I should clarify that I am not taking sugar and refined flours completely out of my family’s diet.  I adore seeing Sofia’s fat cheeks munching on a croissant when we’re shopping at the farmer’s market and I enjoy baking cookies with Lucas from time-to-time. I just have a vision of a food circle, instead of a pyramid, with sweets and refined foods being on the periphery.  In the center are an abundance of greens, a rainbow of fruits, whole grains, farm-fresh eggs and humanely-raised meats.  It’s when the periphery foods become central to our diets that a bit of thought and commitment may be required to push them back out.

That being said (and in true Natali fashion) I offer you a cookie recipe!

The other day, on the way home from school I asked Lucas if he wanted to make  chocolate chip cookies when we got home.  He said a half-hearted “yes, but the kind I like.”  (As in “not anymore of those millet-quinoa cookies, please!”)  Although I’d have to say those were pretty good too.

So I pulled up a recipe that a friend gave to me, from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking.  I knew these would be the perfect compromise.   I reduced the sugar a bit (from 3/4c to 2/3c) and used whole spelt flour instead of conventional whole wheat.  Lucas, my toughest critic, loved them!

We’ve discovered that we like cookies better the day after they are baked. This rest period gives the dry ingredients a chance to assimilate and brings out the sweetness.  Have you ever noticed that?

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice (I substituted 2t lemon juice since I didn’t have o.j. and it worked fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups whole wheat (or spelt) flour
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips or mini-chunks
2/3 cup walnuts and/or dried fruit such as cranberries or chopped apricots (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Cream the butter, sugar, orange juice, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Beat in the egg, scraping the bowl.  The mixture will look curdled; that’s OK.  Add the flour, beating until smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips, nuts and dried fruit.  Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies, reversing the pans midway through (top to bottom, bottom to top), until they’re barely beginning to brown around the edges, 14-15 minutes.  They won’t look quite set in the center.  Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the pan.

(Also posted on The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter 5/3)