Alice Medrich’s latest award winning baking cookbook, Flavor Flours, has done more than capture my attention in the kitchen these past few months. I have also been introduced to a whole new idea- baking with different flours, including a few I’d never even heard of, like Teff and Sorghum. So, while I’ve been happily baking cookies from a new cookbook, this time around I’ve been inspired to bake using unique flours like oat, sorghum, rice and buckwheat. Each photo in this beautifully photographed cookbook entices me to reach in and taste the cookies, cakes, crackers, muffins, cobblers, tarts or brownies on nearly every page. I tried both the brownie recipes (Ultra-Bittersweet and Almond - Brown Rice Brownies) and not only are they gluten-free, they are both excellent. I’ve also made the oat sables, almond tuiles, blondies and linzer cookies but I won’t be satisfied until I try my hand at the many excellent looking cakes. This has been a baking adventure at it’s very finest; trying new recipes with unique previously unknown to me flours. Thank you Alice Medrich for putting in the effort to create this fascinating baker’s cookbook that is such a delight to bake from and explore. I would also like to thank you for my first bite of a real chocolate truffle, back in the day at Cocolat, that was a moment I still savor.
Forget the idea that gluten-free baked goods aren’t good. We enjoyed everyone of the cookie recipes that I’ve tried, but I wanted to share this one because these cookies are simple to make and just so tenderly melt-in-your mouth good. They are just peanutty deliciousness- scented with bourbon and sprinkled with smoked sea salt, my fun and attractive addition to the original recipe. The special flour flavor in this shortbread recipe comes from sorghum flour, which I found at my local Whole Foods.
Flavor Flours is organized in chapters by flours which I find to be very helpful in understanding how the flours work. The pages titled Flavor Affinities which appear at the beginning of each chapter list the ingredients that are standouts with each unique flour. My favorite list is for buckwheat flour which is good with walnuts, toasted hazelnuts, dried fruit, dark spice, coffee, salt, brownsugar, fresh figs and honey..now doesn’t that inspire you to try baking with buckwheat flour? Not to worry, the where to buy and how to store each flour information is also included.
There is also detailed information on the types of flours, such as how they have been traditionally used in various parts of the world. For example, buckwheat is used to make both French crepes in Brittany and blini in Russia. Now, I’m ready to go to France for crepes in Brittany, I’m easily tempted to travel abroad for a good meal.
I love finding a new favorite cookbook and this is one that I just had to share with you.
Recipe adapted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich.
- 2 cups(225 grams) roasted or dry roasted salted peanuts
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons(150 grams) sorghum flour
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon(60 grams) white rice flour
- 2/3 cup(135 grams) sugar
- 12 tablespoons(170 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup(60 grams) cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Smoked sea salt, for sprinkling
- Place the peanuts, flours and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the peanuts are pulverized, not too finely-leave very fine pieces.
- Add the butter- cut in pieces, cream cheese, bourbon and vanilla.
- Pulse until the mixture comes together and forms a smooth dough.
- Scrape the dough onto a sheet of wax paper and form about a 12"x2" log.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or better over night.
- When ready to bake pre-heat the oven to 325F.
- Slice the chilled cookie dough into 1/4" slices and place about 1" apart on a silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating trays from front to back and from top to bottom half way through baking, or until the cookies are slightly golden brown around the edges.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Cool on racks.
- Cookies will keep stored for 2 weeks in airtight container.