Hello, everyone! It’s been forever since I’ve had time to put a post together. I have really missed you all, and I have really missed playing in the kitchen with ingredients, creating new recipes, and writing to share with you. This year, it’s been such a long, hard winter here in Minnesota. It kind of reminded me of the winter of 1880. Now, I know I wasn’t alive then! But I did read about it in Laura Ingalls’ account, The Long Winter. I was a child in South America at the time I was reading this book, and I vividly remember the passage in which Laura’s father had to step outside the house during a blizzard and the visibility was so poor, there was so much snow, and the winds were so strong that if he got blown off Main Street, he could easily walk out into the open prairie and never find the town center again. He would have frozen to death steps away from the village. I had never thought this was possible until I read that book, unwise as I was as to the perils of northern winters during the warm, subtropical years of my childhood.
Laura Ingalls’ The Long Winter was my first encounter with a blizzard from afar, but as fate would have it, moving to Minnesota years later meant I got to experience it firsthand for myself. Nowadays, surrounded by modern convenience, tarmac roads, and urban life, there’s less risk of being blown out by the wind into the open prairie, but blizzards are still pretty serious. This year, for the first time in Minnesota’s history, we have had 10 or more inches of snow per month, 5 months in a row: 13 inches in November, 19 to 20 in December, 22 in January, 15 in February, and 10 in March! Not surprisingly, our pastime this winter has been shoveling! Although we did enjoy some snow-shoeing, sledding and making snow angels too. During one of these blizzards, I went to the kitchen with the hopes of creating a comforting snack that would give us extra calories to fuel all that shoveling, as well as to pass the time I was now forced to spend indoors until the storm lifted. I looked at the snowflakes swirling outside my north-facing kitchen window and thought not only of Laura Ingalls, but of all the people in northern countries that face this landscape outside their homes several months out of the year. I suddenly remembered how Scandinavian and Northern European countries relied on rye flour for much of their baking since as far back as the Middle Ages. I saw visions of rustic, round loaves of rye bread, served on rough-hewn wooden boards, with jam and slices of cheese on the side, probably eaten by candlelight. Truth and fact are actually not that far off from this imagination of mine…
Historically, rye was grown in Northern Europe because it was much easier to grow in those soils than wheat was, and it could withstand intensely cold temperatures, and the result is that in Nordic cuisine you will find a plethora of rye breads, crackers and crisps that were -and still are- an essential staple of the nordic table. The Swedish like to make rye seed crackers and knäckebröd, and my Danish ancestors probably made the hearty, no-nonsense rugbrød (Danish rye bread), and Northern Germany has something similar to it in the form of pumpernickel. A bunch of breakfasts during my childhood consisted of my eating plain toast (I’m a purist at heart), at best spread with dulce de leche or jam, while my father favored open-faced sandwiches on whole rye bread, topped with all sorts of delicious ingredients that ranged from cheese to herring and pickled or fresh veggies. It took me years to dare try one of these homemade nordic breakfast sandwiches, a sort of precursor of smørrebrød if you will, that yielded a very nutritious start to the day. So it is that the hard winter of 2023 and the rye flour of olden times led me on impulse to incorporate hearty rye flour into a chocolate chip cookie recipe -the ultimate American classic. Call me a farmhouse romantic, call me a fool, call me a bored Minnesotan during winter! I gambled that the rye flour would give a nutty flavor and a denser texture that would distinguish it from a traditional chocolate chip cookie made exclusively with all-purpose flour; it would definitely add another dimension to my cookies and a more robust, complex flavor. I wasn’t sure if the rye would affect the sweetness of the cookies, and so I balanced off the rustic element of rye with the indulgence of toffee bits… and this is how these cookies came to be.
When you’re needing a snack at the end of a long, dark, cold winter day, these rye-toffee chocolate chip cookies are the best! They’re hearty, nutty, chewy and dense in the center, with slightly crisp edges, and the pools of dark chocolate are absolutely dreamy. They’re also super easy to put together, with no additional fuss than a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. There are a few details aside the rye flour that also make them shine: first, I would recommend using chocolate chunks instead of chips, or if you’re not partial to chopping, a good substitute can be Guittard’s Super Cookie Chips; and second, sprinkling them with Maldon salt flakes elevates the cookies to a nearly sublime treat.
While I’m hoping this post will inspire you to try this recipe and enjoy a delectable winter treat with a rustic element harking back to ancient times, I am also harboring hope this recipe will make you a huge fan of rye flour, too. It’s a nice addition to your pantry for sure. But if you can’t do it for history’s sake, or for the value of novelty, or for Laura Ingalls Wilder, or even for this Argentine-Minnesotan girl writing this post on her laptop on a dark winter night… then do it for the heavenliness that these cookies will bring to your table, displacing all other chocolate chip cookies from their first-rank status for awhile.
Toffee-Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 10-11 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Servings: 24 cookies
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 6 Tbsp rye flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp Celtic salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla powder
- ½ cup toffee bits or bits o’ brickle
- 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chunks
- 1 tbsp flaky salt (optional)
- In a small bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, rye flour, baking soda, baking powder, and Celtic salt.
- Add the toffee bits to the flour mixture and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the softened butter, white sugar, and brown sugar, on medium-high for about 2 minutes until fluffy and paler in color.
- Add the egg and vanilla powder and beat until well-incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture gradually, beating on low speed until just combined.
- Using a wooden spoon, add in the chocolate until the chips are evenly distributed in the dough.
- Pat down the ball of dough into a circle or oval about 1 to 1 ½ inch thick, wrapping it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or, if desired, overnight.
- To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Shape the dough into balls, either by hand or using an ice cream scoop. I like to use a medium-sized scoop.
- Place the cookies on the baking sheets 2 inches apart.
- Bake the cookies for 10-11 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Remove from the oven, and dot with additional chocolate chips if desired, and sprinkle with flaky salt if desired.
- Let cookies cool on the baking sheet until they have set, about 12 minutes, before transferring.
© 2023 Carol’s Baking Adventures
3 thoughts on “Toffee-Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies”
Me encantan las galletas.
div>Que lindo lo que cuentas! Siempre una escritora ejemplar!!!!Un beso!!
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I’m excited to try these! I’ve been wanting to try rye flour in sourdough bread, and now I can try it in cookies too!
Thank you so much for reading! Your sourdough bread looked amazing!!! If you try rye in sourdough bread, please let me know how it turns out and what you learn!