Is it too late to call these Christmas cookies? Now that the holiday is upon us, and the stores are probably closed, and anyway, these aren’t terribly Christmassy cookies to begin with. They aren’t chocolatey or pepperminty or cut into thematic shapes and decorated with royal icing. But despite their relatively unassumingness, these are my Christmas cookies. By which I mean I’m going to be eating these on Christmas.
I first fell for these cookies months ago, when they were introduced to me as nibby buckwheats (on this podcast where they had a song with the lyrics of “Nibby Buckwheats! Nibby buckwheats!” How could I resist?). Buckwheat flour is having a big moment – it seems that people all over the Internet can’t get enough of it – and for good reason. Its nutty flavor gives a little oomph to what would otherwise just be a butter cookie. But the nibs – I didn’t like the nibs. They threw off the otherwise perfectly tender and chewy texture of the cookies. And of course without nibs, these are no longer nibby buckwheats. They’re just buckwheats, which is not as much fun to sing to yourself.
But they are still just as fun to eat. They’re a grown-up cookie, with only a little sweetness and a toasty flavor from the buckwheat flour, and a chew not unlike a good gingerbread cookie. Somewhere between a snap and a crumble – they give when you bite into them but they aren’t cakey. A cookie that perhaps defies exact description but is still delicious with a glass of eggnog. Or maybe next year they’ll be packaged up and handed out as gifts. Or maybe, like me, you’ll treat yourself to your very own batch of these. Hopefully before next Christmas.
- ½ cup plus 2 tbs all purpose flour
- ¼ cup plus 2 tbs buckwheat flour
- 1 stick butter (1/2 cup or 8 tbs)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¾ tsp vanilla extract
- COMBINE all purpose and buckwheat flours in a bowl and set them aside
- BEAT the butter, sugar, and salt together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a bowl with electric beaters, or with a really strong arm and a spoon, until they are light and fluffy (3ish minutes on medium speed)
- ADD the vanilla extract to the beaten butter/sugar
- SLOWLY ADD the flours, on low or medium low speed, and beat until it forms a dough. This takes a while compared to other cookies, it will be crumbly looking and then come together in a dough and will pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- ROLL the dough in a log shape (for slice and bake cookies) or into a flat disk (for roll and stamp cookies), wrap it in plastic, and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour, and preferably overnight. You have to mix for a while to bring the dough together so it needs time to relax or the cookies will be tough.
- PREHEAT the oven to 350F when you're ready to bake the cookies, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- CUT cookies, either by rolling out the dough and using a cookie cutter or by simply slicing rounds off the log you made before resting the dough, and arrange them on the baking sheet. These cookies don't expand much so you can get them pretty close together.
- BAKE the cookies for 11-14 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking if you remember, until the cookies are just barely brown on the edges. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on a rack. Repeat the cutting and baking until you run out of dough.
These cookies are good for a few days after baking. If you can't eat them all before then, put them in the freezer for up to a month and take them out one or two at a time, warm them in the toaster, and enjoy whenever.