Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obsessions: the homemade version

I think there comes a time in any amateur chef/baker's life where they eat something delicious and then think: I wonder if I can make this myself? This has happens to me a lot, but I rarely ever think about actually doing it. Until an obsession happens.

Working in downtown SF, I am surrounded by Specialtys Bakery. My office frequently calls on Specialtys to cater meetings and events. While they have delicious salads and sandwiches, the real draw of Specialtys is their cookies. And not just any cookies: wheat germ chocolate chip cookies. Sounds weird right? But should sound delicious.

These cookies are no small obsession. They are crumbly, chocolatey, and loaded with butter (in true Specialtys style) to offset any potential health benefits from the oats. There is always a race among my coworkers to get this cookie out of the assortment. We often end up splitting it many ways, so everyone can have a bit. And every time, I think - wow this is so good...can I make a cookie like it?

Challenge accepted.

I found a "reverse-engineered" recipe online and so it began. It was my intention to make a test batch this weekend for a pre-football game picnic, but the test turned out so well, that I just had to share it with you!

There is certainly something about homemade cookies. Like Linda wrote, the perfect homemade cookie is a challenge that we bakers all face. Warm, crunchy, delicious, and dare I even say...healthy?

This cookie just might be it. With a mere 1/2 cup of butter (SO unlike a Specialtys cookie), 2/3 cup of sugar, and we'll ignore the delicious chocolate chips, these puppies are smack full of good-for-you things. Things I would have never thought to put in a cookie!! Things like: whole oats, ground flax seed, and wheat germ. Are those even allowed in a cookie? Cookies are supposed to come with some remorse, right? But this is a cookie that you might just feel good about eating: guilt-free.

Homemade Specialtys Wheat Germ Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe adapted from Dick Koz

  • 3/4 c. old fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. ground flax seeds (I used Bob's Red Mill Organic flaxseed meal, which can be found at most grocery stores)
  • 1/2 c. raw wheat germ (again, Bob's Red Mill wheat germ)
  • 1/2 c. sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips (you can use regular chocolate chips, but to be true to Specialtys, I used the mini version!)
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  1. Mix oats and flour in a medium bowl. Add baking soda and salt and whisk until mixed in. Whisk in wheat germ, flax and coconut. (I actually forgot to add the coconut at this step, and mixed it in at the end with the chocolate chips...but they still turned out well)
  2. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until fluffy. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy.
  3. With the mixer running, add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnut pieces using a wooden spoon or spatula.
  4. Chill the dough in a refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (Or as long as you can stand... if you haven't noticed already, I am an impatient baker, and I let the cookie dough chill for about 30 minutes...)
  5. In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a baking sheet (I highly recommend using a Silpat for cookies)
  6. Shape the dough into balls about 2-3 tablespoonfuls per cookie. Place at least 1 inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake cookies, until firm around the edges and golden on top, about 12 minutes. Remove baking sheets from the oven immediately and cool the cookies for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks with a spatula to cool.


  1. i've a great many specialty's cookies in my time, but there's one that stands out in my mind. my coworker came back from lunch with a freshly baked cookie, and i happily chomped into it. and much to my amazement, i bit into a piece of ham.

    that's right -- ham and chocolate chip cookie. i'm not sure they meant to do that, but i wouldn't be opposed to trying it again..

  2. ooo i want some!!! minus the chocolates :P


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