Most likely for her own amusement, my mom told my brother and I numerous falsehoods about all kind of things when we were growing up.
Several of them had to do with food. And aliens. And big foot. But, we’ll leave the aliens and big foot for some other post.
Cheetos were rusty nails. The meat from the stew she made each Halloween came from the graveyard. And, poppy seeds were spider eggs.
Mostly we knew she was joking. Mostly.
So, when my friend Ann Mah made the Mokonut’s rye-cranberry chocolate chunk cookies she’d earlier featured in her Insta Stories while at their bakery in Paris, the first place my mind went was spider eggs and pickled newt’s eye (no, I don’t know what newts are, don’t ruin it).
This recipe has been making the rounds in-part thanks to a feature by Dorie Greenspan in the New York Times. No doubt, they’re this fall’s “it” cookie.
With the unusual addition of poppy seeds (spider eggs) and dried cranberries (pickled newt’s eyes), they are also just the thing to make up for your favorite witches, goblins and storm troupers.
Mokonuts’ Rye-Cranberry Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
as presented by Dorie Greenspan in the New York Times
- 1 C plus 1 1/2 TBS (130 grams) medium rye flour
- ½ C plus 2 TBS (85 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 10 TBS(140 grams or 1 stick + 2 TBS) unsalted butter at cool room temperature
- ½ C (100 grams) sugar
- ½ C(100 grams) light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 C (50 grams) poppy seeds
- 2/3 C (80 grams) moist, plump dried cranberries
- 4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks
- Flake salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling
- Whisk together the rye flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, sea salt and baking soda; set aside.
- Working with a mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the butter and both sugars together on medium speed for 3 minutes, until blended; scrape thebowl as needed.
- Add the egg, and beat 2 minutes more.
- Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients all at once, then pulse the mixer a few times to begin blending the ingredients. Beat on low speed until the flour almost disappears, and then add the poppy seeds, cranberries and chocolate. Mix only until incorporated. Scrape the bowl to bring the dough together.
- Have a baking sheet lined with parchment, foil or plastic wrap nearby. Divide the dough into 15 pieces (TMH note–I used a 7/8 ounce scoop and got about 30 smaller balls), roll each piece into a ball between your palms and place on the baking sheet. Cover, and refrigerate the dough overnight or for up to 3 days. (TMH note–I froze them for three days but they should be fine in the freezer for up to a month)
- When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven, and heat it to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Arrange the cookies on the sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie (work with half a batch at a time and keep the remaining balls of dough in the refrigerator until needed). Sprinkle each cookie with a little flake salt, crushing it between your fingers as you do.
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, pull the baking sheet from the oven and, using a metal spatula, a pancake turner or the bottom of a glass, tap each cookie lightly. Let the cookies rest on the sheet for 3 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a rack. Repeat with the remaining dough, always using cold dough and a cool baking sheet.
- Serve after the cookies have cooled for about 10 minutes, or wait until they reach room temperature.
When I discovered that the secret ingredient in Sycamore Kitchen’s chocolate chip cookies was rye flour, my interest was piqued. Rye is a sort of earthy grain, toothsome and rich.
It’s Don McLean who brought the whiskey to the rye party.
Don McLean has scored the soundtrack to my life at a couple different points. As kid, his American Pie album was the background music to many a summer road trip. I can remember listening to Vincent as our green van trundled through the flat yellow fields of central California as we sought the cooler, greener destination of the redwoods in the North.
Then later, Don Mclean returned to my life when I was college student with his fraternity party anthem American Pie. Though I’m sure this wasn’t Mr. McLean’s intention, American Pie was always played late in the night when it seemed everyone was lubricated enough to sing the song in its nearly 10 minute entirety.
I know you know where I’m going with this: “with the good ole boys drinking whiskey and rye singing this will be the day that I die. This will be the day that I die.”
And so when I learned about using rye flour in baked goods, I could not divorce the notion from also using whiskey. Luckily, someone else had the same idea and I didn’t have to experiment very much in my search for a whiskey and rye chocolate chip cookie recipe. All I did was replace the chocolate chunks with chocolate disks (not “chocolate flavored” melting disks…but real, organic, bittersweet discs). I also browned the butter.
I used Bushmills because it was near St Patricks Day when I first made these guys. Use what you have…even if it’s bourbon or scotch. This cookie is sophisticated and would pair well with a finger or two of its namesake, one ice cube.
Whiskey and Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from The Bojon Gourmet
- 8 TBS/4 ounces unsalted butter, melted (browned if desired)
- 1/2 C dark brown sugar
- 1/4 C granulated cane sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk at room temp
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 TBS whiskey
- 3/4 C 2 TBS rye flour
- 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 C bittersweet chocolate disks (chopped chocolate would work just as well)
- 3/4 C toasted pecans (optional–I meant to use but forgot to pick up)
- flaky salt for sprinkling
- In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together the rye and all-purpose flours, baking soda and sea salt.
- In a large bowl, stir together the warm, melted butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.
- Let cool to warm, then stir in the egg. Stir in the vanilla and rye, and set aside.
- Stir the flour mixture into the butter/sugar/egg mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the chopped chocolate and pecans.
- Cover the dough and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.
- Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325ºF.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (or grease lightly with butter).
Use two spoons or a 1/2 ounce scoop, scoop cookie dough, placing them 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets. Top each ball with a tiny pinch of flaky salt.
- Bake the cookies in the preheated oven until the edges are set and just beginning to color, 8-12 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through to ensure even baking. The cookies will look under-done, but will continue to cook from residual heat.
- Remove the baking sheets to cooling racks and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets (unless they are in danger of over-baking – in that case, sweep the cookies, parchment and all, onto cooling racks).
- When the cookies have cooled completely, store them at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days.