After what seems like a few months without rain here in St. Louis, today has been damp and stormy. I have spent most of my non-photography hours reading up on marketing for my business (yawn) and enhancing the SEO for my various websites (snore). Both of these activities are crucial for my business, but boy howdy is it boring. I’d much rather be shooting.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, posting has slowed down here at Shoot To Cook as my schedule has been packed with work and the above boring business-related stuff, and I realized that my goal of posting at least once a week was unfulfilled for this week. Today, as a massive rain shower hit outside I decided that enough was enough and I was going to get back in the kitchen. I have been eyeing a recipe for whole wheat chocolate chunk cookies that I found over at Kiss My Spatula and I decided that today was the day.
Around Christmas last year I made Crispy Oatmeal Cookies with Sea Salt and have been addicted to sea salt on my cookies ever since then. This recipe also calls for sea salt and it is a vital part of the flavor. Another key component is to use the whole wheat flour, which adds a certain heartiness that you just don’t get from white flour.
The original recipe called for hazelnuts and I didn’t have any on-hand. Last fall I purchased a small container of exorbitantly priced black walnuts that I was planning on using for a bundt cake that I never got around to making. The walnuts have been patiently waiting in my freezer since then and I decided that now was the time. I tossed in a scant 1/4 cup of the fragrant nuts and the results were fantastic. Unlike regular walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts, the black walnuts completely infused the cookies with the rich earthy flavor. If you’ve never had black walnuts make sure to be on the look-out for them this fall. They are amazing with chocolate. And of course, I didn’t have an orange (the original recipe calls for zest) so I did what I always do in this situation: I replaced the fruit with booze. Grand Marnier, of course.
These cookies and a glass of milk made for a spectacular rainy day afternoon snack. You can make these any size you want, but I went all out and made six very large cookies.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Black Walnuts
Adapted from the recipe found at Kiss My Spatula
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped or broken*
1/4 cup chopped black walnuts
1 tsp orange zest or a tablespoon of Grand Marnier
good sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the dry ingredients together. I use a whisk to mix dry ingredients instead of a sifter and that seems to work pretty well (assuming you aren’t trying to sift out big chucks of something). Cream the butter and sugars together, add in the egg and the vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredient mixture and stir by hand until it just comes together. Add the chocolate, walnuts, and Grand Marnier or orange zest and stir, again, just until combined.
Distribute the dough in mounds on your baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between them – they will flatten out to more than twice their size. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt. Bake for 15-25 minutes depending on the size of your cookies – my large cookies took closer to 25 minutes – turning the tray half way through. Bake until they are evenly brown, crisp on the edges and a little soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on the tray.
*Instead of chopping up my chocolate I put in in a plastic baggie and bash it with a rolling pin. It makes nice even chunks with a lot of chocolate dust that spreads throughout the dough for an added chocolate note to the cookie.