Recipe: Sand cookies

When first trying whole-wheat flours in your baking, swap out slowly, starting with just a half cup of whole-grain flour for an equal measure of white flour. Eventually work up to a one-cup ratio: one cup whole-grain flour to one cup white flour.

Also, remember, it's not a matter of simply swapping flours; whole-grain flour needs more moisture than white in a recipe. You might need to add a bit of yogurt, fruit or vegetable purees, or molasses or honey. Depends on the recipe. You'll have to trust yourself to correct course as needed, starting with half tablespoons of moisture.

Sand cookies

Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 20 minutes Makes: 18

With only four ingredients, this quick recipe, adapted from "Good to the Grain," highlights the flavor of its few components. Try this with different whole-grain flours; we liked it with regular whole-wheat flour. Because butter is so central to the flavor of these cookies, you might want to try using a European-style butter such as Plugra.

1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1Place two racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; heat to 350 degrees. Rub two baking sheets with butter. Sift dry ingredients onto board or countertop; mix. Add butter; rub in butter with the heel of your hand to make a crumbly dough. Knead dough together a few times.

2Pinch off 1-tablespoon pieces of dough; roll into balls. Set each on countertop; gently flatten the ball into a circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough.

3Transfer cookies to buttered baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between them. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until edges are dark golden, 20 minutes. Cool briefly on pan; transfer to racks to cool completely.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 130 calories, 53% of calories from fat, 8 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 14 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 82 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

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