Chocolate Chip Coconut Oil Cookies
Some hypotheses work out better than others. That I could master piano after one freshman semester of lessons? FAIL. That replacing butter with coconut oil to make Chocolate Chip Coconut Oil Cookies might be tasty? RAGING SUCCESS.
I don’t have plans to write a scientific paper any time soon, but these chewy, chocolate-studded coconut oil cookies would be a worthy subject of study.
Plus, then I’d be required to test multiple “samples” and repeat my “experiment” a few dozen times, just to be certain my theories were correct. All in the name of science, of course.
To make the coconut oil cookies, I followed a fairly standard chocolate chip cookie formula, but instead of creaming softened butter together with the white and brown sugars, I used room-temperature coconut oil, which has a similar consistency. As I discovered, however, baking cookies with coconut oil is not just a simple 1:1 swap. The recipe required a few important tweaks in order to achieve that elusive soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie texture.
- One: The dough must be chilled prior to baking. Coconut oil is still softer than butter, so if you skip this step, the cookies will spread and run wild all over the baking sheet. Chilling the dough ensures the cookies are nicely thick and delightfully chewy.
- Two: Cornstarch. Cookies made with oil instead of butter often suffer from being too thin and crispy for my taste, so to combat this effect, I employed a little trick I originally learned from Sally: I added cornstarch. Cornstarch gives the coconut oil cookies extra lift and keeps them soft.
- Three: A touch of milk. Coconut oil tends to produce dryer baked goods than butter. One tablespoon of milk does the trick to keep these coconut oil cookies melt-in-your-mouth marvelous.
And my final trick: white whole wheat flour. While not a requirement for coconut oil cookies, swapping white whole wheat flour for part of the all purpose flour is one of my favorite ways to make my baked goodies a bit more wholesome. I shared a plate of these with our neighbors, and no one suspected my little trick.
Now that we’ve discussed the baking specifics, let’s turn our attention to the true question I know inquiring, cookie-loving minds need to know about the recipe: how do Chocolate Chip Coconut Oil Cookies compare to a classic, butter-based chocolate chip cookies?
Texture-wise, the two are almost identical. Coconut oil cookies are definitely easier to over bake, however, so be sure to watch your oven very carefully and remove the cookies when they are barely set.
Taste-wise, the two are different, but each is excellent in its own way. In butter-based chocolate chip cookies, the two ingredients I taste the most are butter and chocolate; in the coconut oil cookies, it’s the brown sugar that shines, and I actually found myself noticing the chocolate flavor more prominently too. In fact, biting into a coconut oil cookie almost made me feel like a super taster, because I could detect ingredient nuances that had previously been masked by the butter. It was glorious and surprisingly empowering.
(FYI: Despite the name, coconut oil cookies do not taste like coconut. All you’ll detect is brown sugar richness, chocolatey goodness, and classic cookie happiness, which I’m convinced has a flavor all its own.)
Conclusion: While I won’t be giving up butter chocolate chip cookies for life, I’m thrilled to have this healthier Chocolate Chip Coconut Oil Cookie recipe in my repertoire. Soft and chewy with plenty of chocolate and spectacular flavor, I hypothesize that you’ll love them too!
Tools I used to make this recipe:
Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour — you can use regular wheat flour, but it will yield a more noticeable nutty "wheat" taste and firmer cookie
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder — I prefer aluminum free
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup coconut oil — at room temperature and soft but not melted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar — use dark for a more intense, rich flavor
- 1 large egg — at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat together the coconut oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until well combined and smooth, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl once or twice. Scrape down the bowl again, then add the egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then slowly add the dry ingredients, beating just until the flour disappears. By hand, fold in the chocolate chips. Cover the dough and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. (For a shorter chilling time, shape the dough into cookie balls and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet or plate and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.)
When ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. With a spoon or scoop, portion the dough into small 1 1/4-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes, until the edges are barely golden brown. They will look underdone, but resist the urge to continue baking. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to the rack to cool completely.
- Leftover baked chocolate chip coconut oil cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or frozen, well-wrapped, for up to 3 months. Frozen cookie dough balls can be baked directly from frozen—do not thaw and simply add 1 to 2 minutes to the baking time.
- If baking multiple batches on the same baking sheet, let the sheet cool completely between batches or the cookies will spread.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 cookie) — Calories: 100, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 91mg, Carbohydrates: 14g, Fiber: 14g, Sugar: 11g, Protein: 1g
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