Much of the whole wheat flour we buy in the store and which is used in making the whole grain breads we buy is made from red wheat. The red refers to the color of their kernel, which is reddish brown, coated with phenolic compounds. In the past year, I have been experimenting with a new find-white whole wheat flour. White is not alluding to a mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat flour, but acutally is referring to the white wheat from which it is ground. White wheat has a lower phenolic content than red wheat resulting in a kernel that is a light tan color and a flour that has a "Lighter Color, Milder Flavor" according to my bag of King Arthur. Bob's Red Mill sells it under the label of "Whole Wheat Pastry Flour".
My first experiment was to replace the half red whole wheat flour, half all-purpose flour mixture I usually used in my banana bread recipe with the white whole wheat flour. When the bread came out moist and with a mild wheat flavor that didn't mask the banana, I decided to try the white whole wheat flour in something sweeter- Chocolate chip cookies. I had attempted making whole wheat chocolate chip cookies before but the whole wheat flour I used always overpowered the vanilla flavored dough I loved and so I always came back to making my mom's recipe with good quality unbleached all-purpose flour.
So why not just use all-purspose flour? Unlike all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour contains the entire or "whole" berry and therefore retains the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals not to mention the fiber of the bran. As a general rule, less processing means greater retention of nutrients.
Mom's recipe had to be tweaked slightly by adding extra vanilla to compensate for the stronger wheat flavor, but other than that, the chewy cookies worked just fine with my change in flour. It has been suggested they are actually more satisfying than the cookies made with all-purpose flour since they are somewhat heartier and seemingly more filling.
However delicious they seemed to us, I wondered if we had developed a taste for them and if the whole wheat version of our chocolate chip cookies would be liked by sweet-toothed kids- the target market for America's favorite cookies. The kid test was passed this past week when I made them for Lou's nephews. The choosey eaters gobbled them down without any thought as to what type of flour might have been used. Here's the recipe, so you can try them for yourself. A stand mixer makes the process much easier.
White Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
based on Mom's recipe
3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (more or less as desired)
3/4 cup broken walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a hand beater. Add eggs and vanilla, mix to combine. While mixer is turned off, add the flour, soda, and salt. Mix or stir to combine thoroughly. (If you're doing this by hand, it will be a great workout-this dough is stiff) Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts by hand. Scoop by tablespoons onto a parchment covered or prepared baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or until cookies no longer feel raw to the touch. Do not brown or overbake. Cool (if you can) and enjoy!