baked sweets

Chewy Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are chewy. So very chewy. And a little salty. A salty cookie? Yes, a satisfyingly salty sweet cookie. And lets not forget the irreplaceable nutty flavor provided by wholegrain buckwheat flour. These cookies had me bursting at the metaphorical seams with happiness and excitement. I’ve made at least half a dozen batches of chocolate chip buckwheat cookies over the past 6 months, but never quite got got my hands on a cookie I was 100% satisfied with. Until now!! These cookies are packed with a soft goodness you can taste and chew, as well as another kind of goodness your gut will thank you for: FIBER.

Until recently, the gut was just another organ. It’s where chewed up food went before being shoved along into the far less glamorous parts of the body. I’m not about to talk about those parts, but I am about to jump on the gut bandwagon. You’ve probably noticed the influx of gut-friendly food items over the last few years; from fancy ass kombucha to overpriced sauerkraut to 100-billion-capsule probiotics, it seems like the gut is the hot new thing. I always try to approach new trends with a degree of skepticism, but in my quest to find out why everyone was suddenly touting their love of sour cabbage on social media, I ended up learning a lot about gut health.

Get this– there is hard evidence that there is a link between the gut and the brain and that the state of one’s gut microbiome can influence one’s mental well-being (1). Is all depression the result of poor diet? No, of course not. But could some people’s experiences of depression or anxiety be worsened or catalyzed by poor diet? That is what some groundbreaking new findings are suggesting (2). The gut ‘microbiome’ refers to the microscopic residents of the gut, also known as the good and bad bacteria that feed on the food we consume. Some people have overgrowths of bad bacteria, maybe because they’ve never recovered from long-term use of antibiotics or because they drink liters of soda everyday, while other people, interestingly enough, don’t seem to have that issue. I know that a healthy lifestyle and wagon full of organic kale won’t cure every ailment known to mankind. The emphasis here is on the possibility that it may cure some ailments, particularly those of the mind. The rise of obesity is no new story, but the increasing amount of individuals (particularly teenagers and young adults!) with anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other mental health issues is bewildering and puzzling. Should every teenage panic attack be viewed as a technology problem? Is social media ruining everyone’s life on it’s own accord or are nasty bacteria in the gut helping in the fight?

Obviously, the increasing prevalence of screens in an adolescent’s life ought not be conflated with the topic of the gut microbiome. Of course not. I suppose I was naturally inclined to bring up both weighty topics in the same paragraph because, well, they both weigh heavily on me. One (social media) is an issue that people seem much more ready to talk about, while the other (the gut) seems to reside in a more private sphere. Food is a highly sensitive topic, and maybe rightly so.. it is a ritual of sorts, preparing food for one’s loved one’s, and thus, attached to it is a great deal of baggage (i.e. tradition!) Nonetheless, sometimes the most sensitive topics are the most deserving of attention and spotlight. The intention of this post was to shine a light on the gut microbiome; it is awfully dark in there.

These cookies come in peace with the gut… sort of. The wholegrain buckwheat and spelt flour provide a lovely depth of flavor while also offering up a good dose of gut-friendly fiber. While the buckwheat obviously can’t be substituted for another flour (seeing as these are ‘buckwheat choco chip cookies’), the 1/2 cup of wholegrain spelt could probably be replaced with fine spelt or white whole wheat flour (regular whole wheat may be a tad too flavorful/dense, but then again, I haven’ tried it and can’t say for sure!)  While these cookies do contain significantly less sugar than most (1/2 cup brown rice syrup), sugar is (sadly) still sugar at the end of the day. And lots of sugar = happy bad bacteria. My solution to the former bad news? Share, share, and share!!

My special, dreamy place is definitely stocked with these chewy buckwheat cookies. Bland white flour is no where to be found. You have to climb to the top of a very pointy mountain, overlooking the clouds, in order to get to my secret dream place. You also have to be wearing a thick, chunky sweater. Comfort is key if you want to fully enjoy the cookie eating experience. Plus, it can get very windy at the top of this mountain.

Maybe it’s imperative that your dream place has wagons full of vanilla rice pudding or towers of macaroons or maybe it doesn’t have any sweet baked goods at all. Maybe you’re a little lost and found your way to my blog for some reason other than to find recipes for delicious wholegrain sweet things. Either way, you get the point. These cookies are on my list. I’m not trying to convince you to scribble them onto yours. I’m only trying to convey how truly delightful and special they are to me, with the intention of simply putting them out into the universe for anyone and everyone or no one at all.

Ingredients~
Makes 12 large or 18 regular cookies 

3/4 cup wholegrain buckwheat flour
1/2 cup wholegrain spelt flour
1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or honey for noticeably sweeter cookies, though I haven’t tried this substitute myself)
1/3 cup unsalted pasture raised butter, melted
2 tbsps unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
Two pinches of cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp kosher salt (plus a little more for sprinkling on top of the cookies)
3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or chips of choice (65-70% cacao)
1/3 cup chopped pecans, almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts or a combination of varieties

Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes, until crisped up and sturdier around the edges but still a bit soft looking in the center. The cookies will be dotted with little pools of melted chocolate should you go the pan smacking route. Pretty divine looking, huh? You’ll want to allow the cookies to cool for 1-2 minutes on the pan and then another 10 minutes or so (or not) on a wire rack before digging in as they are fragile when fresh from the oven and need time to chill and get chewy!

 

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