20150208_Buckwheat_Cookies-3

Despite the fact that this has evolved into what I describe as a mainly gluten free baking blog, I don’t have particularly strong feelings either way towards gluten.

I grew up in a household where eating gluten-free was second nature. My dad was diagnosed as a coeliac on the day that I turned two – those were the days when you got a plastic loaf of bread on prescription and that was about it.  Our meals gravitated towards the kind of foods that were naturally gluten free, based on vegetables and salads and whole grains like rice and corn, and they’re still the choices that I tend to make.

I’ve had periods where I’ve eaten almost entirely gluten free, mainly to see if it had any health benefits. I’m still not convinced that it actually makes any difference to me but still, I’d guess that our diet these days is about 95% gluten free.

There are a couple of main reasons for this. For a start, nearly everything that I cook at home is gluten free, partly by accident because it’s the food I like to eat but also by design. It makes me feel more confident about cooking for my family if I know that there are unlikely to be crumbs or traces of gluten anywhere (or that I haven’t accidentally reached for the plain flour instead of the gluten free flour which always used to be my greatest, if slightly irrational, fear when I kept plain flour in my cupboards).

But what I really liked about the challenge of eating gluten free was the way that it forced an element of variety into my diet.  As much as I like to try and make sure that I eat a balanced range of foods, it’s all too easy to get to the end of the day and realise that every meal has been constructed around wheat – a piece of toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a bowl of pasta for dinner. But now, whilst there is still be a small of regular wheat in our diets (almost always in the form of pizza), our weeks are more likely to be filled with millet and buckwheat and quinoa and, if I’m being honest, way more vegetables than there used to be.  And that can only be a good thing.

If you feel better because you’ve cut gluten (or dairy or whatever) out of your life for whatever reason then I think that’s great!  I know a lot of people for whom it has had a real and lasting benefit. If you’re a coeliac or intolerant to gluten, then I know what a pain (in all senses of the word) it can be, particularly when you’re eating out or trying to navigate through a sea of hidden wheat. If you can’t imagine a life without regular flour, then that’s okay too.  I’ve never felt that it’s really my place to mandate a particular way of eating – what works for one person almost certainly won’t work for everyone – and, frankly, I think that we’re all adult enough to make our own decisions (and let’s not judge anyone else for theirs).

The truth is, I’ve grown to love gluten free baking far more than I ever loved regular baking. It’s not always easy but the process can be so much more rewarding. Most importantly though, I really do prefer the taste and texture of gluten free baked goods. Why would I want to throw a cup of flour into a pan of brownies when ground almonds will give me a far richer and fudgier result? Plain waffles and pancakes now taste so boring compared to the heartiness that you get from buckwheat flour.  A combination of rice flour and cornstarch gives such a soft and light crumb to a cake.

20150208_Buckwheat_Cookies

And then there are these –  my absolute favourite cookies in the world. I’ve baked a lot of cookies in my life, the vast majority made made with regular old flour, and none of them are a patch on these.

They’re what I bake whenever I really want a cookie. I make them whenever my boyfriend has had a bad day – they’re his favourite too and he has zero interest in what type of flour I’m using. When I make them, I’m not allowed to take any into the office; we have to keep the whole batch for ourselves. I made them on the day before we met the priest to see if he would agree to marry us because it was the only way I could distract myself from getting nervous. I’m pretty sure there will be lots of them between now and the end of October.

They’re perfectly good (better than good really) if you make them with plain flour but then they’re just a cookie, like thousands of others. When they’re made with buckwheat flour, they’re so much more than that. The flavour is deeper and more assertive. The texture has the perfect (for me) balance between crisp and soft; something I’ve never been able to get with wheat flour.  The nutritional benefits of buckwheat flour are well documented and I do like knowing that I’m getting some minerals and antioxidants that I might otherwise be missing out on but most of the time, I just really want a cookie.

20150208_Buckwheat_Cookies-4

Plus, they’re pretty perfect for making ice cream sandwiches.

triple chocolate buckwheat cookies {gluten free}

Yield: 20 cookies

You can put anything in these cookies really - dried cranberries are particularly good (although not if you're going to make them into ice cream sandwiches). The dough freezes well too and I usually only bake half of it at a time. If you're cooking from the freezer, just add another couple of minutes to the cooking time.

Ingredients

  • 125g (4.5 oz) dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
  • 125g (1 cup) buckwheat flour
  • 25g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 60g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) demerara sugar for preference but granulated sugar also works
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 100g (4 oz) white chocolate, chopped
  • Any other add-ins you like e.g. chopped nuts, seeds, dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Carefully melt the chocolate in a small pan over a low heat (you could use a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water but I rarely bother - so long as you keep an eye on it and keep the temperature low, you should be fine over a direct heat). Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, and the vanilla, followed by the melted chocolate. Finally, fold through the dry ingredients and chopped chocolate (and anything else you want to throw in!). Chill the mix for a couple of hours or so.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line a baking tray with non-stick paper. Put heaped tablespoons of mixture on the tray, leaving a little room between each one (I usually get 6 to a tray) and bake for 10 - 12 minutes until set round the edges. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Notes

There are lots of similar recipes out there. I think this originally came from a book called 'Chocolate Magic' by Kate Shirazi but I've played around a little with it over the years.

http://londonbakes.com/2015/02/triple-chocolate-buckwheat-cookies-gluten-free.html
 
43 Responses to "triple chocolate buckwheat cookies {gluten free}"
  1. These cookies are absolutely perfect! I am a huge fan of buckwheat in all its forms – grouts or flour, toasted or natural, I could eat it all day. And I love your mediations on the taste benefits of GF; I find that’s a subject that’s rarely discussed, as though GF baking is actually something gross that we have to sell to people for its health benefits, and not for its nuanced taste and texture. So thanks for this!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Ksenia, I’m (clearly) a big fan of buckwheat too and I love when people also appreciate it for what it is ps I hope you’re feeling better today!

  2. Lindsey says:

    the chocolate and buckwheat combo will forever be a favorite of mine! these cookies look absolutely delicious, i’m sure your father is quite happy that he has such a talented daughter to make him treats he can eat! what a lucky guy! and i am totally with you on the rewards of gluten-free baking. it may take more time to develop a recipe, but it’s always worth it :)

    • kathryn says:

      Chocolate + buckwheat is so good isn’t it? The richness + nuttiness is a perfect combo (especially when you throw some EVOO in there too…)

  3. I have so much learning to do when it comes to baking gluten free. Thank goodness for you and your mastery. :-)

    • kathryn says:

      You’re too kind Lindsey – the thing I love about gluten free baking (and baking general) is that the only way to learn is to do it more + more!

  4. Ah, I love this post! I eat gluten and have never consciously cut it out of my diet – we love pizza, pasta (often wholemeal), barley risottos, I make sourdough bread at least once a month and I often use it in baked goods whether it’s spelt, wholemeal or regular white flour. But i do love experimenting with other flours and grains too and buckwheat is a favourite. Buckwheat crepes are my current addiction but I think if I make these cookies they may surpass it (who am I kidding, they definitely will, cookies win over crepes any day) x

  5. Mihl says:

    I really get where you are coming from and there is so much truth behind it. I feel the same about vegan eating. It also forces me to eat a more variet diet, to be more creative and I amso think it is very rewarding. Your cookies look excellent!

  6. i agree with so many things you talk about in this post. My mother is a holistic nutritionist so I grew up eating healthy food and mostly gluten free food. However I still ate too much gluten because I was always tired. When I became more restrictive with my intake of gluten three years ago I started feeling better. But I can still enjoy a cinnamon roll now and then without feeling too bad. Gluten free baking is so much more fun than regular baking because I can pair fluors with fruits and spices to create something that can be even better than the wheat original. I’m looking forward to seeing more recipes from you for many years to come! :)

  7. Katie says:

    Love these words, Kathryn! You know I’m not one for labels and I’m definitely down on judgement. Just do what works for you and makes you feel best as a person! I’ve tried eating gluten free before and I feel terribly, so don’t aim for that as a lifestyle (and I always aim for lots and lots of veg!). Love these cookies, and I think buckwheat and chocolate goes together so beautifully. Definitely giving these a try!

  8. I love gluten and eat it all the time, but definitely don’t shy away from recipes labelled “gluten free”! They are the perfect excuse to try fun, tasty and new ingredients – and that’s why I always pop over here to see what you’ve got for us :) These cookies look lovely! I just bought some buckwheat recently without a recipe in mind, so I’d love to give these a try!

    Happy Valentine’s Day this weekend! xx

  9. alexandra says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey of where your habits + gut instinct in the kitchen have grown from. I’m similar to you – I feel as though I digest + process gluten-free much better than if I eat wheat and wheat products, but I’m by no means allergic or intolerant. My cooking and favorite things to eat have evolved to be naturally gluten-free because whole (non-wheat) grains and vegetables and fruits are what taste best to me! xo

  10. It’s funny how the way we ate as children end up influencing our choices as adults, whether consciously or subconsciously. Having an Asian mother meant a pretty healthy childhood diet of steamed vegetables, some sort of lean protein and a serving of rice every day for dinner. And now, as a grownup, those are the sorts of meals I like to cook for myself because they are familiar and comforting.

    These cookies sound absolutely delicious — I think I’ve commented this on your blog before, but baking with buckwheat is one of my favorite things to do (despite its absence from a lot of the recipes on my blog, which I really need to change), especially when combined with chocolate. Can’t wait to give this recipe a try!

  11. yes! i think with gluten-free diets becoming so mainstream, thoughtful bakers like you really have an opportunity to introduce alternative grains as just that — alternatives, equals, different options among a sea of many — and not these icky lesser beings. hearing “the flavors of chocolate and buckwheat are so perfectly suited” is certainly more inviting than “i used buckwheat because i’m gluten-free and wheat is bad”, after all. rock on, kathryn. i really appreciate what you do! and p.s. these cookies sound amazing!

  12. Ella says:

    A wonderfully insightful post. I had always presumed that the gluten-free element of the blog was due to health reasons, but it is so interesting to hear the whole back story behind why most of your baking is in fact, without wheat flour. It sounds like it has led to many fruitful discoveries as well as making baking more fun and inventive, can’t wait to try baking with buckwheat flour!

  13. Dani says:

    I just pulled a batch of these out of the oven. They smell and look amazing but mine didn’t get that flat chewy look that yours have. I followed the recipe exactly. Any ideas what may have caused mine to be more bumpy and fluffy?

    • kathryn says:

      Hi Dani, thanks for your comment and for trying the recipe so quickly! As to why cookies puff up, sometimes it’s because the butter and sugar have been creamed a lot so it becomes more cake-like; this often happens if you use electric beaters (I just use a wooden spoon). I’ve also found that the type of metal that your baking tray is made of and the paper/silicone that you use to line it. I’ve baked the same batch of cookie dough on two different sheets and have come up with completely different results, particularly in how they spread/rise. Sometimes if I do pull a batch of cookies out of the oven and they look a bit puffy, I do sometimes pat them down a little with my hands or the back of a wooden spoon to ‘deflate’ them a little! I hope that helps and your cookies still taste good even if they look a little bit different : )

  14. Amanda Paa says:

    wow, i didn’t know about your father & celiac. everything you said in this post is spot on. when i figured out my gluten intolerance five years ago, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. not because i became “healthier” or shunned wheat, which i don’t and am happy that others can eat it, but it opened my eyes to the world of real food. as a family we never ate poorly, but we also didn’t always have balance. a vegetarian meal just wasn’t a thing at our house. and like much of the cooking of the 80’s and 90’s shortcuts with packaged/processed foods were used. and not that that is always bad either – it allowed for us to eat every single meal as a family even though we led a very busy life.

    but i don’t miss gluten one bit. i love the different nuances that different varieties of flour give to baked goods, their versatility in both sweet or savory cooking and the fact that their is a bit of challenge that comes with it. and like you said, all-purpose bleach flour has little to shine on.

    and since you said these cookies are your absolute favorite, i must make them. chocolate FTW. xo

  15. You know what kathryn, I’ve never baked with buckwheat flour before, but I think I might try it one day thanks to your delicious cookie pictures! And i love that you shared your favorite cookie in the world recipe. I haven’t found a cookie recipe that I can say is truly my favorite, I think i require a lot more years of baking to be able to say that.

    Anyway, back to these cookies…Now that my boyfriend has been diagnosed as coeliac, I think we might be making plenty of these.. I just need to go to Chinatown in Buenos Aires and find buckwheat, which isn’t at all common in Argentina

  16. Isn’t is awesome when something motivates you to be more creative? Especially when it comes to the foods we eat. It’s so easy to get into a rut, and I agree with your view on the taste of bakes goods using all purpose flour. They now all taste the same to me and are so bland compared to the gluten free versions! Not to mention I don’t get that “hollow” feeling after consuming a gluten free baked good. Although I do use spelt on occasion, wheat and I don’t get along tummy-wise. I’ll have to give these buckwheat puppies a try! They look so fudgy-good. Hope you get a night in this weekend with these guys and some Die Hard ;)

  17. cynthia says:

    Kathryn, I am so in love with this post. I loved reading more of why you bake gluten-free and the backdrop to how you eat what you do — food histories are so fascinating and it’s so lovely to hear how our families, loved ones, etc. inform how we’ve come to view eating. And I love that you celebrate and enjoy baking gluten-free!! It’s how I stumbled upon your GF brownies, after all :):) aka the only brownies I ever make! These cookies promise to be just as delicious — I need to try them ASAP when I get my hands on some buckwheat. Thank you so much for sharing this lovely post!

  18. I love hearing more about why you bake gluten-free, Kathryn. You’re so right – using plain old flour just doesn’t even sound good anymore when you know what kind of flavors you can evoke from combining different gf flours. It always feels to me like the possibilities are endless with new tastes and textures this way. Your cookies sound insanely good (buckwheat and chocolate!!). There will be some in my kitchen before this long weekend is out!

  19. Abby says:

    This post is so, so lovely, Kathryn. I don’t eat gluten free myself, and no one in my family has to for health reasons, but lately I’ve been intrigued by the gluten-free hype. Though I don’t think I’ll ever go 100% gluten free, your blog has inspired me to try recipes & ingredients I wouldn’t normally. Now… ground almonds instead of flour in brownies? I must give that a try!

  20. Kris says:

    I can’t wait to try these! Your favourite cookies?! They must be good because you make so many amazing things!

  21. Natasha says:

    I am a huge fan of buckwheat, as well as rye, oat, millet, etc. I just tend to gravitate toward gluten-free flours, not necessarily because they’re gluten-free, rather just because I like the flavor, texture, and nutrition they provide. So I totally get this. I will definitely be giving these cookies a try soon!

  22. Valerie says:

    Even though my body is perfectly happy with regular flour, I find gluten-free baked goods make Me even happier. There’s an added level of depth & texture to gf sweets; they’re downright irresistible! Silly…I used to believe gluten-free = less calories. :D

    These cookies look amazing!! Buckwheat flour is lush (and fun to say!).

  23. Joanne says:

    Even though I don’t bake gluten-free much, I love seeing all the things you make that are! They always look so decadent and delicious, but simultaneously wholesome. These cookies, for instance, look incredibly fudgy but it’s great to know they’re made from a whole grain!

  24. Elizabeth says:

    These cookies sound wonderful! And I love your thoughts on taste and texture in gluten-free cooking. Alternative flours do have so much more *presence* in baked goods.

  25. Skye says:

    I love the flavour of buckwheat, but have never tried using buckwheat flour for cookies! Must give these a try…they sound too good! Xx

  26. Teffy says:

    Those look insanely delicious!!

    I’ve been having such huge cravings for cookies, they’re my favourite thing ever! Love how you’ve used buckwheat on these, it’s one of my favourite flours and I’ve got some in my pantry, so this can happen soon!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  27. Buckwheat is my favorite. Chocolate is my favorite. Therefor, these cookies will be my favorite!
    I so agree with you about preferring the taste of gluten free baking to baking with gluten. I think the quality is better, the texture is much more interesting, the flavor is more honest, and as it is more challenging, I find it much more fun.

  28. My. Goodness. These look gorgeous and delicious. Have a hard enough time ignoring a good cookie recipe and now you went and put ice cream in it…face palm. Must make this one. Thank you for posting :-)

  29. These cookies look so divine! I love how dark the chocolate is and it looks super chewy and soft.

  30. Leo Sigh says:

    Like you, I couldn’t care less about gluten :) but these do look fabulous. Must give them a try as they look so decadent.

  31. Fiver Feeds says:

    No better cookies than the chocolate ones

  32. Elisabeth says:

    I’ve never really been that into the whole gluten free thing – I found it silly and unnecessary. But after reading your arguments I must admit that I am very intrigued. I haven’t really considered the benefit of avoiding regular flour – all of the new and exciting things that you get to put into your food, all of the nutrients that you otherwise wouldn’t get as many of. And any excuse for using ground almonds is a winner! I will definitely try thinking more out of the box and start picking up the more exotic flours (such as rice flour, which I have never even tried!).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *