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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

cookie fail & bread dreams

I was all too excited to try and make chocolate chip cookies a teensie bit healthy by using freshly ground wheat. I lovingly hand cranked the 2 1/4 cups of flour. Giddily watching the hard red wheat kernels turn into flour perfection. Then it happened - cookie fail. What's worse than the anticipation of homemade chocolate chip cookies that don't turn out? Nothing really. (I might be slightly dramatic, but it is devastating after the taunting aroma of them baking). I don't have a photo to share, why would I subject myself to all of the laughter that would ensue due to said photo. Besides, we ate the cookie mush fail.....

I was perplexed, and feeling a bit silly. How could I not produce a chocolate chip cookie? I decided to blame it on the wheat. I did some investigating. I asked my experienced wheat grinding sister-in-law, Tara, and turns out - my hunch was right. Thank goodness, because that would be a large blow to my aspiring Chef skills if I couldn't pull off chocolate chip cookies.

You see, it all started with Garrett attending a preparedness class series at our local church. One of the classes was about food preparation in the event of a national disaster or city wide emergency. They discussed heating, cooking methods, food preparation and water purification. None of the above mentioned are new topics to my man.  

 hut-to-hut snow shoe trip

fly fishing

standing atop his Ice Box Igloo 

 Red Rock Canyon

 hiking the Crags with baby Bodhi in tow

successful elk hunting = lots of fresh meat all year long

Garrett in his natural state; backpacking in the wilderness

Roped in, fixing the roof leak with his little helper

Cross country skiing the Continental Divide

I am married to Mr. Backcountry, as you can see in the photos. Garrett is the most prepared person I have ever met in my life. I say that un-baised (honestly).  If you are going to spend the amount of time outdoors that Garrett does, you must know how to fend for yourself with the clothes on your back and little else in case of emergencies. All that to say, there was a competition at the preparedness food class for the person who could properly cook a MRE (military issue meal-ready-to-eat) the fastest. Garrett was pretty much a shoe-in. He won a Back to Basics grain mill! Hurray. This was a most exciting day in our home.

Grinding my own grain is something I have been interested in doing for awhile now, but have refrained due to the initial investment required to start baking all of your own bread. The health benefit of freshly ground grain is deserving of a blogpost on it's own, but for now; let me direct you to an informative website that explains why one would grind their own wheat. It is worth your time to be informed about the history of wheat and the lacking nutritional value in all shelf bought bread & flour today.

Anyhow: The moral of the story is; when baking with freshly ground grains and the recipe involves yeast it's fine to use hard grain kernels. However; when baking muffins or COOKIES or something else that doesn't require yeast, you must use soft grain kernels. Duly noted.

Let me say that I am so happy to have the little grain mill in my posession, and as Gru would say in Despicable Me, "Light Bulb". Why I ever thought I had to go all or nothing on the wheat grinding is beside me. The Back to Basics grain mill has been a great way to introduce our family to the taste of fresh bread and myself to the method of using freshly ground grains. I am now empowered to work my way up to baking all of our bread from freshly ground grains. Once I know what I am doing (clearly, I don't know what I am doing concerning grinding grains as of yet!), I aspire to purchase a high quality grinder, such as the Country Living Grain Mill and a handy-dandy Bosch to make my bread dreams come true!

p.s. I blame this whole cookie fail fiasco on Shonni. The woman who makes perfect, absolutely PERFECT chocolate chip cookies. Her cookies are amazing. Ever since I tasted one of her cookies five years ago, I have strived to make a chocolate chip cookie like hers. Though I toil & labor over endless chocolate chip cookie recipes (slight embellishment), I cannot make a cookie that is even worthy of sitting next to her cookies, or below her cookies, or in the same room as her cookies. I think that God has blessed her cookie making skills. I really do. You are awesome Shonni!

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