New Cookbook: Good to the Grain – by Kim Boyce
I went to high school with Kim Boyce’s husband Thomas. I was never really close friends with Thomas in school, but it wasn’t a big school at all (125 in my grade only), so we all “knew” each other even if we didn’t “know” each other. At my 20 year HS reunion a few years ago (ssshhhhh….I’m not really that old, am I?), my husband and I spent a good amount of time sitting at a table outside, enjoying the company of Thomas and his wife Kim. They have 2 children about the same age as ours, and they were just a really nice, pleasant, normal couple to hang out with and to share some stories.
Kim just had a cookbook published that is all about cooking with whole grains – Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours. Kim used to work professionally as a pasty chef at Spago and elsewhere in the LA area, and I am certain knows 100X more than I do in the kitchen when it comes to baking. I was really excited when her book arrived in the mail 2 days ago from Amazon.com.
Tonight I tried out the 1st recipe in the book — Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip cookies. I was curious. Would they be a bit weird? Would they be too dense, or a disappointment overall, like other 100% whole wheat substitutions I have tried in the past (to my dismay).
Well, I wasn’t let down. In fact, I am shocked. These have got to be the best chocolate chip cookies I think I’ve ever made in my life. My Father-in-Law, a native East Texan, was over and he gobbled up 3 of them and kept raving over them (I sent him home with 3 more). I only had 1 good chocolate bar in the house, so I had halved the recipe, plus my kids gobbled up 2 cookies and my father in law ate 3, and I ate 1 before I took the pics, so there aren’t many left in the pics below for a good reason. But no kidding, these cookies are out of this world delicious!
Thank you so much Kim for your wonderful cookbook. I can’t wait to try more of the recipes!
3/7/2010 – Update.
Tonight I tried the Currant Scones on page 162. They are made with Spelt Flour, which I had never used before. Spelt is closely related to wheat, just much finer as a flour, and much more ancient in origin. Spelt flour has a natural sweetness to it, while still being mild, (much more mild than wheat flour). This allows it to compliment other flavors rather than overpower them.
I must say, these are a 2nd homerun in a row. This cookbook is really working out very well for me overall so far. I can’t wait to try more things. The only thing I worry about is my waistline!!!!
Here’s a picture of the scones. I substituted raisins, as I didn’t have currants on hand, and the grocery store I shop at wanted me to buy a whole pound of them minimum….which I wasn’t willing to do for just 1 recipe. The raisins worked just fine.
3/9/2010 — Update.
Tonight I made the Sweet Potato Muffins from page 44. These call for Whole Wheat Flour, Buttermilk, Plain Yogurt and Medjool Dates. I followed the recipe EXACTLY to the T. The only thing I slightly did at all different was that I made 6 muffins in regular sized muffin tins, and then the balance of them in mini-muffin tins. I cooked all of them the same time, just leaving the bigger ones in for 2 more minutes as I handled the smaller ones. They came out super delicious. Another home run. This cookbook is amazing.
Kim instructs the user to “twist each muffin out, and place it on its side in the cup to cool. This ensures that the muffin stays crusty instead of getting soggy.” I did just that…(pic below). I had never tried that technique before. I’ve read through her book and see it mentioned in a few places, so it may be one of those tricks that the pastry chefs know about that the rest of us just haven’t been privy to. I tried it and it worked very well for me, so I think I have a new technique on my hands.
Anyhow…like I said, these are delicious and well worth making. We’ll see what my kids think tomorrow AM when they get up. My husband already wolfed one of these down. I ate 2 (mini ones) — sssssshhhhhhh…..
3/15/2010 — Update.
Tonight’s recipe — Figgy Buckwheat Scones from Page 80. Holy cow, these are out of this world good. They remind me of a very wholesome, sconey (is that a word) fig newton. Making the fig butter I knew these were going to be out of this world. I am really glad that my husband bought me a cake lifter, as I used it a lot when trying to work with the dough. It made the dough much easier to work with, as the dough is quite sticky. I used the white flour to flour the surface of my working table, and next time I think I’ll try the buckwheat flour — and maybe not use quite so much. I got a bit of the flour “dustiness” on the side of my finished product. I didn’t change how great they taste, it’s just a visual thing. Here they are in all their glory:
3/18/2010 — Update.
Last night I made the cookie dough for the Buckwheat Poppy Seed Wafers and let it chill overnight in the fridge. Today, I cranked up the oven and finished the process. These cookies are like a Dark, Buckwheat Shortbread. Be forewarned, if you like molasses and like shortbread, these are going to be very dangerous things to have around the house. I can’t wait until next year during the holidays to make bunches of these to share w/friends and family. For now, my husband and I are enjoying them with cookies. I’ll have to give some away of course, as I don’t want to weight 10,000 pounds. My son won’t touch them, (he’s 4 years old) as he is convinced that the poppy seeds on the outside are “dirt”, despite my insisting otherwise. So be it. Poor baby.
3/21/2010 — Update.
Today I made the Whole Wheat, Molasses, Prunes and Orange Juice Muffins from page 54. I found that instead of Wheat Bran as the recipe called for, I had done a “uh-oh” and bought Wheat Germ. I had about 1/4 cup of Oat Bran in the pantry, so I used that and just filled the rest of the cup up with the Wheat Germ. It turned out just fine. The other substitution I did was I substituted Spelt Flour for the Amaranth Flour called for in the recipe. I didn’t have any Amaranth Flour on hand and have had a really hard time finding it. I will eventually get some and try the recipe exactly as it is written, but with those 2 substitutions, the muffins still came out warm, dark and delicious. I made mini-muffins, so that I can put one of these in my children’s lunchbox as a snack when they go to school. These were a bit of work, but so healthy and I definitely see me making them again.
3/25/2010 – Update.
Tonight I whipped up a batch of Cornmeal Blueberry Cookies to bring to our Girl’s Night Out club meeting tomorrow night. These cookies contain 2 cups of Corn Flour, 1 cup of regular White Flour and 1 cup of Corn Meal — among other things. In addition to that, the “secret” ingredient is 1 cup of dried blueberries. I was glad it was only 1 cup, as I bought these in the bulk section of our local Whole Foods, and they were $19.99/pound! Luckily, 1 cup is only about 1/8 of a pound, so it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I’ll look at Central Market next time to see how much they are there. These cookies are crispy on the outside, and somewhat like a mixture between cornbread and a scone on the inside. They are not too sweet, which is just how I like my pastries — the type that go GREAT with a cup of coffee. We’ll see what the gals think of them tomorrow.