Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I mentioned in a post last week that I’m doing a bit of a diet regimen in order to lose the last bit of baby weight that’s clinging on for dear life. I’ve cut back on a lot of things and it’s been a little tough, but I’m finally seeing results. Which is both exciting and very motivating. Swimsuit season, here I come!

All that being said, while I’m avoiding sweets for the most part, I haven’t cut them out completely. In my opinion, life is just better with a little butter and sugar. And so I indulge every now and again in something homemade and worthwhile, and I feel really good about it. This last weekend I made a batch of these whole wheat chocolate chip cookie bars and loved every single bite.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

These cookie bars are definitely worth breaking a diet for. They’re crisp on the outside and chewy in the center and the whole wheat lends a subtle nuttiness that sets them apart from traditional chocolate chip cookies. The walnuts were a last minute addition and I can’t imagine this dessert without them.

And I better leave it at that, because if I gush anymore about these cookie bars, I’m going to have to bake another batch.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

How to Know When to Stop Creaming

When making cookies, most instructions say to beat the butter and sugar together until “light and creamy”, but that is a little vague. You should notice that the fat volume has increased by about one third and that it’s paler in color. Also, although you’re no longer able to see the sugar, if you rub the creamed butter between your fingers you can still feel the sugar granules.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Yield: 16 bars

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate chip cookie bars made with whole wheat flour and packed with walnut chunks.


  • 3/4 cup (169 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (213 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (226 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (1 package, 283 grams) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (180 grams) walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line an 8 or 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper with overhanging sides.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium high speed until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the egg and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until incorporated, mixture may be a little crumbly. Mix in the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
  4. Press dough into the prepared baking pan and bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then lift bars out of the pan with the overhanging parchment paper and let cool completely on a wire rack. Slice into bars and serve.
  5. Store cookie bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

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31 Responses to Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  1. These sound awesome, and I love your creaming tip! Definitely something everyone should know!

  2. These are perfect! And thanks for the info about creaming–I always wonder that myself. :)

  3. Hey, don’t give up on losing the baby weight, you will get there! I find that know if i have cream enough is when I rub the butter mix in between my fingers and there are no signs of sugar, it is ready. My only problem now is that I mix TOO much, hopeful I won’t when I try this whole meal bar.

  4. Flavia says:

    Love these! I am not the biggest fan of whole wheat flour, but I love white whole wheat flour and use that often in my baked goods for added fiber and flavor. I am definitely trying these. Beautiful pictures, as always!

    • Annalise says:

      Thanks Flavia! I was surprised by how little the whole wheat flour changed these cookies. Just a subtle flavor difference and the dough was a little drier. Let me know if you try them, I’d love to hear what you think!

  5. Erin R. says:

    HIGH FIVE! Woohoo! I’m so happy for you that all your hard work and mindful eating are paying off. Isn’t it the best feeling? And yes, these cookie bars do look worth breaking a diet for. I always use about 75% oat flour when I make cookies and love the taste and texture, so I am fully in favor of whole grains in dessert. Well done!

  6. Christina says:

    Definitely making these today! They sound and look amazing!

  7. COME TO MOMMA! These look amazing – my hubby would never guess they’re whole wheat ;)

  8. Ruta says:

    Awesome recipe! I love that they’re whole wheat, but don’t seem to sacrifice texture or anything. And those pictures are gorgeous! I love the wood panels in some of them.

  9. These cookies look absolutely fantastic! Yum! I love that you use whole wheat and your photos are amazing! Thanks for sharing =)

  10. Mr. & Mrs. P says:

    Yes please!! these look divine!!!

  11. Deborah says:

    Are these the ones I tried? SO good!!

  12. Good for you to tackle that baby weight (though I think that you look fantastic already). These are bars that I would happily tuck into my boys’ lunch boxes.

  13. I can just imagine the taste of these by seeing how squidgy the look on the inside, they look delicious.

  14. Sues says:

    I agree, a life without sweets is just no fun! So, I love that you made a chocolate chip cookie bar a tad bit healthier. They look delish!

  15. carrian says:

    SOOOOO, When can I come watch you bake and photograph? Seriously.

  16. Alli says:

    Would it be possible to use honey in this recipe instead of brown sugar? I would love to make these but I only have honey and maple syrup on hand for sweeteners.

    • Annalise says:

      I’m sure it’s possible, but since I haven’t tried it myself I couldn’t tell you how much to use or if other ingredients need to be adjusted. If you make it work, come back and let us know. I’m sure other readers would be interested!

      • Alli says:

        I finally tried this recipe today, using a cup of honey instead of the sugars and only one cup of chocolate chips. To adjust for the honey, I turned the oven down to 350. These bars came out soooo gooey good! Definitely sweet and chocolaty enough!

      • Annalise says:

        Yay! So glad they worked out so well with your adjustments. Thanks the leaving the feedback!

  17. Jaclyn says:

    These look delicious! I love your pictures!

  18. Karla Grant says:

    I have been adding wholewheat flour to my cookies and also fruitcakes, carrot cakes and such for years, and my children have not even noticed. I buy the big bags of white wholewheat flour sold as chapatti flour in Tesco. Great stuff, and if you bake a lot, well worth it.

  19. Jennifer says:

    This is a really good recipe. FYI, I used significantly less butter & sugar and they turned out great: 2/3 cup butter, 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar, and 1/3 cup sugar. The chocolate chips made them plenty sweet.

  20. Erika Beth says:

    I just made these last night. I made them with dark chocolate chips and discovered that they go really well with scotch whiskey. :) http://lifestooshorttoskipdessert.blogspot.com/2014/01/whole-wheat-dark-chocolate-chip-cookie.html

  21. Annie says:

    I’m so glad I chose to make these! For some reason I always prefer desserts made with wholewheat flour. Might have something to do with the texture it gives to the dough, but this just confirmed my obsession with wholewheat flour!

    Had a lesson while making these, though, cause I didn’t use a parchment paper as stated in your instructions, and sort of turned the whole thing upside down after ten minutes, and while trying to put everything back on the right side, half of it crumbled into pieces… The other half was later cut in pretty little squares, while half of it ended up in big chunks I wouldn’t dare serving to anyone but me and my boyfriend… and there started our super saturday night project of getting rid of those ugly chunks while watching a movie. :)

    Thanks a lot, I will make them again for sure, just might do some changes to my way of proceeding! ;)

    • Annalise says:

      I agree, whole wheat flour does add something special. I’m sorry to hear about your troubles getting the bars out of the pan. Parchment paper is a lifesaver, and I wouldn’t bake (almost) anything without it!

  22. Marna says:

    I was looking for an easy cookie recipe to make for my chocolate chip cookie loving guys (husband and sons) that wouldn’t take a lot of time, would be semi-nutritious, and that they would like when I came across this recipe.

    I decided to give this one a try with a modification to make it even more heart-healthy. For the past year I have been using 1/4 cup very hot water, 1/4 cup ground golden flax seed, and 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil to make 1/2 cup as a substitution for 1/2 cup butter. This works perfectly in pastry dough (such as those for cinnamon rolls, etc), baking powder coffee cakes and cookies. This is the first recipe that called for creaming the butter and sugar that I attempted to use the substitution. It worked perfectly.
    My batch turned out looking just like the photo posted and my guys say they taste perfect.

    Thanks for posting this healthy sweet, Annalise, that sent me on a new journey of filling my guys’ sweets need in a healthy way that “stars” their favorite – chocolate chips.

    • Annalise says:

      Wow, what a great substitution! Thanks so much for leaving a comment, I’m sure my readers will love hearing about this healthier option. Glad you enjoyed the cookie bars!

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