Our family has been trying to eat healthier and eat in ways that are better for the environment. These are actually two different goals, but they are often compatible and many people interested in one are interested in both, like we are. Some of the things we have been doing are trying to eat more organic foods, more locally grown foods – or at least stick to foods grown in the US, more whole grains, less high fructose corn syrup, and have more of the eggs and chicken we consume be cage free. In the process we are trying to cook more and eat less processed food. We’ve never eaten a lot of beef, maybe once every week or two, so we don’t really need to cut back there. On top of all of this, I’ve had to cut all milk & soy proteins out of my diet because of the baby’s intolerance.
All of this is a tall order and we certainly aren’t going to be able to change our habits, or our budget, overnight. We’re trying to take it in small bites and do what we can, when we can.
Today’s effort is homemade chocolate chip cookies. I’ve always made these cookies from scratch, but today I am trying to incorporate some of our family’s healthy and earth friendly goals, including replacing some of the store-bought store-brand double- stuffed Oreos we typically eat with these cookies.
To meet the high-level need of having a convenient cookie quickly, I’m making 2 double batches, I’ll put cookie-sized balls on wax paper, and freeze them. Once frozen I roll them up, put them in freezer bags and store them in the chest freezer to be available to bake on demand.
We have a counter top toaster-oven convection-oven that I can use to cook up to 8 cookies at a time in just about 15 minutes.
My basic recipe is the old stand-by Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies. The entire recipe as I baked it, is below, but here are some of my “changes”:
Flour: half white flour and half US Grown Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour (in this case, King Arthur Flour)
Wheat Germ: I put wheat germ in with the dry ingredients for the extra nutritional benefits like Vitamin E, folic acid, zinc, magnesium, protein & fiber. As a bonus, it adds a light nutty flavor to the cookies.
Butter substitute: Since I cannot have butter, I use half Crisco and half Earth Balance natural buttery spread, soy free (they have many varieties, I have to use the soy free variety)
Eggs: Cage free
Chocolate chips: Unfortunately, Nestle chips have milk in them, so I used Baker’s Real Semi-sweet Chocolate Chunks. I suspect that this is a place we could improve, with a fair trade variety of chips, such as Guittard Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. I just did some quick research on fair trade chips and I could write a whole post on why I should use Guittard chips. I got some at the Christmas Tree Shops about a year ago, and based on what I just learned about the company, I wish I had bought all they had! The short is: family owned, San Francisco based, works directly with chocolate growers, semi-sweet & dark chocolates are dairy-free. Now I just need a reliable local source!
Now for the recipe. I did a double batch in my KitchenAid mixer (I don’t recommend doing a double batch with a hand mixer), here is the recipe as I made it:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups Whole Wheat flour (US Grown)
- 1/2 cup Wheat Germ
- 1 tsp basking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup earth balance buttery spread (soy free)
- 1 cup crisco
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large, cage-free eggs
- 3 cups (18 oz) Bakers chocolate chunks (dairy free)
|With Kids Sidebar: Baking cookies is a great opportunity to spend time with your kids. Even the youngest can dump in the ingredients you hand them. At any age, start talking to them about reading the directions, measuring the ingredients and learning cooking skills. My daughter helped by doubling the recipe and even cracking the eggs (into a little bowl first to check for shells). My son helped by tasting and counting cookies.|
- Combine flour, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt in small bowl & set aside.
- Beat buttery spread, Crisco, sugar, brown sugar & vanilla until creamy
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture, beat in chocolate chunks.
- Bake a few cookies for eating today for 9 to 11 minutes on stone in convection toaster-oven, 375 degrees.
- Place rounded teaspoon-fulls on wax paper on a cookie sheet.
You can put these very close together, just not touching. Because you are freezing these, you don’t need room for spreading. Put the sheet in the freezer. After about an hour, take out and roll the paper up so the balls aren’t touching each other, put in freezer bags or other freezer storage. Label the bags with the date and put in the freezer. When I empty a bag I keep it in the freezer, then the next time I make the cookies, I just take out my cookie bag and fill it up again, being sure to change the date!These cookies can go straight from the freezer to the toaster oven, or straight to the mouth (if you’re not worried about the raw eggs in them. To avoid the problem of raw eggs, you could use egg beaters which are pasteurized, but I don’t believe they come in a cage-free version.)
My family loves these, they are very popular with both the children and my husband. Now my goal is to keep enough on hand so they don’t dig into the processed cookies full of high fructose corn syrup!
Happy Eating Green!