Many of the ladies in my church made cookies this weekend for a wedding reception. We all baked pretty, delicate cookies, and these were my contribution. This past year these buckwheat shortbread cookies have become my go-to cookie because they’re easy to make, and please crowds with their crisp richness and complex buckwheat flavor.
The cookie recipe comes from Alice Medrich’s book Pure Dessert, but this year I have experimented with different additions to chop and stir into the dough. Alice uses cacao nibs, which are wonderful, but the peeling process is exhausting. Sometimes I shave dark chocolate with a cleaver. This weekend I made these with roasted almonds. Feel free to experiment with various nuts and forms of chocolate.
These cookies are easy to make because they’re essentially “refrigerator cookies.” This means you form the dough into logs, which you chill in the fridge and slice with a sharp knife. So simple. Miss Heidi’s version at “101 cookbooks” is a frilly cookie because she rolls out her dough and uses cookie cutters. I tried her method, but found the dough to be fragile and better suited for slicing in the chilled log form.
Of all of the “alternative flours,” buckwheat flour is relatively easy to find. This flour smells good, and is a pretty shade of grey (but don’t worry, there is enough standard flour in the dough so the cookies won’t be grey).
BUCKWHEAT SHORTBREAD COOKIE RECIPE
1 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
3/4 Cup buckwheat flour
1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks), softened
2/3 Cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 – 1/2 Cup cacao nibs, shaved dark chocolate, or roasted almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
If you are toasting almonds, do that first. Bake them in a 300-325F oven until they are richly fragrant. Let them cool before using, so that they don’t warm the dough. When cool, chop them with a big knife.
Whisk or sift the flours in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and salt with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, but not fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in almonds or your form of chocolate, as well as the vanilla. Add flours and mix until just incorporated. Kneed lightly with your hands to incorporate everything if needed.
Form dough into 12″ x 2″ logs and wrap in cellophane. Refrigerate the logs at least 2 hours, or preferable overnight.
Heat the oven to 350F and arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. You will be using both racks at the same time. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper (to prevent sticking).
With a sharp knife, thinly slice the logs of dough about 1/4″ inch thick. Arrange on the parchment-lined pans. Bake both pans simultaneously on the two oven racks. Bake 11-14 minutes, until the edges are just starting to color. Rotate the pans (top to bottom and front to back) halfway through baking. Cool on a rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Makes 40-48 cookies, depending on how you slice it. Enjoy these with your friends over a cup of tea.