Sometimes, I fear I see the world as a series of bakeries. Butter and sugar, my constant companions, I can find you anywhere. Maybe it’s a bad thing and maybe it’s not. I can’t be certain, but I know it’s a whole lot better to see the world in this manner than something more bleak or less edible.
Mind you, not every bakery is a good one. I’ve been to my fair share of bakeries where the croissants are soggy and the banana bread is either dry or too greasy. Let’s not forget the bakery cases full of gnats or those so packed with a million different kinds of similarly sallow bun shaped objects that it’s abundantly obvious not one single thing will be tasty. Or, have you encountered the places full of “fresh baked” goods where every item is wrapped in saran wrap as if it has been lounging about the case for eons? That might be the worst.
However, for every bad experience, there is a revelatory one. There are the small town bakeries with amazing coffee and tea cookies. There are the bakeries in the middle of nowhere where the sticky buns are dripping with local honey. Those are the moments for which I live. Sadly, K doesn’t share my insatiable lust for baked goods. He isn’t keen to try every bakery within a mile of wherever we may find ourselves. He even complained recently upon leaving a local bakery that he felt sick — as if he’d eaten a stick of butter. Can you imagine? What little tolerance! I could eat 2 sticks of butter. It is in these moments where I question things and refer to him as “first husband.”
First Husband doesn’t like the other end of the bakery spectrum either. He thinks vegan treats and gluten free fare leave something to be desired. In many cases, I agree. However, a healthier baked good is not a total rarity. When it’s done right, it can be splendid and a welcome change. I love a not-so-sweet tea cookie or a brown bread full of hearty grains that really sticks to your ribs. Honey is also an amazing substitute and, in the right cookie, nuggets of dried fruit taste even better than chocolate chips.
In any event, I’d like to stay married. It is for this reason I am constantly searching books and bakeries for cookies, cakes, and treats that bridge the gap between cloying and tasteless. These cookies, which I made last year are exceptional and a welcome treat during a hike or after a tough soccer match. Today’s treat, however, is a bit different. It’s more of a tea cookie than a trail cookie. This was sort of an unexpected bonus, actually. I expected this cookie, with components like wheat germ and honey, to be more gritty. In fact, it’s not at all gritty. It’s smooth. It’s just a touch sweet and quite buttery in flavor.
I have to come clean though. These cookies don’t skimp on the butter, but they do leave out the chocolate and use honey as a natural sweetener. I think this is an excellent way to meet in the middle.
And, the best news?
I’m still married.
K loved these cookies. However, he still managed to get a stomach ache. That is the unfortunate consequence of of inhaling an entire tray of cookies whether they are full of wheat germ and honey or not.
Honey Wheat Cookies
1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat germ
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon zest*
1 stick (8 tblsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
2 tblsp. raw sugar
Whisk together the flour, 1/3 cup of the wheat germ the baking powder, and the salt.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest (or juice) together with your fingers until the sugar is moist. Add the butter and, using the paddle or whisk attachment or a hand mixer, beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until creamy and smooth. Add the honey and beat for another minute or two. Add the egg and beat for about 2 minutes more, until you have a smooth, light, fluffy mixture. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 2 portions, mixing only until each addition disappears. Scrape the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap well. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 35o degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Put the remaining 1/2 cup wheat germ into a bowl. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and, working with a spoonful of it at a time, roll the dough between your palms into 1-inch balls. Drop each ball into the wheat germ and turn to coat. Then, place the balls on a baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch of space between them. Use your palm or the bottom of a glass to flatten each cookie gently. Dust the tops with raw sugar.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, for 10-15 minutes, or until they are just firm to the touch. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Source- Baking: From My Home to Yours
*I substituted 1 tsp. lemon juice in place of zest.