Loud and clear

If today doesn't scream Kim Boyce's Chocolate Chip Cookies! to you, well, then, I don't know what to say. I heard it loud and clear when I woke up this morning, screeching in through the windows, up from my slippers, out from the pile of baking sheets and pattering in the rain.

Not that I believe anyone needs an excuse to bake chocolate chip cookies, mind you, but if we did, today would be the perfect day. I have about a million things on my to-do list—wash the whites, vacuum the car, weed the garden and plant the spinach for the winter and fall. But it's raining and whooshing and blowing outside; it's too wet for the laundry, for the vacuum cleaner to be hauled outside. It's too rainy for my seed packets, the weeds, too muddy and windy to bother mucking about in the yard.

And so instead, I am in Good to the Grain, spending the morning with Kim Boyce, page 41. I am reading about thick, chewy edges, nutty whole-wheat, high quality bittersweet chocolate and dough eaten straight from the bowl.

Soon it will be time to go to work—time for black pants and bobbypins and the rain jacket slung over the door—but for now it's just cold milk and cookie dough, and the oven to keep me warm.


This recipe, from Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain, has become my go-to. It's about as healthy, straight-forward, and delicious as chocolate-chip cookies can get.

3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 pound cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips, such as Ghiradelli's 60% Cacao

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk well.

Combine the butter and sugars in another mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until they are just blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate and stir until just incorporated.

Form the dough into balls—I make mine a little bit larger than golf balls. Arrange the balls evenly on the baking sheets, leaving about 2-3 inches between each one. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cookies are evenly dark golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool, and repeat the process with any remaining dough.

Note: These cookies are best eaten within a day or two of baking. I like to make a big batch of dough, bake off about a third, and keep the rest in the refrigerator to bake over the next week or two. Of course, some of it usually gets devoured as is—without any heat at all.

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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.