I can finally say it, it’s time for the holidays and all the baking that comes with it! Granted you can bake at any time of the year but at this time it is extra special because I remember every holiday season that I got to sneak in at the kitchen table and help out my mother, grandmother and aunts when they’d begin their month long holiday cooking that would lead up to Christmas. I’d end up with some awfully shaped marzipans or some distasteful color combinations on cookies so I really don’t think I was of much help but the important part was getting to taste everything as it came along. At that age that was all that mattered, feeling big enough to sit with older peeps and feel important enough to participate! Those were some fun times (and as for those hideous edible creations, I’d pass them on to more deserving individuals like my younger sister and cousins).
One of my favorite cookies to prepare during holiday season are molasses cookies. They are simple to prepare but have so many levels of complex of flavors, that make me admire them a lot. There are also a zillion different ways to prepare molasses cookies and I’ve been wanting to work on a buckwheat version for a while. Buckwheat and molasses make one delicious combination, they both have earthy flavors and come together rather well in these cookies.
These guys have an additional depth of flavor, I like to add a little bit of black pepper and ginger but this time I’ve also added a few spice seeds on top of each cookie like I had previously in these turmeric-spiced seed almond cookies . You can leave out the spice seed mix if you want to, the cookies taste great either way!
Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing these cookies that you might find helpful
- Though I’ve listed the number of cookies I’ve made using a fluted pastry wheel/jagger, you can also roll out the dough and use christmas cookie cutters to cut out the shapes you desire. Just remember, the number of cookies will change depending on the size and shape of the cookie cutter.
- I liked to roll out the dough between sheets of parchment paper that are lightly dusted with buckwheat flour. It allows lifting the cutout cookies onto baking sheets easier. I also like to freeze the cutout cookie dough for at least 30 minutes before transferring them to baking sheets pre-lined with parchment paper.
- You can choose to skip the spice seeds garnish on the cookies if you want to. I like the extra touch of flavor and crunch.
spiced buckwheat molasses cookies
yields: approximately 50- 2inch X 1inch cookies
1 1/2 cups (8 3/4 ounces) buckwheat flour + a little extra for rolling out the dough
1/2 cup (2 3/8 ounces) almond flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) dark brown sugar + 1 tablespoon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom seed powder, freshly ground
1/4 cup dark molasses
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
14 raw pistachios unsalted, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon flax seeds
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1. Place the almond flour, buckwheat flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, ginger, black pepper and cardamom together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment at low speed, mix the dry ingredients for about 2 -3minutes until combined.
2. Add the molasses, butter, vanilla and egg to the batter and mix the ingredients on medium-low speed for 1 minute, then increase speed to medium-high for about 2 -3 minutes until completely combined. You might need to wipe down the bowl during the mixing process with a silicone spatula to allow all the ingredients to mix together completely. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and form into one single ball of dough. Wrap the cookie dough airtight with cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before baking.
3. In a small bowl mix the pistachio ,fennel, flax and sesame seeds along with the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and keep aside until ready to use.
4. Unwrap the chilled dough and divide into 4 parts and form each part into a rough square about 6 inches wides on each side. Sprinkle a little buckwheat flour on the surface of a sheet of parchment paper. Place one part of the dough on this floured sheet of parchment paper then sprinkle a little more buckwheat flour on the surface, cover with another sheet of parchment paper and using a rolling pin roll out the dough into a rectangle that is about 0.3 cm thick (you could probably go up to 0.5 cm thick) and around 10inchX 12inch in area. Remove the upper layer of parchment paper. Using a sharp paring knife trim of the extra edges and then using the same knife cut the dough into one inch thick strips across its length. Using a fluted pastry wheel/jagger cut the dough into 2 inch thick strips on both sides to form squares that are around 2inchX1inch in size. Transfer the cut cookies onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and place them about 1/2 inch apart from each other. (If the cut out cookies are too soft too handle during transfer, freeze the entire tray for about 30-45 minutes until you are ready to transfer it will make it easier to handle).
5. Sprinkle a pinch of the spice seed sugar prepared earlier in the center of each cookie. Press this seasoning gently into the cookie (be careful not to go all the way through the cookie). Refrigerate the cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking (you can also wrap the baking sheet with cling film and freeze overnight until ready to bake).
6. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Bake one tray at a time for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, rotating the tray halfway through the baking process. The cookies will be light golden brown when done and will be slightly brown on the edges. Remove the baking sheet with the cookies from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Repeat steps 4 to 6 to prepare the rest of the cookies, any unused scraps of cookie dough can be saved and brought together to make additional cookies. Stored cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to 3-4 weeks.