24 January 2014

(Frosty) gluten-free chocolate buckwheat cookies

You know you can make a good cookie, with a good recipe, with good ingredients and white flour or even half white flour, and have it turn out scrumptiously. It can be a rather foolproof experience. 

When it comes to gluten-free though, I prefer not to bother with xantham gum, and flour mixes, but just use naturally gluten free flours even in tandem with the gluten-ful.

Buckwheat, a naturally gluten-free flour, is a favorite choice for such ventures. These scones remain a favorite in the spectrum and I also played with adding some buckwheat to my regular scone recipe a few weeks ago...something I think I'll refine and post up here soon. Sometimes, buckwheat can be used totally by itself. I think I told you about these muffins a few months ago.

I had planned to make the popular Alice Medrich buckwheat cacao sable this week, but haven't been seeing cacao nibs nearby. Meanwhile was intrigued with The Little Loaf's brown butter buckwheat milk chocolate chunk cookies on Pinterest. Perturbed at first that she used only buckwheat flour, with no all purpose to gluten things up, I wondered if we were talking about different buckwheat breeds. While indeed, she uses a lighter colored UK buckwheat flour, that shouldn't affect things, right...? 

I'd just have to not mind that my cookies would be, with no white flour, gray as the mid-evening sky. And very buckwheaty. But I like buck, so I was game. I suggest knowing you like buckwheat before making these.

These cookies, before I go on--are indeed delicious. 

I was at first confused by them though. 

They were like the mysterious girl I saw (I'm a man in this scenario) on the train, felt captivated by, wondered if were real, pursued while thinking I was doing everything wrong, yet had high hopes for, but a somewhat awkward first date with, then completely "got" the next day. 

The sweeter milk chocolate (I used Green & Black which isn't too milky) adds a different dimension that lifts the earthy buckwheat flavor into artsy black-tie territory, sort of funking it out in a good way and the part-brown butter lends a depth. After tasting them plain the first day, I regret that I slighted them a little, not sure if they made the cut. I had baked them until the center was just setting, like all drop cookies, and the chewy center was delightful, the chocolate plentiful but the distinct crumb of a white-flour cookie...I had forgotten that wouldn't be there. 

Give me a break, last week's cookie around here was the best PB cookies.

But then, the next day, after I'd tossed the rest of the doughballs in the freezer, I decided to bake a few off for just a minute longer, let them really cool, like an hour, and top them with a mascarpone and buckwheat honey "frosting." A good decision. I rather liked the tad more crisp edges you get that way, you can taste the flavors more at full room temperature and the creamy white dollop of frosting perfectly tames that dark, earthy sweet chew beneath it. Yum. Yes. Done. In fact, I'm eating another one right now! 

While I still plan to do some crispier buckwheat sables with half AP flour on here soon, I am team-these buckwheat cookies. If you need to be totes gluten free, they are totally worth making. And even if you don't need to be. And totally worth the mascarpone-honey frosting. Trust that. xxoo 

Brown Butter Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from The Little Loaf

Notes: Don't skip the rest of the dough. This is a halved recipe and I got exactly 15. Bake time will depend slightly on preference for center chew, and if you've frozen dough to bake off, add another 2-3 mins. I'd say I'm banking on 13 mins for these from frozen, 11 from just chilled. 

92g unsalted butter, softened
112g buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
60g caster sugar
42g soft light brown sugar
37g dark brown sugar
1 large free range egg yolk + 1/2 the white
100g milk chocolate, chopped into chunks

To Frost: Equal parts honey (I used buckwheat honey) and mascarpone
Melt 42g of butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Continue cooking, swirling, until butter starts to foam and crackle and the milk solids separate out begin to brown. Once the butter is golden with a nutty aroma, remove the pan from the heat, transfer butter to heat proof bowl and allow to cool slightly. Be careful not to overcook it as you don’t want black butter!
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 50g butter with all three sugars. Add the egg white and egg yolk and cooled brown butter and continue to whisk until just combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until smooth. Add the chocolate chunks and stir until combined. Cover the dough with cling film, pop in the fridge and chill for 24 hours.
(Note I formed into a log and wrapped in plastic and foil) 
Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F. Line a tray with baking parchment.
Take out rested dough and roll into balls about the size of a ping pong ball. (note I used a medium oxo scoop). You can make these larger or smaller depending on how you like your cookies, but do make sure to adjust the baking times. Space the balls a good few inches apart.
Bake for approx. 10-11 minutes, remove from the oven and cool. Look for setting edges. Note: If freezing, flash freeze dough balls for 30 mins then transfer to a bag. Bake off balls at a time--adding 2-3 mins.

Mix together honey + mascarpone well. Spread atop cookie just before serving. 

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