Chewy Kernza ginger cookies with sourdough discard
As soon as I started baking with Kernza, I knew I really needed to put it into cookies. The perennial grain’s nutty, almost spicy scent evokes memories of freshly baked gingerbread cookies in my grandma’s Florida kitchen at Christmastime. Pairing it with ginger and molasses is a match made in heaven.
But rather than stop at swapping in some whole grain Kernza flour for all-purpose, I also wanted the recipe to recycle some of my ever-present sourdough discard, in the ecologically friendly spirit of Kernza. So I followed Edd Kimber’s genius method for incorporating sourdough discard—the excess sourdough starter removed when refreshing a mother starter—into cookies. By reducing the moisture content in the cookie dough but keeping the fat (through browning the butter and taking out the egg white), the sourdough discard is unnoticeable in both the taste or texture of the final cookies.
I always have sourdough discard taking up space in the fridge, but if you don’t, you can leave some out on the counter overnight to over-ferment and make it easier to incorporate into the dough. I keep my starter at 100% hydration, meaning equal parts flour and water by weight. If your starter is drier or wetter, simply add the necessary amount of water or flour to your discard to get it near equal and mix it into a slurry before incorporating the called-for amount into the recipe. Happy waste-free baking!
*If you aren’t a fan of the heavy flavor of molasses, you can swap in ¼ cup maple syrup (70g) instead. The cookies will spread a bit more from the extra moisture in the maple syrup and be a tad sweeter.
Stand mixer (or very strong arms)
Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
Small grater, such as a Microplane grater
*You can also form the cookies and put them in the freezer for easy future baking. Simply add 2-4 minutes to the total baking time if baking from frozen.