Whole Wheat Orange Coffee Cookies

All gluten, all sugar, all butter 

No matter what I do, I will always wake up promptly at 5am. Even if I don’t fall asleep until 4am, I will be up an hour later. 

Aside from having a big cup of coffee promptly when I wake up, I tend to do some puttering around in the kitchen. Sometimes these early morning experiments do not go well, but then sometimes they turn out absolutely delicious. Like these cookies. 

These cookies are thin and crispy on the outside, but have a soft, chewy interior. And along with a delicious vanilla flavor, there is floral orange flavor. And coffee! Coffee and orange? Sounds a little crazy, but it does work. 


There are a few little secret ingredients in these cookies that are worth stocking in your pantry. 

Malted Milk Powder

Ever have Ovaltine? Or a malt at an old school diner? Then you have had malted milk powder. It is definitely not gluten-free (it’s made from wheat flour, malted barley, milk powder, salt and sodium bicarbonate), it is worth a little treat. The flavor is somewhere between salty, savory and a little bit sweet. When you add it to cookies or brownies, you don’t get a big hit of malt, but rather an undertone of savoriness that works to counterbalance the sweetness. And while I cannot prove this, I think that malted milk powder gives these cookies a chewier texture. I will let you decide for yourself.

Potato Starch

I was reading a recipe for shortbread and saw that it included a teaspoon of cornstarch. A lightbulb lit up over my head. The cornstarch works in shortbread to give a little bit more chew and keep things from getting too crumbly. So why not try something similar in another cookie? I did and I liked it. Normally I use potato starch in gluten-free or paleo baking to act as the gluten. Potato starch is a thickening agent and helps to bind everything together. I added it to these cookies because I used a mixture of sprouted brown rice flour and whole wheat pastry flour, which both have lower to no gluten content. If I want that super chewy texture, then potato starch can help me get that. 

Ground Coffee

I always have coffee on hand and often find myself left with a little bit at the bottom of the coffee container. The coffee I used in this recipe is Fazenda Colombia (regular and decaf). It is a medium roast coffee that has a smooth, cocoa-caramel flavor which is perfect for baking with. Not to mention, that rich, roasty flavor of the coffee works really well with the light, floral orange flavor. I would recommend sticking with a medium to dark roast coffee for baking to deliver the full coffee flavor in the resulting baked good. 

You can use up to 1/4 cup ground coffee, for a super intense coffee flavor. I have found that if I use less than 2 tablespoons, there isn’t an overwhelming coffee flavor, but rather an underlying rich, roasted flavor. The added bonus is, you get a little caffeine kick from your coffee (of course you can use decaf too). 

Cookies are really a blank canvas that you can do whatever you want with and that is part of the fun. If you don’t feel like coffee and orange, try just orange and a little bit of ground ginger. Or maybe throw in some chopped pistachios and lemon zest. Or you can add another tablespoon of coffee, more vanilla extract and throw in some white and dark chocolate chips. Do what feels good and what inspires you! 

Happy baking! 


1/2 cup sprouted brown rice flour (you can swap all purpose flour)

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I love Four Star Farms freshly milled flour)

2 tbsp malted milk powder

1 tsp potato starch

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp finely Fazenda Coffee Columbia ground coffee

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I like Bob’s Red Mill brand)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 

1/2 cup cane sugar

3/4 cup dark muscavado sugar (regular dark brown sugar works too)

1 tsp vanilla 

1/2 tsp orange extract (if you can’t find orange extract, use 2 tsp orange zest)

1 large egg

In a medium bowl, combine the brown rice flour, whole wheat pastry flour, milk powder, potato starch, baking soda, baking powder, salt, coffee and shredded coconut. Whisk out any lumps and to combine everything. 

In a large heatproof bowl, combine the butter, cane sugar and muscavado sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high in 30 second intervals until the butter is melted. You can also melt the butter in a double-boiler set up: set the bowl on top of a saucepan with an inch of barely boiling water until the butter melts.

Once the butter is melted, add the vanilla and orange extracts and whisk everything together until smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes. Once cooled, add the egg and whisk to incorporate. 

Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture until just fully combined.The dough will be a little sticky, but that is ok. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This is an important step so don’t skip it. 

After 2 hours, preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Using a cookie scoop or a large spoon, scoop 1.5 tbsp balls of dough onto baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each ball of dough. 

Bake for 11 to 14 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the middle is still slightly gooey. Let cool for 15 minutes before scooping up and enjoying with a glass of milk.