Maple Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

whole grain chocolate chip cookie recipe

I have been on the hunt for the perfect whole wheat cookies for over a year now. A girl can only eat so many cookies, though, so it has been a long and slow process that paused during a crazy hot summer. In my attempt to narrow down the possibilities, I searched around for the highest authorities on chocolate chip cookies and sampled the most promising cookie recipes I could find.

First, I tried baking a whole wheat version of The New York Times’ chocolate chip cookies during a snow storm last year. I baked a few cookies with the fresh dough and then let the dough rest overnight as directed. From that, I learned that cookies really are better if you let the dough age for 12 to 72 hours—the dry dough ingredients soak up the rest of the ingredients over time, which ultimately produces a better cookie. I’ve tried it and it’s true.

The New York Times cookies, though? Everyone agreed they were really good, but they weren’t what I was looking for (blasphemy to some of you, I’m sure!). They didn’t have enough of that gooey, brown sugary goodness on the inside. They were a little too crisp, too ready to snap.

Then Molly Wizenberg waxed poetic about Kim Boyce’s whole grain chocolate chip cookies in Good to the Grain. Molly knows her stuff and she’s from Oklahoma so I listen to her real good. However, those cookies left a little to be desired, too. They weren’t toothsome enough.

On the upside, I took one of my favorite pictures of Cookie the day I made those cookies:

dog begging for a cookie

So a couple of months ago, I signed up for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen. Basically, it entailed baking three dozen cookies and sending a dozen to three bloggers, while receiving three dozen from three other bloggers. It’s a logistical nightmare that I wouldn’t want to organize but I thought it would be fun to participate!

True to form, I waited until the day before the deadline to decide what to bake. I cracked open Heidi Swanson‘s Super Natural Cooking and came across her recipe for mesquite chocolate chip cookies. I decided to continue my quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie and gave her recipe a shot.

whole wheat chocolate chip cookie dough

I based the recipe below off of Heidi’s recipe, but made several notable substitutions and ended up with three dozen of my ideal chocolate chip cookies—golden on top, crisp around the edges, with a soft, moist interior oozing with dark chocolate chips. To get there, I traded easier-to-find whole spelt flour for expensive mesquite flour (they both have a slightly malty flavor and low gluten content, but feel free to use more whole wheat pastry flour instead). I swapped 1/3 cup maple syrup for a 1/2 cup of raw sugar, which is the recommended substitution ratio in the Green Market Baking Book. Next time, I’ll try reducing the raw sugar by another half cup in favor of an additional 1/3 cup of maple syrup.

I didn’t want oatmeal cookies, and my arm was giving up after mixing in even a half cup of oats, so I stopped at one cup. These are not chewy oatmeal cookies, mind you. The oats add a bit of extra fluffiness. They’re magical. Lastly, I mixed a hint of cinnamon into the dough, let the dough rest overnight and sprinkled the warm cookies with Maldon sea salt, which is a bit of a splurge but worth its weight in gold. However, my idea of a perfect recipe is one that is accessible, so it’s optional.

whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

By the time I was ready to put the third dozen in the oven, I realized that eleven minutes is too long. Ten minutes is just right. I was apprehensive that the cookies might dry out during shipping but carried on.

I was so relieved when I received this sweet facebook comment from one of the recipients, Andrea of Recipes for Divine Living: So, I heard my son in the kitchen checking out the cookies we got and heard in this appalled voice, “You got to be kidding, whole wheat?”. The next thing I see is, him sitting down with about 5 cookies and a glass a milk trying to tell me, with a mouth crambed full of cookies, how good they are and how much he loves them. Thanks and great job, the were delicious.

whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

Apologies to the two recipients who didn’t receive their cookies in a pretty box, but in recycled book boxes instead. The white box was actually recycled from one of the dozens of cookies I received. Call me lazy and cheap… or eco-friendly and hip. ;)

box of chocolate chip cookies

5.0 from 1 reviews
Maple Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
These are my ideal whole wheat chocolate chip cookie—crisp on the outside, and as fluffy as their all-purpose counterparts on the inside. Maple syrup, cinnamon and a slight sprinkling of Maldon salt make them extra special.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup whole spelt flour (or an additional cup of whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups raw (turbinado) sugar
  • ⅓ cup real maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (60% or higher)
  • Maldon salt (optional), for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the sugar.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Whisk in the vanilla extract and maple syrup.
  6. Add the dry ingredients in 3 increments, stirring between each addition. Once you're done mixing in the last of the dry ingredients, you should have a moist, uniformly brown dough.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and oats by hand until they are evenly distributed. Put some muscle into it!
  8. Drop about two tablespoon of dough per cookie onto the baking sheet, leaving about two inches of space around each cookie.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes, until the tops are just golden. Err on the side of underbaking.
  10. Allow the cookies to set on the baking sheet for about a minute and transfer them to a cooling rack. If desired, sprinkle with a pinch of Maldon salt. Serve with a glass of milk, of course!
Notes
Based on Heidi Swanson's recipe for mesquite chocolate chip cookies in Super Natural Cooking. Yields 3 dozen big cookies (about 3½ to 4 inches in diameter)

P.s. While we’re on the subject of cookies, don’t miss my recipe for dark chocolate-dipped macaroons in the first issue of Foodiecrush Magazine (pages 50-51). It’s one of my all-time favorite cookie recipes (see my first batch here). You’ll probably want to read every word on every gorgeous page of Foodiecrush while you’re there. It’s a stunning free online magazine and I’m so happy I could be a part of it!

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for sharing the recipe! I love your natural recipes, and these cookies look divine. Baking with whole grains can sometimes produce undesirable results, but it seems like you’ve found the perfect formula for great cookies… I’ll have to try them!

    • says

      Thanks, Sarah! I’m pretty obsessed with finding/devoping the best baked whole grain recipes. White flour makes me feel lousy; I’m so happy I finally found the chocolate chip cookie I was hunting for!

  2. says

    They look perfecto! And so does your cute packaging. I like wheat flour in my chocolate chip cookies too. And I like to grind up the oats. They save your shoulder when mixing :)

  3. says

    These were SO good! If you hadn’t said they were whole wheat, I would have never known. And I didn’t even know there was spelt flour in it until I saw it here. Oats, spelt, whole wheat–it makes me feel better about eating two of these for breakfast this morning! :) Thanks so much for these!

  4. Jacqui says

    I like my chocolate chip cookies just as you’ve described these! I’m going to make a batch for our trip down to San Francisco this weekend, thanks! And it must have been nice to know you converted a teenager to whole grain cookies too : )

    • says

      Oh please let us know how those cookies turn out, Jacqui! I love converting people to whole grains. First my younger brothers, now Andrea’s son! I’m on a mission. :)

  5. says

    These look great! I do love Kim Boyce’s whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, but I’m excited to try another great recipe! I have a maple walnut oatmeal raisin cookie recipe using spelt flour which turned out brilliantly the first time I made it and every time since has been a horrific dry crumbly mess. I’ve clearly made a mistake somewhere in my notes and I have to figure out where! Maybe letting the dough cure overnight will do the trick.

  6. says

    These look wonderful :D I love Heidi’s cookie recipes – I’ve never had one turn out badly. I’m always watching for more whole wheat cookie recipes, I can’t wait to give these a try – I can’t believe I haven’t tried a whole wheat chocolate chip cookie recipe yet!

  7. says

    Your cookies look wonderful and well worth all the experimentation to get there! I don’t like too much oatmeal in my cookies, so think this recipe would be perfect for me. Gorgeous photos and I love the one with your doggy in it! :-)

  8. Cassandra says

    I had to come and visit and thank you for this awesome recipe! I just put my second batch in the oven and just finished my third (shhh!) cookie! These are really, really good!!! The dough has an extremely slight cinnamon-y after-taste (YUM!) and a very light and fluffy texture. These cookies do not give you that “BLAH” feeling afterwards that I so often get from eating store-bought or non-whole wheat cookies. This recipe is definitely going the favorites box!

    I feel good eating food with health benefits, so these cookies were even better knowing that they were made with whole wheat and dark chocolate. Thank you again for this recipe!

    • says

      Hi Cassandra, I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your comment sooner, but I just wanted to make sure you know how much I appreciate it! I love hearing from readers who try my recipes and I’m delighted that you enjoyed these chocolate chip cookies!

  9. says

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I have bookmarked the recipe to try soon :)

  10. says

    Oh man, your cookies look divine. I actually obsess over those Kim Boyce cookies myself, but I see your point. Plus, Heidi’s dessert recipes rarely fail for me. I love the addition of the maple syrup. Sounds like I need another chocolate chip cookie in my life. :)

  11. says

    I think that photo of your dog is probably the cutest thing I have ever seen! Also: these cookies look to die for. If a kid can get excited about whole wheat, you know you’re doing something right! ;)

  12. Anne says

    I love this recipe! Only, here in the Netherlands maple syrup is quite hard to find and the stuff you can find is from poor quality and very expensive. Do you have a suggestion for substituting the maple syrup?

    • says

      Hi Anne, I was not aware that maple syrup is so expensive outside of North America, but that makes a lot of sense. The original recipe called for two cups sugar and no maple syrup, so I would suggest perhaps using one cup of raw sugar and one cup of brown sugar instead of the sugar/maple syrup amounts listed above. Or you may like to try honey instead of maple syrup. You should be able to swap them one for one. Please let us know how it goes if you try it!

      • Anne says

        I gave them a try yesterday… and then I made them again today!

        I only made one third of the recipe, as a try out, but I wished I made the whole recipe, since these cookies are a dream. They don’t taste at all like they are healthy, the whole wheat flour gives them extra flavour, so they are extra tasty, and it also fills you up. Where “normal” cookies leave me unsatisfied, these cookies are very satisfying. And it makes me feel like I am indulging in a healthy way, because all the whole wheat and oats in there, and because they are not to sweet. This is as healthy as cookies get without tasting healthy. This will definitely a recipe that I will make more often! Especially since they don’t make my tummy bloat like a gigantic balloon like store bought cookies do!

        I used only whole wheat flour, and substituted the maple syrup with brown sugar as suggested, which worked out perfectly. I didn’t let the batter rest for long, but I am sure that will improve them even more. And making sure that they are ever so slightly underbaked is indeed very important.

        Thank you for sharing this great recipe!

  13. Anne says

    I tried the recipe yesterday, with raw and brown sugar, and fully whole grain flour(didn’t have spelt flour on hand). Since I was inpatient, I didn’t rest the dough, I just baked them immediately. And they are really lovely! They don’t taste like healthfreak cookies, they taste like very good normal cookies. And they are much more satisfying than ordinary cookies, since they fill you up nicely, you can’t keep eating them. I do pity that I only made 1 dosen, because they seem to keep very well… This will be my new all time cookie recipe!

  14. Anne says

    I tried the recipe yesterday, with raw and brown sugar, and fully whole grain flour(didn’t have spelt flour on hand). Since I was inpatient, I didn’t rest the dough, I just baked them immediately. And they are really lovely! They don’t taste like healthfreak cookies, they taste like very good normal cookies. And they are much more satisfying than ordinary cookies, since they fill you up nicely, you can’t keep eating them. I do pity that I only made 1 dosen, because they seem to keep very well… This will be my new all time cookie recipe!

  15. Nicole says

    I finally found my personal favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe! I came across your site as I was searching for a whole wheat choco chip cookie recipe. I was a little worried because of the amount the recipe would make, but as soon as I tried the first batch I put in, before I knew it, I had eaten, well, one too many. oops :) Now I have all these amazing “less unhealthy” cookies that i have to find friends to give them away to! I made a few changes, using more brown sugar in place of the regular sugar and half the oatmeal (I grew lazy to stir)…. still amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I’m excited to try your other ones!

    • says

      Hi Nicole, thanks for the comment! I was sad when I ran out of those cookies. I think it’s time to make another big batch! I think I’ll try substituting brown sugar for some of the raw sugar next time, too.

  16. Nicole says

    :) So I just wanted to share with you the remarks I got from those who tried this recipe… They absolutely loved it! Especially my boyfriend, who ate pretty much a batch and a half by himself. and his friends too. and no one believed me when I told them that it was much healthier than the average chocolate chip cookie. Now everyone can’t wait for the next time I bake, as I am a culinary freak. Thank you so much for sharing this. I will try experimenting with maybe other candies and fruits! I now often go back to your site for recipe ideas

  17. Nicole says

    :) So I just wanted to share with you the remarks I got from those who tried this recipe… They absolutely loved it! Especially my boyfriend, who ate pretty much a batch and a half by himself. and his friends too. and no one believed me when I told them that it was much healthier than the average chocolate chip cookie. Now everyone can’t wait for the next time I bake, as I am a culinary freak. Thank you so much for sharing this. I will try experimenting with maybe other candies and fruits! I now often go back to your site for recipe ideas

  18. Holly says

    Excellent cookies Kate! So nice to find a recipe that uses whole wheat flour and oats (and you’d never know!)

    I chopped up some 70% dark chocolate rather than using choc chips as I love large chunks of chocolatey goodness in my cookies :) And I used just 1tbs dough rather than 2 and they baked perfectly in 5 mins.

    Next time I might cut back on the sugar by 1/2 cup as 1.5 cups plus the maple syrup seems a lot (and I don’t think I would miss the 1/2 cup).

    Delicious, this has gone into my “make again” pile of recipes! Thank you so much :)

    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Holly! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Your substitutions sound great. Let me know if you try reducing the sugar; the recipe does call for more sugar than I usually like to use, but it does make a lot of cookies.

  19. Nancy says

    Hi,
    Where do i purchase Whole wheat pastry flour? I have white wheat flour in my pantry, would it work for this recipe?
    :)

    • says

      Hi Nancy. great question. Whole wheat pastry flour is pretty readily available in health food stores these days. It is milled more finely than regular whole wheat flour, so I generally find that it works well in recipes that call for all-purpose flour. However, I bet your white whole wheat flour would be fine to use instead!

    • says

      Hi Sue, it might work, but your cookies will probably be a little less fluffy. If you want to be on the safe side, maybe replace the 1 cup spelt flour with 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 buckwheat.

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