~ Hi, it’s Stephanie here with a new cookbook review AND giveaway!!
“Brownies masquerading as cookies” is the description for these gluten free buckwheat chocolate cookies from the Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours cookbook by Alanna Taylor-Tobin. So of course I HAD to make them so I could tell you about them, right? I mean somebody has to do it, right?? I love my job!
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book at no charge to me from the publisher, YC Media, in return for my honest review. I was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
I was so excited to review a baking book and do a GIVEAWAY (don’t forget to enter below!) because I’m a baker. I love to bake! But when I noticed this was a gluten free baking book my heart sank just a little because white whole wheat flour is about as alternative as my baking usually gets. But in Alanna’s introduction she so eloquently describes the nuances of all the alternative flours… the delicate flavors, added textures that it makes poor old AP flour just look plain old boring. I couldn’t wait to dive in!
Her chapter on “How to Win at Baking” is one of my favorite chapters in any cookbook that I’ve read. So many people are scared of baking. Alanna, who calls herself a recovering pastry chef, does a great job of giving a few basic tips in a fun approachable way that will inspire even the most reluctant baker.
As I continued to flip through her chapters on Dessert for Breakfast (I’m in!), Cake, Pie, Tarts, Custards & Puddings, Cookies & Bars ….. I was blown away. Alanna’s photography (yes, she’s an awesome photographer too!) is stunning, no really stunning! Like I had to wipe a little drool off my face stunning. She’s the founder of the gorgeous blog The Bojon Gourmet, so no big surprise that her cookbook is auhmazing!!
So these gluten free buckwheat chocolate cookies are not only off the charts yummy, they are also really simple to make. They’re loaded with good-for-you dark chocolate with an added kick of brightness from the bergamot zest (I used orange zest, which is the suggested substitution). Buckwheat flour adds a hint of earthiness and a very delicate pillow-like texture. A sprinkling of flaky sea salt on the top makes these little cookie-brownies really shine.
And because I couldn’t stop myself, I also made the Pistachio Lime and Matcha Snowballs. Think Russian Tea Cakes, but with pistachios and matcha. They are little white balls of deliciousness with just a dusting of green from the matcha and are totally going on my holiday cookie platter!
Alanna’s desserts are show stoppers! Some are more involved, but most seem really manageable. All of them are company or holiday worthy. This isn’t a run of the mill gluten free book. The Alternative Baker is a collection of very special desserts that would appeal to everyone, not just someone on a GF diet.
Trust me… you want this cookbook! So don’t forget to enter to win one by commenting and using the rafflecopter widget below.
Do you like to bake and if so, have you used alternative flours?
Is there a dessert that you HAVE to make during the holidays or your family revolts?
Tart or pie?
Gluten Free Buckwheat Chocolate Cookies from the Alternative Baker cookbook" are soft and a little chewy. They have a tiny crunchy bit of flaky sea salt on top to contrast with the bergamot and chocolate.
- 6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter
- 12 oz (345 g) bittersweet chocolate (60–70% cacao mass), chopped, plus several chunks for the tops of the cookies
- 1 ½ tsp (1 g) packed finely grated zest from 1 medium bergamot (or orange)
- ½ cup (65 g) buckwheat flour
- 2 tbsp (15 g) tapioca flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup plus 2 tbsp (130 g) organic granulated cane sugar
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Flaky salt such as Maldon, for the tops
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350ºF (175ºC). Line 2 rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over the lowest possible heat. Add 8 ounces of the chocolate and the bergamot (or orange) zest, and melt together, stirring frequently to prevent the chocolate from scorching. Continue cooking until the mixture is pleasantly warm, but not super hot, to the touch. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Sift the buckwheat flour, tapioca flour and baking powder into a small bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the eggs, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is very light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and stir in the vanilla until just combined, then the warm chocolate butter mixture. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a flexible silicone spatula to fold in the remaining 4 ounces chopped chocolate.
- If the batter is very runny, let it cool for a few minutes until it firms to the consistency of a thick brownie batter. Use a #40 spring-loaded ice cream scoop or 2 spoons to drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Top each cookie with a few chunks of chocolate and a few flecks of flaky salt.
- Bake the cookies until puffed and cracked and the edges are set, 8–12 minutes, rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Let cool on the pans. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. The cookies are best the day of baking but will keep, airtight at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
The trick to the crackly tops is to have the melted chocolate/butter mixture hot enough to partially dissolve the sugar but not so hot as to cook the eggs or melt the chocolate chunks once added. The mixture should feel pleasantly warm, but not scalding hot, to the touch.