Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Rye and Espresso

sourdough chocolate chunk cookie

Meet the newest member of CTD chocolate chunk cookie family! This particular recipe was designed to use up sourdough starter and be a relatively quick bake (i.e. no softening of ingredients, no mandatory long resting). But don’t worry, they are positively packed with flavor and are poised become the new most-frequent impulse bake in this house (toss up between this and the sourdough chocolate cake)!

If you’ve baked the salted chocolate chunk cookie from my book, this recipe will seem familiar to you. We’re featuring the same heavy hitters: browned butter, rye flour, espresso. However, I’ve tweaked the proportions a touch to reflect my current cookie preferences: slightly thinner but still chewy with crisp edges.

To chill or not to chill

That is the million dollar cookie question, isn’t it? Many bakers swear by “ripening” their cookie dough for 24 or even up to 72 hours for improved texture and flavor.

For this particular cookie, I suggest chilling for a minimum of 30-45 minutes — this helps to resolidify the butter and control spreading. If you’re in a real hurry, you can flatten the dough to help it chill faster or even stick it in the freezer. Thanks to all the flavor bombs in the dough, you will get tasty cookies.

But if you have the patience, chilling the dough for a full 24 hours does pay off with a more complex, harmonious flavor and a thicker, fudgier texture. (Beyond 24 hours I don’t detect a noticeable enough difference to warrant the extra time.) It’s similar to the difference between meat that’s been seasoned and then cooked right away versus something that’s had time to marinate overnight. You can enjoy and be satisfied by both, but the one with the longer marination just tastes better. I usually bake a couple off for instant gratification and keep the rest in the fridge for a full rest.

Here’s a quick video so you can see the difference between the 45 minute vs 24 hour chill. Top cookies had a 45 minute chill; bottom had 24 hours.

And a cross section! 24 hour chill on the left, 45 minute chill on the right.

You can also freeze portioned dough for longer storage. If you like super thick cookies you can bake directly from frozen, but I prefer to let the unbaked dough sit out at room temperature for 20-30 minutes (about the time it takes to preheat the oven) for better spread.

Chocolate selection

I really enjoy a mix of white and dark (but not too dark) chocolate in this cookie. Mixing up the chocolates makes for more interesting eating, and the white chocolate helps balance out the intensity of the brown butter, espresso, and rye. But I think all milk or even caramelized white chocolate would taste great in this dough base too! Use what you have and like.

I prefer using chopped chocolate or callets rather than chocolate chips for better taste and spread. (You don’t need to chop the callets if they’re on the small side; I usually use Callebaut callets and toss them straight into the dough.)

OK, on to the recipe!

sourdough chocolate chunk cookie

Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Rye and Espresso

Yield: 1 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chilling Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes

Rich, flavorful chocolate chunk cookies made with sourdough discard.


  • 115g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 10g freshly brewed coffee (can sub milk or water)
  • 85g light brown sugar
  • 85g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, cold
  • 80g sourdough discard (100% hydration), cold
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g all purpose flour
  • 45g rye flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 70g chopped white chocolate
  • 70g chopped bittersweet chocolate (I like 55-65%)
  • Flaky salt, for garnish (optional)
  • Additional chocolate, for garnish (optional)


  1. To brown the butter, place the butter in a small, light-colored saucepan over low-medium heat. Once the butter has melted, turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir frequently with a heatproof spatula, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan as needed. The butter will crackle, foam, turn clear gold, then finally start browning. It’s done when the crackling subsides and you smell toasted nuts. This process takes about 7-10 minutes total, but the butter can go from browned to burnt in a flash—so keep an eye on it. Scrape the butter and all the toasty bits into a large bowl and stir in the espresso powder and coffee -- this helps infuse the butter with extra coffee flavor. Let cool until tepid, about 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk the sugars into the butter until smooth and combined, followed by the egg yolk, sourdough starter, and vanilla. The mixture should be viscous and homogenous, with no streaks of visible starter. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold together until just combined. When just a few streaks of flour remain, add the chocolate, and mix until evenly distributed.
  4. Cover and chill the dough for 45-60 minutes, or until cool to the touch. (You can leave the dough in the bowl where it was mixed, but transferring it to plastic wrap and flattening to a 1” slab will quicken the cooling process.) Alternatively, the dough can be chilled for up to 24 hours or frozen for longer storage. (They will spread less and may require an extra minute or two of baking time.)
  5. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with a rack in the middle and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Portion the dough into twelve equal balls, about 54g each. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets about 2½ inches apart and sprinkle the tops with flaky sea salt.
  7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops are set and no longer shiny, about 12 to 14 minutes. Rotate the sheet in the oven halfway through baking. Right after the cookies come out of the oven, use a large round cookie cutter to nudge them into perfectly round circles, if desired. Top with a few pieces of chopped chocolate for garnish.
  8. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 


Recipe adapted from Baked to Order.

sourdough chocolate chunk cookie

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12 thoughts on “Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Rye and Espresso

  1. Made these cookies last weekend and wow these are spectacular! First of all, as soon as I mixed the espresso into the browned butter I just wanted to drink it it smelled so good! Haha. This cookie is easy to make but has such complex flavor it’s truly hard to beat. My coworkers all agreed I could make this one again. Thanks Ruth!

  2. I absolutely love your toasted milk powder cookies and can’t wait to try my discard in these. I don’t have any rye flour at the moment but plan to restock soon. If I can’t wait to make these , any idea how much extra AP would I add? Would it be the same amount of rye (45g), or is the swap not even by weight? I don’t want to mess with the texture. Thank you!

      1. These were amazing! I managed to wait out then craving until I could make them with rye flour 😉

      2. Hi! These look delicious!! Any chance they could be made without the sourdough discard? If so, what would I substitute? Many thanks!

  3. i’ve made these twice and both times the cookies are flat and oily. i chilled the dough longer this time hoping it would help but nope…. what am i doing wrong?

    1. Hi! The first thing I would check is your oven temperature — if your oven runs cool or it hasn’t preheated long enough, that can cause cookies to spread more than expected because the butter is melting faster than the cookies can set. The best way to check is with an oven thermometer. Another possible cause could be your cookie sheets (if they’re dark or if you’re lining them with anything other than parchment paper, that can cause excessive spread as well). Hope that helps!

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