March 12, 2013

buckwheat oatmeal raisin cookies

buckwheat oatmeal raisin cookie2

One of the many magical moments in an Indian household is tea or chai time. By some sort of strange ingrained habit we would drink tea somewhere around 4 or 5pm every evening. There would always be some sort of assortment of cookies, sweet buns, pastries, savory chips or crackers that you could dip into your hot chai. It was the equivalent of a short pre-dessert session before dinner, since we rarely ate desserts after dinner. These days however things are different, I occasionally indulge in a cup of tea in the evening and I really don't keep a stash of cookies or desserts stacked away. The big reason for this is my fondness for cookies to be fresh and warm, right out of the oven. This also means that when I do have a hankering for a cookie or two, I'll be scratching the walls of the pantry like a cat. Last week, I had such a craving for one of my favorite cookies, the oatmeal-raisin kind. The kind that's almost like a good granola bar without the excess doughy feeling yet with a crispy texture. 

Buckwheat flour and raisins

There is a special earthiness to oatmeal raisin cookies that needs to be complemented by an appropriate flour to bind and hold it together. What could be better than buckwheat? Buckwheat grain gives an amazing flour with a rich and deep earthy texture that fits perfectly in these cookies. Buckwheat is also gluten- and wheat-free making it an ideal flour substitute in most dishes for those with related allergies. I think the first time I can remember trying buckwheat was in a chilled Japanese soba salad and ever since then I've baked and cooked with frequently.

I had a hard time finding a recipe that used only buckwheat flour without the addition of any other varieties of flours. My recipe is loosely based on an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunch Melt-in-your-mouth Cookies cookbook. To add an extra level of nuttiness and flavor, I melted and browned the butter before incorporating it into the cookie batter. This is one cookie recipe where you can be a little liberal with the amounts of extra cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla. I really enjoy the taste of these cookies with a little bit of extra ginger, it seems to give the raisins a bit of a bang. Some people like walnuts in their oatmeal raisin cookies, I happened to have a few almonds stored away and I tossed them into the batter. Either nut works great in this cookie recipe.

cCookies and oatmeal

I'll be honest, I was a little impatient after I chilled the dough for about two hours. I quickly baked a few cookies to sample and taste but the results were simply just not crisp enough to my liking. I almost gave up but fortunately it was late in the evening and I figured I'd just wrap the dough and refrigerate it overnight. By the next day, the oatmeal had absorbed all the moisture in the dough and when I baked the next batch of cookies, they came out crisp and delicious. Needless to say these have turned out to be great that they've been accompanying my cup of tea every day!

Buckwheat oatmeal raisin cookie

buckwheat oatmeal raisin cookies

yields: approximately 30 cookies 

ingredients

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups buckwheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger powder
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup almonds/walnuts, chopped
1 cup raisins

1. In a small bowl, place the oats and sprinkle the water. Keep aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger powder. Toss any left-over grain bits back into the flour mix. 
3. Chop the butter into cubes and melt the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan over medium-heat. Keep heating the butter with constant stirring until the milk solids turn brownish red. Remove the browned butter from heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Briskly mix in the egg.
4. Pour the browned butter mixture into the flour mixture and combine quickly. 
5. Fold in the almonds (walnuts), raisins and the oats into the batter. Let the cookie dough rest for an hour at room temperature. Cover the bowl with cling-film and refrigerate overnight.
6. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two cookies sheets with parchment paper.
7. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and with your palms flatten and shape the cookies into circles around 2 inches in diameter. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie trays about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Halfway during baking, rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back to ensure even baking. Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack and then transfer and store in air-tight container. 

23 comments:

  1. Mmm, I love oatmeal cookies and yours look SO good. I'm a huge tea drinker, and I know i'd love these with a hot cup of tea or chai in the afternoon. Perfection!

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    1. Thanks Amy, these cookies didn't last too long here. I'm blaming it on the tea ritual.

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  2. Very healthy and nutritious cookies that look so delicious! I love your pictures... really beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Nami,Your website is very delicious, as well!

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  3. Oh, these cookies are LOVELY! This looks like something I must try. The recipe is great and I loved the picture!!
    http://cosmopolitancurrymania.blogspot.in/

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  4. your description of household is sounding like my house right now with parents being here. I normally dont drink chai but with them being around-chai is a necessity to catch up and talk :) and yes cookies, cakes, salty snacks...

    on a different note- i have never used buckwheat flour, its something I should look into when I am at store next :)

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  5. I think the Indians acquired that habit while under British rule, but don't quote me on that.
    What I love about cookies like this is that you can practically make them up as you go and they still turn out fine as long as the dough is the right balance of wet and dry. Interesting about leaving the dough in the fridge overnight. I must try it, if I have the patience to wait before eating them.

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    1. You might be right, I do know that they still get their tea from India. If you are looking for a crispy cookie, refrigeration overnight does the trick.

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  6. I miss chai time with some cookies, fortunately I visit india every year and end up reliving those moments....I have a waekness for oatmeal cookies too and love it with my coffee.... !!Never tried buckwheat am tempted to get some and bake ....

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    1. You should, it is easily available almost everywhere now.

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  7. Never cooked with buckwheat flour, but I should! Because your cookies look delicious! Love the photos with the raisins of different colors.

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    1. I was lucky to find the mulitcolored raisins at my local Trader Joes!

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  8. I love baking cookies with buckwheat. And this recipe is definitely chock-full of deliciousness :)

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  9. These look very good! I am not a big fan of Buckwheat, but I know it is health. It is a GREAT idea to minimize the sugar and other not so health ingredients in cookies and add health stuff. I will give these a try. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. I have never baked with buckwheat flour before and have just recently been put on a "white flour" free diet. Does buckwheat flour rise like white flour? Are the cookies overly chewy from being too doughy? Thanks.

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    1. Hi Jean, it does not rise to the same extent as white flour would because buckwheat has a very different chemical composition than regular wheat flour and also does not come from a grain. I prefer to use it by itself in recipes where for biscuits and cookies. The baking soda here helps with the rising making it lighter. My method of freezing the dough does ensure that the cookie is crispy. The chew in these cookies comes mostly from the oatmeal and raisins but the buckwheat gets crisped up during baking by the butter. I hope this helps!

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  11. this recipe is in the oven now, and looks really delicious. 2 comments... adding egg to the hot egg mixture will cause the egg to cook. I added the egg after I added the butter mixture to the buckwheat. Second, there isn't anything in this recipe to activate the baking soda, therefore baking powder needs to be used.

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    1. Hi, there thank you so much for trying out my recipe and taking the time to write. I can't claim full credit for this recipe because as I have mentioned I've modified Alice Medrich's recipe from her cookie cookbook. I stuck to her directions on adding the egg to the browned butter and the baking soda and it worked well for me. The egg did not cook when mixed in as the prior addition of the sugar cools the mixture down considerably, the trick here is to being quick. Baking soda is used in this recipe to get a really crispy cookie, the moisture and butter help to react with the sodium bicarbonate producing enough carbon dioxide. If you use baking powder you might get a doughy cookie versus a crispy one. Best.

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  12. Hi there, I have just discovered your website, it's fantastic! I am going to make these cookies this weekend :) Could you tell me please how many grams of butter that is? I am in Scotland and they don't sell it in sticks here. And also 1 1/4 cups of buckwheat flour - do you know the grams for this too please? As I don't think your cups and the UK ones are the same? Thank you!

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    1. Hi thank you so much! 2 sticks of butter is approximately 226 grams and 1 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour is approximately 137.32 grams. I hope this helped, let me know how it turns out, I would love to hear back!

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  13. Hi Nik, thanks so much for that. Wow, that's a lot of butter. These are going to taste amazing!! I'll let you know when they're made. Cheers :)

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