Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies

Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies Recipe

My favorite line in Alice Medrich's buckwheat butter cookie recipe is when she writes, "these cookies can be stored in an airtight container for at least 1 month." I had to smile and then wonder where Alice hides her cookies. Friends and neighbors in my vicinity polished off a batch of these in under an hour. I'm excited to highlight Alice's Pure Dessert book (along with her nibby buckwheat butter cookie recipe) for a few reasons. I'll start by saying, I don't find myself buying dedicated dessert books much anymore. I suspect part of the reason is because it is hard to find ones that use the types of ingredients I like to use. This book is more my speed. Alice uses many fresh ingredients and interesting underutilized flours and sweeteners - today's twist on a traditional butter cookie is a great example.

These nibby buckwheat butter cookies couldn't be easier to make, and the recipe is indicative of the type of treats you'll find in Pure Desserts. In this case, a handful of ingredients and a sliver of active time yields dozens of cacao freckled, butter-bronzed buckwheat cookies made from a blend of all-purpose and buckwheat flours. You can slice them or do as I did and roll and stamp them into whatever shapes you please. Those of you who have been readers for a long time know I have a weakness for a scalloped edge, so that is the route I took.

Buckwheat Butter Cookie Recipe

Other recipes in the book highlight and explore the flavors of some of my favorite grains, nuts, and minimally processed sweeteners as well. She does a shortbread and pound cake using kamut flour, a whole wheat sable cookie, and corn flour tuiles. On the sweetener front Alice serves up a honey ice cream and panna cotta, she also writes of muscovado bread pudding, a raw sugar toffee sauce, and a raw sugar flan. Don't get me wrong, this book has it's fair share of white sugar and all-purpose flour, but for those of you who are looking for a gateway book into delicious, fool-proof baking with some percentage of whole ingredients, Pure Desserts is a great place to start.

Give the cookies a try, if you like them consider trying some of the other recipes from her book as well. There is an amazing range of more minimally processed ingredients out there to explore - the flavors, colors, textures are exciting, unique and unfamiliar to many. Alice's book is a great place to dabble a bit, see what you think, without having to overhaul your entire pantry.

Related Links:
- Traveler's Lunchbox Q&A with Alice Medrich
- Cook & Eat: No Quince-idence
- Molly's take on these buckwheat cookies
- Luisa does Alice's whole wheat sables
- Grace highlights Pure Dessert on her favorite cookbooks list.


Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookie Recipe

1 1/4 cups (5.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 ounces) buckwheat flour
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cacao nibs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Whisk the all-purpose and buckwheat flours together in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, with the back of a large spoon or with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar and salt for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy but not fluffy. Mix in the nibs and vanilla. Add the flours and mix just until incorporated. Scrape the dough into a mass and, if necessary, knead it with your hands a few times, just until smooth.

Form the dough into a 12 by 2 inch log. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or, preferably overnight. (hs note: At this point I formed the dough into two flat patties, knowing I wanted to roll it out and use cookie cutters to shape the cookies).

Position the tacks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper.

Use a sharp knife to cut the cole dough log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. (hs note: or roll out with a floured rolling pin and cut out shapes with cookie cutter.) Place the cookies at least 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

Bake until the cookie are just beginning to color at the edges, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking. Cool the cookies in the pans on a rack, or slide the parchment liners carefully onto the rack to free up the pans. Let cool completely. The cookies are delicious fresh but even better the next day. They can be stored in an airtight container for at least one month.

Makes forty-eight 2 1/2-inch cookies.

from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2007) - reprinted with permission.

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Your Comments

March 27, 2008

Sweet cookies with bitter cacao nibs. Gorgeous. I also happen to love fluted edges. Beautiful photos Heidi!


March 27, 2008

Looked great until all that butter-not particularly healthy in my book. How about a substitute for some of it?


March 27, 2008

congratulations on your James Beard nomination for Super Natural Cooking!!!! I'm a big fan of your blog and I plan on ordering SNC very soon.


March 27, 2008

MMM. These sound fantastic! I find that using non-white flour in cookie recipes makes them much more satisfying. I only feel the need to eat 5 instead of 15 or 20 :)

Can I sub white whole wheat flour for the APF?

Anyone know if I can find cacao nibs at Whole Foods?


March 27, 2008

Link to Heidi and other 2008 noms:


March 27, 2008

I love when I see a recipe using interesting ingredients in an unusual way and I happen to already have everything I need at home.

I love the complexity of cocoa nibs and bought some buckwheat flour a few weeks ago, but still haven't used it for anything. Now I'm going to whip up a batch of these as soon as I get home tonight.


March 27, 2008

up to 1 month yep what a crack up :-)
the cocoa nibs is a great add on!


March 27, 2008

I *adore* alice medrich's pure dessert. I find that so many dessert books take the cheesecake factory approach--super-sized, super-sweet, super-indulgent (and, might I add, unappealing) offerings that I find no joy in cooking, let alone eating. but pure dessert? well, the "pure" says it all. I love the simplicity and elegance of medrich's recipes, and the fact that the results are totally delicious. infinitely more so than cheesecake bombs and quadruple chocolate concoctions. thanks for featuring this recipe, heidi! you should try her raspberry-choc chip muffins. wow.


March 27, 2008

A James Beard nomination? That's fabulous news and really well deserved!

The cookies sound lovely. I still haven't found anywhere to buy cacao nibs in the UK (if anybody reading this has any ideas I'd be very grateful)


March 27, 2008

Thank you for the reminder! These have been on my "to make" list since Molly @ orangette made them as part of her holiday cookie round-up. Thanks!


March 27, 2008

Reading through this post, every time you wrote "nibby" I read it as "nibbly" - and nibbly cookies sound pretty good to me!! I've never used buckwheat flour but like the idea of incorporating alternative flours and sweeteners in accessible ways like this. I'll have to check the book out.


March 27, 2008

I have baked these cookies and they were buttery and deliscious. Your blog is a treat to my eyes. Thanks.

Is it possible to buy cocoa nibs on-line?


March 27, 2008

Very interesting cookies, I'm in love with cacao nibs. They sound so simple and elegant, although I might consider adding a few chopped dried cherries or cranberries. The buckwheat flour must give a nice nuttiness and increase the nutrition factor here.

Yes, you can buy cacao nibs online, but they're very expensive. I found a store in San Francisco that sells dark chocolate covered cacao nibs. Needless to say, I need to get more. Addicting little buggers....

- The Peanut Butter Boy


that book's been on my list now for a few months...

i'm a big buckwheat fan. i'd love to bake these sometime.



March 27, 2008

These look delicious! And congratulations on the James Beard nomination- woo hoo!


March 27, 2008

They look so adorable.
I can taste the earthy flavor of Buckwheat flour, which I love with cocoa.


M Kenyon II
March 27, 2008

Interesting. My wife is on a non-wheat, no sugar diet (otherwise she gets reactions). Is there a way to convert this recipe into that?
Perhaps with Stevia or Xylitol which does not give her a reaction?

I'm looking for any treats we can make for her.


Angel in Alabama
March 27, 2008

I would love to see the nutrition information for these recipes. Thanks for providing alternatives to mainstream, process laden foods.
I agree with Aran, the photos are awesome!


March 27, 2008

Congrats on the James Beard nomination! These look great. I will have to work on making them work gluten free. I have the buckwheat flour on hand of course :) Thanks for the project.


March 27, 2008

not sure what buckwheat flour or cacao nibs are [these are not NZ staples] but I've ordered the flour on-line and am searching for the nibs now. Looking forward to trying them Thanks


March 27, 2008

I tried a 1/2 recipe of these a while back and was disappointed, though I love Medrich's regular nibby-pecan cookies. I suspect that halving the recipe might have brought on the tough cookies I experienced, so perhaps I'll try again!


March 27, 2008

Your smart & very beautiful book deserves an award. I am so proud that you have been recognized as a nominee...
The cookies, can you describe the taste? I imagine a slightly sweet, buttery shortbread crunch; which is enough, really. But the cacao nibs... do they taste of chocolate or coffee? Do they lend more crunch than flavor?
I have Alice’s book (all her books). My sweet tooth has turned me into a passionate baker... I am trying these days, not to put anything into my mouth unless it is good for my body. So this means whole grains in all my breads, cookies, muffins, etc. (and let us remind ourselves right now, that dark chocolate is loaded with good-for-you antioxidants).
Baking this way is wonderful, as everything tastes delicious and there is no guilt. Now I can eat a cookie because it is good for me....v


March 27, 2008

I love your recipes - very unique and innovative. We made your big sur powerbars for a camping trip last week, and they were still delicious even after eating them for 5 days in a row! Is there any way of getting nutrition info for your recipes?


March 27, 2008

I have to say I'm absolutely in love with your website!! These cookies look fantastic but I can't do dairy. Do you have an suggestions for substitutions for the butter?


March 27, 2008

Thanks again to everyone for the thoughtful notes about the Beard Award nomination!

A few quick notes about the recipes I feature here (I'm working on a FAQ, and will post this there as well). Although I'd love to be able to, I can't conceivably rework every recipe that is posted here to be gluten-free, low-fat, dairy-free, sugar-free, and on and on. I try to mention substitutions that I am very confident will work, but these recommendations aren't all-inclusive. I think I've mentioned before If you rework a recipe I post here and post it your site, I'd love to have a look and potentially link to you.

Re: nutrition info. I appreciate the requests re: nutritional information for each recipe. As I've mentioned before. I tend to think about my meals/snacks in broader stokes (and in context based on what I'm eating the rest of the day) - enough whole grains? enough protein? enough water? a nice range of color and types of fruits and vegetables? portion size reasonable? I'd rather have one or two small delicious butter-rich cookies like this, than think I can eat a plate of lower fat or "diet" versions. That being said, I do appreciate that others need/want to monitor different types of specific nutritional info. At this point, I think I want to leave it up to individuals to run recipes through whatever program they want to slice and dice the recipes (there are many programs out there available for download). This might change in the future.


March 27, 2008

i found cocao nibs at whole foods in a couple of different packages so if u have time look around the store to find the cheaper one (thats my motto)haha


March 27, 2008

LOL cookies lasting a month? adorable notion... I've never cooked with cocao nibs before... I can't wait!

I have one sweets recipe ahead on the list tho- stout cupcakes!



March 27, 2008

I can't wait to try out this recipe!! I love exploring & discovering different flavours & ingredients (though sometimes my family's tastebuds repel against them hee!) - as soon as I get my hands on them cocoa nibs! Thanks Heidi!


March 27, 2008

WOW. Lookes beautiful...But when can you get buckwheat flour in israel? I'll start looking!


Kamenskaya Polina
March 28, 2008

It looks prefect!
I try to make it on the holidays!
And what do you mean by all-proupouse flour?


Kitchen Goddess
March 28, 2008

I've a bag of buckwheat in my pantry, might just have to give these a go as they look divine.


March 28, 2008

After looking all over D.C. and not finding cacao nibs anywhere, I ended up buying them online here:

There are probably fancier ones out there but since I was trying them out for the first time, I didn't want to spend too much money. I haven't yet found buckwheat flour but it is on my list.


March 28, 2008

i just love your photos. you have a very clear style, and yet you always innovate and surprise me. i wish you would do some more posts about your photography workflow. i have tons of questions. do you have a concept before shooting, or do you find the shot while shooting ?do you style the food ? what sort of lighting setup do you use? and many more . . .


March 28, 2008

These look fantastic!

Sophie, I don't know which part of the UK you are in, but Fresh and Wild sell cacao nibs


March 28, 2008

those look just wonderful. buttery and flaky and...cannot describe any further. Have to bake them to find out more!


March 28, 2008

Can you use baking cocoa and finely chopped pecans in place of the cocoa nibs? They seem rather expensive to buy just for this one recipe! What do you think?


March 28, 2008

I love your recipes and your pictures !!!!
Bravo !


March 28, 2008

Those look absolutely incredible. I just found you through the d*S blog and I will be an avid reader hence forth :)


March 28, 2008

I have some cocoa nibs I purchased at Ah Cacao in Playa del Carmen. They are larger pieces so what is the best way to break them up for the cookie dough? I've never used them before.


March 28, 2008

just another thing to add to the to try out. looks so good


March 28, 2008

I've been thinking about buying the book for quite a while, now. These little things might just push me a little further Amazon action ;)


March 28, 2008

Where do I find cacao nibs? I've never even heard of them before (one of the things I *love* about your blog).


March 28, 2008

Congrats on being a James Beard award finalist Heidi!! :) :)

These look addictively yummy. No doubt between me and the kids... they wouldn't last an hour. MAX!

Heather--I've seen cacao nibs at more gourmet grocery stores and places like Whole Foods. You can buy them online, of course... I know Scharfen Berger makes them. Um... try the King Arthur Flour Company's Baker's Catalog. :)


March 29, 2008

Congradulations on the James Beard nomination!!! My dad use to fix us buckwheat pancakes on the weekends, they were so good. Never thought about using it in cookies, till now. Thanks!!!


Life Chef
March 29, 2008

Congrats on the JBA nom! Well deserved. I also read "nibbly" where "nibby" is typed. LOL. Works both ways I suppose. I recently threw dark chocolate nibs into a little no-cook snack to quell the 2 p.m. energy lull that hits a lot of us. A simple and sweet bag-and-go mix with toasted almonds and banana chips.


March 29, 2008

For those with a Vita-Mix you can grind your own buckwheat flour from the whole kernels.

The cookies look just gorgeous, Heidi! I look forward to trying them, but will experiment with the amount of butter by combining with a good oil, something I often do......a good way to keep the butter flavor while reducing the amount.

Congratulations on the JB nomination, Heidi.



March 29, 2008

your pictures are always so perfect. just wanted to let you know how much i enjoy your blog; i tried the black bean brownies this week and they were fantastic (except I used banana instead of butter; they came out quite yum).


March 30, 2008

I will never tell you enough how much i like your blog, your book and your cuisine! You are always a source of inspiration for me!


March 30, 2008

I made them and they are extremely scrumptious, I am thinking the next time finely chopped walnuts or pecans might be nice. Thank you for sharing this.


White On Rice Couple
March 30, 2008

Alice's cookbook is fantastic and so are your results! It's always great to have satisfying and simple cookie recipes .


March 31, 2008

Sur La Table carries cacao nibs online and in their stores.
These cookies are worth the search!


March 31, 2008

Hi all,

Scharffenberger sells reasonably priced cocoa nibs -- available at most Whole Foods Market grocery stores and the Scharffenberger website.


March 31, 2008

I made these yesterday and they are amazing. It's good that I only made a half batch, I couldn't stop 'nibbling'. Heh. I couldn't find nibs but I did find a bar of Ghirardelli 100% cacao, so I whizzed a few squares in the food processor until it was nib-like and used that, and the results were delicious.


March 31, 2008

I love buckwheat and I love butter cookies, so when I saw this recipe I had to try it. I didn't have cacao nibs, so I made the majority of them plain, I tried some with chocolate chips and some with dried cranberries and they were all good. I think the chocolate chip ones were my favorite though. I made them 2 days ago and they still taste wonderful. I like crispy cookies, so if you slice them really thin, they are really crispy. Also, if you want pretty shapes from the sliced roll instead of having to roll them out, put them in a flower or heart shaped, etc., bread pan when you put them in the refrigerator. Thanks for an inspiring and thought provoking website Heidi! Please put more of your simple recipes of whole grains, especially side dishes. I love the ease and use of not so well known ingredients and whole grains.


March 31, 2008

I love cookies but not all of them! I would be interested in these though. They look good! Also being a personel friend of Heidi's I make these all the time for my kids. I just never had the guts to try them. There is a first time for everything!


March 31, 2008

Yay! I can finally use all of the buckwheat flour I thought I'd use to make buckwheat pancakes over and over again, but never did. These look simple and delicious! Thank you for sharing:)


April 1, 2008

Found the buckwheat flour, found the cacao nibs and have made these. The buckwheat flour gave an excellent texture and I will definitely use it again in baking and thank you for introducing me to it. The cacao nibs I think were a waste of time, effort, and money. They were hard to find, expensive and 1/3 cup was not enough to make any impression. Next time I shall use some good quality choc bits and double the amount. Thanks


April 1, 2008

I think most health food stores would sell cacao nibs. The kind I have most regularly seen are by Dagoba Organic Chocolate. They have a website:

As for the people interested in a gluten free version--buy your flour at the health food store and you'll be set! A personal favourite is Bob's Red Mill. I don't know of a website, but they are located out of Milwaukie, Oregon.

Good Luck! and I look forward to making the cookies!

Oh! and stevia can always be substituted for sugar.


April 1, 2008

I made these but used finely chopped baker's chocolate instead of the nibs and they turned out great! Surely a different cookie, but delicious just the same. Almost all of them were devoured by friends when I met them for board games tonight.

I'm extremely pleased to have found such a wonderful recipe that uses buckwheat!