For fellow tea drinkers, whose days, like mine, are punctuated by a regular schedule of steaming, life-giving brew, this recipe might be of interest. There is something especially comforting about a hot cup of tea or coffee break where we can slow down, let our minds relax for a moment, and connect with our bodies and ourselves for a moment. A mindful and calming snack can be all that we need to take us through the morning or afternoon.
My husband is particularly fond of these cookies, though I call them biscuits because they really are like a shortbread or maybe a very sweet digestive cracker that goes well with tea. It also sounds cute! They taste, to quote my beloved cookie-critic, "like buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup but in cookie form". Extra nuttiness comes from the sunflower seeds, which go really nicely with buckwheat, and a buttery richness is supplied by virgin coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is a must in many of my baked goods, cookies, and cakes, adding a simply incomparable burst of flavor.
Moderation, of course, is of the essence. I don't make baked sweets that often, but I have several excellent recipes in which I wouldn't substitute virgin coconut oil with anything else. My motto (a la Michael Pollan) is: Eat a balanced diet, eat loads of veggies, fruits and legumes, eat the grains that suit you, eat good quality meats and cheeses in moderation if you are omnivorous, use unprocessed oils as much as possible, and go for flavor when you have those little sweet bites! Never sacrifice flavor or you will feel deprived and unsatiated. Yes, you can have it all-In moderation that is!
This dough is a straight up, one bowl mixing affair. Bring the dough together with a spatula or large spoon, turn it out onto a floured surface, knead slightly with flour dusted hands, and that's it. The only trick to these cookies involves a quick trip to refrigerator. Since this dough is uber soft, it needs to be rolled on parchment, on the baking pan, then chilled in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Then it can be cut into crisp shapes which can be positioned on the pan.
It's always nice to have some fresh baked goods for those times when sweet friends or family are coming for a visit. Happily, this dough freezes well if you want to make a double batch and freeze half. When you want to use the dough, thaw it on the counter, roll it when it is soft, and continue with the recipe. When freezing the dough, it may be helpful if it is flattened to about an inch to allow it to thaw quickly and evenly.
Roll the soft dough to 1/4 inch thick on parchment and on the sheet pan, trim the edges (or not, for my type B friends), refrigerate, cut into desired shapes, space the cookies and bake! I chose an air pan, that is a pan that has two layers separated by an air space. I find this useful for more delicate, quick cooking thin cookies that could burn or brown too much on the bottom, but your favorite sheet pan will do. What to do with those little trimmed edges you ask? Well, you eat them as soon as they are cooled while you are putting away the cookies. This is a critical part of the process.
There will only be minimal browning around the edges, and they will only ever-so slightly puff up, so these indicators are not good measures for when they are done. They will, however, begin to exude a toasty, sweet smell about two minutes before they are done. I would stick to the 14 minute time frame at 350. They bake fast and you don't want to over cook them.
Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring them to a container. These are delicate little creatures, but so delicious. Did I mention they are gluten free? I guess you figured that out by now. Enjoy!
Buckwheat Sunflower Seed Tea Biscuits
- 1/3 C raw or toasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1 C buckwheat flour plus extra for dusting
- 1/4 C maple syrup
- 1/2 C virgin coconut oil, soft
- 1/2 Tsp sea salt
- 1/4 Tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If using untoasted sunflower seeds, toast them in a dry pan over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown. Even if using toasted sunflower seeds, I like to toast them briefly until they are glossy and aromatic. Remove them from the pan and when they are cool, pulse them in a food processor to small, sand and pebble consistency, meaning some larger chunks will remain among the finer ground bits.
Combine the sunflower seeds, buckwheat flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and stir together until evenly mixed. This is a very thick and sticky dough and I would describe the mixing as more of a "squishing" together...use your hands too, they work well in this case.
Flour a work surface with a little extra buckwheat flour and turn the dough out, kneading and shaping just enough to make a smooth ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly dusted parchment on a sheet pan and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Dust your rolling pin too in order to reduce sticking. Cover the dough with parchment or plastic and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
When the dough is chilled, trim the edges and cut the dough in to desired shapes. I keep the cookies no larger than 1 inch wide and maybe 2 inches long because they are very delicate and break easily when handled if they are larger. Bake for 14 minutes and allow them to cool completely on the sheet pan. Remove to a an airtight container. Don't forget to eat the little trimmings!
The cookies will keep for several weeks in an airtight container.
Yield: Approx. 24-26 one inch cookies, depending on the shape.