Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies
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 shortly 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 and tweaking as needed 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 or just plain water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs (large)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (loose, not packed)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 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.
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. It may seem dry until the sugars liquify, after a few stirs.
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. Don’t worry: since there’s no gluten, you can’t over mix!
6. Chill for 10 minutes, then scoop into 55g portions with a cookie scoop (or scale it, or eyeball it to about 2-3 tbsp).
7. 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. The cookies will be too soft to pick up until they cool.
8. 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.