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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Buckwheat Poppy Seed Thumbprint Cookies

I found a match made in heaven.. or more like a threesome.
Buckwheat flour, poppy seeds, and maple syrup.
I'm blown away.
I recently bought some buckwheat flour, thinking I'd be making pancakes or something, but within hours of the purchase, all types of buckwheat ideas were running through my head, cookies being the first.  I'm not even sure I have enough flour left for pancakes, but oh well, I suppose that just means that buckwheat will now be a staple in my pantry.
I wasn't sure how the texture would come out, since buckwheat is gluten free, so I did add a bit of whole wheat flour just for the binding properties.  I'm all for the gluten free stuff, but when you end up adding a bunch of weird ingredients just to make it bind like wheat flour, I draw the line.  You either appreciate it for what it is, or you use something else (unless, of course, you have allergies).  It's kind of like going to one of those vegetarian restaurants that feature "ribs" or "steak".  It looks like meat, but it's not.  I don't understand that.. if you want meat, just eat the real thing.. it's probably not any worse for you than all the strangeness they must use to make it look and taste like meat.
Back to the cookies.
Buckwheat has a naturally nutty taste that works very well in sweets.  When I visited Quebec, it was often paired with some maple product (as is almost everything edible) so I decided to use maple syrup as the major sweetener.  The poppy seeds were just instinctive.  Before deciding on making muffins or cookies, my poppy seeds were already within reach.
Yield 3 dozen
Dry ingredients:
200g (7 oz) buckwheat flour
80g (2.8 oz) whole wheat flour
50g (1.75 oz) powdered hazelnut
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pain d'épices spices
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Wet ingredients:
80g (2.8 oz) room temperature butter
50g (1.75 oz) dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla sugar
160g (5.6 oz) pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
Poppy seeds
maple butter
black current jam
maple caramel
whatever your sweet little heart desires
1.  Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.
2.  Cream the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the egg and the rest of the wet ingredients until smooth.
3.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it forms a ball of dough.  It shouldn't be too crumbly.  It should actually be pretty sticky.  At this poing, refrigerate while you preheat your oven.  The dough will be easier to handle.
4.  On a cookie sheet or parchment paper, make tablespoon sized balls with the dough and roll them between the palms of your hands.  Press your thumb into the middle of each one and fill it with the topping of your choice.  I decided on the toppings as I was going along.
5.  Sprinkle poppy seeds over the top of each cookie and bake at 350°F 175°C for 16-20 minutes until very very lightly golden.

The cookies that stayed together best were with the jam.  The maple caramel kind of oozed out and disappeared into the heart of the cookie.  The maple butter made a nice sexy little maple crust over the top.  The molasses made a chewy inside of the cookie.
I haven't figured out which one I like best...although my neighbor relentlessly ate 6 of them in one sitting and he's still trying to figure it out.
The buckwheat is definitely a keeper in the cookie business!
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