Should You Really Try Putting Feta In Your Chocolate Cookies?

Sweet and salty foods are naturally compatible, and anyone who's had chocolate-covered pretzels has experienced the taste phenomenon firsthand. Though pretzels do contribute a satisfying crunch, the main reason chocolate-covered pretzels taste so good has to do with the way salt and chocolate interact. When the two are combined, the salt activates receptors on the tongue and in the intestines that amplify the sweetness in the chocolate, enhancing our perception of the flavor.

Salt's effect on chocolate isn't just limited to chocolate-covered pretzels though. It also works with chocolate cookies. People have been known to use potato chips as a chocolate chip cookie mix-in, and it's even more common to use salted butter in the dough or sprinkle some sea salt on top. TikTok creator Carolina Gelen claims that feta cheese is also a delicious addition to chocolate cookies. But is the cheese actually worth adding, or should you stick to other sources of salt?

What happens when you combine cheese and chocolate?

The thought of cheese and chocolate in the same bite might make your stomach turn at first, but it isn't as odd as you'd think. In Colombia, for example, people put cheese in their hot chocolate to make chocolate santafere├▒o. Dipping parmesan cheese in chocolate fondue isn't unheard of either, and apparently Twix and gouda make for a tasty pairing, too. Adding feta cheese to chocolate cookies follows the same idea.

In her TikTok, Carolina Gelen makes cookie dough using melted dark chocolate and brown butter, but then instead of mixing in chocolate chips, she folds in an entire block of crumbled feta cheese. Though the result looks similar to double chocolate chip cookies with white chocolate chips, the taste, unsurprisingly, is a lot different. Gelen was right when she said it created a salty and sweet flavor, but the truth is it doesn't work quite as well as other salt and chocolate combos.

Why feta isn't the best choice for chocolate cookies

There's no denying that both cheese and chocolate, as well as salt and chocolate, go well together, so you might assume the same could be said for feta and chocolate. In reality, the texture and taste of feta changes too much when baked. Instead of staying salty and sharp, baking brings out feta's sweet and citrusy notes. It also becomes almost gritty when it melts. Melted chocolate might be a favorable texture in cookies, but melted feta, not so much.

If you use dark chocolate like Carolina Gelen does, it's likely that you won't even taste the feta, either. Since feta loses its intensity when baked, the flavor gets easily overpowered by the strong dark chocolate. And while you could swap the dark for milk chocolate, it won't change anything about the texture. Even if you look past the graininess, the softness of the melted cheese blends into the softness of the cookie. Most cookie mix-ins are designed to bring contrasting textures and flavors, and unfortunately feta doesn't accomplish that as effectively as others. We'll stick with a sprinkling of sea salt instead.