Posts tagged whole wheat

Coconut oil whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

Coconut oil whole wheat chocolate chip cookiesShould you be swapping out butter and other fats in recipes for coconut oil in the name of healthier sweets? I love the idea that you can instantly healthify cookies simply by mixing in coconut oil for butter. If only it were that simple. After reading about the benefits of coconut oil on Snack Girl I thought I had to give it a try.

The smooth, nutty flavor of coconut oil soaks in the cocoa and amps up the flavor of the chocolate chips. It’s pure coconut-chocolate bliss. But is it healthier? Well, I’d like to think it is. Virgin, unprocessed coconut oil is thought to be healthier than some other fats–yup, we’re talking about you, butter–but it’s not quite outranked olive oil. And it’s not like you’ve nixed the fat entirely as you would when subbing apple sauce for oil (which sadly leads to smooshy sweets). My advice? Moderation in all things–with the exception of this weekend where I had to make a few batches of these to figure out if 100% coconut oil cookies are better. Yes, yes they do.

I tweaked my favorite King Arthur recipe for 100% whole wheat cookies to come up with this chewy version.

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes + baking

Servings: Around 20 cookies

Ingredients

1/3 cup coconut oil (melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds)Cookies with coconut oil

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

3 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. black onyx powder or dark cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur’s white whole wheat)

1/2 cup chocolate chips, Ghirardelli preferred

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions

  1. Beat together coconut oil, sugars, dark cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla.
  2. Mix in the vinegar, egg, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Next, beat in flour, chocolate chips, and walnuts.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for an hour then bake in batches at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Coconut oil chocolate chip cookies close up

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Whole wheat chocolate yogurt loaf

Reading the description of chocolate yogurt loaf in Debbie Koenig’s Parents Need to Eat Too cookbook I was struck by two ideas: the recipe was inspired by New York City delis (as a former New Yorker I was intrigued) and it’s chocolatey goodness is hypnotic while still being dietlicious.

I’m all for chocolate treats that taste decadent but don’t pack too many calories or fat (think: brownie craving satisfier right here). But I wondered if I could boost the nutrition just a bit. That way I wouldn’t feel too bad adding in some chocolate chips too (hey, we all need more anti-oxidants in our diet and dark chocolate happens to have them, which is why I try to get a little dark chocolate in each day–it’s tough, but I somehow manage).

I figured this recipe with a hefty dose of yogurt would be perfect paired with whole wheat instead of all-purpose flour. I also added a tablespoon of ground flax, 1/4 cup chopped almonds, orange zest, and mini Ghirardelli chocolate chips.

Kid reactions: Well, it’s chocolate, of course they loved it! My teen who has quite the discerning taste buds didn’t like the added orange zest. In her words, “the orange zest brings out the flavor of the whole wheat instead of the chocolate so I’d skip it next time.” If your kids are begging for brownies but you want to try something that might be just a little healthier than your standard recipe, you might consider making this loaf.

Want to see more recipes from Parents Need to Eat Too? Enter the giveaway that’s going on now through next week for a chance to win a free copy.

Recipe

Servings: 9

Prep time: 15 minutes + baking


Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt (I used Greek)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a loaf pan. (I thought two mini pans would work nicely here too).
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, except for the chocolate chips.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together on high speed. Then add in the egg and vanilla.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture; blend.
  6. Add half of the yogurt into the batter; blend.
  7. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and yogurt. (The batter will be stiff.)
  8. Mix in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts, if using.
  9. Spread the batter into the pan and cook for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through.
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Buttermilk apple muffins

Muffins are my comfort food. So this week as the temperatures dipped into the teens and the snow finally came rolling in (it’s still a blur of white outside the window), I decided to play around with the ingredients of an apple muffin recipe I’ve had since high school.

The original recipe calls for mixing in the buttermilk and apples separately just before turning out the batter into the muffin cups. Recalling an oatmeal cookie recipe that keeps the raisins soft by marinating them in whisked eggs and almond extract, I thought I’d try letting my apple dices take a dip. I wanted them to bathe in flavor so I mixed in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon zest too.

I wasn’t done experimenting. I wanted to keep the calories and fat to a minimum in these snowy day treats, so I used Land ‘O Lake Light butter that nixes half the fat of the good stuff (my take: using it in baking is fine, but it’s too stiff for spreading and using in frosting as you would regular butter).

Now for the sugar. I cut part of it, and then replaced it with something I found at my local natural foods grocer, Mustard Seed Market. Coconut sugar. I love the flavor of real coconut anyway. I’m not convinced that there’s any real health benefits from the coconut sugar, the brand is Madhava and it’s organic. It still has 15 calories per teaspoon just like your average table sugar. But what intrigued me was the flavor: kinda a cross between molasses and shredded coconut, the package calls it “a caramelized maple flavor.”

You don’t have to use light butter or coconut sugar in your muffins, but please, do soak the apples!

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 16 regular-sized muffins

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

2/3 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups diced apple

1 cup flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

3 tablespoons ground flax (optional)

Oatmeal

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel and dice the apples and then soak them in the buttermilk, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if using) for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cream the sugar with the butter until it’s light and airy.
  4. Add the egg and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients.
  6. Gently stir the dry ingredients in with the creamed mixture, then add the buttermilk-soaked apples and nuts.
  7. Divide batter in 16 regular-sized muffin cups and top with a few oatmeal pieces.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until just browned.
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Whole wheat banana bread

Bananas are a wonder food. They’re packed with potassium, fiber. They help build stronger bones. They’re better than Tums for achy stomaches… I could go on, but you get the idea. I really like bananas, which is why banana bread is an infrequent treat at our house. I eat them before they ever get ripe.

But occasionally I do buy a large bunch so that I’ll have a few leftover for bread. Now I’m a bit picky with my banana bread—I don’t like it overly moist, which makes the crust gooey by day two. I like hearty slices that can stand up to a little slathering of butter. This recipe is a tweak from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It uses yogurt to give the bread just the right smooth consistency. And it’s moist enough that I can substitute half of the regular flour for whole wheat without it becoming too dry. I also toss in some ground flax for an added nutrition boost (and then usually some chocolate chips because you can’t go wrong with bananas and chocolate…I mean, because you want added anti-oxidants).

And instead of a large loaf pan, I bake mine in two smaller pans. My favorite part of the bread is the crust anyway and smaller loaves equal more crusts–and more heels for everyone to argue over.

Ready to break out some bananas?

Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 2 mini loaves

Ingredients

2 cups flour (I use 1 cup whole wheat, 1 cup all-purpose)

¾ sugar (I use ¼ cup brown, ½ cup white)

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 ripe bananas

6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs

¼ plain yogurt

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon ground flax seed (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat each pan with baking spray.
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. In a large bowl mash the bananas with a spoon and then use the blender to puree them. Add the melted butter, eggs and yogurt and blend again.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Add in the walnuts.
  6. Gently mix until just moistened.
  7. Add the batter into the two pans.
  8. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.
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Chewy whole wheat oatmeal cookies

After going over how to grind your own whole wheat last week, I wanted to pass along a few more recipes. Here’s another one: oatmeal cookies.

Sometimes oatmeal cookies can get dry, especially when you’re using whole wheat. The secret to chewiness here is letting the raisins get a soaking in the eggs before going into the batter.

This recipe was tweaked from the original which appeared in the 1978 Colorado Cache Cookbook put out by the Junior League of Denver.
Recipe

Ingredients:
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup raisins
*I use a combo of golden raisins, dried cranberries and regular raisins
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla)
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
¾ cup chopped walnuts or almonds

Directions:

  1. Lightly beat the eggs. Add the almond extract and the raisins. Let this mixture stand, covered, for one hour.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream the sugars and butter together—whip until fluffy.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine all of your dry ingredients except the oatmeal and nuts.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the whipped butter and combine well with the mixer.
  5. Stir in the raisin/egg combination with a wooden spoon.
    The oatmeal is the last ingredient to be stirred in. I use regular, whole oatmeal and toss 1 cup into the batter. With the other cup, I pulse it in the food processor to mince the oatmeal.  (I also add 1 Tablespoon or more of ground flax seed to the oatmeal for a health boost.)
    After your oatmeal is mixed well into the batter, add your chopped nuts.
  6. Place the dough into the refrigerator for at least an hour before baking.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
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The BEST whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

As promised, I’m passing along my favorite recipe for 100% whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. These cookies whip up quickly, but if you have the time, it’s fun to grind the wheat berries with your kids and then make the cookies. Of course, you can always get your whole wheat flour at the store. I’m thrilled that you can now find King Arthur flour everywhere. It used to be that you had to order it, now I can find it at my local grocers. Yeah.

A couple notes, these cookies are great warm, but I find they’re better on day #2–they get chewier. I’ve included this recipe from King Arthur below, with one omission–vanilla extract. Lately, I’ve been avoiding using it, or substituting almond extract for a little extra pizzazz. Here you don’t need it–the chocolate, honey and whole wheat offer plenty of flavor on their own.

Recipe

Ingredients

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: About 2 dozen

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons honey

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (opt.)

1/4 cup dried tart cherries (opt.)

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, cocoa powder or black onyx powder (opt.)

1/2 tablespoon ground flax

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, sugars, honey, espresso powder (if you’re using it), and salt. Once that’s combined, add in the egg, vinegar, baking soda and baking powder.
  2. Stir in the flour and then the chocolate chips.
  3. I always refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350.
  5. Lightly coat your cookie pan with baking spray.
  6. Make cookie balls in your hands that are about the same amount as a tablespoon.
  7. Bake the cookies for 7 to 10 minutes or just until lightly browned.
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