When I bake, buckwheat flour and tiger nut flour are my go-to gluten-free flours.
Because I have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and hypothyroidism, I stopped eating wheat and gluten-containing grains (oats, barley, spelt, rye) about seven years ago. Since then, many symptoms of digestive distress that I once assumed were “normal” have disappeared.
Do I miss bread, pasta, cookies, cupcakes and pie? In all honesty, no. And this is from a former pastry addict who used to bake her own oatmeal bread most Sundays, and, on occasion, make homemade ravioli (by hand) for dinner parties!
Cookies are a once in-a-while indulgence, mostly around the Christmas holidays when I bake for others—and on Valentine’s Day!
As a general rule, I avoid using any kind of commercial pre-packaged “gluten-free” flour mix. I seldom bake these days, but when I do, my first choice for a gluten-free flour is buckwheat.
Despite its name, buckwheat is not wheat, nor is it related to wheat. Related to sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb, buckwheat is actually a fruit seed. Known as a pseudo-cereal, it is rich in slowly digested complex carbohydrates (compared to refined carbohydrates which are quickly digested and immediately raise blood sugar).
Baking with buckwheat flour can be tricky. When I initially started baking with buckwheat, I ended up with deep fissures in the buckwheat crust for my pumpkin pie. And a spiderweb of cracks appeared in my first couple of attempts at making buckwheat chocolate chunk-ginger cookies (recipe below).
Buckwheat dough tends to get “wet” easily, so it’s best to refrigerate the dough for 20 to 30 minutes before baking.
If you want to make these cookies totally vegan, you can swap out the butter for melted coconut oil; just be aware that if use coconut oil as your fat, the cookies will have a lumpier and drier texture.
Personally, I prefer to use grass-fed butter when baking because it yields a richer flavor overall.
These cookies have a wonderfully airy, light, “cakey” texture, dark chocolate richness and an unexpected gingery bite.
Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies
Yield: 18 cookies
For the wet ingredients
1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted grass-fed butter
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 whole egg + 1 yolk (ideally, use pasture-raised or organic eggs)
2-1/2 tablespoons fresh, minced gingerroot
1 cup unsweetened chocolate chips, bittersweet chocolate chips OR Valrhona 70% bittersweet chocolate ovals, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. (*If you use the Convection Baking setting on your oven, enter 375˚F; it will bake at 350˚F). Line two heavy-weight baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, Celtic sea salt and baking soda. Once combined, use a sieve or sifter to sift the whisked flour mixture into another medium-sized bowl. This ensure the ingredients are well mixed.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and coconut sugar together with an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating well. Add the vanilla extract and minced ginger, mixing until well combined.
Gradually add the buckwheat flour mixture, folding the flour into the liquid mixture with a large spatula. Be careful not to overmix—or the cookies may turn out tough. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a small stainless steel or glass mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until the dough is firm.
The dough will be “wet”. Using two teaspoons, drop small amounts of dough onto the baking sheet. Place on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. You’ll get about 18 cookies.
Bake at 350˚F for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown around the edges.
Cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.
Wrap leftovers in parchment paper and store in an airtight container.