Au Petit Gari
Kay Rentschler's Butternut Squash Pie

SHF/IMBB Cookie Swap: Melissa Clark's Buckwheat Cookies

My third Sugar High Friday event feels like a momentous one, because it's combined with my very first Is My Blog Burning event! Two birds with one stone - I love it. Alberto of Il Forno and Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess, the originators of IMBB and SHF, respectively, joined forces this time around. Although I only had two days in New York between my vacation in France and leaving again for Thanksgiving in Boston, I made time in my schedule to bake cookies (I live a tough life, I know.).

Last year, I clipped an intriguing recipe from the New York Times for buckwheat cookies. Melissa Clark had first tried them on a trip to Italy and after much wheedling, managed to extract a recipe for them from a cook in Piemonte. The recipe was badly translated and she had to go through several test batches to get the cookies right, but her efforts were worth it. These unassuming little biscuits are splendid, in an entirely understated way.

The cookies don't look like much - the buckwheat flour gives them a dull, gray color. But they are tender little things that crunch pleasingly under your teeth and then melt. The buckwheat tastes dusty and almost otherworldly, while the salt sparkles gently in the background, bringing faint caramelly flavors to the foreground. I ate one, and then another and another. They are addictive. I usually give all my baked goods away - I can't seem to bear to eat much more than one piece of something before tiring of it. But these buckwheat cookies I might have to hoard. Not sure how much luck I'll have. So far everyone who's had one crinkles their forehead in wonder at what the odd-colored little cookie could be made of, and then reaches out a hand for more, please.

The recipe is easy-peasy and fast. You beat together butter and egg yolks, then stir in regular and buckwheat flour, a bit of sugar, salt and baking powder to create a stiff dough. Clark instructs you to either put the dough in a pastry bag and pipe the dough into spirals, or form balls of the dough, using a fork to press the balls into rounds.
I combined these two ideas into one: putting the dough into a zip-loc bag, cutting off the tip to make my own pastry bag and then piping out what ended up looking like small turds onto a parchment-lined pastry sheet. These looked so unappetizing that I took a fork to them to make them look more respectable.
The dough softens swiftly, so this process got a bit sticky. Make sure you work fast.
Then into the oven they go until they're faintly golden around the edges.
I'll be using up the remaining buckwheat flour for waffles from the LA Times soon - stay tuned. In the meantime, thank you Alberto and Jennifer!