The Health Nut's Cookie

Here's a great cookie for the health nut in you. Loaded with whatever dried fruit you have on hand and nuts, these cookies act more like a granola bar that totally satisfies rather than an overly sweetened cookie would. These are the kind of cookies you'd want your kids to get a liking to because of their heartiness and flavor with fruit and whole wheat.

If you've never tried baking a whole wheat cookie, try it. The orange juice in this recipe and many whole wheat recipes tones down some of the bitterness of pure whole wheat. You'll be surprised at how good a 100% whole wheat cookie can taste.

Cranberry-Apricot Chocolate Chews

(Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking)
Yields 2.5 dozen cookies

1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 TBSP orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 c. traditional whole wheat flour
2/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips (I use a mix of semisweet and milk chocolate--the extra sweetness from the milk chocolate gives this cookie more flavor)
2/3 c. dried cranberries (I've tried a mixture of cranberries, pineapple, and apricots)
2/3 c. dried apricots, snipped into 4 to 6 pieces each
2/3 c. chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Cream the butter, sugar, orange juice, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs, scraping the bowl. The mixture will look curdled; that's OK. Add the flour, beating until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips, cranberries, apricots and pecans. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls on the the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies, reversing the pans midway through (top to bottom, bottom to top), until they're barely beginning to brown around the edges, 14-15 minutes. They won't look set in the center. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the pan.