These cookies. They are crowd-pleasers in the “everyone-can-eat-them-and-boy-howdy-everyone-will” kind of way. They are gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, and soy-free. Whenever we have a gluten-averse guest I make these cookies, and they are usually gone by breakfast the next day (yes, we sometimes eat cookies for breakfast in my household – it is judgement-free zone).
It’s been just a little over three months ago since the boyf and I were standing in the Toronto airport with a suitcase each and our cat, Boots, in a carrier, all set to move from southern Ontario to Winnipeg. Among the tightly rolled pencil skirts and blouses, I tucked in my favourite mug (bought at the institutional Honest Ed’s) and a pair of brass owls. The rest of our housewares – what little mismatched pieces we had to begin with – were given to friends, lent to my brother, or squirrelled away in garages. Jake had a job lined up and a mother and aunt waiting for him, who had arranged for us to house-sit for the summer, instead of stressing about finding an apartment right away.
The house, as it turns out, is a Classic Canadian Beast, built in 1921, with original windows, fireplaces, and deep red carpeting. The kitchen was renovated in the 80’s, and has clearly been put to good use, feeding a family of six.
Kitchens, and all the stuff that comes in them, are deeply unique to people that use them. This is a pretty obvious statement – if the kitchen is the heart of the home (and it is, only dummies think it isn’t), then it is also the home at its purest, at it’s most concentrated.It’s practical, but filled with objects that hold greater emotional purpose than their function alone. Which makes cooking in a stranger’s kitchen a little alienating. You’re unprepared for all the quirks in equipment they know how to navigate by extinct; you don’t know why that ladle only has half a handle, but you’re sure it’s being kept around for good reason; you have to adjust to the weight of a different bowl in your arms as you mix ingredients stored in someone else’s pantry.
These Salted Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies can be baked in nearly any kitchen, and can be eaten nearly any one (chocolate haters to the left). They don’t need much in the way of supplies or wares – not a mixer or cookie cutters – just a bowl, an oven, a sheet, and the dough is somehow better when mixed with bare hands instead of with a spoon. They are gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and vegan, so all are welcome to partake. They don’t need much, but they’re cakey and comforting and easy to share.
- 2 tbsp flax meal
- 6 tbsp warm water
- 1 1/2 c cane sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 3/4 c grapeseed oil
- 1.5 c buckwheat flour
- 1 c brown rice flour
- 1/3 c cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp finely ground coffee or instant coffee (optional, but tasty)
- 1/4 c warm water
- 1.5 cs chocolate chips
- course sea salt or kosher salt (flakes or chunks, for finishing)
- Preheat oven to 375º F and prep two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flax meal and 6 tbsp warm water and let sit until thickened, about 5 minutes. This is your flax “egg.”
- In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and oil, until sugar is partially dissolved. Add in the flax egg and beat more, until slightly frothy.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, including optional coffee grounds but excluding the finishing salt, and chocolate chips. Add to wet ingredients and mix sparingly, adding remaining 1/4 cup of water if/as needed. Dough should be thick, and you may need to use your hands to work in remaining flour without over-mixing.
- With slightly wet hands, take a small handful of dough (about 2-3 tbsp) and form into a disc, flattening slightly. Once you have twelve cookies to a sheet, sprinkle each with finishing salt (to taste) and pat into dough, slightly, flattening a little further. The cookies don't spread much during baking, so they do benefit from being pressed down.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheets until the cookies have firmed up enough to be moved, then transfer to wire rack, or plate for enjoying immediately.
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