Because I am happiest when I let cakes be cakes, and cookies be cookies in all of their real-butter-and-refined sugar bliss, I rarely swap whole wheat or other ingredients in desserts in an effort to put a health halo on them, with two exceptions. The first is morning baked goods, usually muffins like these I’d make for the kids on a weekday, which just feel more breakfast when they least resemble, say, a birthday cake, not that there aren’t days that require that, too. The second is when I think the baked good is improved by the ingredient swap — more crisp/craggy, dynamic or flavorful. I just never expected it to happen to what we call our House Cookie — a one-bowl oatmeal cookie I’ve probably made many times a year for well over a decade, always putting extra scoops in the freezer, so we can have freshly baked cookies when life demands them.
But when, like most of us, I ran low on white flour in April, I used whole wheat instead and discovered that the recipe wasn’t just as good as it was with white flour, but better. Crunchier, more flavorful, and even nuanced. From there, I swapped in a little raw sugar. I bumped up the salt a little. I added a little extra cragginess, sometimes with wheat germ or bran, and at other times with finely-chopped walnuts. A little baking powder gives them an almost Levain-like height at larger sizes, if you rest the dough a bit. Don’t worry, they’re still a treat — butter, lots of dark chocolate chunks or chips, and we like them on the big side, in 3-tablespoon scoops, for the most varied and interesting texture. And even though regular flour is back at regular prices on all of the shelves, they’re so much better like this, I haven’t gone back to making them the old way and I bet you won’t either.
* Did anyone else read this Atlantic article about flour shortages this spring? I was so surprised to learn that wheat supplies weren’t the issue (as more flour went into homes, less went to restaurants) but the paper bags grocery-sized flour is packed in.
6 months ago: Ultimate Banana Bread
1 year ago: Cinnamon Sugar Scones
2 years ago: Breakfast Burritos
3 years ago: Marbled Banana Bread
4 years ago: Piri Piri Chicken and Chocolate Pavlova
5 years ago: Oat and Wheat Sandwich Bread
6 years ago: Cauliflower Slaw, Cucumber Lemonade, and Sunken Apple and Honey Cake
7 years ago: Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake and Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwich
8 years ago: Roasted Apple Spice Sheet Cake and Homemade Wheat Thins
9 years ago: Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar and Apple and Honey Challah
10 years ago: Monkey Cake and Beef Chili + Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits
11 years ago: Grilled Lamb Kebabs + Tzatziki and Snickerdoodles
12 years ago: Spinach Quiche, Bread Without A Timetable and Black-and-White Cookies
13 years ago: Tortilla de Patatas and Chocolate Babka
14 years ago: Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake
Whole Wheat Oat Chocolate Cookies
- 4 tablespoons (50 grams) raw or turbinado sugar
- 1/2 cup dark (95 grams) light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature for a hand-mixer; cold is fine for a stand-mixer
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup (95 grams) whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup (25 grams) wheat germ, wheat bran, oat bran, or a finely chopped nut of your choice (I like walnuts)
- 1 1/2 cups (120 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips, or semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks
- Flaky sea salt, if you wish
In a large bowl, beat sugars, butter (if cold, in chunks), and salt together until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until mixed. Sprinkle baking powder and baking soda over batter and beat until very well-combined, then a few more times around the bowl. Scrape bowl down. Add flour, wheat germ, oats, and chocolate and mix just until the flour disappears.
Arrange 3-tablespoon mounds of cookies 3 inches apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle each with a couple flakes of sea salt. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Cookies will be golden brown all over. Remove from oven and let set up on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Extra dough will keep in fridge for 3 days, and longer in the freezer. I like to scoop then freeze it on a tray; once solid, I’ll pack them tightly in a freezer bag. You can bake them directly from the freezer; it usually only takes 1 to 2 minutes longer. Cookies baked from cold will spread less.