Triple chocolate buckwheat cookies
The star here is the buckwheat, not only because it makes these cookies gluten-free, but mainly because I feel it brings its own nutty flavour and unique texture, creating a cookie that has softness and a shortbready bite, as well as a subtle smokiness. Those who like a truly chewy cookie might find these a little cakey, but I like chewiness in a cookie and yet find constant excuses to make these.
- 150g/5½oz dark chocolate chips
- 125g/4½oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
- 125g/4½oz buckwheat flour
- 25g/1oz cocoa powder, sieved
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 60g/2¼oz soft unsalted butter
- 125g/4½oz soft dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 2 large free-range eggs, fridge-cold
Clatter the chocolate chips out into a flattish dish and put this in the fridge while you get on with making the batter. It wouldn’t hurt to sit them in the freezer, either. I do this so that the chips don’t melt too much while baking, leaving you with nuggets of intense chocolatiness.
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line a couple of baking sheets (or 1 if baking in 2 batches) with baking parchment.
Roughly chop the dark chocolate, and melt it either in a suitable bowl in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool a little.
In another bowl, mix together the buckwheat flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt, and fork to make sure everything’s well combined.
In yet another bowl (I use my freestanding mixer here, but a bowl and a handheld whisk or, indeed, wooden spoon and elbow grease would work, too), cream together the butter and sugar with the vanilla extract until a dark caramel colour and fluffy, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Beat in the cooled, melted chocolate then the fridge-cold eggs (I find this means one doesn’t then have to refrigerate the dough before baking) one by one, and when both are absorbed into the butter and sugar mixture, scrape down the sides of the bowl again, turn the speed down and carefully beat in the dry ingredients.
Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, fold in the cold chocolate chips, then dollop rounded tablespoonsful of the dough onto a lined baking sheet, leaving about 6cm/2½in between each one. Put the bowl with the remaining cookie dough in the fridge while the first batch is underway.
Bake for 9–10 minutes, by which time the cookies will be just set at the edges, but otherwise seem undercooked, then remove the sheet from the oven and let the cookies sit on the warm tray for another 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
When the tray is cool, or you have another one lined and ready to go, take the bowl of dough out of the fridge and proceed as before.
Buckwheat flour – rather more exotically farine de sarrasin in French, and it’s the French flour I habitually use – is in itself always gluten-free, but (as with oats) it is often contaminated by the presence of gluten, depending on the factories in which it is produced. So if you are making these because you need them to be gluten-free, rather than just going for the flavour of the flour, make sure the packet is labelled as such before you start.
The cookie dough can be made ahead, then covered and stored in fridge for up to 3 days. If the dough is too firm to scoop into tablespoons, let it stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Form the dough into mounds and freeze on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Once solid, transfer to a resealable bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake directly from frozen, adding 1 minute to the baking time. Baked cookies can also be frozen in resealable plastic bags for up to 3 months. Defrost on a wire rack at room temperature for about 1 hour.