We needed a Thin Mint break. We were on our third box for crying out loud. I never thought I'd see the day, but I am sort of Girl Scout Cookie-d out. I know: blasphemy. It was time for the standard to return.
I knew I had a recipe "somewhere" for soft and chewy chocolate chippers. Somewhere became an afternoon of paging through the Big Books of cut-out recipes. I am a visual person, so in my mind, the recipe I remembered had a pillowy soft chewy cookie photo. Dang if I could find it. There was one that maybe could have been it. A Martha Stewart recipe--from a cookbook of hers. So I gave that a try. Well. That went horribly wrong. H-o-r-r-i-b-l-y.
It was now late afternoon, I was heading into my second baking round. And truth be told, a little testy over the mishap with Martha. And now I wanted, after having consumed an entire Thin Mint sleeve of cookies on my own while test baking THESE--a little healthier cookie option. Can you say, Sugar Eater's Anonymous?
I've been conditioned to think "whole wheat" solves this problem. I am not going to debate the merit of whole wheat making a cookie any healthier. It matters not. All I'm saying is that mentally, I like the sound of "whole wheat" in my baking.
I came across one other possibility for the soft and chewy version of chocolate chip cookie I wanted to adapt. I worried over same-old, same-old cookie outcome. Good cookie? Yes. Soft and chewy? Well, sure. If you eat 'em right out of the oven. But what about the next day? Therein lies the test. It's been in the eighties here. I am running enough heat on my own, thank you very much, then to have to crank up MORE heat in this house.
I turned to the trusted and tested: America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2010. I won't tell you I've tried EVERY recipe in here, or that I've even tried five recipes in this cookbook. But when the need arises for a tested, doub-ly-good recipe to adapt--I put my trust with the bow tie dude every time. These cookies, with my very own whole wheat experiment, exceeded my whole grain expectations. Thank God. Two hot flashes later, we were in chocolate chip heaven. Feel free to jump to the end of this post for the recipe, otherwise bear with me as I catch you up on the happenings.
The other happenings around here involve: guitar practice. Well. Let's just say it's still very much "practice" as we have not crossed over to "playing" quite yet. But I am pushing myself more now--being so bold as to have brought home the song book for a Lady Antebellum song I'd love to learn, Hello World. But then I saw Stevie Nicks on Idol last night and want to now play Landslide. (Fleetwood Mac: BEST band ever. Ever.)
And then there's the garden. I spent today scouting out a couple of my favorite "secret" veggie growing places and picked up five new heirloom variety tomato plants. Heirlooms are the wonders of the tomato world to me. If you are interested in these, know that they do not last long on the shelves. True tomato aficionados (like me) will scoop them up. My seed starting has not gone so well as I only have a "few" seedlings that emerged. I may have neglected the little guys a bit in the beginning and, well. . . maybe burned them. I feel so badly about it, too. The ones I do have emerging I am making sure I talk to them as they poke their little punkin' heads out. I think it's all the pollen in the air--it's fogging me up. I can't keep on task. I get sleepy and need naps. Everything has this yellow cast to it. I am on my allergy regimen and even that doesn't seem to be helping. Not to be a whiney baby about it, but. . . I am a whiney baby about it.
Well, there was some car drama this week, too. I'll leave it at that. Yes. I totally was a whiney baby about the car stuff. I had to literally "take to the bed" like a Madwoman in the Attic feminist novel heroine.
Speaking of Madwoman. I'm trying really hard to NOT buy any more yarn until I finish a few more projects I already have on the needles. UFOs. (Unfinished objects.) I am not unique to this. Ask any knitter how many projects they have going. Those that lie will tell you one. This past winter wasn't kind to knitters. I am a winter knitter. Yes, I like to knit all year long. But the ultimate knitter's dream time is the dead of winter (post-Christmas because that's when the selfish knitting kicks in), in front of the fireplace, hot chocolate by her side, dogs at her feet, snow falling--you get the picture. NOT eighty degrees, trees leafed fully out--mid-March. As it is, I jump for joy when the weather calls for a mid-sixties forecast. Hooray! I can wear one of my hand made cardigans! I can count on one hand the number of times I've worn them this year.
I am happy to have finally (ten months in the making) finished the Amiga cardigan. It was going to be my pick-me-up sunshine sweater for the dark days of winter. Now it's my pick-me-up for spring in the "eighties" sweater.
I modified this pattern quite a bit. I loved the top-down knitting design and prefer always to knit a sweater in this manner rather than in separate pieces and delay completion further by having to sew seams. Ick. The changes: worked increases along the arm to make flared-out sleeves vs. straight. (There was no math to this, I eye-balled it as I went along--placing markers on the first sleeve where I increased, then holding that sleeve up to the sleeve I was working next and did the same thing in the same spots along the arm). I did a loose bind-off at the bottom of the cardigan; picked up the stitches around the collar and the two fronts and knit in garter stitch for about four inches, then bound off regular method, which gave the fronts this sort of pull against my loose bind-off along the bottom. It was a Happy Accident how this happened. I don't like anything too boxy or too fitty on me when it comes to cardigans. I like a drapey look, too. Dr. Thyme was kind enough to come outside in his slippers to photograph me wearing it. *Thanks, honey. Love ya!
Maybe that edging is a bit longer than four inches. All I know is that I don't do short row shaping. . . yet. So my options were limited with the neck and fronts. I just knit until it looked right. I love this cardigan to pieces. I knit it in Berroco Remix.
Vegan Soft and Chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted vegetable margerine
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Florida Crystals (*I used a little less than 1/2 cup to cut back some of the sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon olive oil or canola oil
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flours, salt, baking soda. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan over low heat, melt the margerine. Remove pan from heat--allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the sugars to the pan along with the vanilla extract, egg replacer and oil. Pour this mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular mixing bowl if using a hand mixer). Mix on medium speed for about a minute--until the mixture is smooth. Next, spoon the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix until the flour is incorporated--about 30 seconds--then, add the chocolate chips and mix slightly. You don't want to over mix the batter once the flour is added. But you should have a thick batter with chunks of chips running throughout. You can bake half the dough now and save half for later--storing the rest of the dough in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container. Drop a tablespoon of dough onto the cookie sheet, spaced about two inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes--or until the tops of the cookies begin to get golden on the edges. Remove cookies from oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes. Remove from baking pan and allow to cool completely before storing. But by all means--eat 'em warm if you can!