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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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!


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.


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


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:)


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!


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.


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.


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


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


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