Do you have an ingredient that lures you to a recipe like a siren? For some people it's chocolate, for others it's garlic. You are probably thinking, it's fish for me. That would be a very reasonable guess, but these kinds of obsessions are not reasonable. I can calmly read fish recipes without losing my head. I can't resist fish at the fish market, but the recipes are not a huge turn on for me. My secret obsession is buckwheat flour. Whenever I see a recipe that involves buckwheat flour -- no matter how wacky the recipe might sound -- I must try it, or face being haunted by it for weeks until that terrible buckwheat craving goes away.
When I saw Alice Medrich's recipe for Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies on culinate.com, I was hoping I'd resist the buckwheat siren's song. First of all, I don't do cookies. I don't even bake them for Christmas. When I have to give people food gifts, I give pies and tarts. Second of all, I have not jumped on the cocoa nib bandwagon like everyone else. I know, I know -- it's cocolate and it's good for you. How can one resist? Well, I find them terribly bitter, and I don't like how they stick in my teeth. Of course, you can put them into something very sweet, like ice-cream, but that defeats that "good for you" part, in which case, I'd rather have Valrhona dark chocolate. But in spite of all these drawbacks, the recipe had buckwheat flour and I only managed to hold out for one week before trying it.
This was a phenomenal cookie. Of course, I don't know if you want an opinion of a person who needed buckwheat to attract her to chocolate and who doesn't normally like cookies. It tasted like a perfect shortbread -- crisp, crumbly, with an intoxifying flavor of butter. But the buckwheat added a whole new dimention to it; it made the flavor deeper and more earthy. I was seriously contemplating replacing the cocoa nibs with walnuts or pecans, but I am glad I didn't. When baked, cocoa nibs no longer stuck in my teeth, and added a pleasant gentle crunch. As for the bitterness, it actually provided good balance to the cookie's sweetness.
Alice Medrich's recipe was perfect. I loved that she gave the weigh measurement for flour. I strongly, strongly encourage you to use the weigh measurement, and not the cup one. If you don't have a kitchen scale, you can get one on amazon for $25. Here is why I am obsessing over how to measure flour. The recipe can easily be halved if you don't want the temptation of having all those cookies in the house. They do last for about a month in an airtight containter, but our half batch was gone in 2 days.
I won't post the recipe here since it's already published on Culinate and a ton of other blogs. I am tempted to buy Medrich's Pure Dessert book where this recipe is from, but I am worried that it might convert me into a dessert person.
So, do you have an ingredient that lures you into trying almost any recipe? What's the best or most surprising thing you've made with it?