I just got back from a big fat road trip to Denver! And I made cookies. But first things first…
Let’s check out some Denver.
It’s beautiful and outdoorsy. We climbed Mt. Santitas, overlooking Boulder–there are no tortilla chips atop this thing.
In other news, I’m in the market for some new hiking friends, preferably noodle-legged ones. These kids are exquisite, but… All fit and stuff. LOVE YOU, thanks for not feeding me to the lions.
Boulder has a way with delicious. Aji made our wildest brunch dreams come true: chilaquiles, empanadas, chorizo torta, benedict, and brunch beverages galore. I mean… Look.
Denver is brewsy.
And boozy. Stranahan’s makes a whiskey from barley (like scotch) that is aged in charred barrels (like a bourbon). It’s a new favorite, and a bottle of it is staring at me, begging to be opened, as I type this.
There’s also baseball. Easily the shortest game I’ve ever been to.
A traditional Labor Day barbecue–that happened, too. We made food, but I spazzed and gave up on taking photos.
On the way home, I remembered why I love road trips. This here is the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, and it’s a glorious sight. A plane trip doesn’t include pit stops to feel the crunch of salt under your shoes, and views like this all around.
And with that, I’m home now, making cookies.
These in particular are all about the nuttiness, minus nuts. Buckwheat is a lovely grain (it’s not wheat, despite the name–not even close) with a firm, chewy texture and distinct, nutty flavor. Although buckwheat flour is a lovely (and gluten-free) ingredient to experiment with, in this case I’m using buckwheat as an add-in, not the base.
Along with deep browned butter, it takes a classic chocolate chip cookie and basically sends it to finishing school. We’re talking rich, sophisticated cookie with textural interest. It’s softer and a bit less chewy than the classic, although I bet if you used more flour (say, upped it to 2 or even 2 1/4 cups), and/or used bread flour, you could end up with something more dense. (I haven’t tried this yet though, so please don’t hate me if that doesn’t work.)
It’s all about your preferences… And you look like you prefer a delicious cookie. That’s why we’re tight like that. Are you a slow hiker, by chance?
Buckwheat and Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Alton Brown)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cooked buckwheat (kasha)–see note below
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking as foam forms and subsides, and watch for brown bits forming at the bottom of the pan. Once the color of the butter is a rich brown and it smells nutty, remove from heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Whisk together the whole egg, the egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract in a cup. Mix together sugar, brown sugar and melted butter in a large bowl until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. (You could use a mixer–I just went with a wooden spoon.) Add the egg mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Gradually integrate the dry ingredients. Once the flour is worked in, stir in chocolate chips and cooked buckwheat. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into 24 balls. Place on parchment-paper lined cookie sheets, at least an inch apart. Bake for 15-17 minutes or so, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, rotating the pans halfway through for even baking. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack.
(Note on buckwheat: To make 1 cup of cooked buckwheat, start with about 1/2 cup of dry toasted buckwheat. You’ll probably end up with a little extra. Add buckwheat to about a cup of boiling water, then lower the heat, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed and buckwheat is tender. Fluff with a fork. Also, do not rinse buckwheat before cooking!)