Heartier Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole wheat flour is a great option when you want to bring some whole grains into your baked goods. It's not going to turn a batch of buttery cookies or cake into health food per se, but it is going to give you a dessert option that you can feel a bit less guilty about indulging in. Read on for one of my favorite recipes for whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.

Does whole wheat make a difference in chocolate chip cookies?

The short answer to this question is yes, it does make a difference. The most noticeable difference is that whole wheat flour introduces a strong nutty flavor to your cookies.

I took a little inspiration from oatmeal cookies.

Oatmeal cookies are known for having a slightly nutty flavor of their own — though it's more subtle than the flavor of whole wheat flour — so I've added a bit of oatmeal to soften the edge. Make sure to use quick cooking oatmeal, which is made by chopping rolled oats into smaller pieces, so that the oatmeal blends nicely into the dough.

If you're not a fan of the nutty flavor of whole wheat flour, add a teaspoon of cinnamon to give the cookie dough a slightly spicy base. 

The key to whole wheat cookies is patience.

When it comes to texture, whole wheat flour is coarser than all-purpose flour, as it contains both the bran and the germ of the wheat. This coarse texture means that it absorbs moisture more slowly. A dough that isn't hydrated properly may be a bit crumbly or could spread more than you'd like, so I always let this dough rest before baking it.

Resting for an hour or two at room temperature will help produce a chewier cookie. Resting overnight in the refrigerator is even better if you have the patience. If you're not sure you can wait, bake a couple of cookies to hold yourself over while the remaining dough rests. 

Making and baking the cookies

The ratios in this recipe are similar to the ones in the classic Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies recipe — but you'll notice a difference in the whole wheat flour version right away. Don't worry, though, because different isn't necessarily less tasty! 

The dough for these cookies starts the same way as your average chocolate chip cookie. Begin by creaming the butter together with brown and white sugar. Brown sugar brings a little extra moisture into the cookies, thanks to the molasses.

When it comes to baking, it's important not to over-bake them. If you do, the cookies will dry out much more quickly than non-whole-wheat cookies, becoming hard instead of chewy with a crisp edge.

I get the best results with this recipe when baking the cookies at a slightly higher temperature than you might expect: 375 F. At this temperature, the cookies begin to brown on the edges more quickly while remaining moist in the center.

The color of the dough makes it hard to tell when the cookies are browning. If in doubt, pull them out of the oven a minute early or bake a small test batch first.

Whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

Makes about 3½ dozen


  • 2¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ½ cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

Step 1:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon (if using). 

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, followed by vanilla extract and milk. Stir in flour mixture and quick cooking oatmeal until the dough is uniform, then mix in chocolate chips. 

Step 2:

Cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours, or overnight. 

Step 3:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape chilled dough into generous 1" balls and arrange on baking sheet. 

Step 4:

Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until cookies are set around the edges and do not appear to be wet in the center. Do not overbake until cookies appear to be completely done, as they continue to bake after they come out of the oven. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Looking for a tasty all-purpose flour chocolate chip cookie recipe? Check out this blog post !

April 07, 2018
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Heartier Chocolate Chip Cookies