Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies and reflections on sweetness...

Ok, so I hear you all when you say grains are gross. I can't just eat them plain. I need something to have as a snack. But once whole grains are pulverized into a flour, you realize they are no longer whole grains, right? I know, I know, you need cookies. Chick pea brownies just aren't cutting it. Ok, so I found a recipe I don't feel entirely guilty about sharing with you all. You can find the original recipe at:

Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookie Recipe

1 1/4 cups (5.6 ounces) all-purpose flour (note: i really hesitate in recommending anything that has all-purpose can try soy or almond flour instead and see how it comes out)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) buckwheat flour
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I know a lot of butter, but trust me, butter is better than flour - also with this much butter you will feel satisfied eating only one cookie, which is the goal here)
2/3 cup sugar (you could also use agave, maple syrup, date sugar or succanat. If you must use real sugar - make sure its organic, pure sugar, not dominos)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cacao nibs (yum! can get at any health food store or whole foods)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Whisk the all-purpose and buckwheat flours together in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, with the back of a large spoon or with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar and salt for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy but not fluffy. Mix in the nibs and vanilla. Add the flours and mix just until incorporated. Scrape the dough into a mass and, if necessary, knead it with your hands a few times, just until smooth.

Form the dough into a 12 by 2 inch log. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or, preferably overnight. (hs note: At this point I formed the dough into two flat patties, knowing I wanted to roll it out and use cookie cutters to shape the cookies).

Position the tacks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper.

Use a sharp knife to cut the cole dough log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. (hs note: or roll out with a floured rolling pin and cut out shapes with cookie cutter.) Place the cookies at least 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

Bake until the cookie are just beginning to color at the edges, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking. Cool the cookies in the pans on a rack, or slide the parchment liners carefully onto the rack to free up the pans. Let cool completely. The cookies are delicious fresh but even better the next day. They can be stored in an airtight container for at least one month.

Makes forty-eight 2 1/2-inch cookies.

from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2007) - reprinted with permission.

Let me know how they come out and if you try the variations with the soy or almond flour. Please use all the butter! I hesitate to recommend these for vegans. I'd say you could possibly substitute coconut oil or coconut butter for the butter, but I am not sure how that would come out. I do not recommend any other oil or vegan butter because I am afraid that those substances have trans fats in them. Also refined oils (which are often rancid!) and polyunsaturated oils lead to many more problems such as free radical formation (which are known carcinogens). Why on earth would you want to introduce these particles into your body.

We have become a cookie culture. Although I provide you with this recipe today, I often wonder why we crave sweet things. What is missing from our lives that is sweet that we seek it in food. Are we lonely, do we not spend enough time with people or doing activity that provide us with sweetness. I leave you with this. Next time you want to reach for a cookie, close your eyes, take a deep breath and really think - why do I want this cookie? Think about someone or in some cases something you love or you associate with sweetness. Why do you not have enough of that person or that thing and why do you still have cravings for sweet foods that provide no real sustenance? If you must have something sweet - why not a beet salad, sweet potato, butternut squash soup, piece of real dark chocolate (but only one piece!) which you chew mindfully and slowly allow to melt and envelop your tongue with its sweetness. Sugar is not the answer. Find your sweetness elsewhere or try more natural methods. Enjoy your Thursday!

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