alexander roberts

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Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies

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When I was in high school, I worked in one of those Mrs. Fields’ type cookie stores in my local mall. I had gone there since I was a child; my grandmother worked at JC Penney’s and I would visit her, and my visits always included a walk through the mall to get my favorite M&M covered cookie.  I worked at the cookie store for 2 years, scooping and baking cookies, ringing up customers, and filling soda cups. I didn’t know it yet, but it was prepping me for my career as a baker. I still think fondly of waking up for the morning shift at the cookie store. I’m also pretty much always the fastest cookie scooper at any job. I can still smell the cookies! And on an almost daily basis, I am blasted with that all-too-familiar gust of hot air upon opening the oven door. 

For much of my professional baking career I’ve overlooked cookies. Yeah, I love them, but they aren’t as “fun” as macarons, croissants, and other pastries, so I’ve mostly left them in the past. Lately, though, I’ve been experiencing a personal cookie renaissance. It started with Dorie Greenspan’s cookie book (which is seriously phenomenal, a bible of sorts) and has continued with one of the latest issues of America’s Test Kitchen and a recently-acquired copy of Fanny Farmer’s Baking Book. At this point I’d like to issue a personal apology to cookies. I never meant to neglect you... I was just preoccupied with other things. You may not be the most technically challenging or interesting baked goods, but you are important and loved and special. There’s a cookie for everyone. 

Anyways... Last weekend I was stuck at home sick, so I set out to bake a dang good cookie because I couldn’t do much else. I skimmed over my stocked pantry and thought of the possibilities. An “everything” cookie? Oatmeal? Classic chocolate chip? Linzer? After a bit of brainstorming I decided to try to get rid of my very full bag of buckwheat flour and settled on making a buckwheat cookie (gluten free, but not flavor free!). I knew I wanted some chocolate in there, so I peeped at some of Fanny Farmer’s chocolate cookie recipes. I took the framework for one and changed most of the ingredients to create my perfect cookie. That means: more chocolate (duh), cold brew (which also helps make them spread),  and fully nixing all purpose flour (because I’ve got plenty of buckwheat). I changed the method, too, from creaming to melting butter, which creates a chewier cookie and eliminates that annoying creaming step. If I’m making a simple cookie, I do not want to take out a mixer. 

A few notes on cookie baking: Every variable in cookie baking matters. Your dough temperature, oven temperature, and even what you bake it on can affect the final cookie. I baked the dough immediately after making it on parchment paper (a silicon mat will produce a softer cookie, but it cracks less) in a 350° oven for 10-11 minutes. If your oven runs hot, you may need to set the temp lower or bake for less time. I recommend baking a test batch of 2-3 cookies to make sure they come out the way you prefer. 

Makes about 16 gluten-free cookies  

1 stick butter, unsalted
6oz semisweet chocolate chips*
2 tablespoons cold brew or strong coffee 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 eggs 
1/2 cup white sugar 
1/2 cup brown sugar (loose, not packed) 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
For dipping: 1 cup raw sugar, or a similar chunky sugar 

 *I recommend semisweet chocolate so the cookie isn’t too sweet, but you can substitute other types of chocolate — just know it will be different. 

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1. Preheat your oven to 350° and line a big cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

2. In a small pot, melt butter until it is bubbling and just beginning to brown. Pour it over the chocolate chunks in a large bowl and allow to sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth and melted. 

3. Whisk in the coffee and the vanilla extract, then add the eggs one at a time and mix completely. 

4. Add both sugars and the salt and mix until combined.  

5. With a spatula, fold the buckwheat flour and baking soda into the chocolate mixture until no flour streaks remain and a dough is formed. Immediately scoop into 55g portions with a cookie scoop (or scale it, or eyeball it to about 2-3 tbsp). 

6. Dip the cookies in raw sugar, coating their tops completely, and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and — being careful not to burn yourself — smack the pan on the counter a couple times. Return the pan to the oven for 5-7 more minutes. 

7. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on their tray. Enjoy with milk or coffee! 
These will keep in a container for 3 days and get softer every day. 

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Alexander Roberts