After our lunch at the Counter Burger in Crows Nest, Steph and I wandered around enjoying the first sunny day in what felt like ages. She happened to know the area very well, having lived nearby in the past, and pointed out her favourite restaurants and the new shops that had popped up since her last visit. She showed me her favourite bakery, the bottle shop (where I had hoped in vain to find the Mr Riggs Sticky we had at Mumu, but picked up a bottle of Zen green tea liqueur instead), and Essential Ingredient – a heavenly but dangerous place for a foodie to enter.
Amongst the aisles I spied products that were quite hard to come by in normal supermarkets, cooking and baking ware, and let’s not forget the cookbooks. Steph spied a very large container of coca nibs and we decided to go halves and split it. She made some gorgeous cocoa nib flecked banana bread, and I finally crossed another recipe off the ever-growing list of things to make, Alice Medrich’s Buckwheat Butter Cookies with Cocoa Nibs from her gorgeous book ‘Pure Dessert’.
Last year I tried her buckwheat strawberry shortcakes, which were a huge success, and I was looking forward to trying another of her inspiring recipes. These cookies had an incredible depth of flavour from the buckwheat flour, and I loved the crunch from the cocoa nibs. They also went just perfectly with a cup of tea on a cold wintery day.
I misread the recipe a little and stopped mixing before the dough was very dark and thick. My cookies turned out lighter and a little more crumbly, and they reminded me of sables actually. Either way, they were great and I really enjoyed them. And Molly was right when she said that the cookies were even better on the second day, though I’m actually surprised they lasted that long…
Cocoa Nib Buckwheat Butter Cookies
Recipe adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert
• 1 ½ cups plain flour
• ¾ cup buckwheat flour
• 225g unsalted butter, softened
• 2/3 cup sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup coca nibs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar and salt until smooth and creamy but not fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the nibs and vanilla and beat to incorporate. Add the flours and beat on low speed until just incorporated. The mixture will seem dry at first but keep beating, and it will slowly moisten and darken. You’ll know it’s ready when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be very thick.
3. Form the dough into a long log about 5cm in diameter. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line two baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
5. Using a thin, sharp knife, carefully cu the dough into slices. I made mine about 1cm thick. Put slices on the prepared baking sheets, spacing each cookie about 3cm apart.
6. Bake until cookies begin to just colour around the edges, about 12-14 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks and cool the cookies on the baking sheets. Cool completely before eating or storing.