Brown Butter Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Yup! You read that correctly! I decided to take my Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies to the next level by adding rye flour. As I got into the whole sourdough thing since the pandemic hit earlier this year, I learned that I love rye in my sourdough! The flavor is just magnificent. It has been on my mind to try baking some treats with rye flour. Just a few weeks ago, King Arthur Baking Company published a very helpful article on rye flour. (Smartly so, to promote its new rye flour which I need to try!) Thus, these Brown Butter Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies were born.
Why Rye Flour?
As I mentioned, rye flour, unlike all purpose or bread flour which are generally used in baking desserts and treats, has a wonderful, slightly nutty flavor that pairs extremely well with chocolate and various spices like cinnamon and ginger. King Arthur’s blog post specifically mentioned that rye pairs very well with brown butter. That’s what lit a fire under me for this recipe.
Another advantage to using rye flour is that it contains less gluten than standard wheat flours (all purpose and bread flour). Generally, when baking cakes and cookies, we try to avoid over-mixing to prevent the gluten from developing. Because there is less gluten in rye flour, there is less of a chance of really developing the gluten as we mix the dough.
King Arthur also points out that treats baked with rye flour tend to stay fresh longer because rye absorbs more liquid than wheat flour.
I strongly encourage you to check out King Arthur’s blog post on the subject. It’s quite interesting!
How Much Rye in Brown Butter Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Using King Arthur’s blog post as a guide, I reached what I believe is a perfect celebration of rye flour, brown butter, and traditional all purpose flour. For this recipe, I ended up substituting approximately 40% of the all purpose flour with rye flour. I found that these cookies spread perfectly and taste super wonderful.
How to Make Brown Butter Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies
Brown the Butter
Brown butter is simply butter that is cooked, which causes the water in it to evaporate and the milk solids to brown. The result is a wonderful, somewhat nutty flavor. It is delicious in just about everything, from baked goods to sauces for entrees like chicken or fish. If you are new to browning butter, I strongly encourage you to read my post Brown Butter: What is It and How to Make It. For this recipe, just as in my Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, you will need to allow the brown butter to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it until it is solid again.
Whisk the Dry Ingredients
In a small bowl, whisk the all purpose flour, rye flour, baking soda and salt.
Cream the Browned Butter, Sugars, Egg, Milk, Vanilla and Vinegar
The browned butter will not be as hard as a stick of butter directly from the refrigerator, but I recommend taking it out of the refrigerator at least 10-15 minutes before you start creaming. I like to take it out just before I gather all the dry ingredients. You want to cream all these ingredients together, but there is no need to mix and mix, as you will just incorporate air into the cookies which will change the consistency of the final cookies.
Mix in Chocolate Chips
Especially when making anything with chocolate, I strongly recommend a good, quality brand. For these cookies, deeper, quality chocolate is best . (Milk chocolate is good, but not great.) Semi-sweet is fabulous, and a combination of semi-sweet and bittersweet is truly wonderful. Can’t find bittersweet chips? Just chop up a quality bittersweet chocolate bar. I use these semi-sweet chips, these bittersweet chips, and these milk chocolate chips. Callebaut is one of my all time favorite chocolates to bake with. I also love Guittard. These brands may seem slightly expensive, but quality chocolate is what sets my cookies apart from everyone else’s. Use quality ingredients for a quality baked good!*
This is not optional. Once you shape your cookies into rounds, they must get refrigerated before baking. They really only need an hour in there, but you can certainly make the dough up to a couple days in advance before baking. Baking these cookies directly from the refrigerator ensures that they do not spread too much in the oven.
Salt and Bake
While this is optional, I strongly recommend sprinkling some flaky sea salt on the cookies just before you put them in the oven. The little bit of salt is the perfect contrast to the sweetness of the cookie and the chocolate. As always, I recommend Maldon Sea Salt.*
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Brown Butter Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 227 g. unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch squares (16 tbsp. or 2 sticks)
- 140 g. all purpose flour (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp.)
- 100 g. rye flour (1 cup)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 146 g. light brown sugar (⅔ cup, firmly packed)
- 133 g. granulated sugar (⅔ cup)
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. vinegar (cider or white)
- 1 large egg
- 340 g. semisweet and/or bittersweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
- Flaky sea salt
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Once fully melted, increase the heat to low-medium to cook the butter, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The butter will start popping and crackling and then start foaming. The part of the butter that will start browning is the milk solids which will be on the bottom of the pan. This is why you need to keep stirring and lifting the spatula or spoon out of the pan to see what stage it is at. Once you have nicely browned specks on the bottom of the pan, remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour the butter into a heatproof bowl to stop it from cooking any further. (Be careful not to overcook the butter. It can go from brown to burnt very quickly.) Allow the butter to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until hardened, at least two hours. (Brown butter can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator.)
- In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking soda and salt.
- In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the brown butter, sugar, brown sugar, milk, vanilla and vinegar. Add the egg and beat until fully combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix just until fully combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.
- Divide and shape into rounds, each weighing 30 grams. Refrigerate at least one hour and up to two days.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Sprinkle sea salt on top of each cookie and bake the cold cookies 11-13 minutes, just until the edges are light brown and the middle looks a bit doughy.
- Cool for a few minutes on pan, then on a wire rack.
- The brown butter can be made ahead of time, even by a few days. If you are new to making brown butter, use a lower flame so you have more control over the cooking process. It may take a few minutes longer, but the butter will be less likely to go from brown to burnt so quickly.
- These can be made in one day, but plan ahead so your brown butter has time to solidify in the refrigerator and so that your cookie dough has time to get cold in the refrigerator.
- The brown butter does not to be at room temperature to use it, but remove it from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before mixing.
- You can freeze raw cookie dough balls to bake later. (Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to get them cold. Then toss them in an airtight plastic bag. Pre-freezing them on the pan will prevent them from sticking to each other in the bag.) When ready to bake, place the frozen balls in the preheated oven. They may just need an additional minute or two.
- You can also freeze the fully baked cookies. They should come to room temperature in about 10 minutes.