Saturday, May 30, 2020
Salted Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Bon Appétit recently published a sort of guide to better baking, and without trying to pick up new techniques or anything, I looked through it for recipes. I first tried these tahini billionaire bars because I thought they would be less sweet than the original millionaire bars, but they were still way too sweet for me and not enjoyable at all. I also tried their chocolate-almond fridge fudge (perhaps it wasn’t from the same issue), which was definitely not too sweet and was even borderline healthy. It’s made with almond butter, maple syrup, and half an avocado along with the chocolate. I would have preferred it without the almonds on top, actually, but I wasn’t keen enough on it to make it again (FWIW, the kids liked it well enough, and it was the Engineer who decided to not even bother having any).
There were also these salted buckwheat chocolate chunk cookies. I didn’t expect them to be better than the famous 36-hour cookies, but I decided to try them anyway. I used light buckwheat flour from Bouchard Family Farms, and while I’m not going to make you buy that specific brand, I would strongly recommend that you stick to light buckwheat flour for this recipe. The original recipe said to bake the cookies 5 at a time, meaning 1 in each corner of the baking pan and 1 in the middle. Mine were ever-so-slightly smaller than recommended (I got 22 instead of 16 to 18) and I could easily fit 6 on a 12”x17” sheet.
These cookies were indeed very good, but I think the technique that I might keep from this recipe is to put a few chocolate chips (or chunks) right on top of each ball of cookie dough before it’s baked, because it does make for a more visually appealing cookie!
Also, pro tip: Even though Green Valley Organics is not currently making its lactose-free butter, there is still some to be found on the market, even though it’s not specifically marked as such. You have to make sure the nutrition label says “0 g sugar” (NOT “<1 g sugar”, that’s still too much lactose for many of us). You’ll have better luck with cultured butter – I’ve used some from Vermont Creamery and Vital Farms.
½ cup (1 stick) lactose-free butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (63 g.) light buckwheat flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 ¼ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate bars or wafers (disks, pistoles, fèves, etc.)
2/3 cup (133 g) light brown sugar
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Heat butter in a small saucepan over the lowest heat possible until melted (you don’t want it to sputter or brown), about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Coarsely chop bittersweet chocolate bars, if using, or take out your chocolate wafers. Set a handful aside in a small bowl.
Scrape butter in a large bowl and add light brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk vigorously until butter has been absorbed into the sugar and no big lumps remain, about 30 seconds. (I think I used the stand mixer for this, but you can absolutely do it by hand.)
Add egg and egg yolks, one at a time, whisking until fully combined after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. At this point, your mixture should look much lighter in color and be smooth, almost creamy.
Add dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stir until just incorporated and almost no dry streaks remain. Add chopped chocolate (but not the chocolate you reserved in the small bowl) to the batter. Gently mix just to distribute. Cover bowl with an airtight bowl cover, a kitchen towel, or plastic wrap and chill 2 hours. (If you’re crunched for time, 1 hour will do, but cookies will be best after 2.)
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 375 °F. Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop out scant 2-Tbsp. portions of dough (or, if you have a scoop, this is a leveled-off #30 or a heaping #40) until you have 10 portions divided between 2 parchment-lined baking sheets (you want five per sheet—these will spread a bit!). Roll portions into balls and gently press a piece or 2 of reserved chocolate into each one. It’s okay to cram the chocolate on there—some pieces can even be vertical. Cover and chill any remaining dough (I personally find it useful to shape all the cookies before putting things away – they keep just as well covered in the fridge, and then you can do dishes).
Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until edges are golden brown and centers are puffed, 8–10 minutes. (Pull at 8 if you like your cookies softer and want to guarantee they’re still soft the next day!)
Working one at a time, pull baking sheets out of the oven and tap lightly on the stovetop to deflate cookies. Sprinkle with salt (I used Maldon salt flakes; the recipe says that Diamond Crystal kosher salt is fine, but Morton kosher salt flakes are too large so if that’s all you have, skip it). Let cookies cool on baking sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Let baking sheets cool. Repeat process with remaining dough, dividing evenly between baking sheets, to make 6–8 more cookies (I got a total of 22 cookies, and I put 6 on a sheet without a problem.)