A Pantry Revision and some Cookies

Bucknib

I was extremely agitated. My pantry was fast losing real estate and I had more stuff to put in it. For one thing, my package of chestnut flour had just arrived and I had bought buckwheat flour a few days earlier (I can read the “Hungry” hubby’s mind: “How many types of flour do you need anyway?” A lot. )

A result of attending  too many cooking classes is the inevitable desire to nest in the kitchen – which means reorganizing the pantry different countless ways and finding “efficient use” of counter space (I hate cluttered counters). Ironic, that another by-product of said cooking classes is the purchase of a “few” essential gadgets and ingredients that are surely indispensable in my culinary studies (sounds like a masters degree, yes?) – but the nagging question was – where to put all these new things?

           Gaaah! I stared so infuriatingly at the ugly white “box” that was somehow preventing me from grouping my sugars together below my shelf of flours. What do I really need the microwave for anyway? Reheating rice? Melting butter? I use it for making a quick melted pita-mozzarella snack mostly.

            HH had already added an extra shelf to the pantry the week I was in San Francisco. Little did he know that the extra space he had created for me had a short shelf-life (pun intended).

            As I struggled to move my chocolates around, two boxes of cupcake liners fell on my head!

“#@^!*?#!” I yelped as my hands flew to my temple where the boxes hit.

I picked up the offending boxes and raised both my brows, “Hm didn’t know I had those. Nice.”

HH came by to check how I was doing. I declared to him that we needed to move to a new house with a bigger pantry.

“Do we really need the microwave?” he asked.

“No.”

“I can move it to the utility room”

Pause.

“Do it.”

“Are you sure?”

I weighed the pros and cons.

Easy rice reheating or more storeroom space?

Heck, more space of course!

 

So he moved that monstrosity from the pantry and suddenly, I had more room to sort out my baking items! Such bliss it was to finally align my flours and my sugars on separate shelves and with room to spare! How about that?

 

I’ve been drooling over Alice Medrich’s book lately. And it’s largely due to her book Pure Dessert that had spurred me into kitchen organization mode and updating the contents of my kitchen pantry. She used a lot of different flours in her desserts. Among them was chestnut flour and another was buckwheat. I have never used buckwheat before so I was game to try it. I found a recipe for butter cookies that promises to be nutty and crunchy. Plus it had cocoa nibs! How can you go wrong with that?

            

 

Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 ¼ cups (5.6 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (3 oz) buckwheat flour
  • ½ lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

 

Whisk the all-purpose and buckwheat flours together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, with the back of a large spoon or with an electric mixer, beat the butter with sugar and salt for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy but not fluffy. Mix in the nibs and vanilla. Add the flours and mix just until incorporated. Scrape the dough into a mass and, if necessary, knead it with your hands a few times, just until smooth.

Form the dough into a 12 by 2-inch log. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or, preferably overnight.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper.

Use a sharp knife to cut the cold dough log into ¼-inch thick slices. Place the cookies at least 1 ½ inches apart on the baking sheets.

Bake until the cookies are just beginning to color at the edges, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking. Cool the cookies in the pans on a rack, or slide the parchment liners carefully onto the rack to free up the pans. Let cool completely. The cookies are delicious fresh but even better the next day. They can be stored in an airtight container for at least 1 month.

 

Cooking Notes:

           Do not be discouraged by the color of the resulting dough. Let me just tell you that it was a disgusting olive green that did not resemble anything that would bake up to be something appetizing.

            I had trouble rolling the dough into a log; as an afterthought I could have laid it on a parchment paper and used that to form a cylinder.

            What I had was a flat-bottomed log, so when I cut the cookies they looked like a “D”. I also cut the cookie dough unevenly. This was not a huge problem. I just pressed down on it and shaped it into a rough circle. The rest of the “D” shaped cookies seemed to round out as they baked anyway.

            The cookies lightened a little in color when they were done. The buttery smell that pervaded the kitchen was so irresistible; I had to taste one little round while it was still very hot. Not a good idea as it crumbled easily.

            They were delicious! I really liked the crunchiness and nutty flavor that the buckwheat contributed to the cookies. HH took a couple to his office and they were met with resounding approval. Some made comments like “They’re unusual and one of the best tasting cookies I have ever tasted.”

            I have a feeling that this blog will have a lot of baked goods in the weeks to come.

On a related note, I just received an “advanced reading” copy of what looked to be another blockbuster dessert book that is going to be published this November. I’ve already tagged so many recipes to try. Darn that I don’t have any vacation time to take to just stay home and churn out one sweet after another.

            As for the microwave, my friends are giving me a month before I decide to move it back into the pantry. Any bets?

Bucknibstack