These sourdough discard chocolate chip cookies are so easy to make and taste delicious! They use sourdough starter discard, browned butter, and plenty of chocolate chunks.
Sourdough discard is the portion of sourdough starter removed and discarded during feeding. It's often very acidic and not great for making bread with. It is fantastic to add to sourdough cookies though.
It has a tangy flavor, which can add depth and complexity to the flavor of these cookies. The high acid component in the starter makes a lovely tender cookie too. You can even change how it turns out depending on the baking time. It creates a fluffy bakery-style cookie with an almost cake-like cookie texture if baked long. Slightly underbaking them yields chewy cookies.
Chilling the sourdough cookie dough
As sourdough cookie dough undergoes a prolonged chilling period, the naturally occurring bacteria in the sourdough starter continue to feed on the carbohydrates and starches in the flour. A long ferment can produce a more complex and nuanced flavor in the finished cookies. For best results, chill the dough until the next day.
There are other reasons why it's crucial to chill this dough too.
- It prevents spreading: When cookie dough is chilled, the fat in the dough solidifies. This means that when the cookies are baked, they will spread less and maintain their shape better.
- Enhances flavor and texture: Chilling cookie dough melds the ingredients, resulting in a better flavor and texture.
- Easier to handle: Chilled cookie dough is easier to handle and shape as it's much less sticky.
The ingredient amounts for these sourdough discard chocolate chip cookies are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is a rundown of what you will need.
- Unsalted butter. This will be turned into brown butter, which makes the best chocolate chip cookies.
- Sourdough starter - Leftover sourdough starter is used. You can save your extra sourdough starter discard in the back of your fridge, separate from your active starter. This way, you can keep adding to it each time you discard some, and it is ready to use in discard recipes.
- Large egg
- Soft brown sugar - This can be light or dark brown sugar. It keeps the cookies moist and gives a more chewy texture.
- Granulated white sugar - gives crisp edges
- Vanilla paste or vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda - This is what will react with the acid in the sourdough starter and create the cookie leavening and texture.
- Dark chocolate or milk chocolate chunks - You can use regular chocolate chips, or my favorite is to cut up a good quality chocolate bar into chunks.
Preheat the oven and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Let the butter melt over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Avoid using a dark pan, as you will struggle to see the caramelization of the butter at the bottom of the pan and run the risk of burning it.
Once the butter has melted, let it cook for around 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly until the milk solids have caramelized into a golden amber color and the butter has a nutty aroma. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and cool down for 10 minutes.
Add the sugar, sourdough starter, vanilla, and egg to the cooled butter, and beat it until well combined.
Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Stir the flour mixture into the cookie dough mixture until a dough forms, then add the chopped chocolate.
Continue stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Roll the cookie dough into balls, using a medium cookie scoop or around 1 ½ tablespoons. Space the cookie dough balls on the parchment-lined baking sheet at least 2 inches apart.
Press a few extra pieces of chocolate into the tops of the balls of dough.
Bake the cookies for 10-11 minutes until they have puffed and the edges are golden brown. The middle should still be a little soft. They will continue cooking on the hot oven tray once out of the oven and firm up as they cool down.
For fluffier cookies, bake them until the middle is set.
While the cookies are still hot, sprinkle them with flaky salt. Let them cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 5 days.
Unbaked cookie dough balls can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to three months. The baked cookies freeze really well too.
More sourdough baking
- 130g (½ cup + 1 Tablespoon) unsalted butter
- 100g (½ cup) soft brown sugar
- 100g (½ cup) granulated sugar
- 100g (½ cup) unfed discard starter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 190g (1 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 170g (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chunks
- Flaky salt to serve
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then let it cook for around 3-4 minutes, occasionally stirring until the milk solids have caramelized and the butter smells nutty. Pour it into a large bowl and cool down for 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar, sourdough starter, vanilla, and egg to the cooled butter, and beat it until well combined.
- Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.
- Stir the flour mixture into the cookie dough mixture until a dough forms, then add the chocolate chunks. Continue stirring until it's all combined.
- Cover the bowl and place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll the cookie dough into balls, using a medium cookie scoop or around 1 ½ tablespoons. Space them at least 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
- Press a few extra pieces of chocolate into the tops of the balls of dough.
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until they have puffed and the edges are golden brown. The middle should still be a little soft. They will continue cooking on the hot oven tray once out of the oven and firm up as they cool down. For fluffier cookies, bake them until the middle is set.
- While the cookies are hot, sprinkle them with flaky salt.
- Let them cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 183Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 151mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 2g
This is an informational estimate only. I am not a certified Dietitian or Nutritionist