No matter how long or little you’ve been cooking, everyone suffers those off nights in the kitchen. You know, you spent an hour at the grocery store and still forgot to buy that crucial ingredient, the onions made you cry so much that you nicked your finger, the cake came out much more … well done than you had hoped. While making her famed kheer with orzo, my mom once added a full cup of salt instead of sugar. I say this not to embarrass her, but to prove my point: it happens to the best of us.
A year and a half(!!)’s worth of recipes aside, I’m still a novice in the kitchen. Most of the time I bumble from counter to counter, frantically scanning Google to determine how to clean and trim spareribs and how long to broil salmon for. Over time thankfully, I’ve gotten much more comfortable in my apron. I’ve improved on chopping skills and I can improvise with increasing success (though now I forget to write down exact amounts of what I’ve added — the problems never cease).
But yesterday was an off day. It took me forever to do simple steps, such as chopping chocolate or measuring ingredients. I even got that wrong, as I accidentally added too much oats. Then we were out of vanilla so I had to swap in orange juice. I even grated my finger, which in all the years and years I’ve been zesting and grating things, I had never done before. In the process, I made a mess of my aunt’s recently cleaned kitchen, then had to spend time returning it to its spotless state. Baking, which has always been my forte, suddenly became a challenge. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I was home alone, as there may have been a temper tantrum or two, but there were no witnesses and I’ll never tell …
It’s a testament to how amazing these chocolate chip cookies are that despite my best efforts to destroy them, they still came out pretty friggin’ amazing. The combination of oats and dark chocolate is pretty irresistible to me, especially since I chose to use fancy Callebaut intense dark chocolate.* Since I was out of vanilla extract, I added a teaspoon of orange juice to go with the orange zest, which added a fruity undercurrent through the cookie. They reminded me of one of my favorite candy bars, the Lindt Orange Intense bar, which is never a bad thing. The whole wheat flour adds an earthy nuttiness to the cookie, matched by the walnuts and oats.
In fact, these cookies were so good that they almost made me crave that exalted partner of all cookies: a glass of milk. Though I am currently wearing an obscenely old version of this shirt (in pink, that’s how old it is), I don’t love cookies and milk, mostly because I hate milk. Blasphemous, I know, since an ice cold glass of milk pairs with a gooey chocolate chip cookie like peanut butter pairs with jelly (or better yet, chocolate) and wine pairs with cheese.
I’ve hated milk since childhood, and only tolerated it as a child if it was mixed with a healthy dose of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. But while nibbling on a warm, melty chocolate chip and a slightly toasted walnut, staring at the glass of milk I had poured for picture purposes, I thought “maybe just a sip. For research purposes.” And then I … walked back into the kitchen, poured the milk back into its carton and finished my cookie. And let me tell you, milk or not, these cookies hit the spot.
*My grocery store sells rough-cut blocks of Callebaut in plastic wrap near the seafood (don’t ask me why), which is actually cheaper than the Ghirardelli bars in the baking section. Apparently, once in a blue moon, deals can be had at Westside.
Loaded Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Kiss My Spatula
– 1-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
– 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
– 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
– 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon 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 egg
– 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice
– 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
– 1 teaspoon orange zest
1) Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line two baking sheets. Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
2) Using an electric mixer, blend the butter and sugars until just mixed, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, mixing until combined. Mix in the orange juice.*
3) Add in the flour mixture and blend on low until barely combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Fold in the chocolate, hazelnuts and orange zest. The batter will be extremely clumpy.
4) Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, shape the cookies into tightly packed clumps (it maybe be difficult at times to pack in all of the goodies). Flatten them slightly and place on lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway. The cookies will be browned when they are done. Cool for a few minutes before serving with a ice cold glass of milk, if you’re, you know, in to that thing.
*It’s easiest to zest the orange, then cut it in half to juice it. Don’t be like me and cut it in half first, then try to zest the half. You will grate your skin. It’s no fun, especially when you get orange juice in the cuts.
Note from 6/27: I posted this recipe as a part of a link party on Sweet as Sugar Cookies — thanks so much Lisa for inviting me!