In the fall and winter, I want cookies that seem to fit in with the season. Sometimes this means gingerbread and eggnog cookies, but other times it simply means I want something hearty with a little bit of spice to it. To me, a “hearty” cookie is one that delivers a lot of flavor and mix-ins in a small, single-cookie package. Many oatmeal cookies fall into this category, but so do cookies made with whole wheat flour. Just because you’re supposed to be indulging during the winter baking season doesn’t mean you need to write off whole wheat flour. It has a nutty flavor and imparts a heartiness to baked goods that makes them oh-so-satisfying on a cold winter day. So while I absolutely will be serving up peppermint chocolate chip cookies, I will also be serving these delicious Whole Grain Cherry Walnut Cookies.
The cookies are made with whole wheat flour and packed full of dried cherries and toasted walnuts. While they’re not heavily spiced, I accented them with a little bit of cinnamon, which works well both with the nutty whole wheat flour and with the actual nuts. The cookies are crisp around the edges and chewy in the center. To preserve this balance, make sure not to overbake them or your’ll end up with a cookie that is a little bit crispier than you might like. If your oven bakes unevenly, try a small test batch to nail down the baking time before putting in the rest of the cookies. When they’re just right, they’re definitely comfort food.
If you want to really mix things up and feel like whole wheat flour is a little “old hat” consider using White Lily’s red grape seed flour instead of regular whole wheat flour. It adds some good depth of flavor, highlighting the dried cherries, and makes the cookies a bit more tender. You can also mix things up by using different dried fruits and nuts. While I adore the combination of dried cherries and walnuts, cranberries and pecans will give these an even more seasonal feel.
Whole Grain Cherry Walnut Cookies
2 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped dried cherries
3/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla extract and cinnamon until all ingredients are well combined. With the mixer on low speed, gradually blend in the flour mixture until the dough comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in cherries and walnuts.
Shape cookie dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches between cookies to allow for the dough to spread.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies are just starting to turn brown on the edges and are just set in the center. Allow cookies to cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies