I grew up in a two-cookie household, meaning that on any given day of the week, there were two kinds of homemade cookies in the jar. To this day my mom loves to tell the story of how I would trade her gorgeous and lovingly made lunch box treats for Oreos. In my own defense, Oreos were foreign and exotic and lusty; they rarely crossed the threshold into our house, and I only ever saw them at my grandparents’ house, along with Nilla wafers. Processed was never something we had much of in our house, because way back then the processed stuff was actually more expensive than conventional whole foods.
Nick, too, grew up in a two-cookie household; his mom’s cookies still bring back fond memories for the majority of men within a 4-year age span if Nick. As he was a kid that played sports, his mom was a team mom that always brought around snacks and goodies. Not only that, but they always had at least a couple of friends roaming around the house and she made sure they got cookies too. A few of these ‘kids’ still come to our house for dinner every now and again, and always recognize when we have a bag of her cookies on the counter. And shortly after they make it into that man’s crosshairs, *poof* they are gone.
Cookies, for me, are something that I bake in waves. Either I bake a batch a week for two months or I don’t bake them at all for half a year. And of course, because we both have moms that bake, we end up with things every now and again, which means that I don’t have to get my beaters dirty. But when the mood strikes, you better believe that there will be cookies.
The other day I was perusing the racks of Trader Joe’s and picked up a bag of Almond Meal. My initial thinking is that this would be killer as a substitute for bread crumbs or panko for chicken cutlets or pork chops, and into the basket it went. When I got it home, though, and flipped the bag over, they suggested swapping it in 50/50 for flour in baked goods. WHAT. Stop the bus, I need to get off and bake chocolate chip cookies. Like, now.
My mom will be quick to tell you that I don’t partake of cookies with nuts in them, for the most part, and most especially when they are chocolate chip cookies. Why ruin perfection? The almond meal, though, adds just the tiniest hint of nuttiness to the cookie, but without the overwhelming texture change of adding chopped nuts. Which is a winner in my book.
I used a standard, full fat full sugar cookie recipe (and many of you will recognize the proportions below as The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe). I’ve tried the lower fat versions, and the lighter versions, and the less sugar versions, but let’s face it, when I want a cookie I WANT A COOKIE and those other guys don’t make my mouth happy when it has it’s sights set on a cookie. I want one the way it’s supposed to taste, the way it’s supposed to feel in your mouth, they way that you remember them tasting when you were a kid with two on a plate and a glass of cold milk after school (and if you didn’t have this I’m sorry for your deprivation). The only way these were healthed-up was by using the whole wheat flour and almond meal in place of the regular flour. Other than that, I didn’t adjust a thing.
One little tip to give you: don’t over soften your butter. Let it sit on your counter for about 15-20 minutes, until it yields slightly under the pressure from a finger but not so that it’s glossy and completely soft. The issue that you’ll run in to will be that your cookies will run into each other on the pan, they’ll spread so much (which is why you aren’t getting a picture of the completed cookies today). If you like a lacy, thin, crispy cookie then by all means use very soft butter, but if you’re a fluffy cookie kid like I am, watch your butter. If it does get too soft on you, then stick it in the freezer for a couple minutes to firm back up before getting started. I tell you this because, well, my butter got too soft and my cookies spread all over the place today. They still taste great, but I hate when things don’t come out they way I want them to.
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Almond Flour
1 c. Almond Meal
3/4 c. All Purpose Flour
1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Salt (which I omit, because I’m one of those people that only subscribes to salted butter)
1 c. Butter, softened
1 c. Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Granulated Sugar
1 t. Vanilla Extract
1-12 oz. Bag of Chocolate Chips
1 c. Chopped Nuts, if you’re one of those people
Preheat the oven to 350*F. In a small bowl, stir together your flours, meal, baking soda and salt (if using) and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together your butter and two sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the two eggs and vanilla extract until incorporated. Add in the flour/soda/salt mixture and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop cookies in heaping tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet, spacing evenly. Bake at 350*F for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on the pan before moving onto a wire rack. Completely cooled cookies store for up to 1 week in a sealed container.