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


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.


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


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


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?


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


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


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 . . .


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.


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

Kitchen Goddess

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

Kamenskaya Polina

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


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!


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! Teddy


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


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.


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?


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?


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


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!


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