Nothing better than chewy miso rye chocolate cookies with a perfect balance of sweetness and saltines coming from the miso. Oof, enough said.
What Is Recipe Testing Anyway??
The first test of miso rye chocolate cookies was a quick batch I had whipped up for a family friend by taking a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe and subbing for the items I had in my pantry. This girl had a lot of rye flour and miso.
The cookies were great, but they felt like they were only the beginning of something better. So how does one make a cookie recipe? Like any recipe, you take an opinion and find how ingredients and techniques can make it happen: Ingredient + Technique = Opinion.
My opinion? A chewy miso rye chocolate cookie must be rich in flavor but not too sweet or salty. Taking that magic equation from above, my mission which I did choose to accept, was to figure out how to manipulate the ingredients to get exactly that. Luckily I e-met Jesse on Instagram, a fellow food aficionado, and he tested along with me!
Ingredients are manipulated in every way to produce a specific cookie. And as Jesse reminded me, even your choice of leavening can make a drastic difference. So how do ingredients all come together for the perfect cookie?
How To Make The Perfect Chewy Cookie
Most cookie recipes require a combination of white sugar and brown sugar, but when do you know which one to use more? Brown sugar is made up of sugar cane molasses which attracts more moisture and keeps cookies moist – this is ideal for chewy cookies. Moreover, brown sugar is acidic and can speed gluten formation and egg protein coagulation. In short, this means that the cookie dough is going to set quicker and create a thick and tender cookie. However, white sugar evaporates water and creates a crispy cookie.
Texture aside, brown sugar will also add a caramelized color, which to a miso rye chocolate cookie is gorgeous!
Yolks vs. Egg Whites
The science of eggs in a condensed form: Egg whites trap air, whereas yolks contribute moisture. In cookie speak, egg whites will create a thick and puffy cookie because of the aeration. Yolks will create steam affecting the gluten and make cookies that are denser and tender.
Here is where the science gets interesting, everything that I explained above is true when a recipe calls for melted butter. However, if you cream softened butter, then the opposite happens. Yolks will make a cakey cookie, and egg whites will make cookies chewy.
Baking Soda & Baking Powder
We all have baking soda and baking powder in our pantries but how many of us know what it does? In this episode of cookie science, let’s learn about leavening. Leavening determines how your cookie will rise, spread, and brown. This is the line to live by: “soda spreads and powder puffs.”
In my original recipe, I had 2:1 baking soda to baking powder, but the cookie was not cakey because I would bang the pan in three intervals to force the cookie to deflate. But there was a way to feed two birds with one scone that I wasn’t seeing. Jesse tested a batch with less baking soda and the miso rye chocolate cookies spread naturally without the extra legwork.
Melted Butter or Softened Butter
Melted butter or soft butter is the new fork in the road, which one do you choose? Soft butter will incorporate air and create a finer texture that is more cake-like. Melted butter is a liquid and will hydrate the flour and boost gluten, gluten is great for a chew. Easy enough, except melted butter has a caveat: some recipes will ask that you either bake right away or chill before baking.
The melted butter cookie that is not chilled will spread more than those made with soft butter, which is perfect for people who love thin and crispy cookies. On the other hand, some of that butter will solidify when it’s chilled. The end result is a cookie with middles puffed up slightly and crispy edges. A miso rye chocolate cookie that has both chew and crisp? Hell yes.
For years everyone in my family thought we were cursed, that our cookies were destined to always look more like scones and muffin tops. But truly we were improperly measuring flour. Instead of using a scale or using the scooping method, we were packing flour by pushing the powder down with the spoon. In cookie land, this means that our cookies were taking longer to bake, and although they appeared fluffy, were super dry inside.
The reverse is also a problem, if you add too little flour your cookies will end up looking more like lace cookies.
Resting the Dough
“The patient bird gets the worm…” Or the patient baker gets the chewy cookie? Resting cookie dough allows the flour to absorb moisture from the eggs and the butter. Not only will the cookie dough be flavorful by absorbing that water, but they’re also going to be more tender and chewier.
A minimum of half an hour of resting time is recommended. If you’re seriously committed, I highly recommend hiding a few extra balls of dough in the fridge for at least 72 hours.
Let’s say you want to make a levain style Miso Rye Chocolate cookie – they are famously thick and chonky, what would the ingredients look like?
Making a Cookie Recipe Your Own
Your Recipe, Your Perspective
I have gone over how you can manipulate ingredients to get exactly what you want, but making a cookie completely yours is the fun part. How in the world did I choose to make miso rye chocolate cookies with coconut?
I may have mentioned this before, but one of my favorite scenes in a movie is where Will Ferrel’s character confesses his love to his baker girlfriend with a box of various bags of different flours. If any of you meet my soulmate, please relay that this is my love language.
Rye flour is one of the more aromatic whole grain flours. It has a complex flavor profile that is malty and nutty, and if you pick a dark variant, the flavors are intense and the texture is denser. What kind of flour do I want for a chewy cookie that is rich? Exactly.
Miso, a Japanese invention, is made by combining soybeans, grains, and sea salt, and fermented and aged in barrels. It has an amazing ability to expand and deepen any flavors it touches. White miso in particular is buttery, sweet, and salty and best combined with other ingredients of the same texture. In western vocabulary, it gives our rye chocolate cookies umami.
So far, we know that our cookies are rich, chewy, sweet, and salty. My choice in additions must complement the depth of these flavors. In that case, I probably don’t want to add a bar of chocolate that is too sweet nor add anything that is particularly salty. Coconut chips are chewy, have a subtle sweetness, and most importantly have a nutty flavor that is perfectly paired with rye flour.
That’s enough reading, lets make these miso rye chocolate cookies!
Miso Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut
- 2 sticks unsalted melted butter (220g)
- 1 cup brown sugar (200g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- ¼ cup white miso paste (72g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 1¼ cups rye flour (170g)
- 1⅓ cup ap flour (170g)
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 bars chopped bittersweet baking chocolate (226g)
- 1 cup dried coconut chips
- flaky salt (optional)
- In a bowl, combine melted butter, boths sugars, vanilla, and miso. Beat till fully combined.
- Add egg yolks one at a time, beat well after each addition until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking soda, and baking powder together.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in batches, folding rather than stirring.
- With some streaks of flour still visible, fold in the chopped chocolate and coconut until just combined. Throw the whole bowl in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325° f
- Using an Ice cream scoop, scoop out about 24 cookies. Chill while the oven finishes preheating.
- About 4-6 per baking sheet (they are large and will spread out). Bake for 14-16 min till the edges are slightly golden.
- Let them cool completely on a wirerack before diving in. Sooner if you prefer them doughy!