Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

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.

When I landed in the U.S. to begin my book tour, and baked a few batches to hand out, I was intrigued by American buckwheat flour, which some of us who bake on the other side of the Atlantic have been told is different than French buckwheat flour. But I wasn’t the only one baking them up.

The recipe started going viral, as favorite recipes often do, and my friend, Romina Rasmussen from Les Madeleines bakery in Salt Lake City (who gets props in L’appart for helping me rework my Kouign Amann for inclusion in the book, too), and posted them on Instagram.

I’d found that my buckwheat chocolate chip cookies, made in the U.S., were darker than the cookies I made in France. (Although Romina’s looked like a cross between the two.) A little research led to me learn that French buckwheat flour is refined whereas buckwheat flour in North America tends to be whole-grain. Well, most of the time.

Mardi Michaels, who lives in Canada, made them too. When I asked Mardi specifics on the buckwheat flour that she used (and people think I sit around all day, eating chocolate…), she kindly took a photo of the buckwheat flour sold in bulk at her natural foods store in Canada, which was just like the French (refined) buckwheat flour, although she noted that whole-grain buckwheat flour was also sold in bags from Bob’s Red Mill. So the plot – and the cookie dough – thickens.

As you can see, the French buckwheat flour, above, is more powdery, and lighter, than the darker whole-grain American buckwheat flour, below.

These were my buckwheat chocolate chip cookies made with French buckwheat flour…

And here are their American counterparts…

Note the two pictures were taken at different times, and in different light. But the whole-grain beauties are more rugged looking (and tasting) than their French counterparts. Thankfully, it’s just cookies, we’re not solving the world’s problems. But wouldn’t it be nice, if we could do so with desserts?

Rather than give a recipe that calls for every kind of buckwheat flour imaginable, which varies by country, I’m offering up a variation on the recipe in L’appart, if using whole-grain buckwheat flour and want the cookies a bit lighter, although I’ve given the proportions for the original recipe in the headnote to the recipe in case you either, 1) Are using French buckwheat flour, or 2) Like chocolate chip cookies with the assertive taste of buckwheat, and don’t mind the somewhat darker color that the higher amount of whole-grain buckwheat flour gives them.

For the record, I like them both and I’ve made so many batches, that my conclusion is that they are great either way.

Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
20-22 cookies
Adapted from L'appart (Crown Publishing)The following recipe is a happy medium between offering up the hearty taste of buckwheat, with the soft, moist chocolate chip cookie that we all know - and love! This recipe in the book uses 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, which I've made with the whole-grain buckwheat flour available in the States and I, and my taste-testers, loved them, as well as the version with French buckwheat flour.If using refined buckwheat flour, which has a lighter color than whole-grain buckwheat flour (which is usually listed on the label), and is the kind used in France (and isn't labeled as whole-grain), you can use:3/4 cup (110g) all-purpose flour 1/2 cup (75g) buckwheat flourIf you use roasted buckwheat groats in the cookies, make sure they are roasted buckwheat groats, which are also known as kasha. You can find them online or in well-stocked supermarkets and in natural foods stores. They can also be found in some tea stores or in Japanese markets, since they're used for making tea.Note that I like to refrigerate the dough overnight, which helps the ingredients meld together and makes the cookies chewier, but you can bake them right away if you can't wait.
1/2 cup (90g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (4 ounces, 115g) salted or unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (35g) whole-grain buckwheat flour (see headnote)
1/2 teaspsoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups (230g) coarsely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons roasted buckwheat groats or cocoa nibs (optional)
3/4 cup (75g) walnuts, almonds, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
flaky sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon
1. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and melted butter. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher or sea salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture.
3. Mix in the chopped chocolate (including any small bits of chocolate left on the cutting board), toasted buckwheat groats or cocoa nibs, if using, and nuts. Cover the bowl and chill overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Use a spring-loaded cookie/ice cream scoop, or your hands, to form 1 1/2-inch (4cm) balls of dough and place them evenly spaced (about 2 1/2-inchs/6cm) apart on the baking sheet. Slightly flatten the tops and sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt.
5. Bake the cookies until they just feel almost, but not quite, set in the center, and still soft, about 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets in the oven midway through baking. Remove the cookies from the oven and tap the top of each cookie lightly with a spatula, just once, to compact them slightly. Let cool.

Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days. The dough can be frozen for up to two months.

 

L'appart

A delicious take on the all-American classic chocolate chip cookie with the hearty flavor of buckwheat. From L'appart, the latest book by David Lebovitz.

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65 comments

  • December 11, 2017 3:23pm

    Oh wow these cookies look so rich, chocolatey and tasteful! I can’t wait to make them soon! I never tried buckwheat flour before, but these beautiful cookies make me wanna try it ASAP!

  • December 11, 2017 3:50pm

    Wow, these look incredible. I am not sure I would get any baked, since that dough looks pretty awesome. Though I did read that flour can carry E. coli and shouldn’t be eaten raw.
    Having a robust immune system, I will take my chances.

  • December 11, 2017 4:33pm

    These are going on the docket the next time the husband gets a craving for chocolate chip cookies! Looking forward to reading the book, as well :)

  • Jacqueline Schafer
    December 11, 2017 4:46pm

    I made buckwheat butter cookies yesterday and subbed orange flower water for the vanilla (because it’s crazy expensive lately). They had such complex flavor, so delish! I will definitely be trying these because I love the flavor buckwheat brings.
    This is the recipe I used for the butter cookies: http://pleasepassthepeas.com/buckwheat-butter-cookies/

  • Hillary
    December 11, 2017 4:48pm

    I’ve recently started substituting buckwheat flour for part of the regular flour in recipes because as I’m aging I’m finding that I have difficulty with foods with a high glycemic index. Buckwheat definitely gives its own flavor to a recipe – it’s not neutral like flour, so I definitely wouldn’t use it in a white cake or something like that, but in quickbreads and cookies like this it really brings a rustic and wholesome note.

    • Pru
      December 11, 2017 10:52pm

      I use all buckwheat flour in a fruit cake and its fine. The flour is light in texture.

  • Gina Bisaillon
    December 11, 2017 5:16pm

    Yes they look yummy – would anyone disagree? – but I wish people would write their comments after they make the recipe.

    • ramsay
      December 13, 2017 8:35am

      amen

  • Susan B.
    December 11, 2017 5:17pm

    I recently made your Buckwheat Chocolate Cake, using the American whole grain buckwheat, and it was delicious. I would say that the word “assertive” is a good one to describe the taste of buckwheat in the cake. Very much a grown up chocolate cake.

  • December 11, 2017 5:51pm

    Hello David, There is another type of buckwheat flour that is not mentioned in most cook books and columns. That is unless you Iive in the north of New England, Québec or the maritimes of Canada. It is sometimes called “Acadian buckwheat” or light buckwheat, and is much lighter for two reasons. First, it is a completely different variety that what most people have had, and secondly, the husks are removed prior to grinding. The resulting flour is a light blond color, and absolutely wonderful to cook with. I get mine from the Bouchard Family Farms. I included a link below. (You can leave that out, if you want to avoid appearing like you are promoting a particular product, but it is a staple for me.) Thanks you for your wonderful columns.

    • Martha
      December 11, 2017 6:59pm

      Thanks. I just Googled it and was able to order a bag to try.

  • Annette
    December 11, 2017 5:57pm

    Ah ha! Now I know what I’m going to do with that bag of farine de sarrasin I brought home from Paris last time…

  • LKR
    December 11, 2017 6:03pm

    these look so good…i make a similar cookie made with finely milled chestnut flour. Thanks for sharing this recipe –

  • December 11, 2017 6:21pm

    Thank you for the buckwheat recipe, David!
    My health food store grinds the buckwheat while I wait, so I have freshly milled whole grain flour to bake your cookies. Thank you again!

  • Lou
    December 11, 2017 6:28pm

    I love all of your recipes..:)) my favourite is the Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip cookie.
    Everyone at the bakery where I work go crazy over them!
    I will give these a try though.
    Please keep the recipes coming..:))
    Lou, Pastrychef in Canada

  • Linda Shetzer
    December 11, 2017 9:34pm

    Hi David, We are expecting a huge snowstorm overnight and into tomorrow. I am looking forward to baking and watching the snow fall! I do not have buckwheat flour in my house, but do have a box of kasha to make kasha and bowties. Could I grind that up to use as flour? Thanks so much.

  • Fio
    December 11, 2017 9:35pm

    Daveeeeed, please make more videos recipes!! I would live to see the tapping of the cookies (but just once) in action!
    Thank you for all you do!

  • Candace
    December 11, 2017 10:25pm

    Just made these, and they are delicious! I used 1/2 cup American buckwheat and 3/4 cup AP flour, and I loved the flavor. The toasted pecans and chocolate nibs contribute greatly. Wonderful recipe!
    Thank you.

  • Candace
    December 11, 2017 10:31pm

    BTW, I noticed that the light buckwheat flour, mentioned in the comment by Stan, is actually available on Amazon.

  • june2
    December 11, 2017 11:24pm

    I adore the full flavor of the darker buckwheat flavor, particularly with chocolate so that’s what I will be using. Thank you David, for this awesome holiday gift recipe!

  • December 12, 2017 12:09am

    Since I’ve had so much buckwheat around the house, I’ve been baking it in everything. Now I obviously need to try this version too!

  • Susan Harris
    December 12, 2017 1:47am

    I’m looking forward to trying these. Have you heard of Sister Pie in Detroit? She makes amazing buckwheat cookies.

  • Erik
    December 12, 2017 12:28pm

    I’ve been making some version of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for about 30 years now with NO wheat flour. My favorite back home was spelt flour due to the higher protein content. I’m currently living in Paris and don’t have access to my usual variety of bulk flour bins I used to love back in San Francisco, so buckwheat might have to work for me! But you’re right … the buckwheat over here isn’t quite as “rustic” as in the US, but it does make great galettes, which I cook at home about once a week. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Donna
    December 12, 2017 4:28pm

    I’ve recently discovered untoasted buckwheat flour and will make these cookies ASAP. Please take serious note about American style buckwheat flour: most of it is TOASTED, even when not noted as such on the package. I can only describe its flavor as harsh, acrid and burnt. Bouchard Farms untoasted buckwheat flour makes delicious Acadian pancakes. My Dutch friend recognizes its flavor from Poffertjes. We need to reclaim this delicious, healthy flour, UNTOASTED.

  • Judith
    December 12, 2017 7:08pm

    David, Thank you & Romina Rasmussen so much for the buckwheat flour info! Ready to make these cookies!
    Awhile back I made Galettes Completes from ‘My Paris Kitchen’ and while they weren’t as golden and lacy as the photos, I was kinda scratching my head as to how different they turned out. Good to know about the buckwheat flour differences Thanks again!

  • December 13, 2017 1:52pm

    Buckwheat chocolate chip cookies are my favorites! I am from Brittany, France, so I am kind of obsessed with Buckwheat flour… you recipe looks great, I will definitely try it ! ( and L’Appart is on my Christmas list ….)

  • Marlee
    December 13, 2017 4:55pm

    Hi I have a question. In the list of ingredients it shows 1/4c buckwheat flour but when you reference it in the header, you are saying 1/2c buckwheat flour. Which one of those is correct?

    • December 13, 2017 5:31pm
      David Lebovitz

      In the headnote, as a variation, it mentions that if using refined (lighter) buckwheat flour, you can use 1/2 cup of it. But in the recipe, if using whole-grain buckwheat flour (which is darker, and heavier) you can use the 1/4 cup amount. Note that in both instances, the amount of all-purpose flour is different.

      Some people do like the heartier flavor of whole-grain buckwheat flour, so you’re welcome to use the 1/2 cup measurement in the actual recipe, with 3/4 cup all-purpose flour. The measurements in the headnote are simply a variation.

  • December 13, 2017 10:50pm

    I just made them to distract me, while waiting for important news.

    They are out of this world!

    Great, reliable recipe and I’m telling myself that the buckwheat and walnuts make them healthy.

  • june2
    December 13, 2017 11:42pm

    Also, fyi, for those with access to US style bulk bins it is easy to find raw, untoasted buckwheat groats and use a blender (not a processor) to powder them into flour, one cup at a time. It works perfectly. I also do it with coconut flakes (toasted or plain) to make coconut flour. It seems to taste fresher that way!

    • Julie
      January 4, 2018 5:30pm

      Excellent idea, June2! I’m going to try this.

  • December 14, 2017 6:36pm

    Wow, these look so delicious!! I’m definitely going to try it myself later this week. My fiancee loves homemade cookies, so I’ll surprise him with a batch of these. Thanks!

  • gfy
    December 16, 2017 11:29pm

    Have you experimented with hydrating cookie dough over a couple days to improve them? I’d love to understand more about hydrated doughs, what it does to improve pastries (and pizza dough) and when to do it. Thanks! This dough is in the fridge chilling before I portion it out and I can’t wait to taste them as I love that buckwheat flavor. I’m using dark, american buckwheat flour and org. whole wheat since that’s what’s in the cupboard!

  • Yesmin
    December 17, 2017 7:05pm

    Hi David,

    Your recipes are always spot on and always a hit with family and friends. I am hoping you would do more creations with palm sugar. I wanted to ask a question on substitutions for Dulce de Leche. Can palm sugar replace it? For example, like your Dulce de Leche cheesecake? I have gotten hold of some nice ones from Malacca and was thinking of making a palm sugar-based cheesecake.

    • December 17, 2017 9:16pm
      David Lebovitz

      Palm sugar isn’t as creamy (when melted) as dulce de leche but for my dulce de cheesecake recipe, it might work because of the other ingredients in the recipe. You might need to add a bit more cream to the dulce de leche topping, is using palm sugar, though. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

      (I do have a recipe for Palm Sugar Custard in Room for Dessert, although the book is unfortunately out of print.)

  • Dan
    December 18, 2017 1:53am

    Wow David, these are killer!! I used to make your peanut butter caramel cookies for Xmas for my coworkers but I just whipped up a few batches of these and they’ll be my standard holiday cookie going forward. They are just as impressive as the others but far easier to make. The cocoa nibs are a great touch, wouldn’t skip those! Have a fab holiday season!!

  • Andy Reilly
    December 18, 2017 5:55am

    I recently made brownies with tahini swirl. When I got to the bottom of the page for these cookies I saw your recipe for Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini cookies. It’s fate: I need to try combining the two cookie recipes! I will be sure to report back on how it goes…

  • Mouse
    December 18, 2017 5:10pm

    Has anyone tried these with GF flour?

    • Maureen
      December 18, 2017 10:44pm

      Yes, came out great, just sub a GF flour mix straight across.

  • Maureen
    December 18, 2017 10:44pm

    I just made these with a gluten free substitute for the flour. They are awesome.

  • Sherri
    December 19, 2017 5:29am

    Thanks for these David they are amazing! Bonus; I had all the ingredients on hand. My did spread quite a bit more, like a standard chocolate chip cookie. Any guesses as to why?
    Thanks!
    Sherri

    • December 19, 2017 2:36pm
      David Lebovitz

      Overbeating the batter will cause spreading. Usually that happens with a stand mixer; people beat the heck out of cookie doughs, adding air, which causes cookies to spread. You may have also mismeasured a bit. You can see Romina’s picture in the post (and Mardi’s, which is linked) and neither spread, nor did mine, so that may be a reason. Hope that helps!

      • Sherri
        January 3, 2018 5:52am

        Thank you for the tips! I try again…more carefully this time

  • gfy
    December 19, 2017 11:49pm

    Made these yesterday and they are delicious. I made vegan substitutions by using aquafaba for eggs (1/4 cup per egg), and using homemade vegan aquafaba ‘butter’, (recipe on google). I also used whole wheat flour along with the buckwheat as that’s all I had yet they were still tender and crisp in all the right places. A keeper, says my mother ; )

    • December 20, 2017 2:57pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for letting us know they work for vegans : )

  • Amy
    December 21, 2017 9:04pm

    Hi David, I’ve already made these twice since last week, and have been giving them out to rave reviews! In fact between eating and giving them out I was forced to make that second batch right away : ) . A friend said they were finger-licking good and I think everyone agrees. I used Guittard bittersweet chocolate and the new crop of pecans from Sunnyland Farms, and they are addicting! Thanks again for a great recipe that will now be the penultimate holiday chocolate chip! Happy New Year!

    • December 21, 2017 11:27pm
      David Lebovitz

      You’ve made them almost as many times as I have. Glad you’re enjoying the cookies! (And you’re sharing them with friends…)

  • December 24, 2017 2:27am

    I made these for Christmas, for us (with almonds and kasha) and already regret that I made only half a batch.
    Next time I would use a bit less sugar, though.

  • Luiza
    December 30, 2017 7:16pm

    Hello,
    Sorry to be a pain, but could these be made with baking soda only ( as opposed to baking soda plus powder).
    Many thanks,
    Luiza

    • December 30, 2017 8:27pm
      David Lebovitz

      I haven’t tried it but yes, it’s likely you can. The normal substitution is 1 teaspoon baking powder = 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. If you try it, let me know how they work out. Note that baking soda is salty so you may want to reduce the salt as well.

      • Luiza
        December 31, 2017 12:24am

        Many thanks. Will do! Happy New Year and thank you for all the deliciousness you share!

  • Lynne
    January 2, 2018 5:18am

    These cookies were the hit of the holiday season. I will be making these over and over. The buckwheat flour added the crumb you want and the chunked chocolate and pecans overflowing in each cookie was wonderful.

  • Lucy
    January 3, 2018 1:40pm

    I just moved to France and wanted to know what you use in France for the brown sugar noted in this recipe? I am a little lost

    • January 3, 2018 2:35pm
      David Lebovitz

      Check my post American Baking in Paris for ingredients substitutions and equivalents.

    • Abby
      January 8, 2018 1:26am

      Not sure where in France you are but I was just in Avignon and spotted both dark and light brown sugar at a place that called itself a health food store (ironically). So make sure you check all sorts of random stores because you can certainly find brown sugar in France! I live in Switzerland and can find it in Denner here.

  • Linda
    January 4, 2018 12:53am

    These cookies go right to the top of my list. They give the taste buds a lasting little hug. I’ve made them with walnuts and with pecans, great with either. And I use the buckwheat buds.

    PS. Still looking for the best Jewish apple cake recipe

  • Liz
    January 5, 2018 5:58am

    Just made these and love them! I’m curious as to why you melt the butter first. I don’t think I’ve seen that in a chocolate chip cookie recipe before. Is it to avoid beating in air?
    (I only refrigerated the dough for 2 hours and they came out great. I’m freezing half the dough for another day.)

    • January 5, 2018 3:02pm
      David Lebovitz

      Melting the butter helps saturate the flour and makes chewier cookies.

      • Liz
        January 5, 2018 6:43pm

        Good to know, thanks!

  • Shira
    January 6, 2018 10:00pm

    Since moving to Paris in August I’m appreciating your recipes and stories more than ever. These cookies are a hit with my family. They are the perfect consistency for ice cream sandwiches! I can’t wait to try them with American buckwheat flour. Your soupe a l’onion and gateaux au chocolat were amazing as well. I’m enjoying working my way through your recipes and restaurant recommendations, thanks!

    • Shira McKernan
      January 9, 2018 12:56pm

      I was anxious to try these cookies with the whole grain buckwheat flour and I think I found some at Monoprix in the natural section. Farine complete de sarrasin, from Mon Fournil. Have you tried that? I’m hoping that it is closer to the American version so I can compare.

      • Shira McKernan
        January 9, 2018 1:05pm

        Sorry, one more question before this post closes! I also found sarrasin (not ground into flour) in the bulk bin in the same Monoprix so I got some hoping I can use it for the three TBS of roasted buckwheat groats in the recipe. Is there any way I can tell if it’s roasted? It was just listed as sarrasin.

  • Candace
    January 9, 2018 10:34pm

    I have made these with both American buckwheat and the finer, lighter buckwheat from Canada that commenter Stan mentioned (and I purchased on Amazon.) Difference is just as David describes it. I think I might prefer the American buckwheat, because I enjoy the whole grain and more assertive flavor. But the refined buckwheat makes delicious cookies too! Perhaps better for people who aren’t so sure about buckwheat in their cookies or think that chocolate chip cookies should not be tampered with. It almost doesn’t even taste like buckwheat — just a little extra interesting taste, as though you added something mysterious but good.

    • Candace
      January 9, 2018 10:37pm

      BTW I use the full 1/2 cup of buckwheat for both the refined buckwheat and the American whole grain buckwheat.

    • January 9, 2018 10:40pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for letting us know. Like you, I like them both ways as well! I love whole-grains but also like the lighter (French) buckwheat flour for different reasons. Happy you liked the cookies!