Chocolate Buckwheat Cocoa Nib Cookies

Quite some time ago I came across a recipe for buckwheat pancakes. I, of course; went out and bought the buckwheat flour to try it out. The pancakes were extremely good and have been my preferred recipe when I have a pancake and maple syrup craving! My dad with my mom on there last visit to Seattle.

I must admit that there was an underlining reason I was so happy that these pancakes were so good. This is because my father loves buckwheat pancakes. I envisioned that the next time they visited I will have them over for a buckwheat pancake brunch! Unfortunately, we have not had any brunch opportunities as of yet. But I am still waiting, and in the mean time I have this bag of buckwheat flour sitting there. Each and every time I open up the cabinet door it looks me in the eye and begs - “Please! Please! Make something with me!?!” I could hear it whisper - “I am good for so much more than just pancakes!”

Of course I started to look into many different types of recipes I could sub buckwheat flour into. Being the cookie monster I know I am it was only logical I start there. it was my thought that buckwheat’s earthy sweetness pairs perfectly with a deep chocolate flavor. A few recipes were tried before i realized how much I like this one: Chocolate Buckwheat Cocoa Nib Cookies. I made them and was smitten. Then I ate a few more the following day with a cup of tea; could it be they were even better? I did some research and discovered many others who tried cookie recipes said the same thing, the flavor of the buckwheat developed and mellowed out a bit the following day. The cookie became more crisp, deeper in chocolate flavor, and the earthiness of the buckwheat made the cookie overall less sweet and more satisfying.

Cookies cooling from the oven.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. My father’s birthday was approaching and I asked him if there was anything he wanted. He responded with: cookies! When I asked what kind he said, "Any cookies you make, like the ones you use to make." I was a bit baffled being I do and have made many, many cookies over time; but I knew any cookies I would make would be good in his opinion. (If there is anything my father and I share it would be our Cookie Monster tendencies.

So I whipped up a couple different kinds, along with the the Chocolate Buckwheat Cocoa Nib Cookies. I may not be able to have a pancake brunch yet with them being we are thousands of miles apart. But cookies... cookies always ship quite well, that is what my dad and I think at least. Great minds think alike…cookies and all. (Happy Birthday Dad! I hope you are enjoying your cookies.)

Chocolate Buckwheat Cocoa Nib Cookies...crispy and yummy!

Chocolate Buckwheat Cocoa Nib Cookies (makes about 40 - 45 cookies)

1 1/4 cup of flour

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

10 oz butter (at room temp)

1/2 tsp of sea salt

2/3 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup roasted cocoa nibs

Sea salt for Sprinkling (flaked sea salt is great for this, it is also a great time to try out flavored salts. I used an espresso salt, but plain old sea salt is just as good.)

First, whisk together both the flours, sea salt, and the cocoa powder. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Next, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment place your butter and your sugar. Mix it together until it is light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and mix it well. Once it is all combined well, slowly add the flour mixture. Mix it until it is combined and formed into one even dough.

Then, mix in the cocoa nibs and generously flour a smooth surface to roll out your dough. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin (generously flouring the dough too) until it is about 1/4 inch thick. *See note at bottom. Cut into desired shapes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Chill until firm.

Finally, once the dough is firm sprinkle the top of each cookie generously with the extra sugar. Pinch a bit of the extra sea salt in the center of each cookie dough. Place the baking shtiks in the oven for 10 - 14 minutes until they are set, but with a little give. Let them cool on a rack and wrap tightly in plastic until ready to eat. They are best if eaten within a week.

**NOTE: I find when rolling out any dough it is always best to roll the rolling pin in one direction only. rotate the dough 45 degrees and roll again. I keep repeating this process until I get the thickness needed in the dough, and flour it as needed. You will find that by doing this the dough sticks less to your work surface, and you end up with a more evenly rolled out dough.

Banana Buckwheat Muffins with Pecans

Our dog Latte woke me up early last Sunday. Her ear was itchy and it needed to be cleaned. She decided to let me know by pacing, panting, continually scratch, and shake her hear right next to my pillow. So I dragged my but out of bed, cleaned her ear while still half a sleep, and instead of going back to bed I camped out on the couch with her and turned on the TV. To my surprise a Mad Men marathon was on AMC. It no longer bothered me that I was up so early on a day off. Now I was a very happy girl; I sat in my PJ’s with Latte and indulged in one of the greatest time period television series ever. I have written on here before about my love for the show and making a “1960’s themed” dinner to celebrate the show with. Why do I love the show you might ask? There are so many reasons. It could be that it is simply beautifully written. It takes you back in time without really feeling “fictional” and it make you love such a flawed character like Don, the leading man. That is when you know there is good writing involved. I have not loved a character or writing like this since the Sopranos or Breaking Bad.

Mad Men, Muffins, and tea...a great Sunday morning.

While indulging myself in some Mad Men marathon time, my stomach started to growl. By now, I had walked the dogs during a commercial break and Brian was awake and zoned in on the marathon as well. I asked him what he would like to eat: waffles, pancakes, muffins? Brian’s response: Muffins!?! This was the perfect opportunity for some banana muffins made with buckwheat flour. I whipped up the muffins as fast as I could…I did not want to miss a moment of the marathon.

Muffins cooling, fresh out of the oven.

While the muffins were baking I heated our tea kettle, muffins and tea are perfect for a lazy Sunday morning. The apartment smelled wonderful as they baked and even more enticing as they cooled. As the series marathon was on its last episode of the morning we watched and nibbled on our warm moist muffins. We sipped our tea and basked in how good a lazy Sunday can be. Im so happy my Latte woke me up. If she didn’t I might have missed out on my Mad Men fix and not have had muffins!

Banana Buckwheat Muffin with Pecans - ready to be devoured.

Banana Buckwheat Muffins with Pecans (makes 16 muffins)

1 cup Buckwheat flour

1 cup AP flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 oz butter, melted

1 egg

1 cup of milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large bananas, very ripe & mashed

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

1 tbsp sugar (optional)

cupcake wrappers

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line your cupcake pan with your cupcake wrappers. In a bowl whisk together both your sugars, melted butter, egg, and vanilla until smooth.

Next, in a separate bowl add your flours, baking powder, and sea salt. Stir it all together. Gently mix the four into your sugar mixture. mix it all until well combined.

Then, fold in your banana and pecans. Once it is all well combined you can fill your cupcake wrappers up to 3/4 full. If you like you can sprinkle the top the the muffins with the reserved tablespoon of sugar.

Finally, place the muffins in the oven and bake about 18 - 25 minutes. You are looking for the muffin tops to be firm yet springy when tapped. Let them cool about 10 minuted before serving and enjoying. Will keep for up to four days at room temperature wrapped in plastic.