Archive for: whole wheat
I always feel good about making a fresh batch of homemade cookies, but putting a few elements that are on the healthier side of the spectrum is an easy way to feel just as good about eating them, too. These Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cranberries have quite a few good-for-you ingredients in them. They’re made with whole wheat flour, oatmeal and are packed with antioxidant-rich mix-ins like dark chocolate and dried cranberries. They’re not health food, since they also have a good amount of butter and sugar in the dough, but I know that I always like a good reason to reach for a second cookie.
The cookie dough comes together like a standard chocolate chip cookie dough. Whole wheat flour can make cookie dough drier than regular all purpose flour can, so you will notice that there is less of it in this dough than in your average chocolate chip cookie recipe, even though the texture of the finished dough will be about the same. The cookies have a crispy edge and a nice chewiness to them when they come out of the oven. You can taste a little of the whole wheat flavor, but it blends well with the nuttiness of the oatmeal and is balanced well by the butter in the dough, which adds just enough richness to keep these from tasting like health food. The cookies aren’t overly sweet, and the rich dark chocolate and bright cranberries really stand out to make for a very satisfying cookie.
Regular whole wheat flour works very well in these cookies and gives them pleasant, mild whole grain taste. Most of the people that you serve these to won’t even notice that they’re eating whole grains. If you do want to make the whole wheat element a even more subtle, you can use white whole wheat flour instead or a blend of whole wheat and regular all purpose flour. I prefer to use quick cooking oats because I like both the look and texture that they give to the finished cookies. Both dark/bittersweet chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate chips (which are actually just another way of naming dark chocolate) will work beautifully in this recipe, giving the cookies a good dose of chocolate in every bite and contrasting well with the tart cranberries. The cookies will keep very well when stored in an airtight container for a few days.
Peanut butter cookies are usually a great candidate for using whole wheat flour, even if you’re not usually a big fan of using whole wheat flours in baking. Whole wheat flour has a stronger flavor than regular all purpose flour does, and in some types of cookies, that flavor can sort of take over the cookie and hide the more delicate flavors of butter and sugar. In the case of peanut butter cookies, the peanut butter is strongly flavored enough that the flavor of whole wheat comes through as an extra nuttiness in the finished cookies that can make them even tastier – as well as making them a little bit better for you.
These Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies are made using only whole grain flour. You can use white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour to make these cookies. I prefer to use white whole wheat, which has a slightly milder flavor to it, but both will give you good results. The cookies are tender, but still chewy, and they have a great peanut butter flavor. They also keep very well, so one batch can last quite a while when stored in an airtight container.
You can use either plain or crunchy peanut butter in these, based on your personal preference. It’s good both ways, but it is nice to have those little chunks of peanut in there to add a little extra texture. I typically use a national brand of peanut butter – such as Jif – when making these cookies, but all natural peanut butter will also work if that is what you have on hand. Natural peanut butter cookies may spread slightly more than these, so give your cookies a little more space on the baking sheet so that they don’t run together in the oven.
A freshly baked batch of muffins is often reserved for the weekends, when we have the luxury of being able to spend some extra time in the kitchen and some extra time to drink coffee, read the paper and relax. But muffins can easily be an everyday food, especially if you make a batch that has a few health-conscious tweaks made to it, and you can bake a batch over the weekend to enjoy even on a busy weekday morning.
These Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins are that everyday type of muffin. Packed with fresh mashed banana, they are made with whole wheat flour, vegetable oil and have a handful of heart-healthy nuts thrown into the batter to add a little extra texture and flavor. The muffins are moist and have that same tight, dense crumb that a traditional loaf of banana bread will have, as opposed to a light and cake-like crumb. They have a good banana flavor, accented with a hint of cinnamon and brown sugar. They muffins aren’t too sweet and you can taste the nuttiness of the whole wheat flour, which actually works well with the nuts in the muffins.
I prefer to use white whole wheat flour in these muffins because the finished product is slightly lighter than muffins made with regular whole wheat flour, although both will work just fine in the end. I typically use a mixture of chopped pecans and walnuts in these. You can opt for one or the other – or even use chocolate chips if you want to make these slightly healthy muffins a little more indulgent.
These muffins, like banana bread, store quite well. They will stay moist and fresh in an airtight container for a few days if you’re not going to eat them all at once. They also freeze fairly well, though I like to wrap the individually so that they’re a little more convenient to grab for snacking. They’re good plain, but I also like them warmed up and served with a little smear of salted butter on top.
It is pretty easy to sneak whole wheat flour into a batch of cookies – especially if you’re already dealing with a batch of flavorful oatmeal cookies that will get a little extra boost of nuttiness from the whole grain. These Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies are a great example because you would never know that there is whole grain flour in there with all of those chocolate chunks.
Of course, it’s not really necessary to “sneak” whole wheat flour into foods and hide the fact that you’re adding some extra whole grains into cookies or a cake. You need to be sneaky about it because you don’t want to compromise the texture of the baked good when using whole wheat flour, however. Whole wheat flour can make things like cookies a little bit drier and a little bit more crumbly, and if the cookie dough you’re working with isn’t flavorful to begin with, the whole wheat flavor can actually take over the cookie. This dough is very flavorful, not just because it has a generous amount of butter in it, but because it uses brown sugar, vanilla and oatmeal and all three of those elements give the cookies a lot of body. White whole wheat flour can also be substituted for whole wheat flour in this recipe.
I used semisweet chocolate chunks in these cookies, along with some chopped pecans for texture. Chopped walnuts will work just as well if you have those on hand. I found that semisweet chocolate worked better than dark chocolate did for these cookies because the whole wheat flour adds an earthy note (by which I mean that it tones down the sweetness of the sugar), and the little bit of extra sweetness in the chocolate was just perfect. The finished cookies are crisp around the edges and have a nice chew to them. The recipe makes a fairly big batch, but the cookies keep well in an airtight container and are great for sharing.
Homemade bread is a wonderful thing to make and to keep around the house, but there are several things that keep us from baking bread as often as we might like. The first thing is time. It can take a couple of hours to take a loaf from start to finish and, while we might have time on the weekends, this rules it out for weekdays. The second thing is difficulty. Kneading bread can seem like a daunting task to novice bakers, and even experienced bakers don’t always want to get the counter covered with flour. This No Knead Whole Wheat Honey Sandwich Bread is one of the easiest breads I’ve ever made and it is darn tasty. It requires no kneading and has a very short rising time, so the bread can be fully baked just about one hour after you start to mix the ingredients together!
The secret to this bread is the temperature of the ingredients used. It uses both bread flour (you can use all purpose, but bread flour gives you a slightly better texture in the finished loaf) and whole wheat flour, which gives the bread a great structure and a good wheat flavor. The flour is warmed before adding it to the rest of the ingredients, and all that heat kick starts the yeast into a rapid rise and cuts the total rising time to just 30 minutes!
The bread also does all of its rising right in the loaf pan that it is baked in. You don’t need to knead the dough before putting it into the pan, just stir it very vigorously when you are incorporating all of the ingredients. If you have a stand mixer, you can mix your dough with a dough hook and transfer it directly to the loaf pan. If you don’t mind a little kneading, you can turn the bread onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for just 1 minute to smooth it out even more before putting it into the loaf pan. I usually do the little bit of extra kneading, but it definitely isn’t necessary if you just put a little bit of muscle into your mixing.
The finished bread is a great sandwich loaf. It has a good whole wheat flavor to it and just a hint of sweetness from the honey. It slices easily, toasts well and makes fantastic sandwiches. You can eat it while it is still warm, if you want to serve it for dinner, but it is best after it has cooled completely. You can use whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour in this bread and you’ll get good results both ways, but a little bit lighter flavor from the white whole wheat if you prefer a slightly less hearty whole wheat flavor.