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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies: BEST EVER Soft Batch Version

By Rachel Tiemeyer

A perfect Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip cookie does exist!

Whole wheat cookies on a baking sheet and plate

Yes, it is true. A real food, whole wheat version of a soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie does exist! I’ve searched high and low and baked many failures over the years. But, this one. Oh, this one. It works.

Whole wheat cookies on a plate

In fact, just to prove my point: My farm boy husband, whose mom is a fabulous baker, straight up told me, “These taste just like mom’s.” I didn’t tell him that they don’t have shortening or white flour in them. That’s just our secret, k?

A whole wheat cookie broken in half

Here’s the deal. To make this cookie taste just like the white flour version, you MUST buy a variety of whole wheat called “White Whole Wheat”. It’s a softer, less grainy whole wheat variety that still retains all the nutrition of the one you’re used to (typically hard red wheat). White Whole Wheat is becoming more and more prevalent in stores. Although King Arthur has a version that’s delicious, I’ve bought the off-brand and it works well too. So buy it in store or order online to have on hand for all your baked goods.

Stack of whole wheat cookies

Now on to the recipe that I tweaked from my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, The New Best Recipe, a must-have cookbook in my summation. Feel better about making this soft batch whole wheat chocolate chip cookie!

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A perfect Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip cookie does exist! These are the best soft batch ones ever.

Soft Batch Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 dozen small cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These are the BEST EVER soft batch, whole wheat cookies. They include all real food ingredients but retain the flavor and texture of the classic version.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour (this wheat variety is very important!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until just warm
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 11 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat to 325 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop a heaping tablespoon per cookie and roll in a ball. Place dough balls on lined sheet pan, spacing them out so they won’t touch when baked.
  6. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, the outer edges start to harden, and the middle is still soft and puffy, about 15 minutes or so. Note: If baking two sheet pans of cookies at a time, be sure to rotate top and bottom and turn them front to back halfway through the cooking time.
  7. Let cookies cool slightly on the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack using a metal spatula.

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

This Cranberry-Orange Shortbread cookie recipe is nothing short of delicious. After a few tweaks to the original recipe, I’m seriously obsessed. I made them as a holiday treat but I could also see them being a great summer goodie to have on hand. It contains the buttery-goodness of a shortbread cookie but is punctuated with flavor and the cranberry-orange combo. I seriously need to make another batch.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

Another great perk of this recipe is that it is a great make-ahead dessert. After you’ve prepared the dough, you can leave it in the fridge for up to 72 hours or even freeze it until you are ready to bake.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

Ready to make your own?

Before I launch into the actual recipe, allow me to recommend two kitchen utensils that will not only make this recipe easier, but your life, as well.

No, they aren’t necessary for the recipe, or for life, but you won’t regret your purchase.

 A Pastry Cutter

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 10.17.16 AM Anytime a recipe calls to “cut in” butter, I pull this baby out and let it do the hard work for me. Before I had my pastry cutter, I would just have to use my hands to get the butter all crumbly. Well, gross-hands no more. My new friend, the pastry cutter saves me lots of hassle.

A Zester

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 10.18.25 AMThis is one of my favorite kitchen tools. A standup zester wouldn’t stand a chance in a duel with a microplane zester like this one. I use this to not only make lemon and orange zest, but also for garlic, nutmeg, ginger, etc. Save yourself some knuckle skin and snag one of these little guys.

OK, enough of my favorite kitchen gadgets. On to the recipe!

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies

Make your dough following the directions below.

I wrapped mine up in parchment paper and then some press and seal to keep it air tight while it chilled. Simple plastic wrap will work as well. This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

After dough has chilled for at least 2 hours in the fridge, pull it out and slice it into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. I like mine a little thicker so I chopped mine a bit more generously.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

Place slices on a parchment lined baking sheet while resisting the urge to devour the cookie dough.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes. Mine took all of 12 minutes because of their thickness.

Let them cool a bit before removing. Now, stack them up real pretty and take some pictures of your magnificent creation.

Oh wait, that’s just me.

When my kids get older, they are going to think I’m so weird because I take pictures of everything I make.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

I’d recommend an accompanying glass of milk.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home
Simply delicious!

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

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Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 12 minute
  • Total Time: 3 hours 12 minute
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A buttery-rich and fresh twist on a shortbread cookie. The cranberry-orange combination brings a fresh flavor that is complimented by the buttery goodness of a shortbread cookie. A crowd pleaser!


Ingredients

  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup butter, cubed (and cold)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange (I used 4 clementines)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
  • additional sugar to coat cookies before baking if desired

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add cranberries and ¼ cup of sugar into a food processor and process just until the cranberries are broken down into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour and remaining sugar. Give it a stir.
  4. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter. You want very fine crumbs. If you don’t have a pastry blender, just used your hands!
  5. Stir in the vanilla, processed cranberries and and orange zest.
  6. Use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together and forms a ball. Work the dough JUST until it comes together – you don’t want to over-work it.
  7. Shape dough into a log about two inches in a diameter and wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper with plastic wrap on top of that. Refrigerate for two hours or up to 72 hours or freeze at this point.
  8. When ready to cook, thaw (if necessary) and cut slices of cookie dough about ¼-1/2 inch thick.
  9. Place about a half a cup of sugar in a bowl and coat the cookie slices with sugar (optional).
  10. Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes or just until cookies are set. Do not over bake. Since I cut mine about 1/2 inch thick, mine took 12 minutes. If you cut them thinner, decrease cooking time.
  11. Let cookies cool for several minutes on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack. Let cool completely.
  12. Store in airtight container for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Roll dough in to loaf/log shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and then a layer of press and seal, if possible. Put dough in freezer and store for up to 3 months.

To Prepare:
Let dough thaw in refrigerator overnight and cook as directed.

Homemade Clif Kid ZBars

By Rachel Tiemeyer

homemade clif kid z bar recipe

My little ones are huge fans of the Clif Kid ZBars. I love that these bars contain all organic ingredients, fiber, and some vitamins and minerals. However, I dislike that a box of six bars runs about $4.80, and they go fast around our house.

Thankfully, I found a recipe for homemade granola bars that is way cheaper, full of all-natural ingredients, and tastes awesome.  In fact, these puppies are dangerous…I could eat half a pan in a sitting. They remind me of our Powerball Cookies but in a granola bar form.This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family.

Making your own homemade Clif Kid ZBars is REALLY easy. I like that you can customize the bars according to your (or your kids’) preferences. For these bars I used a mix of craisins, golden raisins, dried cherries, pecans, and dark chocolate.

This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family.

Start by melting together the peanut butter, honey and oil.

Mix the melted mixture with the oats.

This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family.

Lastly, stir in your chosen ingredients and spread them in an 8×8 pan.

It was at this moment that I realized my pan was still loaned out to someone so I had to improvise…

Looks funny it but it did the trick-haha!

This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family.

After chilling the bars for over 2 hours, they were ready to cut and eat up.

Don’t forget to store these bad boys in the fridge. They become a bit gooey if left out.

Homemade Clif Kid ZBars (or Homemade Granola Bars)

Makes: about 10-12 small bars

This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family.

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homemade clif z bar recipe

Homemade Clif Kid ZBars

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 10 small bars 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Stove top and chilled
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family. Try them today – they’re sure to become a next family favorite!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or another oil of your choice)
  • 1 cup oats (I used organic quick oats)
  • 1 cup total of any combination of: finely chopped nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, melt together the nut butter, honey and coconut oil.
  2. Remove from heat and add one cup of oats. (Note: Be sure to let this mixture cool first if adding chocolate chips in the next step or else the chips will melt.)
  3. Choose your favorite combination of coconut flakes, chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and dark chocolate chips, to equal a total of ONE CUP. Pour in and stir well.
  4. Stir well, then spread mixture into an 8×8 pan.
  5. Chill for two hours, then cut into bars. Wrap in plastic wrap for a quick grab and go snack! Store bars in the fridge or freezer.