Buckwheat cookies

Buckwheat cookies
It was hard to get the colours right in my digital photos. The real cookies are more of a dark grey than the warm hues in this picture.

After two rounds of buckwheat pancakes (here and here), it was time for something new to help me use up my just-expired bag of organic buckwheat flour.

I found this recipe in the New York Times by food writer, Melissa Clark. See her blog write-up which explains its Italian origins, and also The Wednesday Chef’s report of her go at the recipe.

My baking notes:

1) Replaced all-purpose flour with wholewheat flour.

2) Reduced sugar from 2/3 cup to 1/3 cup. Still too sweet – even my family thought so! Instead of experiencing the pure taste of the flours, the main thing that hits my taste buds is the sugar :(; distracts from the distinct buckwheat character, I think. I’m beginning to realise that a good rule of thumb when following sweet recipes is to reduce the sugar to 1/4 or 1/3 of the suggested amount.

3) Used demerara sugar, but I didn’t like the way the large grains remained distinct & crunchy inside the cookies.

4) Omitted salt. I find its taste in sweet recipes overpowering and distracting as I’m used to bland food.

5) It was hard to use the handheld mixer to incorporate the dry ingredients into the creamed butter, the mixture was extremely stiff. In the final result, the biscuits were of uneven texture; instead of being consistently sandy throughout, there were tiny clumps of dough. I suspect the mixing step might be the root of this issue.

6) I had dreams of gorgeous cookies coming out of my cookie press but this dough was simply too dry and too crumbly. I ended up using the same method as The Wednesday Chef and flattened balls of dough with a fork. I used a coffee powder measure from Daiso, which looks like a large melon-ball scoop, to measure out equal amounts of dough.

7) I wonder if my dough a tad too dry? I used the yolks of regular-sized eggs, which can be 10g less than large sized eggs. The end result was just fine though.

8) I only baked them for 15 mins initially but it was way too short a time. As the outsides were done but not the insides, I popped them back in the oven on a much lower temperature for approximately an additional 15 mins, which was a hassle because I had to keep checking them every 3-5 mins.

The final result was very satisfactory. I love the dense and sandy texture of these biscuits as they remind me so much of the shortcrust pastry biscuits I grew up on. Next time, I’ll cut back the sugar and try to mix the ingredients more evenly but without over-beating. Will also try to shape them into swirls using a piping bag as recommended in the original recipe.

P.S. Next time I might try Japanese buckwheat cookies instead, soba boro そばぼうろ – they use similar proportions of buckwheat and wheat flours, but no butter, only eggs. See recipes here and here.


One Response

  1. fantastic cookie recipe. I shall try this one soon.

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