As I’ve mentioned previously, I have a cookie commitment every Wednesday night. Usually I bring two different kinds of cookies or bars, but yesterday, I went all-in on Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip. You see, I had made one batch from Molly Wizenberg’s recipe and had big plans to make some Heath Bar blondies. All would have gone according to plan, except that I had more cookies than I needed. So naturally, I had a little snack…let’s call it quality control 😉 These cookies were (and are!) good: sweet and chocolaty with the nutty, slightly savory qualities of whole wheat. But there was one little problem: they were crunchy where I would have liked them to be soft. While this may not have fazed another baker, it got me thinking: how could I adjust these to be soft and chewy? A few things ran through my mind: cutting or increasing the flour, adding cornstarch, adjusting the leaveners, reducing the sugar. I did a little mental baking chemistry and got to work making a second batch that would hopefully be on the softer side. The resulting cookies had all the qualities I liked from the original recipe with the added benefit of soft, chewy middles. I 💗 cookie science (and rare kitchen experiments that work on the first try).
But now I had a little problem: nine dozen cookies that were all basically the same flavor. What was a baker to do? Answer: have a Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie taste-off. I labeled Molly’s recipe as Batch A and mine as Batch B, and determined that I’d post whichever recipe won. As people started to trickle in, I explained my mission. Thank goodness these are friends, or they’d all just think I’m nuts. Well, they probably do think I’m nuts and are my friends regardless. It probably doesn’t hurt that I literally always have cookies 😊 Anyway…there were people on both sides of the argument. My friends who like thinner, crunchier cookies were firmly for Batch A, but the vast majority must be soft and chewy cookie fans because Batch B won by a landslide. So, here we are.
These cookies start with whisking together whole wheat flour, cornstarch, baking powder and soda, and salt. As I wrote earlier this week, whole wheat flour can produce heavy, dry baked goods if not treated properly. Here, we add cornstarch, which lightens the flour a bit and gives the cookies a little softness. Also, we use both baking soda and baking powder. The vast majority of my drop cookies (with the exception of sugar cookies) only require baking soda, but since whole wheat flour is heavier than all-purpose, these need a little bit more help to puff up properly. We add a teaspoon of baking powder to the mix–it contains both an acid (cream of tartar) and a base (baking soda), and will keep the cookies from being too hard.
The wet ingredients are standard cookie fodder. Two sticks of softened butter are beaten until light and fluffy. Then come light brown sugar and granulated sugar, followed by two room temperature eggs and some vanilla. Then, add the dry ingredients in two installments, making sure that everything is fully incorporated. Fold in some semisweet chocolate chips and then chill the dough for 45 minutes. Where most of my cookie recipes require a chill of at least 90 minutes to prevent spreading, the heaviness (and quantity) of the whole wheat flour means these can be in the cookie jar sooner rather than later. Roll the chilled dough by the tablespoon and bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool a bit and enjoy!
One quick word about nutrition. No, I am not a nutritionist or health expert of any variety. One thing I can tell you, though, is that the presence of whole wheat flour in these cookies does not make them healthy. Sure, the protein and fiber in whole wheat makes this recipe a bit more nutritious than most chocolate chip cookies, but there is still plenty of butter and sugar (and chocolate!) present. These are simply really good, chewy chocolate chip cookies that happen to be made with whole wheat flour. Nothing more, nothing less.
Whew! That was a little too serious for a baking blog.
If you’re looking for a treat to make this weekend, these are the way to go. The combination of whole wheat and chocolate will pleasantly surprise anyone with whom you choose to share! These cookies are definitely winners.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies by Molly Wizenberg
makes about 4.5 dozen cookies
3 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour*
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together white whole wheat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in dark brown sugar and granulated sugar, followed by eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until completely combined. Beat in chocolate chips, kneading the dough a bit if necessary. Cover dough and chill for 45 minutes, or up to three days.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls, setting them two inches apart on the prepared pans. Bake 8-10 minutes until they look just a touch underdone. Let cool on the sheet pans for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.
Regular whole wheat flour may be substituted for white whole wheat flour.