Delicious and Soft Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies are the best sugar cookies you’ll ever try. So soft that no one will know they’re whole grain AND healthier.
There are many moments in history that mark the start of a great advancement in the quality of life for others. Our ancestors discovering fire led to cooked food, warmth, and safety. The Gutenberg Revolution (led by Johannes, not Steve) allowed the mass production of books, bringing knowledge and joy to everyone. Assembly line production increased the output of goods that became affordable for a whole economic class of people. And now, you can mark it as the day you learn how to roll sugar cookie dough that isn’t rock hard and makes you want to scream.
The word “hero” gets thrown around a lot. In this instance, however, it is earned.
Jack loves making sugar cookies around the holidays. We include them in our neighbor and church friends goodie plates (along with My Nana’s Almond Roca, S’mores Bark, Peppermint Bark, and fudge), and it is usually a fun afternoon of baking for us. But each and every year I dread the process of rolling out that stupid cold cookie dough. Refrigerating your sugar cookie dough will lead to beautifully precise edges on your finished product. It makes it easier to remove the dough from the cookie cutter, and everything is generally easier to work with. But oh, the rolling is such a pain in the ass. My arms always felt like I had done an hour of crossfit after rolling dough. I realized there had to be a better way.
So I made one.
Oh, how silly we have all been trying to roll out that cold dough when the solution was right in front of all of us. This whole wheat sugar cookie recipe has you roll out the dough while it is still easy to work with, and then refrigerate it.
I mean really.
Since the dough is very sticky at first, please follow all the notes in the recipe about flouring the parchment and the dough. You’ll thank me later. Or now. I mean, you can front-load your gratitude if you really feel called to do so.
Let’s talk about the title of these cookies, shall we? Soft Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies. Goodness, that is a mouthful, right? Each of those words is important because it prepares you for what you’re about to make and thus eat. I really like working with whole wheat flours for a multitude of reasons. It is a purer version of a common ingredient. It can be more challenging to figure out, and this girl likes a challenge.
Ugh, did I kind of just talk about myself in the third person? Let me smack my face quickly. Hold on.
Ok, I’m back. Let’s return to the cookies.
The number one reason I prefer whole wheat flours to the conventional stuff is simply that the food they make fills me up with a more quality ingredient. I could easily eat half of a normal pizza on my own, but when I make whole wheat pizza dough, I’m done after two slices. Whole wheat chocolate chip cookies are something to savor and are very challenging to binge eat because you’ll get too full. Sugar cookies are like crack to me and once I get started, I have a hard time putting them down. Whole wheat sugar cookies help keep that insanity in check.
When making a dessert item with whole wheat, I always lean towards pastry flour (it is much cheaper in stores). Whole wheat pastry flour is more finely ground and will work very similarly to conventional flour when you know how to work with it. Anytime I make a whole wheat flour recipe, I add 1 tbsp of vital wheat gluten per one cup of flour. Vital wheat gluten is the best product to give your whole wheat goodies all the extra bounce and fluff you’re looking to achieve.
Helpful Whole Wheat Sugar Cookie Supply List
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Whole wheat pastry flour
- Vital Wheat Gluten
- Homemade Vanilla Extract
- Stand mixer
- Microplane for the orange zest
- Fun cookie cutters. May I recommend Ninjabreadmen and Star Wars?
Whole wheat sugar cookies are a fun and delicious activity to make with any little people in your life. Or just yourself, because who wants to really clean flour off of every surface in your kitchen?
Soft Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies
Delicious and Soft Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies are the best sugar cookies you'll ever try. So soft that no one will know they're whole grain AND healthier.
- 3/4 cup butter 1 1/2 sticks, room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese 1/2 "brick", room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp pure vanilla try homemade
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour plus more for dusting and rolling
- 3 tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 1 tsp baking powder
Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy; about 3-4 minutes.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, vital wheat gluten, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Add the eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and orange zest to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until incorporated.
Add the flour mixture and beat until well combined and the dough is smooth.
Place a large sheet of parchment on your counter, and tear off three additional pieces the same size. Set aside. Flour your hands and divide dough into half.
Flour the first piece of parchment well, and place half of the dough in the middle. Flour the top of the dough. Work the dough with your hands to lightly press it out in all directions. Place another piece of parchment over the dough. Using a rolling pin over the parchment, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Place on a large baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough and the other sheets of parchment, stacking the rolled dough/parchment sheets on the same baking sheet. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and place racks in the top third of the oven.
Remove the stacks of parchment, and work with one sheet at a time. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Using cookie cutters lightly dipped in flour, cut out your desired shapes. I find once you have pressed the dough with the cookie cutter, if you wiggle the cutter a bit it will create space to make the shape easy to remove and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Continue flouring and rolling the scraps of dough until all the dough has been made into cookies.
If you want to use sprinkles and no frosting, add them to the dough prior to baking.
Bake for 7-9 minutes or until the edges have turned the slightest brown. Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Decorate as desired. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
Dough is very sticky right after it is made. Make sure the parchment and top of the dough are well-floured prior to rolling between the pieces of parchment.
If you are planning to use traditional flour, there is no need to add the vital wheat gluten to the dough.
Fine to sub in lemon zest for the orange.
Recipe inspired by The Slow Roasted Italian.
This post contains affiliate links.