I’ve always had an affinity for whole grains. I use all-purpose flour frequently in baking, but I like the hearty taste of whole-grains, such as whole-wheat flour in croissants and polenta in crisp topping, in spite of regular surveillance by the authenticity police. My argument back is that most things, like croissants and baguettes, were likely made with flour that was closer to whole grain flour than the refined flour that’s used today. So adding whole-grains to pastries may make them taste closer to the original versions, than the ones we make today.

In addition to winning an argument, chocolate chip cookies get a win from the addition from what are now called “alternative” flours, such as buckwheat flour, which is popular in France due to it being an essential ingredient in French traditional dishes like kig ha farz and galettes (buckwheat crêpes). Since I always have a sack on hand, when writing my book, L’appart, I dipped into my bag of farine de sarrasin, also called blé noir, or black flour, to come up with a recipe for buckwheat chocolate cookies that I can’t stop making…and eating.

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One my favorites, of all French pastries, is the financier. Enriched with nuts, and moistened with butter, almost every bakery you go into has them. They come in different sizes, shapes, and even flavors; almond is the most popular, but you’ll sometimes come across financiers made with ground hazelnuts or pistachios. I like them all. There are a few theories how this mini-gâteau got its curious name….

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  December I’ll be heading by train to Boston (yay – no airports!), for an appearance at Milk Street cooking school with Chris Kimball. That event is sold-out but there’s an open-to-all event at Flour Bakery + Café in Cambridge on December 13th with owner/baker Joanne Chang. If you plan to come, please RSVP so they know how many people to expect. On December 19th at 7pm,…

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I recently did an event with Deb Perelman for our new books, L’appart and Smitten Kitchen Every Day. We’d both been traveling around, and not one, not two…but three times, we were in the same city at the same time, but didn’t see each other. One night, I was having dinner by myself before an event and after a two-hour slog through traffic, I needed a…

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When I come to the states, with apologies to all who’ve urged me to check out a croissant, Kouign amann, or macaron shop, since I can get all those things pretty easily in France, I tend to stick with local favorites. I don’t think anyone from San Francisco is coming to Paris for a burrito, nor in anyone flying over from Brooklyn in search of…

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I’ve got a number of chocolate cakes in my repertoire, from a super-dense Chocolate Orbit Cake to soft, warm Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cakes, from My Paris Kitchen. And they all share one thing in common: a lot of chocolate. I’m not much for adding things that detract from the chocolate flavor, so I shy away from adding raspberries or other fruits and berries, or layering them…

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To celebrate the release of L’appart, and as a Thanksgiving week treat, Le Creuset is giving away a five-piece Signature set in Flame (my favorite color!) to a lucky reader. This Signature set includes a 5.5-quart Dutch oven and a 1 3/4-quart saucepan with lids, plus a 9-inch skillet. [UPDATE: The giveaway has ended. Thanks to those who participated and the winner will be contacted by…

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Before I left for my book tour, I put a few blog posts in the queue. But just a reminder to the rest of you, who are probably a little more organized than I am, that if you want to find something in your “cloud” later, you need to make sure you put it in there in the first place. D’oh! So while those posts…

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It’s that time of year again. And that only means one thing: time to start thinking about the holiday baking. In Paris, bakery windows fill up with Bûches de Noël (Yule log cakes) and bourriches (wooden crates) of oysters are piled up at the markets. The chocolate shops are crammed with people, buying multiple boxes as gifts, and people splurge on caviar and Champagne, one of the…

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