The Bitter Flour To Pair With Chocolate Chip Cookies For Complex Flavor

Maybe it's the fact that chocolate chip cookies are so simple that bakers are constantly trying to jazz them up and recreate the cookie. Why else would we have ended up with chocolate chip cookies with potato chips, bacon, and pretzels? (This isn't to say that any of these were necessarily bad ideas; the combination of something sweet with something salty, crunchy, and even smoky can be very tasty.) But for purists who prefer the classic, original cookie, maybe the trick isn't what you can add to the recipe, but how you can mix up what's already there.

Take the flour, for example. Almost any recipe you find for classic chocolate chip cookies calls for all-purpose flour. But when you replace it with rye flour, you'll get the same cookie you love — but subtly better. 

A strong rye flavor can be polarizing, but using medium rye flour in cookie dough won't be overpowering. On the contrary, you can expect nutty flavor, rich color, and satisfying texture in your cookies.

Subtly different but not overpowering

While all-purpose flour is mild and neutral-tasting, medium rye flour is quite the opposite. It can be described as malty, having the subtly sweet, nutty flavors of toast, caramel, and coffee. Because of this, it will enhance the chocolate in your chocolate chip cookies. If you use browned butter or cinnamon in your recipe, the rye will play well with them, too.

Using medium rye flour will also affect the color of your baked cookies, making the golden color richer and deeper without looking burnt. Rye flour isn't gluten-free, but it does contain less gluten than all-purpose flour. Because overworked gluten can make dough tough, using rye flour should result in a more tender crumb.

King Arthur Baking Company suggests that substituting just 25% of a recipe's all-purpose flour with medium rye flour will make a difference in how your chocolate chip cookies tastes and looks. For more pronounced results, though, try replacing half the flour with medium rye, or even the full amount of flour. Don't worry, your cookies won't taste like they're ready for mustard and pastrami — they'll just be deliciously nutty and irresistible.

Falling flat, in a good way

Yes, chocolate chip cookies made with medium rye flour will taste amazing but that doesn't mean they'll be carbon copies of those made with all-purpose flour. What would be the point of substituting the flour if that were the case? 

As mentioned, your cookies will have a darker appearance, but don't be alarmed if they come out of the oven a little flatter than you're used to. Both gluten and liquid affect the way cookie dough rises. Rye flour is substantially lower in gluten and it retains more liquid than wheat does, so the structure of a cookie made with rye flour will be less stable. However, the extra liquid will also cause rye flour cookies to stay fresher for longer.

If you like the results of your medium rye flour chocolate chip cookies, keep experimenting with the flour in your other baking recipes. Snickerdoodles and gingersnaps would be a great place to start, as rye enhances cinnamon and ginger. But anything chocolatey, such as brownies or devil's food cake, should be a winner.