Tuesday, May 08, 2007

If only all whole grain items tasted this good....

I know Tuesdays are the day that we talk about what we made for Jeff to bring in for the weekly Wednesday Treat Day that we've been doing at his office. I did get a little something baked, however I'm still waiting for it to finish cooling so we can get pictures - I'll post about it tomorrow!

Since I didn't (and still don't!) know what my schedule will be like this week due to jury duty, I put a batch of dough for these Soft Barley-Sugar Cookies into the refrigerator last Sunday. Since the dough needed to rest overnight anyway, I went ahead and got it ready since I had some extra time. This is, yet again, another recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book that I've had such success with and this recipe did not disappoint! These are thick and giant (just over 4" across) soft cookies that have a distinct old-fashioned flavor to them.

Sour cream in the dough makes the cookies extremely soft and tender with a dose of fresh grated nutmeg, lemon juice and vanilla adding to that old time-y essence. Try not to skimp on resting the dough; letting it rest overnight allows the whole grain flour to fully absorb the liquids and gives the butter a chance to firm back up to allow the cookies to have an extremely light and delicate texture. I got 12 cookies out of my batch today and used a large (about 1/4 cup) cookie scoop to divide out the dough. Before baking, each ball of dough is rolled in coarse crystal sugar or turbinado sugar - I decided to do half of each kind just for fun... they are then squished down so they will cook evenly. The cookies bake in a hotter than normal oven and cook quickly, so be sure to watch carefully - you want them to be just lightly golden around the edges with the middle of the cookies still looking soft (they should spring back if you lightly touch them). They then need to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes so they can firm up enough to move them.

The sugar on top adds a delicious sweet crunch and while the texture of these is quite soft, they do not break apart when you pick them up. These cookies do not have that light pale-lemon color to them as you would see in a regular sugar cookie... this is because the barley flour has a tan tinge to it. However, it is just appearance alone as there was no aftertaste or unpleasant "wheat-y" flavor. We couldn't stop nibbling on them plain, but if you wanted, you could certainly dress them up with some icing and sprinkles for a semi-healthy bake sale item! If you happen to have some sugar being assimilated with vanilla beans hanging out in the pantry, I think this would be an excellent way to showcase that vanilla sugar!


  1. Nice to see another review on this book. I finally got my own copy and love it! As you always said Joe, this really is a great book!
    I made the "sour cream muffins" from the book and they were delicious too!

  2. They sound lovely and look really perfect!

  3. Ana - I've marked those muffins, but have yet to try them! Glad to hear they were good.

    Kelly-Jane - Thanks!

  4. Joe, I made the graham crackers from the book yesterday and the Honey Oatmeal Bread (or something like that) today. The crackers are soooo good, I love graham crackers and could not stop eating them.
    The bread I made using the cinnamon swirl variation and it came out super good. My son wanted a cinnamon raisins bread, so I decided to make that and added raisin to the bread after I spreaded the cinnamon filling (before I rolled the bread up). I actually used only 2 tbsp of brown sugar instead of the honey as I didn't want the bread to be too sweet, and I omitted the nuts.
    The bread itself is delicious, very nice and not too dense.
    I really liked both recipes I tried and am planning on posting on my blog, but I wanted to let you know since you were my major inspiration for getting the book in the first place!
    Try the muffins, I made them with toffee bits and it was one of the best muffins I have ever had, really liked them!

  5. Ana - Thanks for the updates! I have both of those still marked to try too.