Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hey, Look, a Cookie!

Buckwheat shortbread.  This unassuming little cookie has become my favorite over the years.  Nothing tricksy about it, just flours, sugar, butter, a little baking powder and salt.  Extremely forgiving.  The first time I made these I misunderstood Mary's cryptic jottings on the recipe (she's our home's main sweets baker), and combined the ingredients in totally the wrong order.  They still came out great.  Sablé means sandy in French, an apt description of the slightly gritty quality the buckwheat flour lends.  These are rustic and somehow elegant at the same time, distinctive, but comfortingly familiar.

Buckwheat Sablés
makes about 6 dozen

8 ounces butter (2 sticks)
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks

Preheat oven to 325. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, mixing with your hands to incorporate. Form a well in the center and add the egg yolks, then mix them in with a fork until the texture is uniform, a bit like wet sand. Test the dough to see if it will come together by squeezing a little ball in your hand. If it's crumbly, mix in cold water a tablespoon at a time until it coheres.

Two ways to proceed from here: Roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick and cut out small fluted cookies (or another shape you like).  Or divide the dough into four pieces and roll each into a log about one inch in diameter. Wrap these in plastic and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. When the dough is cold, slice off 1/3-inch pieces.

In either case: Place the dough on non-stick or parchment-lined cookie sheets, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly brown--the color or the buckwheat make it a little tough to tell, but they shouldn't need more than 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for two or three minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling. These keep quite well in a close container.

p.s.~ I switched to the new blog editor, which seems to have solved the line break problem I was having--but I wonder why I can't seem to be able to add more than one photo at a time to the blog...?

Text and photos copyright 2011 by Brett Laidlaw


el said...

Great watercress!!

Sorry but I have no idea how to fix your blahger problems. Doesn't it have a superhelp function??

those cookies look great and I am so not a cookie person.

Trout Caviar said...

Hey El: That cress shot was taken a couple of years ago, but I was able to harvest some, from a bed not quite so abundant, yesterday. Made a cress-ramp pesto that we smeared on little trout (bought) and then broiled. Lovely nettle tips steamed on top of pilaf rounded it out.

Blogger doesn't seem to offer much help. Many people complain of this, but I didn't see any solution offered.

Re cookies, I agree, can't remember the last time a batch of tollhouse came out of the oven here. The sablés dissolve on the tongue, and taste quite grown-up.


angie said...

Hi Brett,

I have a cornmeal cookie recipe that is similar - I love the gritty texture.

Although I confess, we are cookie folks. I love a chocolate chip cookie made with a good bittersweet chocolate chip. And I have a special relationship with molasses cookies with lots of ginger, cloves, cinnamon and allspice. They are lovely with champagne.

Trout Caviar said...

Angie, yes, thanks for reminding me of the glory of a really good spice cookie--I'm going to have to eat my words. The key to a good cookie, I think, is honest intent--and real butter.


Fred said...

Thanks for the return of upper and lower case type. It helps my cookie digestion.

Trout Caviar said...

"Thanks for the return of upper and lower case type. It helps my cookie digestion."


Fred said...

"Winter's Last Soup" and
"On the Reluctant Season & Plans for the Warm Months to Come (with a Whacking Good Maple-Calva Cocktail)" were written entirely in upper case letters – at least that is how they appear on my computer screen.

Trout Caviar said...

Geez, Fred, that's really weird. Needless to say, that's not how they looked from here. I've got to make the big move and become master of my own domain.... Thanks for telling me about that.


Kate said...

Nothing to do with cookies, but we are getting ready to move to our cabin in Douglas county Wi. We are off the grid and are looking into composting loos may I ask what brand you have?

Trout Caviar said...

Kate, ours is a Sun-Mar NE (non-electric). Does the job as long as it's warm enough, does not smell. Fleet Farm carries them.