I’ll get one important thing out of the way: “Ground Ivy” is a very different plant to English Ivy which is poisonous and definitely shouldn’t be eaten. Ground ivy is actually related to mint and is has also been known as creeping charlie, alehoof, gill-over-the-ground, and many more names. In a similar way to mint, ground ivy grows like a weed (it’s considered an invasive in the US) and its leaves grow in opposite pairs from a square stem. The leaves are heart shaped, and gently lobed or scalloped at the edges and I think they smell of a cross between sage and mint when crushed. The tiny purple flowers grow in spring making them easier to ID and are trumpet shaped with irregular petal shapes.
In the past I’ve tended to use ground ivy for its earthy, sage-like aroma in things like sautéed mushrooms, or for its savoury mint notes in a wild “mint” sauce. I’ve seen others use ground ivy in sweet recipes and never quite got my head around it, until I had the idea to add some ground ivy leaves into these Tartine/Tom Hunt-inspired chocolate rye cookies. I thought that the savoury flavour would work well with the nuttiness I expected from the rye flour and that the result would be a more rounded, deepened rustic flavour, but in actual fact I get a real fresh mint hit when I eat these, and the rye lends more of a tang than a depth which makes sense now I think about it.
The cookie dough was much softer than I’m used to, and actually didn’t use a whole lot of rye flour, but I stuck with it and trusted the process given the rave reports of how good the Tartine cookie recipe is. I think the trick must be in the beating of the eggs for a decent amount of time, plus the cooling in the fridge to allow the dough to firm up a bit before portioning out onto the baking tray. In the end, these cookies turned out to be seriously good and I will definitely be making them again! The inside is perfectly soft and gooey, and the outside has a beautiful glossy crust that is the best blend of crisp and slightly chewy. Needless to say these cookies exceeded my expectations in every way possible!
Ground Ivy Chocolate Rye Cookies Recipe
Makes about 20 small cookies
- 250g dark chocolate (the darker the better!)
- 30g unsalted butter
- 2 large organic eggs
- 50g wholemeal rye flour or spelt
- 170g light muscovado sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Ground ivy leaves
- Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a bain marie over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove and set aside to cool for 10min.
- Mix the rye, baking powder, chopped ground ivy and salt and put to one side.
- With an electric whisk, combine the eggs and sugar in a large bowl for about 5 minutes. The mixture should have expanded in size and look like a pale mousse. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture along with the vanilla.
- Add the pre-mixed dry ingredients and chill covered in the fridge for 30min.
- Preheat the oven to 180c.
- Cover two large baking sheets with parchment. Place tablespoons of the mixture spaced two inches apart.
- Place in the oven for 10 minutes until risen and just starting to firm up at the edges. Allow to cool for fifteen minutes on the baking sheet to let them settle before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
As always, let me know if you try these by tagging me on Instagram @plotandlane – I always love seeing and sharing how you’re inspired by these recipes and getting to know you all!
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