Cookies Get Healthier With Whole Grains

Whole grains are an important part of any healthy diet but often they're not the most tasty item on your daily menu. Once you've made the decision to add whole grains to your diet, the easiest place to start might be-perhaps surprisingly-with cookies. After all, who doesn't indulge in cookies? According to the new cookbook King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking, "Studies show that when American bakers turn on the oven, they're more likely to bake cookies than anything else."

Cookies are sweet and flavorful, full of chips and nuts, candy and dried fruit. And that's why they're so easy to convert to whole grain. Exchange whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour in a cookie laden with dark-brown sugar, butter, toasted pecans and chocolate chips and no one will be the wiser.

"Our best hint: Let the baked cookies rest for 24 hours, at room temperature, before serving," says Susan Reid, editor of The Baking Sheet at King Arthur Flour. "This rest gives the bran a chance to soften, lessening the 'gritty' mouth-feel some folks get from whole wheat."

If you're looking for more ways to enjoy whole grains, give these a try:

S'more Whole Wheat Cookies

3 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour

11/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk or yogurt

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon molasses

11/2 cups (9 ounces) milk or semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup mini marshmallows

3/4 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and molasses, and stir into dry ingredients. Stir in melted butter. The mixture will seem dry at first, but keep mixing until the dough is evenly moistened. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and marshmallows. Drop dough by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets; bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until cookie edges are golden brown. Remove cookies from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Yield: 31/2 dozen cookies.

Whole-Grain Cookie Tips

• In plain-textured and/or light-colored cookies, exchanging the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour produces a noticeable but pleasant change. To temper the sometimes "tannic" flavor of the whole wheat, add 2 tablespoons orange juice per cup of flour if the recipe calls for liquid (milk or water).

• In "craggier" cookies, substituting up to 50 percent whole wheat for the all-purpose flour is almost unnoticeable. Substituting 100 percent whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour often works well, though success can't be guaranteed for every recipe.

• If your cookie recipe directs you to chill the dough, do it. Chilling will create a more tender, lighter-textured cookie that won't spread too much when baking.

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About The Author, Stacey Moore
For more recipes and baking tips, visit www.kingarthurflour. com.The flavor of that old campfire favorite combined with healthy whole grains makes these S'more Whole Wheat Cookies a not-so-guilty pleasure.