While these cookies may not be purely guilt free, you absolutely can feel a little less guilty about eating them. They are made with spelt flour instead of all-purpose flour, kosher salt in place of regular table salt (both of which the original recipe calls for), real butter instead of Crisco (which I usually use) and natural, grain-fed, cage-free eggs. (I am particularly adamant about using cage-free eggs based on what I’ve seen in the film Food, Inc. and read in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, which I think everyone should watch and read so you know where your food comes from. Laying hens suffer even more than most industrial animals, but that’s a whole other story.)
Spelt is a grain related to wheat, but unlike most wheat it is a non-hybrid that has been used for thousands of years. It has a nutty and slightly sweet taste similar to that of whole wheat flour. Spelt flour is higher in nutrients (such as vitamin B-12, manganese, niacin, thiamin and copper) than other flours, and those with an aversion to wheat tend to tolerate spelt better than most flours.
This yellowish, grainy flour is commonly used as a substitute for whole wheat flours, but it can stand up to some traditional baking recipes calling for all-purpose flour, such as these cookies. The end result, however, is not guaranteed to be exactly the same as the original recipe would turn out. For one thing, the dough turns out a little darker and grainier.
The second way spelt cookies differ from regular ones is the rising factor. Spelt contains less gluten than regular flour, hence its tendency to be tolerated by those with wheat aversions, but that means whatever you’re baking will not rise as much as it would if you used regular flour. My first batch of cookies, for instance, were flatter than I’m used to my cookies being. I found a way around this problem, however. If you refrigerate the dough for a while, the cookies don’t spread out as much in the oven! But both batches were deee-lish!
I wouldn’t make these all the time, but if you’re trying to go just a bit healthier, these taste a whole lot better than some of those cardboard tasting concoctions they dare call cookies that are out there! And if plain chocolate chip cookies are too boring, put some ice cream between two cookies and make little ice cream sandwiches!
Chocolate Chip Cookies with
Makes three dozen medium cookies.
- 2 1/4 cups spelt flour (I bought Bob’s Red Mill from Earth Fare, but I’m sure it’s available at other health food stores or maybe even regular grocery stores.)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, preferably cage free
- 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Cream the softened butter and both the granulated and the brown sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in the vanilla and eggs.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add slowly to the wet ingredients until combined.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Spoon 12 tablespoon-size balls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for about 10 minutes. (I like mine soft, but not doughy and definitely not crunchy!) Cool on cookie sheets for about two minutes, then move to wire racks to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE®.