I’ll keep this one short and sweet because I managed to catch some seasonal bug and with it, the characteristic delirium one feels when their skull is on the verge of a viscous and verdant explosion. (So uhh, who wants a cookie? 🤓)
The recipe for these salty, citrusy double chocolate buckwheat cookies comes from Alanna‘s new cookbook (!!!), Alternative Baker (can you tell I’ve been excited for it?). I’ve taken a tiny turn from the recipe in the book: where Alanna uses the zest of a bergamot orange to add a fresh, intensely flavorful edge (think Earl Grey) on brownie-like chocolate cookies (she recommends using orange if you can’t access fresh bergamot) I decided to go a slightly different route. I love the pairing of buckwheat + chocolate + salt and thought that whole flavor vibe might take on an interesting shape with the sassy bitterness of grapefruit. And it did. It’s dark, pleasingly bitter, and complex, which I find welcome for such a rich cookie.
salted grapefruit double chocolate buckwheat cookies
makes about 30 2-inch cookies.
6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60–70% cacao mass), chopped (about 2¼ cups), plus several chunks for the tops of the cookies
1 1/2 teaspoons packed finely grated grapefruit (or orange, or bergamot) zest
1/2 cup (65g) buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons (15g) tapioca flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (130g) cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
flaky salt such as Maldon, for the tops
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line 2 rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Place the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over the lowest possible heat. Add 8 ounces (230g) of the chocolate, and the citrus zest and melt together, stirring frequently to prevent the chocolate from scorching. Continue cooking until the mixture is pleasantly warm, but not super hot, to the touch. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Sift the buckwheat flour, tapioca flour and baking powder into a small bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, place the eggs, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is very light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and stir in the vanilla until just combined, then the warm chocolate butter mixture. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a flexible silicone spatula to fold in the remaining 4 ounces (115g) chopped chocolate.
If the batter is very runny, let it cool for a few minutes until it firms to the consistency of a thick brownie batter. Use a #40 spring-loaded ice cream scoop or 2 spoons to drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Top each cookie with a few chunks of chocolate and a few flecks of flaky salt.
Bake the cookies until puffed and cracked and the edges are set, 8–12 minutes, rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Let cool on the pans. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. The cookies are best the day of baking but will keep, airtight at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
This recipe is a tiny twist on the Double Chocolate Buckwheat Bergamot Cookies from Alternative Baker by Alanna Taylor Tobin. Grapefruit zest and sea salt balance the richness of the chocolate for an intensely flavorful brownie-like cookie that happens to be grain- and gluten-free.
The recipe (and do many from the book) calls for a stand mixer, which I don’t have. I used a whisk to beat and a wooden spoon to stir. It works, just as it has for the other recipes I’ve tried.
The grapefruits I had weren’t the most zestable things, so I supplemented with a little orange zest to get to a total of 1 1/2 teaspoons. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t added the orange because its flavor masked the subtle complexity and wonderful, soft bitterness of the grapefruit. Take what you will from that.
I was achingly tempted to substitute olive oil for a third of the butter called for, because I was intrigued by the potential combination of olive oil + grapefruit + buckwheat + chocolate, but I chickened out at the last minute. When I make these again, I’ll try it, but if you beat me to it, let me know how it turns out.
Since they’re made with buckwheat (not actually related to wheat) and tapioca flours, these cookies also happen to be grain-free. In fact, every recipe in the book is gluten-free, but it’s easy to forget that’s the case. That’s a feat in itself. So many “gluten-free baking” recipes circulating around seem to attract merit by simply functioning, and what comes with many recipes of that ilk are unpleasant aftertastes from beany flours, or strange gastrointestinal symptoms from gums and starches. Not so with Alanna’s recipes. There’s no miracle, all-purpose flour blend meant desperately to emulate wheat. No teaspoons of xanthan gum or requisite prayers to the gluten-free gods the doughs and batters will hold together. Beyond being well tested and reliable, every damn recipe in the book is a polished, intentional, and artful composition that highlights the unique flavors and textures of alternative flours.
Other incidentally grain-free offerings from the book:
- Chestnut (or Buckwheat, or Teff) Brownies
- Mesquite Chocolate Cakes w/ Whipped Creme Fraiche and Raspberries
Just some of the recipes I intently considered breaking my current grain-free stint with:
- Apple Cranberry Pomegranate Crisp w/ Brown Sugar Teff Streusel
- Grapefruit & Elderflower Curd Tart
- Chestnut Roulade Cake w/ Rum, Mascarpone, and Roasted Pears
- Chocolate Zucchini Cake w/ Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Cranberry Nut and Seed Loaf
- Chocolate Bergamot Truffle Tart w/ Olive Oil and Flaky Salt
- Roasted Banana Teff Scones w/ Muscovado Sugar Glaze
And some of my favorites from recipe testing while this book was still in development [and for which I crave more reasons to make again (despite my general grumbliness about baking)]:
- Meyer Lemon Bars w/ Vanilla Almond Crust
- Chewy Double Ginger Mesquite Cookies
Pick up a copy of Alternative Baker on Amazon or wherever else. Happy baking!