Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies Recipe

Alice Medrich's twist on a traditional butter cookie recipe from her latest book, Pure Dessert. She uses a knock-out blend of all-purpose and buckwheat flours.

Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies

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.

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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.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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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


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.


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!

Angel in Alabama

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.

M Kenyon II

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


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


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. beautiful...

Claudia (cook eat FRET)

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


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?


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.


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!


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)


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.


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


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.


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?


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.


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


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


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