Spiced Buckwheat Almond Cookies
The summer heat has finally arrived in Boston. My air conditioner is pumping and I am eating my weight in ice cream. But, that does not mean that I don’t love a little something spicy.
Cinnamon might be my favorite spice. I ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal for breakfast for about 3 years straight as a kid. I always wanted cinnamon toast. I add cinnamon to my oatmeal. I add cinnamon to my coffee. I think you get it; I love cinnamon.
I am not one of those people who thinks that warming spices like cinnamon and ginger are just for the colder months. I love them all year round.
My sister is a woman who knows what she likes. The girl basically eats the same thing every day. To give you an idea, she hates fruits, only likes tomatoes, only eats kale, spinach or arugula and refuses to be anywhere where lemons are. She does not really have a sweet tooth. EXCEPT, there is one sweet thing she likes: molasses spice cookies.
These buckwheat cookies taste exactly like a molasses spice cookies, but these lovelies have no molasses, no butter and only two spices.
I used a few different gluten-free flours in this recipe rather than a prepared gluten-free flour mixture. I know that this is a bit of a pain, but it is worth it for the flavor.
Buckwheat is the most important because of its dark color and unique flavor. It has a nutty, earthy and slight bitterness that reminds me a little bit of molasses. Don’t skip the buckwheat flour. It is readily available, just make sure that you are using a gluten-free buckwheat.
Millet flour is another great gluten-free flour that does a lot of the heavy lifting along with tapioca flour to bring everything together without the need for added gums or stabilizers.
Another key player is the oat bran. Rather than using corn starch or potato starch, I used oat bran as a binding agent. It helps to absorb some moisture and bring those gluten-free flours together. Not to mention that you get an added boost of fiber.
Sugar is an important ingredient in any baked good. When you think about a spiced cookie, you think about that dark, gooey richness of brown sugar. While I do love it, I like to use coconut sugar is most of my baking. You get the gooey factor of brown cane sugar, but with a low glycemic twist.
I added a little bit of organic cane sugar (which is not as process as granulated sugar and is designated vegan. Some granulated sugar has bone char added to it). I did this mostly to keep things from getting too wet. I wanted a thicker cookie. Organic cane sugar gives you the sweetness but without the moisture of coconut sugar. If you would prefer not to use any cane sugar, just omit it; it will not change the texture of your cookie too much, but it may spread more while baking.
Fat is My Friend
There is really no way to avoid fat in baking. Of course you can try, but it will just change the texture. While I love my some butter, it is not always the supreme fat in baking. The moisture in butter dissipates faster while baking, so you can end up with a drier baked good.
I like to mix butter and oil to get the best of both worlds: taste of butter and moisture of oil. I am using a vegan butter in this recipe, but you can certainly use a dairy butter. If you do use a dairy butter, choose one that is grass-fed (like Vital Farms or KerryGold) because they have a higher fat content. Remember, we like the fat.
Can I Make it Vegan?
You can most definitely make this vegan.
Use a vegan butter like Melt Buttery Sticks (don’t use a vegan shortening) and substitute the egg for 1 tablespoon flax meal and an added 1/4 cup warm water.
I do not like to make a flax egg ahead of time. Instead I add the flax meal to my dry ingredients and then add the 1/4 cup warm water to my wet ingredients when I would normally add an egg. Mixing the flax egg ahead of time tends to make things seize up (in my opinion).
1/4 cup gluten-free oat bran
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup gluten-free millet flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped, roasted almonds
1/4 cup avocado oil (or olive oil)
1/4 cup vegan butter, melted (Melt Buttery sticks are my favorite)
3/4 cup organic coconut sugar
2 tbsp organic cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, oat bran, spices, baking powder, salt and almonds.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and melted vegan butter. Add the coconut and cane sugars and whisk again. It will look like wet sand.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet with a spatula. Once all combined, cover and chill in the fridge for 2 hours. Do NOT skip this step.
Preheat the oven to 375F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 2 tbsp cookie scoop, scoop dough onto baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between each. Use the palm of your hand to lightly press down each mound. You don’t want them completely flat, but just a little less mounded.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. If you can resist, let them cool for 15 minutes before enjoying.
These are the perfect companion to tea or vanilla nice cream.