Blog Rye Cookies
This week's cookie recipe is based on a grain that doesn't get a lot of attention in the pastry kitchen: rye. Because rye flour is usually baked into bread, often combined with a sourdough starter or caraway seeds, you may think of it in terms of savory foods. But on its own, rye flour has a gently nutty, even sweet flavor that makes it a good choice for cakes and cookies. Rye flour lacks the gluten-forming abilities of wheat flour, so it's generally combined with wheat flour to avoid squat, dense, or crumbly baked goods.
Aside from its appealing flavor, rye flour has a lot going for it nutritionally. It's high in protein, B vitamins, and the antioxidant selenium. And like all whole grains, rye contains plenty of fiber, which can help prevent diabetes and obesity, among other benefits. Rye flour also contains special carbohydrates that help it absorb up to eight times its weight in water. Not only does this mean that baked goods made with rye stay softer and moister than ones made strictly with wheat, but it means that when you eat them, they swell in your stomach, helping you feel full longer.
Of course, all of this information would be purely academic if rye flour didn't make great-tasting cookies, but it does—rye blends beautifully with butter and brown sugar into rich cookies that can be iced with a simple butter glaze or just eaten plain. The next time you're in the baking aisle, don't overlook the rye.