I have been on a quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie for as long as I have been baking cookies – which is to say, years and years and years. My go-to recipe has previously been the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in the cookbook Golde’s Homemade Cookies, but I think I may have found a fierce contender for best chocolate chip cookie, and it’s made with whole wheat flour to boot!
This recipe comes from the book, “Good to the Grain – Baking with Whole-Grain Flours” by Kim Boyce. The recipes in the book all contain whole grain flour (obviously!) but nothing about them is sacrificed simply to make them healthier by using whole grains. Boyce talks about the different characteristics of a myriad of different flours – whole wheat, amaranth, oat, buckwheat, teff, rye, kamut, quinoa, the list goes one – and creates recipes that showcase their unique flavours and baking properties, rather than just substituting whole grain flour in a recipe developed using regular white flour, which is I think what turns people off when they hear “whole wheat cookies”.
I can read this cookbook like a novel – the descriptions of the different grains are informative and give you a really good idea of how and when to use them, and the recipes make me want to fill my cupboards with a dozen different types of flour and bake and eat whole grains all day long. That being said, I’ve only made two things out of it so far – but these whole wheat chocolate chip cookies are dynamite. The whole wheat flour tastes kind of toasty and gives the cookie a really good texture, and the pecans that I added (which some might argue don’t belong in a chocolate chip cookie, but I love them!) complemented the nuttiness of the flour. I also used good quality dark chocolate, which makes a big difference. The only change I made (other than adding pecans) was to reduce the sugar by a third, which I frequently do when making cookies and they always turn out fine, just less cloyingly sweet. These cookies are huge (the size of your palm, about 3 inches across!), so you can actually stop after eating just one and you can also tell yourself that you’re getting some of your daily fiber intake! 😉 I haven’t experimented yet with making them smaller – if you try, be sure to reduce the baking time accordingly (in my experience, average-sized cookies are usually baked for 8-10 minutes).
Incidentally, the whole wheat flour I used to make these comes from Metchosin! Who knew there were wheat fields on Vancouver Island? One tip I can offer is to use fresh flour for these (and other whole grain baking endeavours) – because whole grain flour contains the entire grain, it has a higher oil content than regular all purpose flour and has a shorter shelf-life (that is, it will start to taste awful the longer it’s been sitting). If you’re anything like me, you have an almost-full bag of whole wheat flour in the back of your cupboard, forgotten and ignored, left over from the last time you made a recipe that called for whole wheat flour. Don’t use that flour! Buy a small bag of fresh stuff – your cookies will thank you 🙂
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Good the the Grain – Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce. Makes about 20 palm-sized cookies (recipe can be halved).
Preheat oven to 350˚F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or grease them).
Sift together the dry ingredients into a large bowl, and pour any whole grain bits that are left in the sieve into the bowl (the sifting is important to lighten up the particles of the flour, which makes your dough less dense):
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
In another bowl, cream together:
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup each dark brown sugar and granulated white sugar
Add 2 eggs, one at a time, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Beat well.
Stir in the dry ingredients until just barely combined (the dough will feel a bit drier than normal cookie dough). Stir in:
2 cups chopped good quality dark chocolate
1 cup roughly chopped pecans (optional but recommended!)
Stir until chocolate and nuts are evenly distributed, getting in there with your hands if needed. Drop the dough by heaped tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets, about 3 inches apart. Bake for 16-20 minutes (mine were perfect at 14 minutes, but YMMV), rotating the sheets halfway through. Transfer to a rack to cool, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (if they last that long!). These are awesome warm from the oven!
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Do you have favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!