Tells a story


Buckwheat Shortbread Cookies - Sables

Posted on December 26, 2010 at 11:05 AM

This is the first holiday in years that I got myself into baking.  Usually I do one dessert during the holidays, which is Tart Tatin and I rarely get around to baking others.  But I have a sudden desire to bake.

I used to bake butter cookies regularly for my Dad in Japan. I would air mail it to him from LA  but in recent years, he has cut back on eating rich cookies and noone in my household eats sweets except me.  That slowed me down.  Still, if you bake cookies, I find you can always find someone to share them with.

I got motivated to bake cookies this season because I am looking for ways to use buckwheat flour.  With so much fresh buckwheat flour around the house for making soba noodles  (I have one refreigerator full), I though I could make other things with it.

Plus during the holiday season, sent me some fresh Tartary buckwheat to try. I was thrilled. Unlike the standard buckwheat flour, Tartary buckwheat flour has a slight bitterness in flavor. In Asia, this particular brand of buckwheat is prized for its high " content.

Back to baking cookies. I found a buckwheat sable recipe in website which really appealed to me.  

The original recipe calls for buckwheat flour, butter, sugar, salt and orange water. I didn't have orange water so I used milk instead. Milled buckwheat is almost tremulous in its delicacy,  as Ansen Mills explains. A few ounces of all-purpose flour is added to provide structure and shape to the gluten free dough.  

These cookies came out  strikingly nutty and fragrant, with bran flecks against a mustardy yellow hue. I used small cookie cutters.  I think the dough holds together better when they are cut small.   I took the cookies to my buckwheat farmers and friends in East Washington and served them at at the buckwheat dinner event. Everyone loved it.  


Recipe (Inspired by Ansen Mills Buckwheat Sables)

1 cup  Anson Mills Rustic Aromatic Buckwheat Flour or Tartany Buckwheat Flour

3/4 cup  unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup hand milled buckwheat flour or regular buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder (optional)

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

8 ounces  unsalted butter, room temperature

9 tablespoons (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) Demerara granulated sugar for the recipe, plus additional for rolling the raw cookies

2 teaspoons milk



1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Sift the flours, salt, and baking powder into a bowl to combine.


3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in the bowl of  until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light. Add the milk. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the batter.  


3. To shape the cookies: Roll bits of dough—about 2 teaspoons, or, if you have a kitchen scale, 0.3 ounces— lightly between your palms to form baseball size balls. Roll each ball flat and use a cookie cutter to make shapes.  Sprinkle Demerara sugar on top.  Bake the cookies, until golden brown on the edges and bottoms, about 10-12 minutes.


Makes about sixty 2 1/2-inch cookies







Categories: Dessert , Baking

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Reply yves seban
11:56 AM on January 3, 2011 
I will try to bake these cookies now. IT's my first ever attempt at baking anything, which I always thought was my mother's domain.
Btw, the linen fabric background of your site makes me think of what Ozu used as the background for the credits of his films, except his linen was coarser and darker, I think. Am I right?
Reply Amy san
9:59 AM on December 27, 2010 
Sounds so delicious. Happy Holidays to you and your family.