind of cookie. Cranberry orange, double chocolate, and these whole wheat ones are among the top.

audrey said...

so true! it might be overkill but i was going to buy a cookie jar.

what's on the menu for this week's cookie?

Lael said...

Audrey: A cookie jar would be so fun! As for this week's cookies, it very conveniently worked out that we celebrated Bosses' Day with breakfast in the office this morning, and so I could bring in the pumpkin muffins I made last night for TWD (see my Oct. 21 post) and spend the rest of my evening getting some studying done.
Hm, but next week...I'm thinking of using the cocoa nibs I recently acquired!