Buckwheat Linzer Cookies with Strawberry Gel*
This is the first time I am using buckwheat flour to cook with. Reading Alice Medrich’s narrative of the grain, in her book Flavor Flours, I just had to make these Linzer cookies.
I may have mentioned it already, but Jane is highly allergic to peanuts and legumes, which limits my capacity to use any kind of nut or bean flour in my baking; so how great would it be if I found a substitute I could use instead.
As usual, I changed up the recipe a little, partly because I don’t like to throw anything away; secondly, because it’s part of my challenge this year to do so!
Not having any cream cheese in the house, I decided to swap out equal amounts of the cream cheese with ricotta. (Which I did have.) I omitted the tablespoon of water from the recipe and baked them a few minutes longer to make up for the obvious water discrepancies inherent to each cheese.
I also replaced the butter with coconut oil. This did two things; it introduced an additional layer of flavor to the cookie, and also made it a heather cookie, according to md-health.com, http://www.md-health.com/Substitute-Coconut-Oil-For-Butter.html. It offers the same qualities of butter with less calories, and more nutritional value. However, it does so at a higher cost than butter.
The last thing I did was to make a strawberry gel to use in place of the standard jam. This reduced the overall caloric value of the cookie by decreasing the amount of sugar needed to produce jams and jellies. The gel only contains about 13 Calories, 0 Fat, and 3 Carbohydrates per 16g. Compare that to a store bought jam currently in your fridge.(1)
I hope you try these. They are really, really good!
STRAWBERRY GEL - INGREDIENTS
Frozen Strawberries 1 pkg. (12oz / 340g)
Sugar 60 g (about ¼ cup)
Sweet White Wine 200 ml (about 3 oz.)
Agar Agar 6 g (1% of total weight)
Defrost the strawberries and place them in a blender. Blend to a puree.
In a small mixing bowl, add the agar and some of the sugar. Mix well and set aside.
Add the puree, remaining sugar, and wine to a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil.
Whisk the agar and sugar mixture to the boiling puree mixture. Continue whisk until it comes back to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for an addition minute while whisking.
Pour into a nonreactive container and allow the mixture to cool until set.It will set faster in the refrigerator.
Once set, cut the gel into cubes and process in a blender until smooth.
Transfer to a squeeze bottle and refrigerate until ready to use.
SHORTBREAD - INGREDIENTS Yields: about 12 - 3” Cookies
Rice Flour 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp.
Buckwheat Flour 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp.
Oat Flour 2/3 cup
Salt 1/4 tsp.
Baking Soda 1/8 tsp.
Sugar 1/2 cup
Ricotta 1/4 cup
Coconut Oil 140 g (5 oz.)
In a mixing bowl, add the rice flour, buckwheat flour, oat flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Mix with a whisk until all the ingredients are well blended.
With a paddle attachment, cut in the butter, coconut oil (cold) on low speed until the mixture comes together into a mass.
Remove from bowl, wrap in plastic wrap, and press it into a rectangle.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and allow to warm-up until you can press into it.
Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. (I found it easer to roll if you place the dough between to slightly floured pieces of parchment paper.) Cut out the solid hearts first. You can re-use the scraps and re-roll them. Then remove the centers from half of the cookies to make the tops by using a smaller heart. (Again this dough can be repurposed to make more cookies. Chill the dough if begins getting hard to work with.
While you pre-heat your oven to 350°F, place the cookies on a parchment line cookie sheet and put them in the refrigerator to chill and firm up. This helps keep their shape.
Bake them for 16 to 18 minutes or until the bottom edges begin to brown slightly.
Remove from oven and allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Separate the tops from the bottoms and place them on either waxed paper or parchment. Sprinkle the tops generously with powdered sugar.
Using a squeeze bottle, squeeze the fruit gel starting from the center and working your way to the edges on the bottom halves of the cookie. Keep away from the edges at least a ¼ of an inch or the gel will be forced out.
Place the top portion on the bottom half pressing gently to secure both pieces together.
Serve or refrigerate.
*Adapted from: Alice Medrich: Flavor Flours, (2004,368p) ISBN: 978-1-5796-513-6
1 – calculated using the recipe builder and nutritional analyzer found on: http://nutritiondata.self.com